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Why recruiters need automation in their lives.

over 3 years ago

Besides the obvious benefits of productivity, enhanced reach and better quality engagement, there are a number of reasons why recruiters should have automation in their lives. Ultimately, automation saves time and recruitment spend, while analytics that informs the process can result in more successful hires.

It’s also a rapidly growing industry - Tech Nation reported that the “tech sector is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy” back in 2018. Two years ago, the digital tech sector was reportedly worth nearly £184 billion to UK economy, up from £170 billion in 2016. If we look forward, as Juliet Eccleston points out, the crowd-based recommendation engines industry alone is set to grow to $335bn by 2025, from $15bn in 2014. So, not only is automation increasingly necessary, it will become crucial to remaining competitive.

More difficult to answer than the why perhaps, is what automation is right and for which part of the recruitment process? There is any number of technologies available for each stage, from engagement attraction to recruiting and onboarding. Understanding your business needs and goals is critical, and will help ascertain which technology is best for your organisation.


Automation is technology that supports, enhances or adds to the recruitment process, replacing manual tasks with an automated equivalent or an automated function that goes beyond manual capabilities. This might include anything from virtual assistants to tools which analyse candidate behaviour.

Although there are as many as 25,000 automation products available as I write, (and Jacob Sten Madsen estimates that there are as many as 10 new solutions coming out per week), most fall under these categories:

  • Employer branding
  • Talent pipelining
  • Candidate engagement & experience
  • Analysis of candidate behaviour (intelligence)
  • Filtering candidates (including interviews)

Why should we apply automation?

Human output is limited, both in terms of volume and reliability. Automation increases productivity and consistency, increasing the likelihood of recruiter tasks having a successful outcome. It also provides useful intelligence which is impossible to determine through manual efforts alone. Such as:

  • Candidate reach – the manual work of recruiters cannot compete with the possible reach of automated systems.  
  • Engagement – automated content and interactions, using intelligence from automation, means the right candidates get the right messages at the right time
  • Saving cost and time to hire – through a number of ways throughout the recruitment process
  • Employer branding – automation allows consistency of brand, tone, message and so on
  • Compliance - GDPR, process, contracts etc

When and where should we apply automation?

Automation can be applied throughout all stages of the recruitment process, including:

  • Candidate attraction - advertising & sourcing
  • Processing - filters, auto-respondents etc
  • Shortlisting and interviewing - presenting to clients
  • Comms & engagement

Automation can be used at all of these stages though, as recruiters will attest, they shouldn’t replace meaningful recruiter-candidate interactions.

Instead, automation should usefully free up time for when human interaction is crucial. For instance, we know that calling a large number of cold candidates for a position is time-consuming and not particularly cost-effective. Intelligent systems can tell us who is most likely to be interested in a role, and when, so recruiter’s conversations are more likely to have a meaningful impact.

Instead of a scattergun approach, key recruiter tasks can be focused on the right people at the right time. Recruiters save their valuable time talking to interested and engaged candidates, that automation pipelines have determined are best to speak to, while the software/platform/tech takes care of repetitive and admin-heavy tasks.

Additionally, automated filtering and analysis can help produce a better quality of hires. For instance, Honit’s candidate interview software can monitor the types of things ‘good’ candidates so and say more of in the interview process. This sort of information allows recruiters to make better decisions when it comes to hiring, making poor hiring decisions less likely.

Human effort alone would not be able to collate and analyse that kind of data. Automation supplies that information, human effort puts it into action.

Also, bear in mind that what works best for one recruiter might not for another, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution but depends on an organisation’s wants, needs and constraints.

Factors may include:

  • Recruiting priorities, including any areas of weakness
  • Size of organisation and number of hires
  • Type of hires
  • Resources
  • Brand profile
  • Industry sector

Key points to remember:

Successful recruitment relies on (and will increasingly depend on) automation. Not adopting automation will mean failure to remain competitive.

Human interaction should never be replaced or devalued. Instead, automation should be used to free time for meaningful contact and to better ascertain which candidates to talk to, and when.

Its purpose is to add value – by reducing time and or cost, improving candidate and recruiter experience, increasing the likelihood of placed candidates becoming successful employees. If it isn’t doing these, it’s not working!

There are a number of software products available, understanding what your business needs and capabilities are will help determine which of them are best for you.


Clair Bush

Recruitment Marketing, Tech, Automation...