Why the recruitment process needs to be humanised

The labour shortage we’re currently facing – and have been for the past 10 months – is not likely to ease any time soon.

WaveTrackR data recorded a phenomenal rise in jobs which began in May 2021 and, for a long time, sat alongside relatively low application numbers. Those figures are plateauing now but still represent a market low on candidate availability compared to the vacancies needing to be filled.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announces new record job vacancy figures every month and the unemployment rate continues to fall each quarter. The competition for candidates is fierce, which further highlights the need for a positive candidate experience. And to do that, you need to humanise the entire recruitment process.

Candidate shortages

The unemployment rate (for the period November 2021-January 2022) stands at 3.9%, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points on the quarter and of 1.22 percentage points compared to the same period the year before.

This means that unemployment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, far earlier than forecast. Meanwhile, although the rate of vacancies growth is slowing, the number increased from the last quarter to a new record of 1,318,000, with half the industries showing record highs.

All this adds up to a dearth of candidates applying for jobs and therefore severe competition for talented individuals. As a recruiter, you need to do everything you can to attract quality candidates and, importantly, keep them in the process.

Write for humans

Humanising the recruitment process needs to start from the very beginning – the job ad. Word length, structure, keywords are all important, but so is humanising your job ad copy. Remembering that you are writing for people to read and respond will transform your job ad copy from dry job description to compelling job ad.

You want it to stand out on job boards and be found by search engines but that is just the first step. Ultimately, you want qualified candidates to read it, engage with it and feel compelled to apply for the job. With that in mind, it is imperative to remember that your job ads should be written for people and not solely for search engines.

Dry, boring, lengthy job ads dissuade candidates from reading, let alone applying for them. Focus on candidate drivers, keep it concise, inject personality, write in the second-person narrative. Always think: would this job ad pull me in and convince me to apply?

Communication is key

One of the biggest reasons candidates drop out of the recruitment process is a lack of communication. No-one wants to feel like they’ve been forgotten, aren’t important, or are just another application.

This is why it is vital that recruitment doesn’t lose that human element. After all, recruitment is a people business and that should never be lost.

Candidates should be kept updated at every stage and told from the very beginning what to expect during the process. If the process is taking longer than expected for any reason, keep the candidates informed so they don’t think they’ve been ghosted.

It is just as important to let candidates know if they haven’t made it to the next stage. Remember, every candidate is also a potential future candidate. Encourage those that aren’t hired for a particular job to register their CV and sign up for job alerts.

Using tech to help to humanise

Recruitment tech has revolutionised the industry, streamlining processes and enabling a shorter time to hire.

Used well, tech such as WaveTrackR should help to track candidates during the process, communicate quickly with them, and reduce time on admin, thereby freeing up valuable time to talk to candidates and clients.

Candidate management systems that offer customisable email templates, provide the ability to make notes and status updates and track every application received make it easier to keep in touch with candidates and ensure that no-one gets lost in the process. In other words, technology can actively help to humanise the recruitment process.     

The importance of human judgement

Not only will humanising the recruitment process help to keep candidates from dropping out and seeking a competitor, it will aid the avoidance of a bad hire.

Spending time to talk to candidates helps both recruiter and candidate determine if they will be a good fit for a particular role. On the flip side, recruitment tech that screens and filters out applications and CVs that its algorithms deem unsuitable could lead to great candidates being dismissed.

It is so important to talk to candidates and meet them face-to-face, either over a video chat or in person. CVs can give you an idea of a candidate’s experience, skills and qualifications but meeting and talking with a candidate will give you more of an overview of their character.

A compassionate approach

Ultimately, recruiters need to have a compassionate approach to recruitment. Recognising that behind every application is a person trying to find a job and that each of those people is different, with varying backgrounds, histories, motivations, wins and woes, is crucial.

Building relationships with people is the essence of a recruiter’s job. It helps you to understand what both clients and candidates want and are likely to need in the future, thereby enabling you to match the right opportunity with the right candidate.

The human element of recruitment is something that simply can’t be replaced. That’s not to say that recruitment technology is irrelevant. The combination of streamlining, data-driven tech with the compassionate, relationship-building power of a human recruiter makes for a winning formula.

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