Changing demographics, a shortage of qualified workers and the growing importance of retaining top talent have many organizations modifying their approach to long-term work force planning. But adjustments are being made to short-term programs as well including processes for screening, interviewing and hiring employees.
“Forward-thinking organizations are taking advantage of innovative technologies and applications to streamline the hiring process, reduce costs and enhance their ability to identify best-fit talent,” says Kevin White, director of operations for Spherion Staffing Services.
Smart Business talked with White about which automated tools are gaining traction, and why.
Why are more and more companies adopting high-tech tools in the hiring process?
According to the latest Spherion Emerging Workforce Study, many employers spend a significant amount of time interviewing and screening potential candidates. The study found that the typical human resources manager interviews an average of nine people for one open position. And nearly half of the employers surveyed (44 percent) believe their hiring managers are interviewing too many people to find qualified candidates effectively.
In addition, a study conducted by Aberdeen Group found that 33 percent of employers cite inefficiency, cost or lack of timeliness in managing the hiring process as a challenge at their company.
What’s the first step of the hiring process to use these tools?
That’s the screening and assessment function, where we’re seeing a new breed of tools and processes beginning to change the way the employment process looks. Companies are using these tools to more effectively and quickly tap into talent pools, screen out unqualified candidates, and assess an individual’s skills, behavioral or cultural fit with the organization.
Innovations such as the Web, and phone-based technologies like interactive voice response (IVR), have moved pre-employment screening to the top drawer of HR hiring tools.
What are some of the benefits of these new tools?
The use of automated screening and assessments tools is now considered one of the most effective HR practices today for a number of reasons. By delivering tangible results such as reduced time-to-fill-the-job rates and intangible perks like increased job satisfaction among hiring managers these tools can make a significant impact on any organization.
You mentioned tapping into larger talent pools. How does that work?
Casting a wider net to increase your applicant pool will improve your chances of finding qualified candidates. Automated application and screening tools give potential job candidates the flexibility and freedom to apply online anytime from virtually anywhere at their own convenience. This is especially attractive to candidates who juggle a full-time job and a busy personal schedule.
And when busy candidates are able to search and apply online, literally around the clock the result is a larger, more skilled applicant pool for the prospective employer.
With a shrinking labor supply, is speeding up the hiring process important?
Absolutely. And automating the screening and application component speeds up the hiring process dramatically by enabling an entire applicant pool to be matched against an organization’s inventory of HR requisitions. Automated tools can immediately rank potential new hires based on ‘best-fit’ criteria, and quickly alert recruiters to well-qualified applicants when they apply.
By speeding the process, there’s less chance of having a good candidate get away. In the current job market, which we expect to prevail for quite some time, the employer who can move to hire with speed and agility wins the day (and the candidate).
Are there any quantifiable results from these tools?
Technology-enabled assessments can significantly improve turnover rates at any organization. With a poor hiring decision often costing a company between two and seven times the employee’s annual salary, any positive impact on turnover can save thousands, even millions, of dollars. In fact, Spherion’s automated assessment tools have shown to reduce turnover by 35 percent to 45 percent, thus helping companies reduce employment costs and improve their bottom line.
Think about it: more candidates, in less time, at lower cost. When you look at the results, it’s clear that technology has improved the way businesses screen, assess and hire employees. Really, now it’s not so much a question of how technology has helped but more a matter of how businesses are still managing without a high-tech hiring process.
KEVIN WHITE is director of operations for Spherion Staffing Services in the Southeast. Reach him at (904) 358-7864 in Jacksonville or at KevinWhite@spherion.com.