Why Your Automated Application Process Desperately Needs a Refresh in 2024: Hiring Starts Sooner Than You Think

By Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

image of hands holding a resumeI was recently tagged on a post about the problems folks have in high-vacancy fields and the confounding automated HR process they need to go through simply to put in a resume.

(Side note: there’s a whole generation who will now ask the question, “What’s a resume?” My hub teaches business, and they’ve yanked resume and cover letter writing from the curriculum of Grade 10 Careers; you may not be surprised that my hub has gone rogue still teaching it, but I digress…)

So what do we do about automated HR systems? To have or not to have (as Hamlet might have asked if he were a modern-day HR professional rather than a courtier in the 1600s).

What Got You Here Might Not Get You There

You may be curious about my take on it and how their slice of the world reminds us of the importance of getting curious wayyyyy earlier in the recruitment process. About how recruitment systems were built for the employer, but sadly, the employer is inadvertently missing out by having systems that stop great people from working for them.

We must face a fundamental truth: these systems are “unhiring” systems. Have you ever wanted fewer resumes to look through and shorter hiring times? Yep, we want fewer, not more, options. One of the main selling features was to “weed people out” first and qualify people second. image of a piece of paper with cartoon outlines of people getting thrown into a garbage canSo basically, these systems treat people as disposable commodities.

First problem: The way we treat people is the way they feel. Not only should we NEVER have treated people as disposable in the past, but our talent shortage and greater expectations of a humanistic employee experience make these systems as retro as roller skates.

Second problem: We don’t have too many applicants; we have too few applicants. Yet most of us haven’t updated the systems to fit the new reality.

Time For a Refresh

If you NEED to have one of these systems, then you NEED to review it through the employee experience lens. It’s actually not that tough. At first glance, walk a mile in your applicants’ shoes. Think about your typical applicants of today:

  • Can a new Canadian understand the language used?
  • Can a hands-on skills applicant feel comfortable navigating your tech-based steps?
  • Will a busy person take the time to walk through your whole process?
  • Would someone with tens (or hundreds) of other great options be bothered to use your system?
  • Does everyone who uses your system feel VALUED and not just like a number using the system?

Have you ever been to a butcher and they manage the crowd by “taking a number”? Does your HR system make folks feel that way? How good does it feel when you’re waiting for steaks? Now imagine when the stakes (the other kind) are as high as vying for your livelihood.

We’ve been working on helping our clients get untangled from the cumbersome, noninclusive, and outdated systems by walking them through the employee experience lens of today. Hiring starts before you get that application. Are you sure you’re not missing out on amazing folks? If you’re not sure, we should talk.

The Bottomline

image of an alarm clock on a yellow background set to 10:10When we treat people as disposable, don’t be surprised if they ghost you when you email or call them for the next step in the recruitment process, don’t complete their training, and/or move on to the next job/employer before their current contract is done. Sorry, that may sound harsh; however, so many of you share the pain of this current reality, so I’m truly just trying to help with some perspective.

Day one of being “on the job” starts when they decide to apply to work for you. The clock starts ticking, and the timer goes off quicker than ever before.

Let’s stop losing great folks and start rebuilding systems that truly value people so you stand out as an organization that truly values, sees, and appreciates each person.

Here are even more great ideas on how to improve your employee experience:

Disclaimer/Humble Brag Moment: 100% of this content was human-generated (by us folks here at Greatness Magnified). We are committed to authorship integrity and will inform you what percentage, if any, AI is generated.

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