Recruiting people should never be easy, and that’s precisely the point. In last week’s newsletter, I talked about the dehumanization of the workforce caused by popular management styles, mentioning the legacies of Jack Welch and Frederick Taylor. Their emphasis on efficiency and performance resulted in dehumanizing the workforce, leading to substandard performance, low employee engagement, and high turnover rates.

Today, I want to discuss another aspect of dehumanization: the recruitment process, mainly due to the over-reliance on AI.

While technology and AI have undoubtedly streamlined recruitment, the use of keyword searches has done more harm than good.

First, candidates have found ways to game the system, employing tactics like “white fonting” to embed false keywords into their resumes. This manipulation distorts the recruitment process and wastes both the recruiter/hiring manager’s and the candidate’s time.

Recruiting the right people is critical for organizational success. In today’s competitive candidate market, we must think beyond conventional approaches like recruiting for skills and experience.

It’s common to say that we recruit for attitude and aptitude, but after almost 30 years of working in and around recruitment, I can put my hand on my heart and say that very few organizations do this well.

Doing this well requires a human approach.

Sadly, most managers and organizations shy away from investing the necessary time and money in proper recruitment processes – because they take longer and are harder.

Unfortunately trying to save time and money often results in spending more of both as managers end up in unnecessary interview rounds and mismatched candidates.

I don’t oppose technology; in fact, I support platforms like that gamify and expedite recruitment through asynchronous interviewing through chat and video.

However, keyword searches and AI-based decisions have no place in the recruitment process. They cater to lazy managers who want a quick keyword match, but they fail to consider the bigger picture and take our critical skills shortage into account.

To develop a robust recruitment process we must combine the human and machine.

  • Think about the attitude (values) and aptitude (strengths or innate abilities) that are needed in your role.
  • Consider using asynchronous pre-screening techniques such as chat and video to pre-screen for those qualities.
  • Conduct structured interviews focused on strengths and culture fit.
  • Implement job-related simulations to assess suitability for the role. This is another step in the hiring process can be enhanced with technology.
  • Conduct real live reference checks, preferably done by the hiring manager. Written reference checks (especially those done by chatbots) fall short and lack depth.

The bottom line is that we can embrace technology to help us but we can only truly win this war for talent by returning to the basics of recruitment and employing a thoughtful and human-centric approach that ensures we find the right people for our organizations.