Why Data will never replace the Human Element in Recruitment

Data, Big Data, Master Data – these are the main buzzwords in business today. Companies are becoming obsessed with their Data – is it clean? Is it useful? How can we use it better? I can see how having a better understanding of your data can help your business reach new heights in a very short space of time. I don’t however think that data can replace the human element, especially when it comes to the hiring of new talent.
I would encourage companies to use Data in order to profile a new, or existing role, within an organisation. You can collect information from people currently working in those roles and see what sort of character profiles work best. This process will also highlight ‘skill gaps’ where there may need to be improvements or changes made with new hires.  Once you have a clear picture of what you need for the role – or maybe I should say that you have all of your ‘data in a row’ – you are ready to start the recruitment process.
This is where I strongly feel that you need the human element. I find it very hard to believe that an algorithm can determine a company’s culture.  A company culture is on the same level as a gut feeling – it is something that you experience as opposed to something that you can sum up in a few words. Some people may be attracted to a company culture for different reasons – it may be because it is a ‘family like’ working environment or because there is a culture of knowledge sharing, for example.
As a company, you also need to make sure that you are not going to disrupt the delicate balance of your company culture by hiring someone who will not fit in.  This really could spell disaster for your business especially if you are a small team. This is where it is vital that the people conducting the interviews make sure that they are not only testing the candidate’s ability to get the job done, but they are also making sure that they will be a good fit for the company culture. In my humble opinion, this not something that a computer or machine can do.
A machine can only be programmed to analyse the data that it has been given. It cannot ‘think or feel’ or ask more questions if a candidate has not represented themselves adequately on their CV. I often find that some of our most brilliant hires have had the worst CVs. This is often linked to the fact that they are very humble people and do not boast enough on their CVs or they have omitted information on their CVs which is actually vital to the interview process. This is where a recruiter can ask all of the important questions and ensure that the candidate is best represented to their prospective employer.
After all, behind every computer is a human so why not remove the computer and get back to one to one human interactions once more? Data is definitely a tool that Talent Acquisition Specialists can use to make their lives easier but it cannot be solely relied on to complete the recruitment process.

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