Recruitment in a highly-technological environment

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Abstract

Recruitment in a highly technological world is becoming more complicated and challenging just like any other process that has to adopt the changes brought about by technical innovations. In this paper, the researcher looks into the impact of technology on the recruitment process. The employment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots in place of human workers is discussed together with the issue of the future of human labor in the midst of higher demands for AI and robots. The study also looks into the contradictory findings of similar researches about the future of recruitment which could give a clear picture of what is to be expected in the years to come. Moreover, there will also be a discussion about the trends and practices utilized by schools when recruiting students. Lastly, a closer look at current recruitment procedures will be dealt with.

Topic/concept definition

According to the online Cambridge dictionary, recruitment is “the process of finding people to work for a company or become a new member of an organization”. In this paper, the aforementioned word is used to mean just that. Other terms that are used in its place are staffing, hiring and employment, referring to the manner of getting people to undergo the assessment procedures to verify qualifications. Since this study includes the recruitment of students, the word enrollment will also be used and is to be understood to mean recruitment.

Without question, there has been a lot of changes in workplaces because of the extensive use of technology nowadays. Several developments evolved and resource managers have to flow with such changes not only in terms of management skills and technological knowledge but more importantly, with the skill sets that help them perform in an ever-changing world. Among the tasks of human resource managers, one can clearly see that the process of recruitment is greatly different from how it was done just a few years ago. While staffing and enrolment with the use of technological advancements is quite new, most of the information are getting obsolete by the day because of the speedy progress in hi-tech programs used in the workplace. This is a challenge that compels researchers and resource managers to seek the necessary information in order for managers to function efficiently and to find ways of handling possible issues in the performance of their tasks.

The primary purpose of technological developments is to make tasks a lot easier and that is just what current hi-tech programs are delivering in the recruitment process. According to Roy Maurer (2017), “HR and talent acquisition practitioners will hear a lot about artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and bots in 2017”. Indeed, for the past year, there have been more developments other than automated email replies and these have given a lot of managers more time to do other tasks instead of sending emails to inquiries about a job post or target potential recruits.

Although technology is proving to be extremely useful especially now that potential applicants are increasing in number because of the use of the internet, there are also certain issues that arise. Darrell West (2015) for instance, took interest in making a study on the impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy. He raises the question about what happens to human workers, including managers, when robots take their place. This is a fairly sensible issue to raise considering that Google, a multi-billion tech company, has only 55,000 employees, a figure considered to be small as opposed to the number of workers of AT&T during the 1960’s which was more than ten times that of Google’s (West).  Based from this indicator, one can foresee the extinction of many jobs as artificial intelligence (AI), robots and other high-tech programs perform most of what people used to do.

According to Tanya Bondarouk and Chris Brewster (2016), “across different e-HRM studies, research has found contradictory organizational realities: the adoption of e-HRM appears in some cases to have created benefits (cost savings, efficiency, flexible services, employee participation) whereas in others, the results seem to be more negative (work stress, more HRM administration and disappointments with technological properties)”. Such advantages are acknowledged by another author, highlighting the benefits enjoyed by the employers in terms of financial savings (Friedman, 2013). The disadvantages may sound comforting to the workforce because it means employers will still need their services nevertheless, technological advancements are foreseen to go nowhere else but forward, not to mention the speed that it is taking after every development. Everyday, technological issues are being resolved. Coupled with the benefits innovations have brought about in the workplace, the negative experiences of employers with technology will be eliminated in a few years and they will soon resort to the employment of computers.

The aforementioned development is important to consider in the HR department because it enables managers to anticipate changes and challenges and therefore, strategize resolutions. For instance, in the recruitment of employees, skill sets which may have been highly in demand a few years ago may not necessarily be exploitable today. On the part of the manager, the knowledge and skills acquired in school may be already be considered obsolete so that one must be challenged to keep up with technological developments.

In another study, it has been found out that, “increasingly, there is a market demand for specific temporary tasks” (Hervas-Oliver Jose-Luis, 2013). This means that jobs for resource managers could also take the same trend. It could also mean that the services of a human resource manager could be in-demand throughout the different hiring seasons. However, again, with the use of technology, such jobs can be done without the need for resource managers. Otherwise, one has to prove to an employer his/her worth or advantages over a robot or AI.

In yet another research, the recruitment of students in evolving environments was made, focusing on the impact of technology in schools and the quality of education that they offer (Hanover Research, 2014). The said study looked into how schools are adapting to the changes brought about by technological developments. This is an interesting inquiry for resource managers because the study proves to be invaluable in terms of staffing. While the study is more concerned on the enrolment of students, it is not completely different from employment. For instance, the trends in student recruitment which appear to be more developed than in staffing, could be used or even remodeled to meet the specific demands of agencies.

Workspace trends/practices

The Hanover Research mentions responsive web design, search engine optimization, use of web analytics, strategic social media, mobile development, CMS and CRM systems as among the technological approaches universities utilize in recruiting students. As mentioned earlier, schools have more developed recruiting programs than other institutions because among the goals of schools, was to target international students. It was then reasonable for them to have taken the technology seriously and at a more aggressive pace. Recently, other agencies have been seen embracing the technology more often. For instance, West narrates the story of AI responding to his assistant’s email and he does not fail to mention that if it were not for the insistent replies during the weekend, he would have never figured out that the one sending the emails is a computer. With the availability of similar programs easily installed or even already existing in personal computers and mobile phones, there is no doubt that soon, most institutions will also be using AI and robots.

With that said, it is thus deemed possible that in the coming years, more companies will be using the trends mentioned above which are currently employed by universities and other agencies. This is seen as highly feasible because of the accessibility of the programs, not to mention the demand for their use. For instance, there are already a lot of government and private companies that have websites. While some only use the site to inform people of their existence, vision, mission and other pertinent information, there are also a few who are using it for recruitment purposes. In this case, a responsive web design is highly effective because potential recruits have different gadgets. The main goal in having a responsive web design is to let users keep on browsing through the pages and get them interested in the recruitment process and the best to achieving such end is through a user-friendly website.

Search engine optimization is also a great way of targeting the right people for recruitment. Everyday, millions of internet users utilize keywords to search for the information they need and with the vast data available online, a website could be lost without optimizing search engines. The use of web analytics can also help employers figure out potential recruits can benefit their firm or what they can offer that the company needs. Strategic social media and other internet programs on the other hand is valuable when targeting younger recruits because most millennials prefer doing their transactions online. Nevertheless, these approaches can raise challenges that may be harmful to the employer and/or recruit. For instance, in Maurer’s article, he quotes Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of the Future of Talent Institute as saying that recruiters can easily acquire information about their recruits through their Facebook profiles without their knowledge.

Other trends currently used in recruitment are chatbots which are very helpful because they provide quick answers to inquiries, not to mention that they are available 24/7. The problem with chatbots is that, they only give information that have been input in the program and oftentimes, would give repetitive replies based on keywords, proving to be exhausting on the part of the user. Thus, Wheeler suggests that, “Communication and connectivity should be improved as chatbots and other voice recognition apps allow recruiters to carry out relatively complex tasks simply by speaking”.

In conclusion, the use of technology in the HRM department is basically new because there are only a few companies utilizing AIs and bots. However, with the pace that technological developments are taking, the new programs used last year might be obsolete in just a few years. This calls for the need for resource managers to be abreast of the changes because soon, the competition for a position will not be against fellow humans but against AIs and robots.

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  1. Bondarouk, Tanya and Chris Brewster. (2016). Conceptualising the future of HRM and technology research. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09585192.2016.1232296.
  2. Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/recruitment.
  3. Friedman, Eric. (2013). 4 External Factors that Affect Human Resource Management. Workology. Retrieved from https://workology.com/4-external-factors-that-affect-human-resource-management/
  4. Jose-Luis, Hervas-Oliver. (2013). The changing environment: implications for human resource management. Emerald Insight. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/IJM-08-2013-0190.
  5. Maurer, Roy. (2017). 2017 Recruiting Trends Point To Technology Driving Change. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/recruiting-trends-2017-technology-change.aspx.
  6. n.a. (2014). Trends in Higher Education Marketing, Recruitment, and Technology. Hanover Research. Retrieved from http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/Trends-in-Higher-Education-Marketing-Recruitment-and-Technology-2.pdf.
  7. West, Darrell M. (2015). What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy. Center for Technology Innovation for Brookings. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/robotwork.pdf.
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