Would You Let A Computer Pick Your Next Employee?

Mark Freire

8th October 2014

The IT world is all about algorithms, automation and data processing. It would therefore seem natural for IT recruiters to start exploring these tools for finding and sorting the best job candidates for any new role.

In the not-too-distant future, data analysis could revolutionise every aspect of the recruiters’ job bringing both benefits and challenges to the process of finding the perfect candidate for any role.

Sourcing Candidates Through Data Analysis

At any given time, there are tens of thousands of CVs available online. As any recruiter will tell you, sorting through this melee of education, qualification and employment history for that rare gem is one of the most time-consuming and frustrating parts of the job.

Current data analysis tools can speed up this process, but soon they may be able to do much more – such as actively predicting the performance of candidates within a role. By cross-referencing the characteristics of successful employees at similar companies, data tools may be able to find candidates who closely match that formula – not just through comparing CVs, but by comparing all available data including social media profiles.

These coincidences in background and career path are not only predictors of professional success, but are also likely to increase the chances of a cultural fit between any new candidates and existing employees.

Testing Cultural Fit

Candidates are often shortlisted for an IT role based on technical ability, but at the later stages of selection it is cultural fit which becomes the key element in any employment decision. While technical ability is often formally tested, personality is still tested informally through the interview process. However the potential exists to take a more analytical approach to finding the right personality.

As reported on the BBC, recruitment technology companies are starting to use sentence analysis tools and personality games to create a profile of new candidates. This data set can then be used as a predictor of how any candidate may settle in with a company, and where conflicts could potentially occur with rival personalities.

The Dangers Of Automation

While new analytical tools will inevitably make life easier for recruiters, these shortcut tools come with some key challenges.
Firstly by relying on who is currently at IT companies to predict successful new recruits there is a danger of losing important diversity. Although a safe option may increase the chances of retention, it can also impact innovation and the advantages of a rich mix of skills.

Secondly there are the chances of losing those great wildcard candidates. While most people will fit a profile, some exceptional candidates fail to be easily categorised. Any automated process is likely to miss these potentially brilliant finds.

Lastly, just like any new technology, as soon as it becomes established people will learn how to manipulate it. As soon as new search and personality tools are used, clever candidates will learn what makes a CV jump to the top and how best to pass a personality test.

At Just IT Recruitment, we are big advocates of face-to-face interviewing with candidates. In fact, we endeavour to meet every candidate at our offices before they are put forward for a role. We find this the best way to fully understand a job seeker’s skills, personality and aspirations, as well as assess their suitability for a particular client and their company culture. It also allows consultants to read between-the-lines of a CV and clear up any questions and concerns right from the start.

While we invest in the best new tools to help us locate candidates, we think technology and data analysis will need to come a long way before it competes with a good old fashioned face-to-face interview with an experienced IT recruitment consultant.