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I Am Robot – Or Not?!

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When it comes to writing blogs, I do always try and think about what I have learnt or heard about in the weeks and days before I sit down to put pen to paper – well actually fingers to keys, and those two sets of words sum up a little what I am going to write about in this blog.

I am a great fan of technology

I love making use of the next, updated piece of techy news, the new features on Twitter and other social media platform improvements to connect with candidates and my clients super quickly and efficiently. However, over the past couple of weeks I’ve spoken to and heard from people for whom technology doesn’t have quite the same meaning.

The first was an article, ironically via a link on Twitter, with the headline “I am not a robot”. It told of a Salisbury-based Job Seeker who, although was very keen to find a job, said she couldn’t find work because she didn’t have an email address and wasn’t confident using the internet. That same week, a report from the Bank of England said that 15m jobs in the UK are “at risk of automation” over the next two decades.
Then there was a meeting with a lovely 83-year-old man, the Godfather of one of our Directors, Ron Clarke – who, in recent years has written a series of books – “The Adventures of Henry the Space Cadet”. I was telling him I needed to write a blog, and about how we use them to promote our business and reach out to the people we need to run our business. Oh do send me a copy he said, you’ll have to post it as I’m not on the internet (although you can buy his books on Amazon). He also said that although he’d love to read it, there’s still nothing like a good old chat over a coffee, and for us, a lovely Bacon, Brie and Cranberry sandwich followed by a hug as we said goodbye.
Now I’m not saying you need to hug your clients and candidates over lunch, but you do need to make it as personal as you can – embracing technology at the same time.

Are we missing opportunities?

So, are we missing opportunities to find candidates and clients by moving too far towards the online application? The best way to avoid pushing talent away is to be responsive to, and engaged with, candidates.
In our quest to find the right candidate, it can be easy to forget how personal this experience is for the job seeker. While, as the recruiter, we all have processes we follow time and again, often the candidate is unaware of what these processes will be like for them. Between the application and hopefully the eventual job offer, there are opportunities to personalise and enhance this experience for candidates.
Offering support to a candidate who is unfamiliar or uneasy with the hiring process makes such a difference. It’s not difficult to set up a spare PC so that a candidate who does need more help, or perhaps doesn’t have access to a computer at home, can complete any online processes within the Agency with someone available to guide them through any concerns.
Even those candidates who are used to the online job search still need to have a personal experience and from what they see online, they must feel that if they take the next step, they won’t be treated as just a number, or feel that there is a robot at the other end of their application. The Agency I manage has always, and will continue to, meet our candidates as much as we possibly can, but how can we make sure we are attracting the very best people?
Make sure your job adverts aren’t just a copy and paste of the job description, be a bit more creative and add in details that describe the company’s culture and way of working. We have also started to add our phone number to our online adverts, encouraging candidates to give us a call to discuss anything they feel they need more information about. Whilst that may seem very time-consuming, in the long run, it really helps get the right candidates to put forward to your client.
Try and increase transparency, not only with how the Agency works and what it’s consultants do but also by giving candidates as much information about the company they could be working for and their recruitment process. Offering insights into the team they could be working with allows candidates to see themselves working at the company.

Use the right amount of robot.

Some employers have rigid processes that they are unwilling to change or be flexible with. Some of our clients use online applications and portals that we have to use to upload and submit CVs to them. Whilst this makes for a useful tool when selecting candidates, as an Agency we have built relationships with these clients that allow us to pick up the phone and talk about the candidate we are hoping to submit, especially if on the face of it they might not fit the “online criteria”. Some clients prefer to email, and aren’t always that keen for us to go and see them because they want an instant response and setting up a meeting can delay things. Others, like a client who called and asked if they could come in to see me to discuss a vacancy this week, appreciate the difference a face to face meeting can make – but not everyone does. It’s about adapting things, assessing the situation and using the right amount of “robot” and the right amount of “real person” communication.
So, while technology is pretty fabulous most of the time, in this industry remember:

Speech is faster than typing; you get direct feedback, and it’s so much more personal and interactive.

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