4 Recruiting Automation Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Recruiters can still build relationships while automating

January 27, 2022


“Hiring is inherently a human endeavor and yet, it’s a process that we want to automate.”

BrightHire’s Co-founder Teddy Chestnut kicked off our recent webinar, “How to Avoid the Biggest Mistakes in Hiring Automation” with this increasingly common dilemma for talent acquisition professionals.

The panel consisted of Andres Blank, Co-founder and CEO at Fetcher; Hayli Thornhill, Head of Recruiting at BrightHire; and Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory.

The panel outlined the four major mistakes to avoid when implementing automation into the recruiting process, plus practical advice to help recruiters steer clear of these common pitfalls.


Mistake # 1: Waiting too long to automate

When is the right moment in a company’s maturity to implement automation? This is a key question for new companies and ambitious start-ups who have their sights set on rapid growth. Without established workflows in place, or people with the time to implement them thoughtfully, automation won’t be as effective. But as demands on hiring ramp up, organizations need to be conscious of where investing in tech is beneficial.

Top tips from the panel

✔️ Review your key hiring metrics. If your time to hire is increasing, and your quality of hires is decreasing, it’s time to explore automation. And if your recruiters are getting burned out, it means that they aren’t spending time doing the part of the job that they like, so giving them automation on repetitive tasks is key to success.

✔️ Keep a pulse on your recruiting team’s workload. As a TA leader, make sure you don’t distance yourself too much from the process. You need to stay dialed into your team’s pain points to understand when and where to turn to automation.

✔️ Look at how often you’re putting out fires, rather than working towards goals. A recent survey from Lighthouse of talent acquisition professionals found that the longer companies use automation, the more likely they are to be proactive, rather than reactive. They’re 5X more likely to actually help the business solve its organizational problems, and 50% more likely to spend more time interacting with key candidates.

Mistake #2: Falling prey to automation paralysis

The HR technology landscape is increasingly harder to navigate. Which tools do what, and for who? This can lead to teams avoiding automation altogether. It can also lead to the opposite problem, which is having too many platforms that aren’t being used efficiently.

Ben also shared data on this trend, which emphasizes that there are always tradeoffs with automation decisions. “One of the things we saw in a recent study was that companies that used more systems, got more stuff done. However, the more tools they were using, the harder it was to see the truth because the data was in many different places.”

Top tips from the panel

✔️ Identify bottlenecks. Look at your processes at both a high level and on a case-by-case basis. At a high level, what is missing, and what is repetitive? Get more specific insights by looking at the flow for an open role that’s taken longer to hire than expected. Automate the repetitive, behind-the-scenes actions.

✔️ Look for gaps across your team. That means listening to your team and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Do you have recruiters that are great at sourcing or analytics? What is the team struggling with overall? Automate in the gaps.

✔️ Assess how much time your team is spending on manual tasks. As Ben pointed out, no one got into recruiting to look at 100 resumes, line by line. Look at where people aren’t adding value to the manual tasks and shift to focusing on automation there.

Mistake #3: Failing to prove the business case

Often recruiters’ efforts to bring recruiting automation tools into their processes are thwarted because they don’t create a strong business case and thus aren’t able to convince leadership of a software’s value.

Top tips from the panel

✔️ Get the buy-in from your team first. Use the data you have to quantify your team’s time, and do a platform analysis with high-level takeaways for decision-makers.

✔️ Make sure you’ve done your homework. Do your research and ask the right questions to potential vendors. What does a partnership look like? What other parts of the process will have to change when a new tool is introduced? Bring case studies and references from organizations that are similar to your own to show the before-adoption and after-adoption processes and results.

✔️ Connect recruiting’s success to the rest of the organization’s success. A practical way to do this is to involve leaders from across the company in the conversation very early on, for instance, the CFO and the Head of IT. The companies that do this are happier and more successful with their implementations.

Mistake #4: Insufficient adoption

Once you’ve made the business case for automation and have begun working it into your workflow, the next challenge becomes adoption. The panelists agreed that too often, recruiters don’t have the support to incorporate it into their daily routines or just don’t know where to start.

On an organizational level, this leads to wasted time and money, and for TA teams, it leads to further challenges in getting approval for new software down the road.

Top tips from the panel

✔️ Recognize that adoption does mean change. Make sure your team is following the tips and best practices for adoption from the vendor. Old practices and mindsets may need to be adjusted with new tech.

✔️ Work with the vendor to set realistic expectations for results. It’s normal to want to see results immediately, but it will most likely take some time to see a full picture of how automation has impacted your recruiting pipeline. During a pilot or at the very beginning of your contract, make sure any vendor you partner with has an understanding of your goals.

✔️ Ask for feedback from your team. As a new tool is implemented, you need to keep an open dialogue with your team and when applicable, hiring managers. Is it making their lives easier? What do they like and dislike about it? With the market for recruiters being so competitive, it’s important to ensure they have the tools they need to feel empowered in their work.

Automation can help balance human and organizational needs and goals, when incorporated thoughtfully. The most important takeaway from this webinar is that the goal of automation should be to elevate a candidate’s experience, and give companies an opportunity to showcase their values and where they shine.

Thank you to Andres, Ben, and Hayli for sharing their insights, and to Teddy for moderating our panel!

Check out Fetcher’s other blog posts for more talent acquisition tips and insights into recruiting trends.

About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.

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Fetcher News, Recruiting Strategies