More Human By Technology

As people who tend to read my articles on this website know, I’m a big fan of pre-selection software. I often however run into the die-hard old school recruiter or HR manager that believes we should be ‘more human’ and ‘have the human touch’ in the selection phase.

Sometimes they will admit that technology might help for volume jobs, but if you only get 5 or up to 30 applicants per job, there is no reason to use screening technology and it’s just a negative experience.

I disagree. 

The human experience

Let’s start by quantifying the human experience. The one that is supposed to be superior to a machine helping with the pre-selection. I research the candidate experience in the Netherlands for years and part of this massive research is a mystery application.

We apply every year to the 550 biggest and most well-known employers in the country. We apply in order to be rejected. Think a recent graduate applying to a senior management position.

As little volume jobs as possible. It could not be easier to give us a reason for rejecting us, sorry, but at least 6 years of experience is required for this job. Last year only 26% of the companies gave this type of feedback and over two thirds just said: sorry, we have better candidates.

And yes, there were those, about 6%, that called us. About 6% call every candidate to see if there is another possible fit. 


The machine experience

Now let me give anecdotal evidence on the machine experience. The first time I heard of pre-selection testing and the first company that implemented this on scale was a contact centre.

With a cognitive and personality test they tested every applicant and if an applicant scored below a certain threshold they would get an automatic rejection with their assessment report and the minimum values you need to score on certain traits.

I wondered how candidates would feel about automated rejections, when their head of recruitment showed me an e-mail they got.

It read ‘Thank you for this rejection, this is the most humane rejection I ever heard. Now I finally have the explanation why I am not fit for this specific type of job and I understand I need to look elsewhere’

Yes, the candidate actually said it was the most humane rejection he ever got, while it was probably the only one he had ever had that had no human touch it. 


Machine empathy

I’m not saying machines can be empathetic, they can’t be. Some can simulate it, but they can’t be. The problem is about 66% of all recruiters don’t even simulate any empathy when rejecting candidates. 

So not only do we select better, on actual important character traits and cognitive values, when we use pre-selection technology. Because of the data this generates, we can be clearer and more human in our rejection.

Let’s be honest, saying ‘from your resume I don’t see you have the skills’ sounds a lot worse than actually saying: I’m sorry, you tested 65% on this trait and the minimum for this job is 80%. 


The human experience

Let’s treat candidates more humane, let’s use technology to mitigate our weaknesses. 


Bas van de Haterd

Bas van de Haterd is a self-employed professional that helps companies recruit smarter by using the right technology. He is mainly known for his in-depth knowledge of pre-screening assessment technology. He also runs a research, award, and event called Digitaal-Werven that focuses on the candidate experience. Follow Bas on Twitter @bvdhaterd or connect with him on LinkedIn.