I cannot repeat it enough: it’s the people that make the company, and those folks have to come from somewhere. Great companies require great hires, and to find the best in class professionals, best in class hiring practices have to be employed…

For a couple of years, much effort has been put into optimising the hiring process using information technology. 15 years ago, nobody heard from applicant tracking systems, LinkedIn recruiter tools and so on. Nowadays, many companies embraced these technologies and are comfortable using these. The recruiter toolbox has become a versatile kit using online and offline methodologies to find the best talent available. With all these tools and technologies available, it must be easier than ever to find and select the greatest candidate, isn’t it? Well…not if one aspect is overlooked: The human element. With recruiters and HR professionals having all these great technology tools available, the one and most important aspect of hiring the best in a class professional is often overlooked: The human touch. No matter how well you are equipped, if the personal touch and human contact are overlooked during the recruitment and hiring process: you won’t get the best in class candidates.

Many companies nowadays rely on ARP and ATS systems (Automated Recruitment Process and Applicant Tracking Systems, respectively) to make their recruitment process more efficient. I cannot deny that such tools can be convenient sometimes; it allows to screen and source candidates effectively. Often, candidates can apply for a job advertised on a job board or website, e.g., www.workingatourgreatcompany.com. Consider that the best in class professionals have done some thorough research before applying; they have studied the website, read your annual report and are up to date with your news releases. They get in touch with people they already know, work hard to make a resume and put a lot of effort into writing an application letter. Once they submitted their application letter via your www.joinus.com website, the automated reply is usually one of the following:


So, the resume and application are received well, or is it not?

What about this email:



The next step. 

If an applicant tracking system or standard workflow management system is employed, this system or recruiter will scan for keywords, based on the match that it generates, a second email will automatically be sent. It may read as follows: (This is a genuine email, sent as standard by a large firm in the Netherlands)


Apart from all the grammar errors in this text (I know my English is not perfect, I took this email from them), this message will tell the candidate nothing but one thing: we do not want you for this role! You do not seem to fit with us. This rejection was actually sent to a high potential; a cum laude university degree, well developed social skills, a large professional network, relevant working experience and history in sport at the top level.

Do you really think that the candidate is eager to apply for future roles?

I am quite sure that I already know the answer. The truth is that most of the candidates that apply are usually treated this way; they got enthusiastic about the company and the work they do. Many feel disappointed when they are rejected by an algorithm. But hey: don’t get me wrong; it is ok to reject a candidate; everybody understands (better than not informing the candidate at all). What I am saying is that top candidates look for hiring experience.

The trick: even if you reject a candidate, let them feel that you care about them. You may never know what the future will bring!

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