“People are our best assets” is one of most common sentences we hear from corporations. It implies that recruiting the best people should be a fundamental step to generate future outstanding performances.
Recruitment techniques have gone through several eras and fads, for example mentoring, military recruitment, traditional intuitive recruitment, large-scale administrative recruitment, followed by analytical, predictive and scientific recruitment. The problem, again, is that if every company adopts the “state of the art” tool of the moment, it will be able to recruit more or less with the same quality of any other.
The results of some researches somehow confirm the above assumption: according to a survey conducted by Arlington-based Corporate Executive Board, nearly a quarter of all new hires leave within a year, while Gallup reports that half of those who do stay reported being “not engaged.
In addition to this discouraging scenario, economic crisis and lack of investments hit the recruitment process as well, with HR people drafting job descriptions and then searching resumes into databases, mainly looking for keywords match between job descriptions and resumes, followed by subjective impressions gleaned from unstructured interviews.
We then have to look at the future to find some comfort and try to understand if the big wave of innovation we see today (artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, wearables, big data, Internet of Things etc…) will impact positively on recruiting.
Let’s have a look at how recruitment could look like in 10 year time in the spirit of A. Einstein: you cannot solve your problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
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Semantic search: when it comes to search, machines can do it faster and analyze more data than a human, that’s a matter of fact. I suspect this is enough to see it in place and in fact it’s currently being adopted by a growing number of companies. On top of these benefits, it should also add a bit of quality: not everybody who says they want a project manager or an IT lead or a financial analyst means exactly the same thing, an artificial intelligence will navigate through business titles giving them a real meaning thanks to data clustering techniques; at the same time, it will be able to score and sort resumes without any individual bias. It’s not a lot, but it’s definitely a good starting point.
People data analytics: we have big data and we adopt analytics widely, it makes sense this trend will impact recruiting as well. Companies are trying to identify the best-performing employees and then find patterns that explain excellent performance based on biographical information, work history and answers to computerized personality and intelligence tests. A candidate can then be compared with the top performer. If I think about how profoundly different people can be (even when they appear similar to each other) and that no new employee will ever face exactly the same context that a top performed tackled in the past, I’m still a bit skeptical, but I agree that a combination of factors can be more predictive of success than others.
Synthetic digital identities: today the history of a candidate mainly sits on the resume. Recruiters are starting to follow the electronics traces left by the person on the web, sneaking into Linkedin, social networks, blogs, magazines etc… New technologies will emerge and will be able to aggregate, collate and give a business meaning to this potentially vast amount of information; if people will manage their privacy settings giving access to the even bigger data tsunami generated by the IoT, a quite complete overview (updated in real time) of any person could be available for recruiters. On the other side, candidates interested in a career, will try to manage their e-identity to result more appealing.
Real time monitoring of performance and behavior: if a candidate can influence his digital identity, the most important information for any company will anyway come from his / her past performance and behavior. Today appraisals and periodic reviews continue to suffer from well known deficits, like lack of objectivity and impartiality, poor goal setting, managers short of time, change in principles and guidelines along time etc… Some envison a future where wearables could help to analyze an employee’s behavior or software that can investigate the deep meaning of what a person writes in the emails or cameras that can check the body language during a meeting. If these technologies will really show up, a company will be able to create a very detailed profile of an employee and might even decide to sell it to recruiters.
Augmented reality tools to assist during interviews: the search and selection process at some point will end up into an interview. We all know that during a communication, the spoken words represents less than 10% of it, while the big bulk is made of non verbal and tone of voice. Although professional recruiters are trained to look at all aspects of communication, I think that augmented reality sets and software will help to investigate in detail aspects like gestures, posture, facial expressions, pitch, tone, rate, volume of voice, intonation, rhythm etc… returning a rich profile of the candidate. Visionaries may think about brain scanning during an interview, I think we don’t need to get there, an ad hoc app for a pair of Glasses should be enough. If we want to imagine something really innovative, I believe virtual reality will be used to test the reaction of a candidate to different situations (decision under stress, ability to influence a group, negotiation etc…), but this will come later because I suspect it will be expensive.
Decision making aided by “cultural fit” analysis: managers doing recruiting know very well that the most difficult moment is when a decision has to be made and one candidate chosen. Software assisting the decision making process already exist, but not ad hoc to recruiting; the best tool I can imagine will be able to discover the fit between the candidate and the culture of the company; although it won’t be perfect, the alignment between the candidate’s values and the company’s culture should allow both parties to start a common path of success and reciprocal satisfaction, sometimes even more important than the mere experience or academic titles.
Other great resources about this topic
Recruiting in 2025 – How Jean-Baptiste Audrerie visualizes it
Artificial intelligence revamping the Australian workforce
Top 10 Coolest-Looking Augmented Reality Business Card Designs
Newsletter: because there’s much more than artificial intelligence here!
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