Why it’s time for the agency world to embrace recruitment tech

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Sho Kondo of TalentMind.

The agency world moves fast. For marketing and advertising agencies, successful technology solutions are those that move at the same brisk pace, allowing users to keep operating at optimal levels and speeds.

Ideally, this means technology that keeps learning and improving and provides insights that power the discovery of the ‘right fit’ for that organisation. This discovery also extends to current staff and the agency’s recruitment process – by uncovering intrinsic and extrinsic motivational drivers or certain traits for their success we can help inform future hiring decisions.

Recruitment is commonly cited by agency owners and leaders as one of the biggest challenges they face in growing their business. Fortunately, there are many areas where data and technology can be leveraged within an agency’s hiring process.

Finding applicants is not so difficult, but finding the right applicants is often a time-intensive task. This is especially so for agencies, as there is no one-size-fits-all checklist for the ideal employee; agencies tend to take great pride in their unique company culture, which is often just as influential on a hiring decision as the actual role requirements.

This often means a lengthy process of scheduling multiple interviews with candidates to try and figure out if they fit, personality-wise, into your organisation. Even then it’s an imperfect process which potentially leads to suboptimal performance and, sometimes, unnecessary turnover.

Finding the ‘right fit’

What are the most important factors in determining a right fit between employer and employee?

An employer must figure out exactly what the culture of their company is. What are the cultural points of emphasis? What are the keys to fitting in and succeeding with the overall team? Establishing the company’s identity is the first step, and every company is unique in that regard.

Once that is done, finding the right employee fit becomes a matter of getting to know the applicants and seeing who would be able to come in and thrive in the environment the company provides.

Most of what employers know about applicants, such as their past experience and education, comes first from their resumes, and that remains the case even when technology is used. The difference that tech makes, in this case, is faster and highly efficient parsing of information, through Natural Language Processing (NLP) for example.

When it comes to filling creative roles, a lot depends on the applicant’s past work and existing portfolio. This provides some insight into their ability and creative thought process, but it can still be a bit of a mystery in terms of how well they fit into the existing team and structure.

To this end, understanding the applicant as an individual is the goal, and many insights of a person can be gained in today’s digital world. With their expressed permission, recruitment software could parse an applicant’s social media, giving employers a much better picture of their potential hire. Recruiters and hiring managers are already doing it manually, so why not automate the task to drive greater efficiency?

Team building and diversity

Given the right amount of time and fed data, technology could be highly useful in determining an applicant’s potential fit with a company or a team, streamlining the whole recruitment process.

Many mistakenly worry that using technology in this way may lead to a stagnant recruitment policy and company culture, populated by like-minded individuals unlikely to challenge each other on anything. Likewise, with the marketing and advertising industries under increasing pressure to become more inclusive and diverse in their teams, isn’t there a danger that over-dependence on recruitment tech could make the situation worse?

The answer, thankfully, is no. Perhaps where technology can make the biggest difference in recruitment is in dampening the potential influence of unconscious biases in human decision-making, thus ensuring a genuinely level playing field for all applicants. Contemporary recruitment tech is smart and sophisticated enough to shine a spotlight on the strengths and weakness of your current team dynamic and help you address any problem areas in an informed, intelligent way.

Understanding current staff, performance-driving factors and more, will allow technology to identify desirable traits in potential candidates, as well as analyse and simulate the likelihood of hiring a high-performing member of staff.

That said, technology will remain an assistant to humans for the foreseeable future, providing the impetus for decisions, and freeing up time for more strategic activities. The keen eye of an experienced HR professional should still play a part in the process.

Sho Kondo is head of TalentMind, a subsidiary company of AnyMind Group

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