Cut & Polish

The Benefits of Recruiting Automation: Executive Edition

Automation has been transforming every business org in the workplace for some years now; and that’s no less the case for recruitment. COVID taught us—or reminded us of—a few things: the demand (and competition) for talent isn’t going anywhere; recruiters will invariably be asked to do more with less; lack of resources and bandwidth will always be a pain point in talent acquisition; the strangest of circumstances can change hiring needs on a dime; and candidate experience is (and will be from now on) the ultimate determinant of hiring success.  

At Gem, we talked a great deal with sourcers, recruiters, and talent leaders for whom hiring was put on pause last year. What kinds of things do recruiters do when they’re not recruiting? we asked. For those who were lucky enough to stay in their roles, their responses all pointed to one answer: they found ways to add strategic value to their respective organizations. Often, this new value was of the kind they’d always wanted to offer, but hadn’t had time to with all the transactional work that hiring entails. They built out university recruiting programs and mentorship programs. They created libraries of content for future nurture campaigns. They formalized and deployed employee value propositions (EVPs) for the first time. They held microscopes to their processes from the perspective of DEI, to ensure each of their hiring stages was equitable. They created DEI committees and did research to better understand their comp philosophies. They thought about workforce planning, employer branding, and internal career pathing. They got involved with retention strategies. In short, they capitalized on the newly-available bandwidth they had to add demonstrable, quantifiable value, and to drive business impact.

How does this relate to automation—especially now that so many teams are hiring at scale? We don’t need another pandemic for recruiters to have time freed up so they can add that kind of value again, because automation offers the same bandwidth. Recruitment automation streamlines the hiring process from initial point-of-contact through offer-extend by taking on low-level, repetitive, manual (but essential) tasks. And as it does that, it’s collecting data on every element of the hiring process, so teams can make informed decisions about best practices. 

But here’s the thing: the efficiency automation offers isn’t a business case in-and-of itself. For one thing, automation alone doesn’t create new business value, and so it’s not a case you’ll win with your C-levels. If automation frees up 25% of a recruiter’s time but they’re using those 10 extra hours a week unproductively—rather than for high-value, revenue-generating tasks—automation becomes more a cost than a benefit. And for another thing, “efficiency” is ultimately not what executives care about—though it impacts what they care about. Adopting executives’ mindset means translating data into dollars and prioritizing predictive analytics over historical metrics, strategic impacts over functional or operational ones, and revenue over cost-cutting. C-levels want to know about increasing revenue, productivity, and innovation. They need a big-picture argument for automation. In other words, while automation is important to recruiters because it frees them up to focus on building personal relationships with candidates, executives are going to be more interested in how it impacts business costs. Same argument, different angle.

Recruiting teams—perhaps especially talent leaders—have already realized the value of automation. Concerns that it would “dehumanize” the process have largely faded (assuming teams have chosen the right solutions) in light of personalization features, the elimination of human inconsistencies and biases, and increased bandwidth for candidate engagement. Forward-thinking talent acquisition teams are using automation to clear bottlenecks in their funnels and optimize their processes. They’re improving equity in their hiring, reducing operational expenses, and are empowered with data to best meet their KPIs. They’re losing fewer candidates who drop out because their processes are too long, or because recruiters don’t have the time to keep them invested. And these are the anecdotes and data points that’ll move your executives when it comes to the case for automation. Efficiency is but a means to an end. The same is true of data.

In our latest ebook, The Executive Argument for Recruitment Automation, we’ve written about the arguments you can use to convince your C-levels of the necessity of automation, like:

  • it saves hours of recruiters’ time so they can ultimately focus on more meaningful tasks (of which there are many—we list some of them here!)
  • it helps you achieve faster time-to-hire and lower cost-of-hire by equipping you with full visibility into your sourcing efforts and entire pipeline
  • you’ll see less productivity (and profitability) lost due to vacancy days, thanks to candidate rediscovery and pipeline nurture

We hope this is a useful resource for those of you who are in a position to convince. And if you find you need more help, feel free to reach out to us—we love to talk about the business case!

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Content Strategist
July 22, 2021
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