The Recruitment Process: Automated and Culturally Relevant

Recruitment has always been known as one of the activities where face-to-face meetings have been the norm – well, not anymore! Even before the current Covid-19 crisis struck the workforce, recruiters and recruitment agencies were already shifting and adapting to the new digital era. Now that face-to-face interactions are merely impossible, recruitment processes are required to evolve into more accessible virtual experiences for candidates. Artificial intelligence is a great and interactive way to do so. With the task of automating recruiting, comes the challenge of making the whole process not only accessible but valuable to potential candidates. Now more than ever it is important for recruiters to make their process culturally relevant. Cultural relevance refers to when brands use techniques, language and strategies that align well with cultural events, promote trends that define today's culture, and support social issues that benefit today’s generations.

As a Gen Z who is bound to enter the workforce in the next couple of years, I find it very important that the hiring process adapts to the new normal. At the beginning of this year, we were all forced to change our lifestyle, sit in our living room chairs and move on from there. However, work and school remained the same. I am completely aware that the next few months will spur a technological, educational and occupational revolution. The way we learn, teach, and work will completely change and we will all have to adapt. Before going through the hiring process, and knowing that I will start this process in the months to come, I would like for recruiters to realize the importance of appealing to the issues and values of my generation. The pandemic gave rise to thousands of new activists for issues that had long been left uncovered and I really hope companies don’t forget the generation that did that.

For almost 10 years, recruiters have seen an intriguing shift: from being more focused on sales, they have become more focused on marketing, according to Undercover Recruiter. “One of a company’s biggest challenges these days is attracting and retaining talent. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the candidates who are right for their job aren’t actually out looking for a job. In turn they are hiring recruitment agencies to act as marketers – seeking, searching and finding talent, and then marketing directly to them.” And this is why recruiters are now out there, proactively searching for talent. The reason I mentioned that I really hope recruiters don’t forget the generation that spoke up, is precisely because of this. Generation Z wants to feel valued and especially heard, and they seek jobs where they will find that. We want to work for companies that are not only technological and up to date on the latest innovations (like AI), but also up to date in the latest issues. For this reason the hiring process needs to be more culturally relevant so that companies attract the most qualified and well suited talent for the job.

I do want to take a moment however, to explain the hiring process, and deconstruct its categories and its stages as they are known by most companies and employees today. In each stage, I would like to pitch in some ways in which they can become more technological, through the use of AI and also more culturally relevant.

A lot of recruiters use what is called a recruitment funnel. This is a framework for any recruitment manager to find the right people for the right jobs at their company. There are three main categories in which the different stages of the recruitment process fall into.

The first category is recruitment marketing, and it comprises the first three stages: awareness, consideration, and interest. This category consists of building a brand so that candidates become familiar with the company, agency or position; this means defining their mission and their message.

Attraction includes awareness, consideration, interest and application. Once the brand, mission and message are established, a recruiter must emphasize the characteristics that will attract and retain qualified candidates.

Recruiting is composed of the last steps of the hiring process: application, selection and hiring. Here recruiting gets very selective and is where the highest concentration of “best-suited” talent should be at. In this stage recruiters finally get to meet and interact with potential candidates.

After having established the funnel’s categories, we can now define each of the different stages in the process.

During the first stage, awareness, cultural relevance plays a key role because recruiters face the task of building a brand, creating a mission and adding value to their company or job positions so that they resonate with possible candidates. This can be done through an array of social platforms that incorporate artificial intelligence and use it to appeal to these candidates.

In the consideration stage, recruiters begin to target special skill sets in a population of job-seekers. They search social profiles, determine the specific resume details that align best with the position or the company and they begin to create a database of information that will help them select the best candidates in the recruiting stage of the hiring process. Artificial intelligence can help in this process by screening through candidate profiles, creating a database of information and sourcing out possible avenues that will yield candidates.

The final step in the recruitment marketing category, and a very important one in the attraction category, is interest. This step precedes the application process, and for this reason it plays a key role in the funnel overall. At this point, recruiters need to keep prospective candidates engaged by “selling” or promoting available positions and company culture. Once again, cultural relevance plays a key role because of the need for candidates to resonate with them. This can be done through marketing campaigns. As aforementioned, recruiters have begun to focus more on marketing and less on sales, so these campaigns are specifically designed to attract the talent that companies need.

Application begins at the last stage of attraction and hence begins the recruiting category of the hiring funnel. Once thorough research has been done, and possible candidates have become attracted and engaged, the work is shifted into their hands. Candidates begin the application process by submitting their applications, resumes and other materials to be reviewed.. Recruiters can then screen candidates through video interviews, real-time interactions and tracking. The best part is, all this can be done with the help of AI.

During the selection stage, recruiters finally narrow down their choices of “top talent” and try to find out the best fit for the job. With the use of AI, social recruiting and connected recruiting platforms, recruiters can create candidate profiles that draw on social media profiles, application and innovative interview technology. Drawing on all of these pieces of data can help with the absolutely crucial task of selecting a candidate.

Hire. Like finalizing a sale, recruiters finalize the hiring process by hiring qualified candidates. Candidates then have the option to evaluate the opportunity and decide if the company and the job are the fit for them.

After having detailed the hiring funnel, I want to mention that the stages where there is an intersection between the candidate and the recruiter are the ones I believe to be the most important. There is not doubt that this is more than a one man job. Recruiters should do what is best for their companies and seek the best talent they can find. They should do this by appealing to the values and interests of the new generations and finding ways in which they can make their process culturally relevant. Us candidates in turn, also have to do our research. Find the companies and jobs that resonate the best with us. Find where we can be valued, heard and appreciated. However, we also need to find somewhere where we are challenged, taught and pushed to grow.