Once you get past the stage of hiring your college buddies to help with your new start up, people often switch to Applicant Tracking Systems, or use recruiters that rely on these systems. These systems are great at tracking applicants, but they lack that human element. I spoke with Rona Borre, CEO and founder of hiring and recruiting firm Instant Alliance about how to keep the human side of things in today's highly technical recruiting environment.

1. Don't rely strictly on a machine. Computers only do exact. They don't do subtlety, Borre says. Never forget that you are dealing with human capital. If you rely strictly on a machine you'll miss out on a ton of amazing talent.

2. Don't forget the stories. Borre says, "I think people want a streamlined process. They want to streamline applications through and everything is about streamlining and improving efficiency." Computers are great at that, but remember that hiring is about people, and they have stories to tell. "A computer is never going to be able to explain how a person solved a problem." You're going to actually have to speak to your candidates and find out their stories.

3. Remember, systems don't recruit, they reject. The goal of a keyword search is not to turn up the best candidates, it's to eliminate as many candidates as possible. If you only have 5 people applying, there is no need for a keyword search. Keywords can be helpful, but in reality it's about building relationships, Borre reminds us. It's not just about finding the person with the right key words, it's about finding someone who is a good fit for the company, which includes that person evaluating the company. If you don't have a good relationship with the candidate, why would that candidate want to leave a current job to join your company?

4. Limit what you're looking for. Borre advocates a different approach than the detailed job description to solicit rsums. Instead, she says, especially for smaller firms, "decide what the top 5 things are for this job. Say, I'd like to see a small paragraph for what you've done for each of these 5 things." This, she says, not only gives you insight into your candidates, but it quickly eliminates people who don't have anything to say about the 5 key areas you're focused on.

5. Remember, this is not a world of robots. "This is not a world of robots where everything is the same. If it were, technology is an effective way to go," Borre says. Companies often make the mistake of recruiting for the next person by looking to make a copy of the last person who held the position. People aren't interchangeable, so don't try to just focus on what the last person did. Focus on what will make your business better in the future, instead of what was done in the past.

Published on: Nov 11, 2014