The apprehension. The intimidation. Those first day nerves apply to any new worker, but they’re perhaps felt more by those entering the fast-paced world of staffing.
No matter – people are ready to help while you have the recruiting training wheels on. The mute button inevitably gets a workout as more experienced players, be they managers or veteran recruiters, whisper advice over your shoulder. Kick off with this question. Handle the objection by saying this. Don’t forget to offer that. It’s a system that’s always worked, and has shown little to no sign of changing.
Then COVID hit. Recruiters were isolated, and the helpful whisper went the way of the dinosaurs almost overnight.
The question now is what could possibly replace it?
Reading this blog you might get the sense that the solution to every single staffing problem can be found in technology. And that’s because, more often than not, it can.
Sure, a remote recruiter could have a Zoom meeting with their manager to listen to a call live, but that demanded foresight and could prove a wasteful use of man hours. As anyone who has been that new recruiter will know, the most important whispers are delivered at the least predictable times.
This has seen staffing firms looking for something better, something more. They need a technology capable of providing the advice, the guidance, the reminder. Ideally it would be a digital version of the previously analogue learning process; something that could fill the role of the manager, explaining in real time how a recruiter could do better and be better.
Imagine the potential of such a technology. It could record and analyze conversations in real-time, and even factor in other behaviors that it extracts from your email conversations or ATS activity. It could find patterns, delivering insights in the form of tips that pop up on your screen at the exact moment you need them, whether it’s resolving an objection on a call, inserting a special offer into a LinkedIn message, or adding a perfectly personal touch to an email. It could take note of key takeaways in a conversation, and then remind you of those moments on your next call with the client.
Such a thing already exists – at a very basic level – in the hard-hitting world of call centers. There are programs that monitor voice patterns to ensure workers are following and completing the script. When they don’t, a pop up reminds them to get back on track. Sales training tools like Chorus and Gong are also heading in this direction.
The technology looks set to be the future of staffing too, as a recruiter trainer and a recruiter enhancer in a remote working world.
Such automated upskilling and training technology would also seriously shorten the ramp for new staffing recruits. Getting constant, instant, and quality advice allows you to hone your skills so much faster.
An example of the potential comes from a major Australian recruiter. Pre-COVID this firm utilized a steady stream of working vacationers, with most working for three to six months. It’s fair to say that most recruiters don’t feel 100% comfortable after just six months in the job, which made the process of training these workers to the point that they were productive a huge challenge.
How did this company do it? They leaned heavily on recorded calls. They assigned senior staff to short-term workers to expedite the training process. And these measures ensured they experienced genuine success, despite the short timeframes involved.
Imagine that same situation, but now without the manual effort demanded of already busy managers and senior staff. Imagine having a powerful AI that is constantly working to make your recruiters better. This technology would be groundbreaking, no matter whether you hired backpackers, the pick of post-grad talent, or the most experienced recruiters around.
Another way to think of automated upskilling technology is as a catch-all net. By integrating it with your staffing tech stack and linking it to all of your communication channels, it can ensure that no conversation is forgotten or ignored. Everything is caught, everything is analyzed, and the most important bits are highlighted when and where necessary. It’s a means to achieve ultimate communication efficacy.
Such a situation would enable a staffing firm to fully capitalize on robotic process automation. A recruiter is about to assign a candidate to a job. A pop-up comes up: ‘this candidate doesn’t appear to be credentialed – make sure you do that first.’ Where your candidate, your client, and your organization were once put at risk because of a simple and innocent mistake, the system now catches it and prevents it from becoming an issue.
The very best recruiters remember everything, and are always aware of the best thing to do next. Just kidding. No one remembers everything or knows the best next move all the time. Such an artificially intelligent and automated system could constantly advise a recruiter of the action most worthy of their attention.
They have a candidate who's about to attend a third interview. Does the candidate know where they’re going, where to park, and who to ask for at the security gate - or have the right information for the ZOOM call? All of that information needs to be delivered at the right time, but perhaps the recruiter got distracted making a call to a potential client, or sending a message on LinkedIn. Distractions happen, but this system can minimize them, ensuring you always know the best thing to attack next.
Do all of this right, and you can teach a brand new recruiter the behaviors of an ultra-experienced recruiter without spending a single human hour doing it. In the process, you can get your ten-person staffing firm working like a 100-person staffing firm.
‘But won’t this automation put people out of a job?’ comes the all-too-predictable shout from the back of the room. Once again, those familiar with this blog will be all too familiar with the response.
Automation in staffing isn’t about replacing humans. It’s about taking care of the redundant work so that professionals can focus on the good stuff, the fun stuff, the high value stuff.
“There's a brilliant success story of exactly this in the Midlands, which automated the documentation creation process” begins Raymond Pennie, Commercial Director of UK-based Kyloe Partners. “But they didn’t make their administration team redundant – they instead flipped them into having conversations with the people who were about to receive the automatically generated documentation.
“We chatted with the director, and she said an amazing thing: ‘Our staff are happier, and they stay longer’. Not only did automation help them with the accuracy of the information they were trying to capture, it also meant the team was more motivated, because they no longer saw themselves as administrators, but part of the candidate experience. They came in with a smile on their face and did more work.”
Imagine you’ve taken a call from a client who needs more workers. As you’re talking, the notes from your previous conversation automatically pop up in front of you – no keystrokes required. The conversation rolls on (with the help of the notes), and the client mentions the specific roles they’re looking to fill. Another pop up arrives, showing relevant candidates pulled from your ATS. Knowledge is continually drawn out of your systems that push you toward meeting the client’s needs.
This is fast becoming the reality for innovative SaaS sales teams and it is undoubtedly the future of staffing.
There are important considerations, sure. “The devil is always in the detail,” warns Pennie. “In order for automation or machine learning to be successful, the original data must be accurate, so you’ll need to ensure that people are doing the necessary front-end work.”
But this small investment in doing things right will save endless hours later, as automation takes over. And it’ll also ensure that those helpful whispers continue well into the future, even if they are delivered in a less audible form.