Saturday, December 27, 2008

Technology-Over the Top!!

Technology may have made things easier for recruiting managers, but it s beginning to show its evil side as managers go overboard with it... .....

  • Technology is a tool that can be used to aid the recruiting process
  • Technology cannot replace human touch and therefore cannot be used to build relationships

Technology has indeed been a blessing. The reaction time to any problem has been slashed over a hundred times and leaders, managers and the worker fraternity in general is more connected now than ever before. However , like all good things, the positive streak of technology too can fade if it's taken too far. Critics who play down the role of technology, have always condemned the way technology has eroded the personal touch among people. In addition, they blame it for the way managers use it for the sake of speed and not quality. Amidst the brickbats, technology has emerged as a force to reckon with and has undoubtedly redefined the way business is done.

Technology is secular. It has touched every aspect of business however little it may be. And the human resources function is no exception. In fact the role of technology in the arena of staff management has been incredible and today the function has become completely technology-driven. The function right from the recruiring stage to the exit interview and everything that comes in between is largely driven by technology. While this may be seen as a revolution of sorts by some, for many such aggressive takeover is beginning to take its toll on the efficiency with which the function is meant to be executed. And according to analysts the first casualty is the recruiting function.

Impersonal recruiting

A recent forum on "Technology and Its Application in the Human Resources Function", conducted at the Town's hall , at Vancouver , presented a rather scary picture of what awaits us in the near future . A few speakers at the forum unintentionally spelt horror for the recruiting function. They were rather candid about the way they recruit and the role of technology in their recruiting process. One of the speakers went to the extent of saying that thanks to technology there is no real need of meeting the candidate or even speaking to him. Recruiting managers can make their decision by simply exchanging mails !

The trend is indeed horrifying. How can one replace personal relationships that we by virtue of being humans share with everything that we come in contact with? Reducing the potency of a relationship to a mere click of a button can be damaging to the very basis on which an organisation is built . If every recruiting manager were to select recruits on the basis of the mails exchanged then the concept of a "competitive edge" or a "differentiating factor" will not be there at all since everybody would be doing exactly the same thing. Moreover in such a technologically- intensive scenario , the need for any other staff management initiative too would seem redundant as people would barely interact personally and even if they did it would only happen in case of a system crash.

The scenario can be nerve- wrecking and therefore it's time recruiting managers wake up and understand that technology is only a tool and it can by no standards be used to replace relationships.


Do not stray. When recruiting managers lose perspective of the core issue , the entire exercise fails. In this case, recruiting managers must understand that recruitment is like sales, and they are the salesmen. Their main job therefore is to sell the job And sales is a process that needs human interaction. Hence handing over this process to technology can sabotage the defining purpose of the activity and therefore may not give the desired outcome. Understanding that technology is a mere tool to accomplish the objectives of the sales activity, which is recruiting in this case would help recruiting managers keep technology in its right place.

A typical sales activity needs four basic pre-requisites for its success. These include:

  • Establish and nurture a relationship
  • Identify customer needs
  • Strategies to overcome difficulties in meeting the needs
  • Complete the sale

Each of these factors is relevant even as we see recruiting as a sales strategy. Hence recruiting managers must use technology in the third stage where difficulties hampering the activity need to be overcome by use of means that are both time and cost-effective.

Understanding how technology can aid the process of recruiting will help recruiting managers maximise their efficiencies. However, if they let technology drive the process then the intended benefit may fizzle out and the process efficiency would be affected adversely. The best solution therefore would be to integrate the benefits of technology with the recruiting process in a way that helps maximise its efficiency.


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