From Legacy Systems to AI-Powered Recruitment – Three Drivers of Change

“Should I stay, or should I go?” 

Should I stick with the status quo, or go for new technologies? It’s a big tech question that many businesses are asking today – especially companies who continue to use legacy IT systems to run their operations. 

“Legacy” in this instance refers to aging computer hardware, or software solutions, that organizations continue to use, even though they are no longer state-of-the-art or industry-leading. 

Barriers to change

While most companies would like to adopt new technologies regularly to improve speed, efficiency, functionality, and cost savings, many businesses can’t pivot quickly. 

Many are bound to legacy systems for several reasons. Major long-term investment in terms of money, and time (developing and training support teams) to support company-wide operating systems is a common one. 

Terms and conditions of supplier contracts could also prohibit change, or upgrades, before the end of the contract. As the system may support a wide range of functions, upgrades could be costly and cumbersome, possibly disrupting workflows for some time.  

This scenario is more common among large companies than small and medium ones (SMEs). Thanks to their size, many SMEs are more agile, can switch faster, and are better placed to absorb the time and cost impact. 

Raised risk of disruption and shutdown 

Besides missing out on modernization benefits, sticking with legacy systems also raises risks around reliability and resilience. 

Quite simply, the older the technology, the more prone it is to breakdowns and malfunction as it ages. This often results in frequent shutdowns to make urgent fixes which is a serious issue - especially for industrial companies – where unplanned downtime can blow out expenses to dent the bottom line. 

HR digital transformation now, not tomorrow

While the impact of aging systems is felt immediately in production-line and tech-intensive environments, outdated technology will also reduce the effectiveness of company support teams and departments over time.

Especially the ability for colleagues, and teams, to make in-depth data-led decisions and take action to drive change faster – these are important benchmarks for digital transformation projects across all functions including HR. 

Up until recently, HR was overlooked on the digital transformation front but that’s no longer the case. 

Profound disruption brought about by the pandemic, propelling the remote working trend and other seismic employment changes forced the need for digitalization of important HR functions. 

Enabling more teams to work remotely, for example, might need new software and other tools to allow them to track their hours or vacations, and access systems securely from anywhere, and from any device.

Digitalization of HR processes is a priority for businesses of all sizes and this was reinforced by a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting in the U.S., which found that 90 percent of HR workers lose up to four hours a week on admin and management tasks due to outdated technology.

Recruitment is one of the HR functions that is transforming the fastest. Hiring managers and teams are increasingly reviewing their legacy systems to see how they are tracking against important benchmarks. Some key questions include, are current platforms:

  • Responsive and fast enough to meet the needs of job seekers today?
  • Optimizing analytics to better track and match candidates?
  • Enhancing - and providing more flexibility - for onboarding programs?
  • Maintaining a database of past applicants to match those who would be a good fit for new jobs as they come up?
  • Automating low-value, time-consuming, easily repeatable administrative tasks?

Are they losing the opportunity to attract great hires because the legacy technology is not fit for purchase in a job market that has transformed since the onset of the global pandemic? That is the big question.  

The advancement of HR technology in recent years has revolutionized the way we find and apply for jobs, the way we prepare our resumes, the way companies screen resumes and rank candidates, the way companies communicate with candidates, and more.

Three drivers of the recruitment transformation

What are the technologies driving the HR technology revolution, and what advances are they supporting to make legacy systems redundant today?

1. AI brings reach, analysis, and speed benefits

Artificial Intelligence (AI) once used primarily by industrial or manufacturing companies, is making its presence felt in many areas now, including recruitment with tech-progressive companies tapping big data, analytics, and predictive analytics to finetune their hiring tools and processes. 

In short, AI in recruitment is the use of smart tools to collect, process, and analyze huge amounts of data to ensure that no stone is unturned in finding best-fit candidates quickly.

Addressing future hiring needs is another benefit of AI – it helps to build and maintain a robust database of current and previous applicants to identify strong candidates as new positions come up. This capability means HR teams don’t always have to “start from scratch” when they have a new role to fill – the right candidate could be listed in their current database. 

In terms of AI-powered tools in use today, the most common include:

Robotics – AI algorithms help hiring teams make better-informed decisions based on the data and background of candidates, and the needs of the role. While AI increases the odds of finding the right person, the human touch is equally important in assessing the soft skills of candidates - both aspects must be factored into hiring processes.

Big Data – While data is the fuel of AI, it is important to keep developing new, creative ways to find more information about candidates. Some companies, for example, use gaming-themed programs to better engage with job seekers and draw more information from them.

Digitized Interviews – Once completed, digitized interviews can be analyzed using AI tools to track parameters such as candidate confidence, intelligence, and other personal traits to help standardize interviews and ensure impartiality. 

Intelligent Screening Software – Manually screening resumes is time challenging and an error-prone process because fatigue will impact concentration, meaning some strong candidates could slip through the cracks. Implementing an AI-enabled Applicant Tracking System (ATS) however, enables a smoother, more thorough process. Automated screening is designed to ensure data from resumes is extracted, analyzed, and grouped to better ensure recommended candidates have the right qualifications and experience for the open position. 

The broader value and impact of AI-powered recruitment is covered in this article which leaves you in no doubt that the power and influence of AI technology in hiring is here to stay for the immediate future. 

2. New HR technology promotes diversity 

According to research produced by McKinsey, companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this ratio ranged from 10 to 30 percent. 

And when it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity, top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability in 2019. This finding continued a trend established in previous surveys run by McKinsey – the likelihood of outperformance continues to be higher for diversity in ethnicity than for gender.

In terms of HR, diversity allows companies to enjoy access to a broader range of talent. Colleagues from different backgrounds also allow companies to more closely understand, and hopefully connect better, with target customers/groups who had been off their radar previously.

Given these outcomes, building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DE&I) organization makes sense on many levels, and HR technology is well placed to play a key role in enabling this. 

AI-powered recruitment platforms, for example, integrate data-driven insights and algorithms to ignore stereotypes, to draw in a wider talent pool, attracting candidates who may have been overlooked in the past. And they can support hiring needs from finding who to hire, managing the resume scanning and analysis steps, as well as selecting top candidates, and the onboarding of recruits. 

Manatal’s Applicant Tracking System, for instance, helps companies enhance the management of applications, resumes, internal candidate information, and more, better enabling them to hire great talent, build relationships with potential applicants, and promote diversity.

As with all business and employee programs, a DE&I campaign needs to be tracked and monitored to identify the efforts that are going well, and others where change is needed. 

Sophisticated HR analytics software can provide more insights than tracking the composition of your workforce. The ability to produce online dashboards to measure specific metrics can help HR managers better predict future trends and create plans to make them happen. 

Greater visibility, and transparency of data, also help to keep the diversity conversation at the forefront of discussion among managers and teams, to ensure it continues to be taken seriously and becomes ingrained in annual performance reviews.  

Recruitment technology can also be used to attract candidates from varying age groups to ensure your workplace has a good balance of youth and experience. 

READ MORE: How technology can support diversity. Plus, the benefits of a multi-generational workforce.

3. AI software fast tracks recruitment – a win: win for job seekers and hiring teams 

Posting a job, screening CVs, interviewing candidates, and making a hire often took between a month (at the fastest) and four months (or more) in the past, due to a combination of legacy systems and sluggish internal approval and sign-off protocols. 

This unwieldy, laggy process does not cut it with job hunters today. 

Like their other online interactions, jobseekers demand an engaging, almost instant mobile-friendly experience now. 

Accessibility, convenience, and ease of use are baseline expectations – they want a great consumer-like experience from an easy job application first step, to fast, personalized communications. 

Treating every candidate well is also more important than ever because if they are not the right fit for a position today, they could be ideal for a new role in the future.

Speed is the other essential, candidates expect a response within days, not weeks. This point is especially important in markets, or industry sectors such as IT, where the competition for talent is fierce. 

So, it’s important to have the capability to proactively scan the market for leading talent and make the approach and interview process as seamless and fast as possible. 

Recruitment Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions like Manatal provide diverse options to speed up and streamline the hiring process . This piece provides more background about SaaS offerings, and the benefits and impact they make in key tasks such as candidate sourcing, ranking, and improving the overall application experience. 

Applicant-friendly HR touchpoints enhance your corporate reputation 

Providing a fast, seamless application, hire and onboarding process also has a broader benefit and deeper impact for companies.

Just as we share positive and negative reviews, opinions, comments, and experiences about products and services with friends on social media or in person, many people also talk about their interactions with companies. 

Whether it was their time working for an organization, or how they were treated when they applied for a job; current, former, and prospective employees often express their feelings through popular channels such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other career-related platforms.

So, if your recruitment touchpoints - from approach messages to hiring processes, onboarding, and exit interviews - are sub-optimal and painful to use, job seekers and employees will probably raise these issues on social media or review platforms like Glassdoor.

While negative feedback is bad for business, and the corporate brand and reputation, it is especially damaging in the chase for talent because potential candidates will visit review sites to read what people are saying about you. 

On the flip side, if your hiring process and online job application platforms are best-in-class and praise-worthy, people will share their positive views on their experience to become your unofficial brand ambassadors, regardless of whether they got the job or not.

Your corporate reputation matters, as does your competitive edge which relies on attracting and retaining a strong workforce. If your recruitment legacy system is holding you back from providing a modern, responsive, and personalized experience for job seekers, we invite you to discover how Manatal solutions can revitalize talent acquisition on many fronts – start your 14-day Free Trial today to see, feel, and enjoy the difference they can make.

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