Innovation has been fueling the recruiting industry for quite some time. And given the competitive nature of recruiting – one of the few areas in the HR practice where a professional can be fired pretty quickly for non-performance – it’s not a surprise.

To visit the areas where technology innovation can help in the recruiting process – let’s break the recruiting process down to its most fundamental pieces, the FQSO process:

  • Find
    Find the candidates, and get them to interact, then to apply. 
  • Qualifiy
    Qualify the candidates that have (or have not) applied. 
  • Select
    Select the best candidate from interviews (and other means). 
  • Onboard
    Onboard the candidate, make the offer, get them signed up with benefits etc. etc.

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Find – Social reverses the process with micro headhunting

The largest innovation we see is the reversal of the Find process from the honey-pot model to micro headhunting. Instead of waiting (and hoping) for candidates to be found on job boards, candidates will be actively recruited through social networks. We know this works both from the employee referral success – where basically the employee has done a real world social network analysis on the candidate and the executive headhunting model, where successful headhunter place their Rolodex members multiple time over their careers. The micro headhunting trend can be best seen with the success that LinkedIn has with its recruiting offerings.

Qualify – Analytics and BigData drive change

Candidate qualification has been left for the longest to personal judgment of the recruiter and hiring managers. Not that they won’t matter in the future – but most humans cannot select by more than 5-7 criteria from a number of decision options. Will that decision get better when you go to 20, 50 or 100 criteria? It certainly will. The good news is, that with the rise of BigData we can for the first time store the wealth of information and consider it all. Couple the data storage with next generation analytics – that are model agnostic and simply bootstrap analytical models over the data – and we will see some never before seen candidates at the front of the qualification queue.

Assuming an enterprise has added the micro headhunting capability it also enables that enterprise to go back to actively Find the candidates of the right caliber – should the first wave of candidates not been qualified enough.

Select – Scheduling and Video increase quality, mobile drives efficiency

In the traditional recruiting modus operandi we would now see candidates being invited for phone and onsite interviews. Scheduling these is a logistical nightmare – so scheduling software that is tuned to the needs of the recruiting process (aware e.g. the hiring funnel, candidate attractiveness etc.) makes a huge difference. And video allows to replace the single sensory phone interview into a multi-sensory experience that unquestionably leads to better selection results in the Select phase. With the support of tablets and smartphones during the interview process, vendors are already making the interview process itself more efficient.

Assuming an enterprise has added the Analytics and BigData capabilities in the Qualify phase – then it can treat the video data as qualification data, too. All of the sudden information on facial expression, body language, voice modulation etc. becomes part of the qualification data pool. And with that analytical models can factor all of those into the candidate selection process. While legal concerns may loom, anybody who has hired someone knows that all these factors play an explicit to implicit role in the decision process.

Onboard – Time to get it right

The irony is that the Onboard function is probably the least innovative one of the four, and therefore less subject to potential technology disruption. But the challenge is that Onboarding in most enterprises is fundamentally broken and practically an incarnation of the system integration mess many enterprises have created. But it’s time to get onboarding right, as the sooner the new hire is productive on the job, the better ROI of the hiring process – and with that it’s an area both the Chief People Officer and the Chief Executive Officer should ignore.

FQSO does not operate by itself

Let’s not forget that the whole recruiting process of the future will not run by itself – the role of the recruiter will fundamentally change, the hiring manager will take over the process and maintain a continuous talent depth chart for every existing and potential future position – as I have laid out here in more detail.


Innovation with technology has been mankind’s secret of success. Whoever mastered the technology earlier had a considerable advantage over the other players. Given the war for talent, the increased cost for personnel that are all trends enterprises are facing – the right usage and dosage of technology to innovate in recruiting while be a key success factor for enterprises in the remaining teenage years of the 21st century. Better to get started earlier than later.

Have a case study? Get recognized for your innovation. Apply for the 2014 SuperNova Awards for leaders in disruptive technology.