Doing More With Less: Solving The Challenges of New Economy 2.0

There are two distinct sides of every recruiting technology: the applicant side and the recruiter side. On the applicant side, the challenge is to create the best, most persuasive user experience by focusing on ease of use, solid marketing principles and candidate service. On the Recruiter side, the challenge is to implement flexible technologies that automate repetitive and administrative tasks like resume searches and response letters. In my last column, I advocated using technology to establish a competitive advantage for your company by offering an unrivaled online experience for candidates. By focusing on high levels of candidate service, you will be positioned to reap the long-term rewards of one-to-one marketing relationships, repeat visitors and word-of-mouth referrals. This is still a critical piece to consider, even in today’s chaotic business environment. But now that economic slowdowns, hiring freezes, layoffs and downsizing are the buzzwords of the day, what are the subsequent challenges for recruiters? And what are the technology applications that solve these challenges? Less is Not More

For most of the recruiters I speak with, the number of positions for which their company is actively recruiting has dropped. The new challenge, though, is to wade through a talent pool that is starting to get deeper, but not necessarily more qualified. The main technology application that will help reduce the time-consuming process of sorting through resumes and phone interviewing many unqualified candidates is automated pre-screening. Automated pre-screening is a vital function of many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) that will automatically identify and rank the top applicants based on their answers to a customized set of questions. If you don’t have an ATS or if you have an ATS without this capability, then there are also technologies you can implement on top of your online application that can automatically send the resumes of only the most qualified candidates to you, while sending resumes of the less qualified candidates to a separate address. This has the potential to save enormous amounts of time and will allow you to do more with less. Contacting candidates is another administrative process that doesn’t always need to be done manually. Technologies like Job Agents and broadcast emails are also built into many Applicant Tracking Systems, and allow you to communicate messages to many individuals at once and decrease time-to-hires by publicizing new opportunities as they become available and promoting events. Revising Your Approach

If your recruiting team is still intact or if you’ve implemented a pre-screening technology, you may be in a position to try several less expensive recruiting methods that you’ve never tried or may not have been effective in the past. Try a job board posting or a media campaign for positions you may have relied on an external firm to fill in the past and see how effective you are. The potential cost savings far outweigh the risks. Dealing with Layoffs

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Layoffs present a whole new set of challenges to Recruiters and Human Resources professionals. How you deal with them today is vital to retention rates AND future recruitment efforts. At TMP, our clients are increasingly turning to us for meaningful employee communications strategies and technologies that not only communicate with and assist employees on the way out, but also help keep the employees they want to stay. While we’ve found several very beneficial applications for technology – like an HR Intranet or a layoff resource site – one of the pitfalls of dealing with such a sensitive, broad-scale issue is an over-reliance on technology. Many companies, faced with laying off thousands of employees at once, are resorting to “email firings.” Using an impersonal tool to carry out a highly personal task is something that should be avoided at all costs. Instead, focus on technologies that will enhance your standing with internal and external audiences. Planning for the Future

These are turbulent times in the world of Recruiting and Human Resources. With any technology decisions you make, be sure that you are accounting for the uncertainty of the future. Try to find a balance between applications and features that serve applicants and recruiters, realizing that not having one or the other will result in a competitive disadvantage depending on the state of the economy and your long-term goals. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Dave Lefkow is currently the CEO of talentspark (www.talentsparkconsulting.com), a consulting firm that helps companies use technology to gain a competitive advantage for talent, and a regular contributor to ERE on human capital, technology, and branding related subjects. He is also an international speaker on human capital trends and best practices, having spoken in countries as close as Canada and as far away as Malaysia and Australia. His consulting work has spanned a wide variety of industries and recruiting challenges with companies like Starbucks, Boeing, HP, Microsoft, Expedia, Washington Mutual, Nike and Swedish Medical Center.

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