Technology Should Complement, Not Replace, the Hiring Process

Team JBC

Feb 5, 2014


The Applicant Tracking System is as automated as it gets when it comes to résumé sorting and candidate vetting. Many argue that technology has managed to improve recruiting while simultaneously destroying the process of thoroughly reviewing applicants. Liz Ryan explains ‘How Technology Killed Recruiting’ in her article featured on

According to Ryan, if the ATS was designed properly, the process would be more efficient and qualified applicants wouldn’t be so easily overlooked by the ‘system.’

We didn’t change a thing. If any of the vendors who built the first Applicant Tracking Systems had spent ten seconds thinking about that process, they would have designed it intelligently, using normal human logic to create a funnel that would simplify the process of separating wheat from chaff in the selection pipeline.

The point that a job title should be enough for a recruiter to get an understanding of the applicant’s responsibilities is surely valid, but the online application process typically (and redundantly) asks for duties to be bullet-listed. Undoubtedly, not all job titles are self-explanatory, but for the sake of efficiency their are opportunities in regards to streamlining the process.

Any reasonable person can extrapolate your major duties from the job title, but every ATS I’ve ever seen goes ahead and asks for the tasks and duties you performed, anyway.

How is one to be absolutely sure they haven’t overlooked a qualified applicant because technology ruled them out of the running?

They are based on the notion that the central problem in recruiting is to screen out and dismiss unsuitable candidates, making a business function (and an expensive one at that!) out of the vetting process, whereas in fact the problem in recruiting is that it’s hard to find great people, and we should be selling them throughout the process if we want them to consider joining us.

Ryan asks:

When you’re facing a shortage of talent — not job applicants, mind you, but the proactive and self-directed subset of those applicants who can make a difference for your firm and its customers — is your first thought “Let me make the job application process as off-putting as possible?”

Ryan’s concluding statements echo the sentiments of many recruiters. In all transparency, JBCStyle and JBCconnect rely on the ATS to manage the thousands of applicants who make up our database of talent. It’s in the best interest of the business, our clients, and our applicants that we don’t allow the Black Hole to become so consuming that we lose the opportunity to meet a great, qualified individual.

Recruiting is a never-ending process that is much more complex than any automated system capable of dehumanizing a process that should be predominantly person-to-person.

Applicant tracking systems are Black Holes for job-seekers.

We don’t have to blast our job openings out to the whole wide world, but we do, and then we complain that we can’t read all the resumes that come back to us. We can be smarter than that. We can evolve past Black Hole recruiting to treat each job-seeker like the valued collaborator he or she is.

The ATS vendors that will survive to 2020 and beyond will be the ones that figure out how to humanize the selection process.

Every hiring manager and every HR or Recruiting person should be cultivating their networks all the time. Recruiting isn’t an event, but a process that never stops.

Assuming that every qualified candidate will be delivered to us via technology ultimately assumes the system is perfect. Finding the balance between technology and human contact should be the priority of every recruiter.

Read the article here.