Automation is one of the most popular emerging technologies currently being deployed in business. According to the Global Future of Work Survey, conducted by Willis Towers Watson, employers expect that 17 percent of all work will be automated by 2020. What’s more, 94 percent of U.S. organizations currently utilizing AI and robotics will increase their use of automation in the next three years.
The increased focus on automation is shifting the way organizations think about business processes such as IT support, data entry, scheduling, workflow and resource management. Beyond these functions, business leaders realize the value of automating HR and recruiting processes. According to research conducted by PwC, 40 percent of the HR functions of international companies are currently using AI-applications. One form of AI — robotic process automation – uses AI to automate business processes to human-like efficiency and effectiveness, making workers more productive. In this post, we outline what robotic process automation technology is, how it can benefit recruiting and how to successfully implement a robotic process automation solution.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic process automation (RPA) refers to technology that utilizes bots to replicate human actions for time-consuming but straightforward back-office administrative tasks. RPA software allows users to configure bots to collect data, trigger responses and communicate with other business systems. RPA software integrates with existing tools, so it does not require a complete update of a legacy system; rather, RPA acts as a supplemental enhancement. RPA applications can handle automations that range from a simple task such as automated email responses to managing thousands of bots that complete individual tasks.
According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation, the top five business departments deploying RPA software are:
- Financial operations
- Human resources
- Information technology
- Data and analytics
The Recruiting Case for RPA Adoption
Automation and AI technology have been gaining traction in HR and talent acquisition. In fact, according to a LinkedIn survey on talent trends, 35 percent of talent professionals and hiring managers say that AI is the top trend impacting how they hire.
For organizations looking to optimize their recruiting, RPA software can provide time savings, increase recruiting accuracy and help reduce bias in the recruiting process. RPA technology can also be utilized for high-level repetitive tasks such as candidate and resume screening. RPA systems can work every hour of every day to source, screen and organize candidates. This gives recruiters more time to establish a more consultative relationship with clients and better engage candidates in a personal one-on-one relationship.
An RPA software solution can help optimize an organization’s HR department and recruitment initiatives through the automation of tasks such as the following:
- Sending automated communications such as auto reply emails and texts to candidates.
- Collecting, processing and organizing candidate information and storing it in an organizations ATS system.
- Recruiting process such as candidate sourcing and screening.
- Answering simple questions from candidates and providing automated application instructions.
HR and Recruiting Applications for Robotic Process Automation Technology
Learning and understanding the value of RPA and HR automation provides forward-thinking organizations and talent acquisition professionals additional tools to improve recruiting efforts. Below, we list several HR applications of RPA technology and how they can improve HR and recruiting functions.
According to a LinkedIn report, 90 percent of global professionals want to hear from recruiters to talk and learn more about opportunities. With so many candidates willing to entertain prospective job opportunities, it can be nearly impossible for recruiters to engage with every qualified candidate. RPA technology can automate the online sourcing process by canvassing hundreds of talent pools and databases for quality candidates.
With bots sourcing candidates on the web, recruiters can spend more time consulting clients on talent acquisition strategies such as improving employment offers and bolstering recruitment marketing campaigns. With bots sourcing candidates and expert talent acquisition professionals offering guidance, organizations will be better positioned to extend attractive employment offers to top talent.
RPA technology can deploy chatbots that leverage sentiment analysis and computational linguistics to interpret a candidate’s communication and to formulate an appropriate response. Chatbots enable organizations to offer a more responsive and engaging candidate experience by eliminating the downtime between a candidate submitting an application and receiving a response from a recruiter.
Chatbots can also perform the following tasks:
- Ask candidates for their resume, cover letter and contact information
- Ask pre-screening questions regarding a candidate’s education, experience and skills
- Answer candidates’ FAQs about advertised jobs and the application and hiring process
- Schedule an interview with a recruiter or hiring manager
Enhancing Recruitment Marketing Campaigns
RPAs can help organizations by reliably engaging and communicating with candidates. Recruiters can design attractive email campaigns that can be sequenced and programmed to “drip” messages to both passive and active candidates, creating a higher level of engagement. Automating recruitment marketing campaigns ensures regular correspondence and delivers relevant job postings and content to multiple candidates. This builds more robust talent pipelines and strengthens an employer’s brand.
RPA technology can also assist both an organization’s HR team and candidates with the interview scheduling process. RPA bots can provide candidates with real-time access to a recruiter or hiring manager’s calendar and suggest specific time slots based on availability. After a candidate selects an interview time, an automated invite is sent to both interviewers and interviewees and the scheduled time becomes unavailable for other candidates. What’s more, if an organization utilizes a video interviewing platform, bots can send automated emails containing links and instructions on how to complete the video interview. Hiring managers can then review interviews and select the best candidates for in-person follow-ups.
Enhanced Candidate Experience
With RPA tools, organizations can better manage their candidate experience. Bots can be used to collect real-time data throughout the candidate experience and monitor candidate satisfaction in each stage of the hiring process. Recruiters can program bots to generate emails soliciting feedback or short surveys as candidates progress through the process.
While automation can help improve and monitor candidate experience that does not mean every component in the process should be turned over to technology. Talent acquisition leaders need to remember that humans make a difference when it comes to engaging candidates.
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Best Practices for Integrating Robotic Process Automation Technology into the Recruiting Process
While RPA technology can make HR and recruiting functions more efficient, organizations need to be aware of how to successfully implement the technology into their current systems. Below, we outline a three-step process to successfully implementing an RPA tool into your recruiting and hiring process.
Best Practices for RPA Process Selection
The RPA implementation process begins with identifying the recruiting processes that would most benefit from automation. To begin, HR leaders should conduct a high-level assessment of potential recruiting processes for automation and document the efficiencies and cost-savings that could result from automating each process. This step helps HR leaders, IT and an organization’s leadership decide which recruiting functions will benefit the most from automation. Not all HR and recruiting function are a good fit for RPA, so identifying the right ones depends on the unique needs of an organization.
More process selection tips include:
- Research RPA capabilities to learn what’s possible through automation.
- Outline project team members and their roles and responsibilities during the preliminary assessment process (i.e., stakeholders, recruiters, SMEs, technology evaluators).
- Research the compliance risks associated with each recruiting process, for example, CAN-SPAM rules governing commercial emails.
- Collaborate with stakeholders for guidance and strategic direction regarding establishing automated processes.
Best Practices for Implementing an RPA Solution
HR leaders need to make sure that HR, IT and talent acquisition personnel are trained and prepared to execute the implementation plan. Moreover, each implementation activity should be documented, tracked and completed per the plan.
During this step, those responsible for implementation need to thoroughly go over the end-to-end automation of selected recruiting functions to learn the full scope of the RPA solution. If errors and missteps occur in an automated process, organizations need to work with their RPA partners to refine and make final modifications before implementing the new processes. No matter how well an organization implements an RPA solution, it is still important to monitor and periodically amend the RPA program to ensure long-term success.
Robotic process automation is a valuable tool for streamlining the recruiting and hiring process. Leveraging automation in recruiting empowers talent acquisition and HR professionals to make the right hiring decisions faster by increasing efficiency across recruitment functions. However, for RPA technology to have a positive impact on an organization, it is important to remember that human interaction with candidates is paramount. Organizations need to find the right balance between talent technology and human interaction.