With all the anxiety around automation in the news, it can be easy to forget that humans and machines are collaborating in the workplace better than ever. And an increasingly valuable way of working together puts the focus on automated talent sourcing.

What's automated talent sourcing?

Just as businesses can now manage sales flow at scale with software as a service, today, you can lean on technology to post jobs across a range of boards and sites. It frees up your recruiters and managers to focus on parts of the process where personal touches and human skills are at a premium.

At the macro and micro levels, there are good reasons to consider shifting to automated talent sourcing. Consider today's economy: Although many workers may be uncertain about the future or dissatisfied with the present, unemployment is low, and attracting talent in a tightly competitive market requires you to give candidates the best possible experience on the path to a job offer and employment.

That means your application and hiring process has to be seamless--efficient, convenient, cutting-edge, and even enjoyable. It's especially important to eliminate friction in the application and hiring process, delivering a clean and direct experience to the relatively scarce candidates you want most. And that, in turn, means handling technology adeptly.

It can be daunting for any company to get a handle on the first step in the recruiting process: sourcing. If the most qualified candidates don't see your jobs, your recruitment process will be a disappointment, if not a failure. But with so many places to post jobs, and little time to painstakingly A/B test different sites and spending levels, it can be hard to forge ahead with more than a scattershot approach or gut instinct.

Recruiters and managers, meanwhile, have so many other responsibilities beyond sourcing--screening, onboarding, and more--that it's just too stressful or ineffective to put the burden of sourcing squarely on their shoulders. Their time would be better spent building relationships and adding value through real human interaction.

Artificial intelligence can more quickly and powerfully determine which job boards work best for you and your money, deploying sourcing budgets efficiently to maximize returns and impressions from quality candidates. Harry Lopez, HR director of Panini Cafe, a 13-location restaurant chain in Southern California, says automated sourcing increased Panini Cafe job applications by 650 percent and saved the company more than $60,000 annually in job posting fees. "I haven't looked back since," Lopez says. Panini Cafe's return on investment is not atypical for companies who have never before invested in an automated technology solution for sourcing.

That said, it's not the best idea to just grab an applicant tracking system, implement it blindly, and hope for the best. Even if it seems intuitive enough, you should make sure you've selected a system that actually takes care of sourcing for you, in addition to tracking applications and offering screening tools.

Here are the questions you should be asking to ensure you're getting sourcing technology that works for you.

  1. What criteria are used to determine where to post a job? Look for technology that uses signals like job title, industry, and geography to decide on the best mix of job boards for the specific role so that the best, most relevant candidates see your jobs wherever they're searching.
  2. What job boards are part of the network? You want a network with a mix of big prominent names, like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed--but also more niche or industry-specific job boards that might be relevant for your industry.
  3. How often is the spending optimized? It's important for technology to do the job better than a human ever could. Look for tech that optimizes spending on sourcing as often as every few minutes, crunching the numbers on real-time traffic and application data to max out your return on investment.

However trendy it may be to see automation as an employment "bad guy," the virtues of combining automated work with human judgment are on full display when it comes to sourcing candidates. People freed from ineffective drudgery by automated sourcing can use their best talents to ensure your business is ready when technology helps find the top talent you need.

Published on: May 10, 2017