Is the Human Touch in Recruiting becoming a Lost Art?
Dori Weisberg,V.P. of Client Servicing, Infoways
It is such an easy thing to do—to touch another in sympathy—but it is such a hard thing too. ― Alexander McCall Smith, The Revolving Door of Life

Let me ask you a question – if you have changed your job in the last 5 years, I can bet my money that it happened through a digital medium – LinkedIn or other job sites.

If it hasn’t, lucky you because it’s rare nowadays to find someone who has had the real taste of recruitment.

Talent acquisition and recruitment have always been human-to-human activities. What exactly do I mean by that?

It always has been about direct interaction, a conversation, and the connection.

Thanks to Technology, recruitment has indeed been easier than before, but that’s just the tip of an iceberg. Far more complexity is involved here.

The resume was never supposed to be anything other than a synopsis, a menu if you will, of one’s experience and capabilities. There, I said it, a Menu! And while I’m at it, that begs another question, is a candidate’s selection limited to ‘just the resume’?

  • Are we digitizing candidates?
  • Do we rely too much on analytics to find the right talent? 
  • Are our recruitment methods becoming more assembly-line-like?
  • Have we forgotten the basic nature and substance of what recruitment stands for, the Human-to-Human factor?
  • Is the human touch in recruiting becoming a lost art?

I often find myself pondering these things.

While Job Boards and whatever version of ATS is being utilized, are valuable, nothing matches a robust database of talent that one manages directly and keeps updated via touch. The Humanist method works like a charm to job searchers who are surprised that they are being recruited, interacted with, and given the professional courtesy of being conversed with. Digital recruiting, particularly social media recruitment, can assist in speeding up the process and making our life simpler, and productive, in a manufactured sort of sense, but it pales compared to personal connection.

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In-person engagement rarely takes place in a candidate’s selection, especially where remote communications are involved. Given today’s circumstances, and given the technology where remote is the new normal we cannot deny the longing for actual face-to-face interactions. Many talent service providers rely on the commoditization of applications, volume submission of candidates, and rely solely on buzzword selection of candidates, all of which contribute to the deterioration of a human way of recruitment in many cases.

Funny thing is, I’ve been approached by so-called recruiters many times claiming I’d be a great fit for a Java-related job. If only they could look at my LinkedIn page to see that I am not a Java programmer and that my knowledge of Java is limited to technology services. There are still a few companies, mostly in the technology sector, that conduct in-depth interviews with potential candidates in addition to the various candidate search strategies and platforms in use.

We’re all familiar with deadlines, KPIs, and production rates. We’re in the “crying out load” service industry. Yet, there are candidates who are overlooked or never considered simply because we do not see what we need to see in the top third of that profile.

To be clear, owing to competitive pressures and oversaturation of similar services providers who exclusively concentrate on contract placement, the lack of a Humanistic Approach to Recruitment is more of a problem in Contract Recruitment Services than Permanent Recruitment Services. The technology industry is increasingly dealing with a more niche-specific recruiting emphasis, with many clients looking for the prototype of an employee who has left or retired. Clients are looking for John or Jane Doe +10, who is the same John or Jane Doe that just left. As a result, there is no quick way to complete the whole process of recruiting and connecting with potential candidates.

Have that conversation, just don’t simply validate the criteria from a technical or experience aspect, really read between the lines of that résumé, and realize that there is a person behind that profile and not just a submission template.

People are more than their job applications and resume, it’s time we realize that.

Folks, I understand the industry, but keep in mind that humanistic, humanism, and humanist are all words in psychology that refer to a method of studying a person’s individuality and uniqueness.

Let’s all aim to adopt a conversational approach to the recruiting process by using the Humanist Method. Let us treat the applicant the same way we treat our customers and how we would want to be treated.