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Possibilities Podcast Episode: 6

On today's episode of Possibilities, we're talking about how digital transformation has impacted the staffing and recruiting industry. Our guest today is David Webb, Co-founder and CEO of BrightMove, an applicant tracking system.

David shared his thoughts on how the industry has changed over the years and how you can utilize technology to be more efficient and successful in your recruiting efforts.

How Digital Transformation Has Affected Recruiting

You can run a staffing company with a filing cabinet. But you cannot scale a staffing company with a filing cabinet.

In the early days, you printed your resume, you faxed it to all the staffing companies in town, and you hoped to get a call back from one of those companies.

A few years later, there were bulletin board systems.

And then, digital technology started making an entrance.

Resumes moved from paper to electronic. People started using Microsoft Word and PDFs. There was this emerging concept of software as a service.

Today, new channels of communicating with candidates have emerged, primarily through social networking sites, email, and text.

Younger candidates like email and text. You can call them, but they're probably not going to answer if they don’t recognize your number. And they certainly don’t know what a fax machine is.

Additionally, Korn Ferry predicts there will be a deficit of 85.2M workers worldwide by 2030. This means that all of the good quality candidates are going to be employed. So, if your company needs to grow and you need to hire people, you’ll have to find them where they’re working. It’s much easier to connect with a candidate like this through email and text — they can’t keep stepping away from their work to take phone calls.

That’s the transformation we’re seeing today. Digital technologies allow us to reach the most qualified people where they are. Communicate with them how they prefer. And sell to them in a way that enables us to compete with all the other recruiters vying for the candidate’s attention.

Recruiting Is An Investment

Just by measuring your ROI, it's bound to get better.

You can run a staffing company with a filing cabinet. But you cannot scale a company with a filing cabinet. That’s why you need an applicant tracking system, another result of digital transformation.

This technology consolidates data, allowing recruiters to make better decisions. Ultimately, this system increases the likelihood that a candidate will win placement.

In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to survive without utilizing an applicant tracking system. So, you have to look at applicant tracking systems as an investment, not a cost center.

You can’t make widgets without the parts. And you can’t make a lot of placements without an applicant tracking system. It has to be considered a cost of goods sold.

And if you don’t invest to scale, you will end up investing to keep up.

How You Should Be Thinking About ROI

Well, first, you actually need to think about it.

You’d be surprised how many people just don’t think about ROI. We fight fires by throwing money at them. But money burns quickly.

So, start by simply thinking about ROI.

Once you’ve taken that step, you need to monitor and measure your ROI. Just by measuring your ROI it's bound to get better.

Look for a product that has a good recruiting analytics suite. That will allow you to test the performance of different job descriptions. Track how much money you’re spending on each of the distribution channels — LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.

Once you know how much you’re spending, and you have a tool to measure how many applicants, quality applicants, and hires you’re getting from each of those sources, the number one way to get the quality applicants and the hires will be apparent. That’s where you can focus your spend.

ROI is a simple formula. If you spend $5000 to promote a job and you make a $20,000 placement fee, then you’ve got a good ROI. And when you figure out what works, try to replicate it.

You have to start by thinking about ROI. You have to measure and monitor it. And ultimately, you have to be willing to improve it.

The Unreproducible Element of Human Connection

We can give people all the tools in the world but they still have to roll up their sleeves and  figure out who's going to be a good cultural fit with their company.

A lot of people have hope that they can transform this industry by reducing the human element of the recruiter.

But David couldn’t disagree more.

Technology can be a tool to facilitate a human making a decision. But, at least at this point, it cannot replace the human interaction in recruiting.

Currently, there is no substitute for a recruiter finding interest in an applicant and that applicant find interesting in a job that recruiter is recruiting for. There’s no replacement for the recruiter and the candidate to have a face to face conversation.

The human connection that plays a part in the hiring decision is unreproducible.

We can provide all the tools in the world. But at the end of the day, it’s about rolling up our sleeves, making connections, and talking to people to figure out who's going to be a good cultural fit for the company.

Technology can help generate efficiency by taking over the repetitive tasks. But it cannot replace the human interaction that is essential to recruiting.

This post is based on a Possibilities podcast with David Webb. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe here.

To listen to this episode, click here


About the Author

Brendan Kavaney
Global Head of Field Marketing and Demand Generation

Brendan Kavaney- Possibilities Podcast Host and Global Head of Field Marketing and Demand Generation at Mindtree, a 20 year Marketer with a big passion for Marketing Technology and all things Digital. He leads a highly innovative team across a vast array of industries including Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Retail, Manufacturing & Consumer Goods, Travel, Transportation & Hospitality, Technology & Media.

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