A whole array of more and more sophisticated solutions have come to the attention of the recruiter in recent years. Some so-called “Predictive Recruitment” programs even claim to be more reliable than humans selecting candidates. Far from being a threat, the solutions allow the recruiter to spend less time pre-screening profiles in exchange to benefit more from a relationship with candidates.
There was a study that made a lot of noise. In 2014, two researchers at the University of Minnesota were featured in the Harvard Business Review in regard to recruitment, “A simple equation surpases human choice.” Clearly, recruiters would be very strong in defining the needs of a position and extracting information from the profiles of the candidates. But they are also very bad at weighing the results because they are, “easily distracted by factors whose relevance turns out to be minor,” the study says. Here it’s suggesting that the machine is superior than man at selecting the suitable profile for a position. The conclusion is undoubtedly exaggerated. Nevertheless, progress in program intelligence is profoundly changing the recruiter’s work.
In business, the use of complex algorithms and “big data” has long been reserved for marketing and finance. From now on, it’s the human resources function – notably recruitment – that’s diving straight in. Tools exist to accompany the recruiter in all the steps that will lead him to discover the ideal candidate. Beginning with fishing for candidates, called “sourcing”, in the language of recruiters.
Some, like that of the French start-up, Yatedo, or the American, Entelo, insure the function of profile aggregators. These are search engines where you type the name of the person you are looking for, and then retrieve the data about them in the resume-bank, but also wherever they left intangible traces on the web: professional social networks, such as, LinkedIn or Viadeo, forums, blogs, etc… once this information is aggregated, the engine formats the profiles in a standardized way.
Many actors integrate resume verification technologies
But the bulk of the software battalion work is in the time-consuming field of resume verification. Based on the principle of dating sites, so-called “matching” sites have invaded the recruitment sector in recent years. They analyze their careers, exclude candidates that are too far away and prioritize profiles for recruiters. “Weighted questions are introduced to the candidate each time. A score is awarded at the end, which allows the recruiter to prioritize the applications,” said consultant Céline Memmi, HR expert at Mc2i Groupe. The explanation for their growth is simple: the need to automate the first selection of resumes because of mass recruitment and for companies that collapse under spontaneously sent applications.
In this market, start-ups such as Qapa and Meteojob are pioneers. But there are also heavyweights in the recruitment sector such as the employment site Monster, Cadremploi (with CVaden) or again LinkedIn, the professional network site, who has invested in this type of technology. Not to mention the traditional recruitment software like Taleo that incorporates this function.
Some like Monkey Tie go even further by pinpointing the personality of the candidate. They invite him to complete a complementary test that makes it possible to refine their profile by incorporating elements of character and behavior. This is one way to evaluate their intrinsic qualities and motivations, elements rarely presents on a resume. “All of these tools help in ‘sourcing’ but will never replace the ‘gray matter’. Above all, they are not sufficient for the moment. Especially if, like our company, the recruiter is positioned on the executive population” expresses executive director of recruitment, Henri de La Roque, from the company Fyte, cutting edge on innovation in this sector. Clearly, if recruiters hold their own when comparing human qualities (the “soft skills”) of the candidates, the matching tools clearly show limitations in relation to the human eye when it comes to their technical expertise or professional background.
“Predictive Recruitment” raises the most hope and dreams today
Focusing on the personality of the candidate is the principle belief of the so-called “Predictive Recruitment” software. The latest trend in fashion. Even more refined, it identifies candidates whose skills, but above all human qualities, will stick best to the expectations of their future employer by studying the factors of success at a given position. Talentoday or AssessFirst publishers are popularizing this approach.
AssessFirst is originally a company which conducts investigations using psychometric tests. With the emergence of Big Data, they have backed this expertise with technologies that enable a detailed prognosis of the chances of success for a candidate in a specific position. “Three questionnaires each ten minutes are sufficient enough to identify three aspects: the intellectual capacities of the candidate, their motivations and their personality” indicates David Bernard, leader of AssessFirst. The software then reconciles this profile with a “success” grid specific to each company. This grid, which summarises the factors of success at a specific position, is based on the history of data accumulated by the company on its employees: technical tests and personality tests, evaluation interviews, etc…
Advantage of the method according to its promoters: the results will be more reliable because you’re relying on a multitude of objective factors created by the algorithm, rather than on the intuition or mood of the future employer. “When one observes the results of recruitment: 46% performed traditionally with a human subjectively fail after 18 months. When the choice is defined by an algorithm that ensures an equal treatment of information processing, this figure drops to 15%,” said David Bernard. This method, which avoids prejudice about the candidate’s education, social origin and place of residence, favors relevant criteria such as personality, behavior and motivation, and reduces discrimination in hiring.
The recruitment sector doesn’t escape the chatbot trend
Better off, Predictive Recruitment will sometimes yield surprising results. And the AssessFirst leader encouraged a florist to become a seller, one of the best among them, at the Berner tooling company. Uncovering unconventional profiles? Some display skepticism. “It’s still necessary upstream to find the person’s profile and to put them in the loop analysis. AssessFirst database is not yet big enough to do candidate searches, sourcing as we say in our jargon, systematically as a tool,” said Diana Bannholtzer in charge of the AssessFirst solution at Fyte. “In addition, certain occupations such as, salesmanship, where the considering of the candidate’s motivations and personality is essential, lend themselves to more of this kind of result. This is less the case in cases such as payroll, legal or management control – where the technical competence criteria is unavoidable.
Finally, the sector of recruitment doesn’t escape the trend of “chatbots”, this software enables dialogue with an individual. The company, First job, for example, developed Mya, a recruitment assistant. This chatbot pre-selects candidates for a proposed position and eliminates irrelevant profiles. Chatbots developed by Do You Dream or Inbenta serve to respond to questions from current employees on the work council, annual maintenance, paid holidays or collective agreement. But, in the future, they could very well direct the candidate in the administrative journey during their hiring process.
What changes for the recruiter?
Far from being a threat to the recruiter, these softwares based on complex algorithms are valuable assistants to pre-selecting candidates. Automation saves time for the “headhunters” whose daily lives a dozen years earlier was similar to that of an ants work.
In any case, for the moment, nobody imagines trusting the entire choice of a candidate entirely on a machine. Including solutions as sophisticated as Predictive Recruitment provides an additional indication for selecting the right profile,” said Henri de La Roque, CEO and partner of the recruitment firm, Fyte.
On the plus side, this software palette increases the recruiter’s capacity. Freed from the time-consuming and daunting tasks, the latter can focus more on the human and their advisory role. “Knowing the ecosystem, negotiating, presenting the position to the candidate, telling the history of the company… the recruitment consultant is an essential part of the employer-candidate relationship,” recalled Henri de La Roque. And this aspect will be difficult to replace with a robot as perfected as it is.