With unemployment at the highest rate in 70 years, many talent acquisition organizations are finding themselves overwhelmed with job applications as people apply to as many positions as possible to try to find work. The surge in applications is not just taxing on recruiting systems, it’s stretching already-stretched recruiting teams, making it difficult to identify qualified talent and provide a candidate experience that feels personalized, communicative and respectful.
And we all know this is a time when employers need to be communicating more often, more authentically and more transparently than ever. Candidates and employees will particularly remember how you treat them now, during this difficult period — which could impact your ability to recruit in the future.
This is why I’ve been hearing a lot of practitioners lately talk about investing in recruitment automation tools. Recruitment automation was always important for high-volume recruiting, but now every team needs to work smarter and more efficiently. When the pandemic hit, the first priority was to shift to a remote work model and then implement a virtual candidate experience. But as unemployment rates hit record highs, savvy hiring teams began preparing for the surge in application volumes that most certainly would come.
There are lots of recruitment automation tools that could help your organization not only manage better through the next year but also upgrade your overall recruitment operations as the economy starts to recover. Recruiting automation is a category of HR tech that allows companies to automate and streamline recruiting tasks and workflows so they can increase recruiter productivity and improve on important metrics like time-to-fill and cost-per-hire.
So what recruitment automation tools could support you better right now? We asked some of the top HR tech vendors this question:
“What is the most important recruitment automation technology that talent acquisition teams should have right now, and why?”
We found 9 recruitment automation tools that are helping employers to better manage their candidate experience and hiring process as applications surge.
1. Talent Pipelining Automation
2. Apply Flow Optimization
3. Talent Intelligence
4. Automated Text Messaging
5. AI-Powered Chatbots
6. Programmatic Job Advertising
7. End-to-End Recruiting AI
8. Candidate Communication Automation
9. Candidate Engagement Automation
9 Recruitment Automation Tools
Employers are using talent pipelining tools to identify qualified candidates through the use of forms and progressive profiling and then to stream candidates into different pipelines and segments.
Christine Black, Marketing Director at Candidate.ID, said that an efficient way to avoid an increasingly large manual workload associated with high-volume applications is to “best fit” talent. You can do this by using technology to:
- Prioritize applicants that are a best match and most engaged
- Automate communications to those who are a not a good fit
Christine is seeing employers set up simple and effective decision tree workflows where potential candidates are asked a number of questions. Candidates are then automatically streamed based on their answers to those questions as well as their behavior online.
“While there might be more candidates available at this time, the total addressable market of qualified candidates is still the same size as it was 12 months ago. That means that if you’re focused on advertising rather than direct sourcing and managing pipelines, you’re going to be doing a lot more work for the same outcome,” she said.
Employee experience platform company InFlight is seeing employers put an emphasis on automating and optimizing their apply flow to ensure that everyone in the candidate experience feels that their time is valued. This includes automating parts of the screening process to increase hiring team efficiency.
“An apply flow without clear intentions or structure may filter out your most qualified candidates, while continuing to allow unfit candidates to trickle through,” said InFlight Marketing Director Karl Wierzbicki. “This might leave your recruiters in a position where they’re having to look for needles in a haystack.”
There are ways to optimize the apply flow for the different types of roles that an employer is hiring for, to filter in the best candidates. Karl said you can use a few carefully selected disqualifying questions to automatically screen out those candidates who aren’t the best fit. To identify good disqualifying questions, ask your hiring managers these 2 questions:
- If you get 1,000 applicants for this role, how would you go about paring down the list?
- Is there anything we could ask during the application that would make it easier to filter through and eliminate unqualified applicants?
The answers to these questions should provide great insight into what you could be doing differently with your ATS’ disqualifying questions. Quick tip: check with your legal department before making any major changes though so you can ensure the questions are in line with your local employment and labor laws.
With so many applications coming in, on the surface some candidates may appear unqualified for the role. So some employers are using AI-powered talent intelligence platforms to identify potential talent beyond their resume and to uncover talent by their potential to do a job and not just if they’ve actually done that job in the past.
“A talent intelligence solution can be extremely powerful when integrated with your ATS. The technology can review past applicants, ex-employees, current employees and employee referrals and identify who has the potential to do the jobs you need right now,” said Todd Raphael, Marketing Content Manager at Eightfold AI.
This tech is also being used by employers for internal mobility, succession planning and redeployment (moving employees whose roles may have been eliminated into new roles elsewhere in your organization). With this level of recruitment automation, organizations are able to identify existing talent to move into hard-to-fill open positions or net new roles that the company needs going forward.
Added bonus: as talent acquisition teams are increasingly focused on improving diversity efforts, a capabilities-focused approach is a good practice. With a focus on potential, talent is not picked based on educational history or who they know, but rather whether they can do the role regardless of whether they’ve been in that exact position in the past.
A recruiter’s time is spread thinner than ever before. As a result, there’s more risk of accidentally providing a “black hole” candidate experience. And during these uncertain times, candidates want to understand where they stand in your hiring process more than ever!
Daryl Carr, Marketing Manager at Fountain, is seeing employers invest more into automating candidate communication, so that candidates know their exact status in the hiring process at any given time without taking up the recruiting team’s time manually responding to email. Candidates send a text message to and receive important information about their application status. This is helping recruiters to focus on their most pressing tasks, while keeping talent warm and engaged throughout the hiring process.
The use of text recruiting has been increasing in recent years because today’s candidates want to communicate via text. According to Deloitte, Americans look at their phones an average of 47 times a day (this number goes up for Gen Z’ers who look at their phones a whopping 86 times per day!). If you’re looking for more insights on how to use text recruiting to engage and nurture talent, download our Rally Ideabook: 4 Ways to Text the Modern Candidate.
AI-powered chatbots are one of the fastest-growing recruitment automation tools, particularly during COVID-19, as they help to manage applicant surge and communicate all of the changes in a company’s hiring process.
Aida Fazylova, CEO of XOR, is seeing chatbots being used by employers to help their recruiters manage their new workload by automating screening and scheduling, so they can focus 100% of their time on building relationships with qualified candidates.
To learn more about chatbots and COVID-19, check out our blog post: What Are Candidates Asking Recruiting Chatbots During Coronavirus?
Programmatic job advertising is another recruitment automation technology that employers are gravitating towards right now to help them control the cost of recruiting. Surprisingly, the high unemployment rate has made the cost of recruiting jump this year.
Jennifer Terry, a Marketing Consultant at Joveo, is seeing programmatic advertising platforms help recruitment teams by automatically distributing job ads on the most effective job boards, search engines and social channels, while also optimizing for cost-per-hire at scale and tracking performance across all recruitment media. Jennifer shares that “our team is seeing programmatic job advertising making necessary and cost-saving changes to job campaigns automatically and in real-time.”
Terry Baker, CEO & President at PandoLogic, said that “programmatic is effective because when you use this type of automation at the top of the funnel, it makes all the downstream efforts easier. Programmatic works by automating not only the process of job ad distribution, but it also automates a lot of time-consuming decision making efforts.”
“Programmatic job ad technology is lowering overall recruitment costs for employers, increasing quality applicant flow on harder-to-fill requisitions, and supporting a data-driven mindset for recruitment,” says Chris Forman, Founder & CEO of Appcast.
With social distancing guidelines and constant forecast changes, hiring managers have even less time than before to dedicate to recruitment efforts. This is a key reason why some employers are adopting recruitment automation throughout their recruiting and hiring process.
Kevin Hwang, Growth Marketing Manager from AllyO, is seeing employers use end-to-end-recruiting AI platforms to automate recruiting tasks such as candidate communications, screening, assessment and interview scheduling. With many of these manual tasks freed up, managers are able to instead focus on higher value activities to ensure their business thrives despite the economic climate.
“While many companies are risk-averse right now, those who are taking this time to get a foothold in recruiting automation and fix broken processes are benefiting when the need for agile recruiting returns,” said Kevin.
In an effort to maintain a positive candidate experience during a high volume of applications, some employers are going beyond the standard auto-responder “thank you” message after someone applies. With the use of automated candidate communications, employers are triggering emails and text messages to candidates at each phase of the hiring process. Disqualified candidates are notified immediately while top candidates are invited to stay in touch for future opportunities. The result is that nobody is ever left in the dark and the candidate experience is elevated through automated communications.
“Talent acquisition teams are struggling to do more with less and we’ve seen this play out in a number of ways — from the ability to keep candidates updated throughout their journey to engaging and retaining new hires during the pandemic,” says GR8 People Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jayne Kettles.
Automation is also alleviating the pressure teams now face in adapting to rapidly-shifting demands, such as the need to engage new hires when start dates have been pushed back due to COVID-19.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, we aren’t seeing this influx of candidates! We still don’t have enough!” then recruitment automation tools are available to help that challenge too. According to Dalia, 90% of candidates don’t apply to a job when first visiting a company career site. That’s why technology that automatically engages those candidates and brings them back to apply when the timing or job is right can provide a big ROI boost.
Dalia also reports that 47% of employers with CRMs and talent networks never send another communication after the confirmation email, and 92% of companies only send job alerts, wasting those big system investments. A program that engages the company’s talent pool with compelling content and job alerts automatically is a significant time-saver for TA teams while providing an ongoing candidate nurture strategy.
Jason Whitman, Co-founder and COO of Dalia, has seen that applying these types of digital marketing principles to recruiting have a big impact on Recruitment Marketing. “For those companies currently hiring, it means better ROI and efficiency for their teams. For companies that have paused hiring, it helps them build an interested talent pool to engage when they are hiring again. It’s really a win in both scenarios.”
The ultimate goal of any recruiting automation tool should be to ensure the best possible candidate experience, while eliminating task-intensive work at scale. This way recruiters can stay focused on delivering critical talent to the business and you can showcase some positive ROI and cost-savings to your leadership team.