Human Capital Management Solutions

05
27
Apr

Recruitment – a beautiful four-storey bungalow of lies

By Simon Townsend

Recruitment is a lie, all of it, and don’t expect the machines/robots to solve this problem for us. Don’t believe me? Come with me on a journey.

Let’s start with the hiring manager – “I need someone right now (no you don’t because the job is still being done..), but not just anyone (righto..), I want the best person who has ever done the job (but you’ll settle for less..), the topper-most of the popper-most and only the top five percent is eligible (but you are not willing to pay them what they are worth..).”

Next up, the recruiter – “So I hear you are in the market for a senior product engineer? How about looking at Google to see if we can get one of theirs (righto…)? And of course, you will need to speak to Jane, she’s the smartest product engineer I know (Jane is probably the only candidate you know at this time..). I also have another candidate in mind who might be a total fit for the role (now you are really just throwing random suggestions..).”

So, how do you think the candidate would react to these lies? You guessed it, they join in the fun – “Yes, I have got all the experience in the world (tick!). I single handedly, successfully, set up the engineering design process in my last company (tick!). And I managed a team of six people, yes, not four, six (tick!). Oh, and I get paid more than the salary range but am willing to negotiate if the opportunity is right (tick!).”

Three storeys in one house of lies. Yet we all accept that this is the way to go and, somehow, it all works. Companies needs workers, recruiters recruit, and candidates are not candid. We all pretend that the game is not full of lies, that everyone is being completely truthful at each stage and, you know what, that is exactly what makes it work. And here is where this article would have ended a couple of months (or years depending on how progressive your organisation is) ago.

But we have a new set of players who have ante’d up and joined the table. They don’t lie. In fact, they are right finks and will grass up anyone they catch lying faster than you can say “who are you talking about? You mean the robots, right? I think he means the robots… This is actually a thing about robots.”

Yes. The robots. Who are not robots, but don’t get me started on that high horse or you will be here all day.

How do we all play nicely as the rules get changed? More interestingly, perhaps, how do we all keep playing when one side is fact checking in real time and the others have only just realised that the game is not the same one they used to play?

With the latest round of artificial intelligent (A.I.)/machine learning enabled sourcing platforms, recruiters and hiring managers are profiling people based on their online habits, their writing styles and putting their trust into these new platforms and the insights they produce.

There are platforms to find you the best candidates automagically – sourcers rejoice as their jobs get easier. There are tools to provide an instant DISC profile assessment that come with “we’re pretty 80 percent confident” – naturally, we’ll trust them – hey, 80 percent is pretty close to 100 percent, right? And when the time comes to speak to the candidates, we can roll out a chatbot to take the mundane work away and focus only on those who passed the initial screening.

At this point the candidate will probably learn that they are being assessed and found wanting by a computer rather than by a human, but maybe not.

Is this fair? I don’t think so. Should we be pinging candidates who don’t make the cut to tell them that they have been reviewed? Perhaps.

I can imagine it now – “Hey, our robots thought you would be good for this but then our other robots said you wouldn’t so we didn’t talk to you. But maybe we are wrong, are you interested?” That is a hell of an opening line for an email to a candidate.

I’m sure the use of A.I. and machine learning-powered technologies in recruitment is the way of the future, but until we become more transparent about how the assessments work are we simply adding another lie to the process? A fourth storey to the bungalow? And, more importantly, is it one that a third of the players don’t know about, and can’t be involved in?

Are we breaking the agreement that keeps everything working? And is that a bad thing? What do you think?
Post by HCMS - Human Capital Management Solutions
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