Automation and Recruitment – Friends, or Foes?

Automation in Recruitment

Are automation and recruitment friends or enemies? If you look at the adoption of recruitment automation tools in the market, you might think they are.. enemies. But they should not be, of course. 

Everybody I speak to thinks that automation in recruitment is critical for a recruitment agency’s long-term success. Everyone I talk to agrees agencies have to automate if they don’t want to lose market share. So, according to everyone, not investing in recruitment automation software equals to losing market share.

Are staffing agencies investing in automation?

Based on what I just wrote, you would think that the vast majority is heavily investing in recruitment automation software, right? Wrong! Still, most agencies don’t even have an Applicant Tracking System. They use LinkedIn, perhaps Facebook, some Job Portals, and their magic Excel files. And that’s it. Will they grow? Will they survive, how does the future look like for them, and can we even expect a future for companies like these? What happens when you start automating recruitment tasks? I will show you.

When we developed our first ATS

In 1997, a year after we started Lugera, we felt the need to have a specialized recruitment application, now called ATS. Back in those times, there was not much to chose from, and the companies we approached did not want to sell their software to a small Slovakian recruitment agency. So, we had no choice but to develop it ourselves. And within one year, we made our own applicant tracking system: TalentBase. However, to start working with the software was tough. It took us half a year before we got used to a very structured way of working. And getting used to that was not easy. Because change… you know people have a hard time with that;)

5 months later, with recruitment automation, we took off.

And then it happened. After half a year we all got accustomed to our recruitment application, and we doubled, then tripled our sales and the number of placements. It was like a miracle. Within three years, we were the biggest permanent staffing agency in Slovakia. Not only because we were so smart and hard-working😊, but because of TalentBase. Our investment in TalentBase paid itself back within a year. Because we had the best recruitment application and recruitment automation tool in Slovakia, we could outperform all our bigger and more experienced competitors. Within a short time, we became the market leader.

The importance of automation in recruitment

I am convinced that if you want to grow as a recruitment agency, and if you want to protect your present market share, you need the best technology available on the market. Innovation is key to your long-term existence. If you do not innovate, if you don’t automate your recruitment process, you will lose sooner or later.

You outperform, or you will be outperformed.

Many agencies do not invest in the newest and best recruitment technology. They don’t see the need for it as their business is going quite nicely, and ahh, now we have COVID-19 so that no automation will help. Right? Wrong again!

When you have the best technology available, you will outperform your competition and your clients. When your competition has the best technology available (and you don’t), they will beat you, and you will only realize this when it is too late.

What is the problem with investing in innovative recruitment automation?

The biggest challenge is that it never brings an instant and immediate profit. It requires new thinking, new acting, new learning. And that is what most people don’t like. They won’t say it, though, as that sounds stupid. But most people will resist the change as much as they can by saying: “I don’t have time right now to focus on it,” “my clients, my candidates, my colleagues are not ready for it yet, we will have to wait.” “I am busy right now with urgent placements, prospects, manual activities, and I will get to this when I have more time.”

Most recruiters and salespeople I know don’t see innovation as a threat to their job, but they see it as a burden. It distracts them from their present job, from the activities they are used to do for many years. And let’s face it. Applying new recruitment tools, applying new innovative automation tools requires, in the beginning, more work, less output, fewer commissions, fewer placements, and fewer sales. And that is a hurdle that everybody has to take before making a difference and starting outperforming the competition.

Working with STAA in our countries.

STAA is a fantastic recruitment tool. It is unrivaled in the recruitment market. It gives a recruiter within a second an excellent long-list of relevant candidates. It communicates automatically to all these candidates. STAA can approach within a couple of seconds ALL the companies posting vacancies in any country and can match ALL these vacancies with relevant candidates. And communicate automatically with companies and candidates. Yes, STAA can match hundreds of thousands of candidates with tens of thousands of jobs within seconds.

One of our top recruiters saw the application and said, “Wow, this is recruitment magic.”

So, you would think that all our sales and recruiters are begging us to have the application installed on their laptop. Right? Wrong again! What we hear most is the following:

“I don’t have time right now for it.” “I don’t understand it. Please let me do it my way.” “Look, the software is not working flawlessly; there is a mistake here, let’s forget it.” Let me have a look at it after my holiday.” “We are having a person for it, dedicated to it, but so far no results, so let’s forget it”……

But the good news is that in Ukraine, we have our Partner and Country Manager who focusses on STAA and guess what? 2 to 3 new clients for permanent staffing per week. And recently, she got a massive recruitment project through STAA. And that in times of COVID-19…where everybody else, all agencies, are whining about the crisis. In Ukraine, we are booming. Thanks to an innovative automated recruitment application.

This article is written by Gerard Koolen, Group Managing Partner from Lugera – The People Republic, gerard.koolen@lugera.com, +31622959248

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