Be the Recruitment Process Leader You’d Want to Follow

There’s always another newsy blog post about which trends are shaking up the talent acquisition industry. Keeping up with them is an important part of an upward trajectory for your company and your own career. But if new technology isn’t built on a foundation of good habits, you could become a follower instead of the leader you want to be.

It’s easy to get enamored with so many new tools on the market. The trick is choosing the ones with a proven ability to improve your workload and the candidate experience. That lets you get back to the basics of sourcing and hiring while technology does some of the heavy lifting.

RELATED: 5 Great Talent Acquisition Habits of Highly Effective Recruiters

Let Good Habits Sustain You and Industry Trends Excite You

Trendy technology and good habits are not unlike a healthy, balanced diet. Almost anything can be good in moderation, even if it’s not traditionally healthy. A chocolate chip cookie might have little ability to feed your body, but it can sometimes feed your soul. An industry trend might not create an Earth-shattering change, at least not right now, but it could shake you out of a rut, help you evaluate a situation differently, or just make you happy.

None of those are bad things, but they lack the substance on their own to make you a better recruiter or hiring manager. Good habits keep you on track. They’re packed with healthy bits that help you grow. When that happens, technology performs better and others want to emulate your choices.

The Society for Human Resource Management says technology ”overdose” can actually stifle productivity and make matters worse.

A coat of shiny, new paint over rusty metal doesn’t solve the problem. And a great tool can’t fix a bad process, they explain, but it can make a good process better. Automation is markedly more effective if the foundation is strong.

Let New Technology Enhance Your Effectiveness, Not Dilute It

Keeping up with industry technology trends can become a full-time job if you let it. There are conferences, discussion panels and numerous trade publications to study, and they’re just jumping off points for the real challenge: finding new tech tools and putting them to work. Again, good habits help you identify the need so you can choose the right technology to fill it.

If you want to improve time to hire, for instance, technology can turn a raft into a race boat. But you first need to know what’s making it sluggish.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Minimal or no job post optimization
  • Posting ads on poor performing job sites
  • Dividing time and resources equally between easy-to-fill and hard-to-fill positions

Looking at job post optimization, what’s one of the most common mistakes that hiring teams make? Crafting a title that sounds clever but that nobody looking for a job would ever use. SnagaJob says, ”’Retail Jedi’ sounds fun, but no one is searching for that.” Technology can help place your job ads on better sites, but you’re better at crafting a title that gets noticed.

A back-to-basics approach to hiring can reveal those gaps and weaknesses. And that puts you on steadier ground in the search for technology that improves time-to-hire or any other KPI. It also helps you have more productive discussions with technology providers.

Focus on Self Improvement Every Day

If you’ve ever read the 1989 book by Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you know that ”sharpening the saw” is part of the package deal. You are your greatest asset, the author says. Self-improvement makes you more effective on the job and in life in general.

Covey explains that core principles such as fairness, honesty, and integrity are the building blocks that make up an effective person-a leader. How does he recommend that you sharpen the saw? Nurture your physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual health and however those apply to you personally.

Covey explains that when you devote attention to those four areas, whether it’s taking a walk in nature, learning something new every day or teaching those around you, the saw stays sharp. And that lets you work at peak efficiency. Neglect yourself and the results work against you.

Here is Covey’s take on the remaining six habits that can make the most difference:

  • Be proactive. You can lament the fact that competitors always seem to land the best job candidates. Or you can learn why and do something about it. Your company might be working with a disadvantage, but identifying it gives you the power to either conquer it or find a creative solution.
  • Begin with the End in Mind. What do you really want in a great candidate? Skills and qualifications often get the most attention. But you really need a person who can do the job and will benefit the team. Qualifications are markers, but they’re not the only ones. Maybe there are people already on board with growth potential. Or maybe people in another industry have competencies and attributes that make them good candidates for transitioning.
  • Put first things first. Learning to prioritize, says Covey, helps you apply your skills and talents where they can have the greatest effect. This is one of the most important areas where technology can make a difference. Do you need to screen every applicant by hand? And is your time best spent making individual decisions on where to place job ads? Or should you hand over those and other tasks to artificial intelligence that can do the job better and in less time?
  • Think win-win. This point is about character and the desire to not just sell a candidate on a job but believe that the job is a good opportunity for both employer and candidate. Happily employed people are still open to something new in a full employment economy. But they need to know what’s in it for them. Is it a genuine opportunity for the candidate to move ahead, or do you really just want to hire the person no matter what?
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. How are your listening skills? Covey explains that ”if you’re like most people,” your driving goal is to be understood. Because humans tend to be wired for talking instead of listening, he recommends suppressing any instinct you might have to relate experiences. For example, resist the urge to say ”I know what you mean.” That takes the focus off the job candidate or work peer that you’re talking to. It can also lead to misunderstandings if you interpret their experiences based on your own. Flip that around and seek first to understand. Being understood will follow.
  • Synergize. Embrace teamwork. The best leaders don’t work alone. Cooperation between HR, recruitment teams, departments within the company and management leads to discovery, Covey explains. Open communication with the desire to help and be helped ramps up the power of your hiring efforts. Even when team members disagree, there’s something to be learned. Disagreements are generally rooted in a belief that something isn’t fair or that a decision will cause bad results. Seeing to understand helps communication flow better.
Technology can help everyone on your team get better results and spend their time more wisely.

RELATED: Talent Acquisition Pros: Ask This, Not That

When You Find Technology That Works, Invest in It

Technology is revolutionizing the talent industry, and not in the way that some HR and recruitment professionals might have feared. It’s not eliminating the human element; it’s giving industry leaders like you more time to focus on what you’re best at.

For example, data analytics helps build an accurate picture of your ideal candidate, which improves your odds of matching them with the right job. Technology can compare job descriptions with resume details across numerous channels for a job match on several points. Because it works in real time, any job description or resume changes result in an updated match automatically.

Data analytics finds the best job ad placement, as well. If you have a match, knowing the best channels to reach the candidate improves their odds of finding it. Drilling down even deeper, analytics can help you identify hard-to-fill positions, which lets you allocate more time and resources there instead of spending too much on job ads that don’t need the extra attention. And the more that you use the technology, the more data is collected and analyzed and the better it performs.

How does that affect your work? It allows you to refocus on the candidate experience. In fact, HR Tech Outlook says technology is fast becoming the only way talent professionals can ”keep from being swamped.”

Effective technology performs more like an assistant. While real-time candidate matching and predictive analytics finds job prospects and automatically optimizes job ad placement, you can work on candidate engagement and building the business brand. Incidentally, technology helps streamline that, as well.

There is no shortage of technology designed for the talent industry. Every conference you attend and article that you read probably focuses on something new. And it typically comes with the promise of making your work life easier. But trends are only part of what makes you a true industry leader.

The magic combination is a balance of good habits and technology that brings something genuine to the table, not just something new for the sake of it. Leadership isn’t about staying out in front on everything that’s new. It’s more about building effective habits and processes, and then judiciously adding the right technology at the right time to enhance your efforts.

If you need technology with proven results that addresses all the right pain points, it’s time to look into RealMatch.

Check out our Webinar: The Emergence & Impact of Programmatic Advertising on Recruiting and see how technology can help become the leader you’d want to follow.

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