Why TA Leaders Could Care Less About Tech

Readers of the World Economic Forum’s recent Future of Jobs Report 2023 may have noted an interesting observation on page six:

“The human-machine frontier has shifted, with businesses introducing automation into their operations at a slower pace than previously anticipated

We like to think we live in a world that is being rapidly transformed by technology but it seems that’s not entirely true. At least not in the recruitment sector.

A similar sentiment was shared by Keith Rosser of the Better Hiring Institute at a recent meeting of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Modernising Employment. “The problem” he announced “is not technology…The technology is there”.

And he’s right.

Recruitment has witnessed various tech innovations over the years, but the only two which were genuinely transformative were Dillistone’s rollout of its Filefinder database and LinkedIn. These both happened quite a long time ago. Since then, recruitment has largely resisted further digitization, with many TA professionals still happily working off spreadsheets.

Recruitment has witnessed various tech innovations over the years, but the only two which were genuinely transformative were Dillistone’s rollout of its Filefinder database and LinkedIn. These both happened quite a long time ago. Since then, recruitment has largely resisted further digitization, with many TA professionals still happily working off spreadsheets.

The problem is that a lot of attempted innovation is ill-considered. It’s often the case that the provider gets much more excited than the client. One recruitment company has been trying to market an online talent pipelining tool for about ten years but with very limited take-up. The problem, one previous user told us, is that it doesn’t actually solve anything. “Firstly, it doesn’t look great when you compare it to the sort of interface most people are used to on apps and social media platforms. But even if it looked amazing, it’s basically a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

At WhiteCrow we’re always looking for ways that technology can improve both process and outcome. But, importantly, we put people first. 

As Rohan Aranha, our Head of Digital, explains “We’re really proud of our innovation. Platforms like Webtree and Aegis have had a real, measurable impact on user experience. But at heart, we’re a people-led business. You can’t develop tech in an ivory tower. You need to be in the town square, listening to the crowd. There’s often a massive difference between what people need and what looks cool.”

As Rohan Aranha, our Head of Digital, explains

“We’re really proud of our innovation. Platforms like Webbtree and Aegis have had a real, measurable impact on user experience. But at heart, we’re a people-led business. You can’t develop tech in an ivory tower. You need to be in the town square, listening to the crowd. There’s often a massive difference between what people need and what looks cool.”

The point is, any development of the human-machine frontier needs to consider both sides of the equation. Humans and machines. Too often, the first is forgotten with giddy would-be innovators rushing ahead without bothering to find what clients actually need or want.

Instead of looking to reinvent the wheel, recruiters need to gain a better understanding of TA leaders’ real-world problems. And in our experience, very few of them are lying awake at night thinking If only I had more technology

Rather, they’re asking for a better understanding of candidate culture. They want to know how much candidates are paid, how best to approach them, what they think of remote working, how they respond to this or that brand…You don’t get that sort of insight from a piece of software. It comes from hard work and human engagement.

At WhiteCrow, we’re all for the technology revolution. But it should be led by people. The way to a bright, brave tomorrow lies in listening to what your clients need today.

Also, check out our extensive Resources to keep you up to date.

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