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Stress-free recruitment is key to developing a successful recruitment business according to Brian Cunningham - Director, Allen Recruitment. He recently spoke to our Team Lead of Product Sales, Martin Wishart about how automation has helped Allen Recruitment reduce stress, and also gave his take on the thing everyone’s talking about: Artificial Intelligence.
Martin Wishart: What do you think the overall impact of technology on the recruitment industry has been in the past 10 – 20 years?
Brian Cunningham: The basic concept, in that we place people in jobs is the same, but the process is incomparable - 20 years ago we had a wall full of CVs, printed out and stored alphabetically in binders; every time we got a role in, we would look through rolodexes for each candidate and then find their CV.
MW: Sounds very different to now!
BC: Definitely; by the time we’d dug out a candidates contact details, it was usually really difficult to actually get in touch with them – mobile phones weren’t commonly used so we’d be calling landlines and having conversations with whoever was at home, rather than the candidates themselves, and waiting for a call back. Things happen so much quicker now.
MW: Has it also changed the way you work with clients?
BC: It’s a bit harder to get in touch with clients now – everything is done over email meaning they can decide whether or not to reply; it was far easier to engage with them over the phone. Many larger companies now have their own CRMs which makes it easier for them to do their own recruitment and are therefore bringing it in house.
MW: Is this something that worries you?
BC: It’s imperative that agencies adapt and demonstrate to clients that we can deliver the best candidates, quickly. In-house recruitment teams are often spread quite thinly; as an agency, we have the benefit of being able to focus on continuously evolving our processes to be faster and better.
MW: We saw you at Bullhorn Engage in London this year and you talked about stress-free recruitment – can you tell me a bit more about that?
BC: Traditional recruitment has the same motivations as sales-based roles, and quite often making a placement can take priority over finding the right fit for the client and candidate, which can result in a stressful environment. For us, understanding what people want and need is very important; we made the decision to fill our team of recruiters with people who have high levels of emotional intelligence and can build relationships with people – the majority of our recruiters have a psychology / sociology background - and they don’t typically enjoy working in a sales-type, stressful environment. So, we’ve adapted our processes to remove the stressful aspects, and allow our recruiters to focus on doing what they’re best at.
MW: How have you adapted your processes to make it less
stressful? Or is that top secret?
BC: There are certain things we can’t control (for example, if a candidate goes to an interview, if they are interviewing for other roles, or if they get offered the job). We focus on the things we can control and don’t worry about what we can’t – if you do this and make sure the level of work you’re doing is high quality, the rest will take care of itself. Automation is something that helps with controlling what we can. For example, a recruiter working for us would previously have made around 60 – 70 outbound calls a day; through automation we’ve been able to reduce that to 7 calls a day meaning that now, we only talk to the people who want to talk to us! By removing these repetitive tasks, our business is performing better. Before Kyloe, it was really hard to get customisations or changes made to Bullhorn. We now use Kyloe’s document management tool AwesomeDocs to manage the process of sending CVs to clients, and having contracts signed by both clients and candidates.
MW: Any predictions for the future?
BC: Short term, more automations and reduction of monotonous tasks. When it comes to data, the tech exists now, to allow for systematic and data-driven recruitment, which can only make for a smarter way of working! Longer term, I think there’s someone in a bedroom somewhere developing the next bit of tech that’s going to shake things up; maybe a fabulous piece of matching Artificial Intelligence (AI) that with revolutionise how we find the best candidates for the role.
MW: AI is something everyone is talking about now, do you think this could be more than just a buzzword?
BC: At the end of the day, a computer is rules and logic based, and I’m not sure about the intelligence part. We tried an AI matching tool once, but it had difficulty distinguishing between things – it couldn’t tell the difference between a java developer and someone who recruits for java developers. So, I am a little sceptical, but as I said – maybe someone somewhere is developing a matching tool that works, as we speak!
MW: It certainly would be a game changer! Thanks for your time Brian – it was a pleasure speaking with you and hearing about your recruitment approach.
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Author: Lauren Miller