The department concerned was not notified of the interview appointment, trade fair contacts have still not been added to the database and, to make matters worse, a previous applicant is threatening legal action because consent to data use was not renewed. If this sounds familiar, you should introduce a little automation to your everyday recruitment tasks.
What does workflow automation mean?
The aim of automation is generally to replace sequential manual tasks with automatic steps, thus increasing the efficiency of the entire workflow. A workflow describes a specific work process that always has the same sequential steps.
For example, trade fair contacts: At a recruitment fair, fifty candidates express an interest in an apprenticeship at your company and add their details to a corresponding list at the stand. Afterwards, the data must then be manually entered into the database. Candidates then receive follow-up emails from the HR department tailored to their individual vocational training goals. This takes several hours, without taking into account possible errors in data entry. If the entire process is digital and automated, it doesn’t cost the recruiter a minute, because from the moment candidates register online at the recruitment fair, one digital cog interlocks with the other. Data is automatically saved in the right mailing list and trainees-to-be have the email in their inbox even before they return from the event.
Workflow automation is about digitalising repetitive manual tasks and ‘having them done’ automatically in the background by software. Behind it is a simple IF/THEN principle in which a trigger is followed by a specified action. Workflows are therefore ideal for automation. Your foreseeable, linear structure makes it easy to define appropriate triggers and the resulting actions. At the same time, through this workflow standardisation, the error rate falls to virtually zero.
Why is automation useful in recruitment?
There are a number of obvious reasons for workflow automation – even or especially in recruitment; in this case done through an efficient candidate relationship management (CRM) system or in part through a modern applicant tracking system (ATS). After all, speed of response and uncomplicated digital application processes are now expected by candidates and necessary for you to be perceived positively as an employer. But also for their own efficiency, recruitment departments should urgently consider automating certain processes if they wish to remain competitive in the future.
#1 Automation saves time
As the saying goes “every little helps” and in recruitment this is no exception. From your perspective, sending an email, updating a data record or choosing a specific mailing list is no big deal and normally quickly accomplished. In total though, it is precisely these simple administrative tasks that cost a lot of time. Time that recruiters lack for strategic issues such as filling talent pipelines, networking or checking the quality of applicants.
#2 Automation improves the candidate experience
Nothing disappoints applicants more than having to wait for a reply and hearing nothing from an employer for weeks. These delays in communication can be avoided through automated responses and regular automatic updates. Smooth and fast communication improves the candidate experience and thus increases the company’s chances of attracting the best candidates.
#3 Automation improves the quality of your data
Candidate profiles can be created automatically, sorted into talent pools and even given tags. This way, the errors that frequently occur with manual data entry are avoided. The candidate’s status can also be automatically updated and, if appropriate, the person allocated to different talent pool – namely without delays. This way, you can ensure targeted communication at any time. Workflow automation can therefore have a positive effect on the validity and quality of your data records.
#4 Automation prevents GDPR violations
Especially in recruitment, the issue of data protection is ever present. GDPR violations when storing and processing candidate data can cost the company dearly. What many people do not know: consent for using data must be renewed at regular intervals. With a well-filled talent pool, you can quickly lose track of things. However, data-protection consent can be obtained automatically during the registration process and the date for renewing consent set – both for individual candidates and groups. Once agreement to data use has been obtained, a welcome email can be sent, for example. When consent renewal is due, this process is also triggered automatically.
Triggers and actions: examples of automated processes in recruitment
What does it all look like in practice? The basis for workflow automation is smart software, for example, in the form of a CRM system that is connected to your applicant tracking system. These make use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics and language processing, to perform specific recruitment tasks consistently and reliably. Opportunities for workflow automation are found in all phases of the recruitment process, but best suited are repetitive administrative tasks that can be initiated by specific triggers.
A practical example shows how various automated workflows can be combined:
- An initial trigger may be the creation of a new data record in the talent pool. In response, the candidate is automatically asked via email for consent to their data being stored and to receiving further information.
- When the candidate agrees, this trigger automatically initiates a series of further actions: the candidate is informed that consent has been received, that they have been added to specific mailing lists and they receive, for example, an initial email as part of an automated campaign.
- As part of this campaign, the candidate is invited to an event for which he or she registers. Registration (trigger) leads to the talent profile being updated and a new tag being added. Prior to the event, the candidate is also sent further information regarding the order of the day, contact person, speakers, etc. automatically.
- Following the event, the candidate receives an automatic follow-up email with the option of choosing content on other key topics. This selection leads to the addition of new tags and, if applicable, the forwarding of suitable job advertisements.
- The candidate applies for the advertised job and is automatically added to the ATS, after which the status of the candidate profile in the CRM system is automatically updated.
Conclusion: More time for important things
Exploiting potential for automation in recruitment does not mean eliminating the human aspects of hiring. On the contrary: workflow automation gives recruiters the necessary freedom to devote more time to activities that depend on their personality. At the same time, administrative processes are completed faster, more efficiently and without errors. This not only has a positive effect on recruitment KPIs, in the long term, it also strengthens the employer brand.