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People (not Robots) Hire People

We’re one of the fiercest advocates for the effective use of technology at work and in HR. Hell; our business is built on this very premise.

We keep our fingers on the pulse of all things HR/work technology; existing, declining or new and emerging. We attend and speak at conferences, we contribute to articles, papers and podcasts, and we dive, headlong, into the industry conversations. Our aim is not only to advocate today-and-now but also to inform the future.

We also, truth be told, keep our eye out for the diamond-encrusted BS and downright myths.

This past week our friend and occasional Peridus Group collaborator, Christine Assaf, wrote a killer post entitled “Your job application was rejected by a human, not a computer.” In this research-based take down of one of those “oft-repeated myths,” Christine systematically dismantles the assertation that “75% of applications are rejected by an ATS (applicant tracking system) and a human never sees them…” After donning her detective cap (perhaps more Enola than Sherlock) she discovered that this “statistic” has been ascribed to everyone from John Sullivan to Josh Bersin.  

She dug and dug and dug to find the origins of this statement and, ultimately, found there was neither source data nor research to back it up. None. Zip.

Infuriating for sure. And hurtful as well. Why?  Well, because relying on this old chestnut hurts job applicants and job seekers (especially the unemployed) who already feel they are engaged in battle even without the addition of robot overlords

It also hurts Recruiters and TA/HR Leaders who, while doing their BEST to make the BEST hires for their organizations, are believed-to-be in cahoots with some dark secret technology-cabal that only exists to reject candidates.

People Hire People

Of course technology helps recruiters do their jobs better; that goes without saying. Every offering, from the most basic Applicant Tracking Systems to scheduling software to candidate matching technology enhances how we hire. We’re collectively faster, more efficient and able to provide better experiences for our candidates.   

Chatbots manage top of funnel candidate volume while somehow being seemingly more “human” than, well, many of the humans. Augmented writing technology allows us to remove bias from our job postings.

But, with rare exceptions, the GO/NO-GO (hire/reject) decision continues to be made by flesh-and-blood humans who are making a “selection” decision.

And those humans – recruiters, HR leaders, hiring managers – while sometimes fallible are, for the most part, doing their best.

Not one of them sets out to hire the worst possible person for any given role. Very few of them embark upon a recruiting and hiring journey with the goal of being purposefully exclusionary or with the intent to indulge in discriminatory treatment.

Oh sure; some may need a little help with processes, systems or resources. They may need a refresher course in “how to hire.” They may need a helping hand or even a swift-kick into the 21st century. They may just need an encouraging word.

They are people after all.