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Automation: How the Past is Shaping Our Future

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The following post is a companion to our staffing automation ebook “Launching Growth: How Automation Is Shaping The Future Of Staffing.

Do you remember the last time you went into the bank, filled out a withdrawal form, waited in line, and then waited on the teller to process your request? I do—it was the early 2000s and it’s only because I had lost my debit card. Aside from that, I’ve used an ATM for my cash-in-hand needs and I’m guessing you do the same.

The first ATM machine was installed in London in 1967 and basically changed the way banks operate. Rather than doling out cash manually, a machine (or robot) took that task off of the collective teller’s plate and enabled them to focus on more important tasks like signing up new customers.

So, how is an ATM relevant to a blog about the staffing industry? Because the staffing industry is undergoing a parallel change to the banking industry: repetitive, manual (and often forgotten) tasks are being taken off of the hands of recruiters and salespeople and put into the hands of robots.

Automation in the Past…

Automation started panicking employees as soon as GM coined the term in 1947. 

GM wanted a faster, safer way to get cars off of the conveyor belt and onto the roads. So rather than rely on humans to move a ton of steel through the factory floor, a machine did the heavy lifting. And rather than putting humans out of work, it fostered a new era of growth thanks to the productivity automation afforded.

Think of the ways that automation can improve processes in staffing and recruiting and it becomes clear why, like other industries before it, the field is destined for an automated transformation.

Imagine doing away with:

  • Cold calling
  • Rolodexes
  • Manual follow-ups

And replacing those tasks with: 

  • Automated lead nurturing
  • Automated email and text
  • Automated applicant tracking systems
  • Automated candidate screenings

To understand how automation is poised to change the way that firms staff and recruit for their customers in the future, start by looking at the past. 

Staffing automation, like auto manufacturing before it, provides an opportunity to facilitate growth at a rapid pace, both for individual agencies and for the industry as a whole. And the sooner a firm can implement automation, the sooner they’ll leave the past behind.

Automation Today…

While we’re still in the early days of leveraging automation in recruiting, there is an ever-growing list of agencies seeing ROI and using robots to help with the following: 

Improve internal processes. Work faster and smarter, with systems that are significantly less prone to human error.

Improve the candidate and client experience. You don’t have to worry about providing consistent follow-up and communication, and your candidates don’t have to worry that they won’t hear back when they submit an application. Automation is also integral in easing the work of gathering feedback and putting that feedback into action.

Improve workflow. Automation frees up more time for the revenue-producing activities that you rely on to bolster your bottom line. Robots work hard in the background, leaving humans with the time they need to cover the front-end of the business.

A Misplaced Fear of Automation

With the efficiencies outlined above, why isn’t everyone using automation in their business? Well, we can thank Hollywood for the negative perception automation (robots) holds in our collective psyche. 

There are also some misconceptions about the tools themselves, here is a brief breakdown of those barriers.

“We have a set way of doing things.” Every business has a process, good or bad. While the old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mantra may run through your head, there are always areas that can be improved upon. Critically thinking through your recruiting process will likely uncover gaps where fields aren’t updated, data becomes corrupt, candidates are left in the dark, and so on. Automation isn’t here to replace your process, it’s here to make sure it happens the same way, each and every time.

“Things won’t get done.” Have you ever forgotten to call or text a candidate on the day of an interview to make sure they know the address or the person they’re reporting too? I’m guessing the answer is yes. Sometimes we humans forget. Luckily, automation doesn’t. Rote tasks like sending reminder texts or emails throughout the recruiting cycle make up just another day in the digital office for robots. 

“The candidate experience will suffer.” Have you ever forgotten to follow-up with a candidate that applied or was rejected for a role? This is the biggest complaint of candidates when dealing with a recruiter – they often feel like they go into a black hole, never to be contacted again. Create a high-touch experience as people progress through your recruiting cycle and turn candidate perceptions around.

Automation can impact every facet of your business…TODAY. Spend some time walking through your current processes and understand where robots can plug-in.

The future…

So where do we go from here? 

Imagine the perfect future for your staffing or recruiting firm. 

Are you:  

  • Saving time?
  • Saving money?
  • Driving revenue
  • Offering the best client and candidate experience?

Then you’re probably using automation.

Moving forward, staffing automation is expected to become as ubiquitous as applicant tracking systems. And if you can’t remember a time before your ATS (or figure out how anybody ever got anything done), then you can easily understand how automation won’t just be a line item to consider but a platform that drives business supports revenue growth and allows your firm to compete.

Consider this: currently, passive talent accounts for 70% of the global workforce. And the number one reason that people change jobs? Opportunity. In the future, automation will help your firm find, qualify, and place passive talent with ease, greatly growing your candidate database and ensuring your clients always get the right person for the job. 

Reaching passive talent isn’t the only way your firm stands to grow exponentially in the future with automation. Effective staffing is as much about nurturing the candidate experience as it is about qualifying candidates for positions. 

Think of the gaps that exist today in staffing and recruiting. Almost all of them can be solved with automation, positively affecting the way you do business and how lucrative that business is. Can you afford to opt-out?

Key takeaways

Don’t have robots doing your busywork yet? You’ve probably got a lot to get back to. Here’s a quick overview of how your staffing firm can launch growth with automation.

Robots aren’t new, but they are better. Today’s automated capabilities are driven for efficiency and as innovative as it gets. And if you’re ready to ditch cold calls, Rolodexes, and time-wasting on-boarding processes, staffing automation has evolved into the perfect solution.

Overcome the barriers to adoption. If your processes are already efficient, automation will make them more so. Any barrier to automation adoption can almost always be remedied by fixing your internal processes first, meaning if you want to put automation to use for your business but are wary about it, your biggest hurdle is probably calling from inside the house.

Early adopters are seeing big rewards. Do better-curated leads sound like a win to you? How about faster onboarding and more engaged candidates? Early adopters of automation are already seeing all of this — and much more. In fact, one Herefish customer has already experienced a 25% to 30% reduction in no call no shows for jobs and interviews.

Process automation? Yes, please. Some of the biggest benefits of staffing automation are happening on the backend. By outsourcing rote and manual tasks to the robots, firms free up more time to focus on the things that drive revenue and help their business grow. Get an average of 20% of full-time equivalent capacity just from handing off your busy work to an automated platform.

Automation is the future. The staffing and recruiting industries are perfectly poised to benefit from automation. Some of the industry’s biggest gaps, including an untapped pool of passive talent and disengaged clients, can be effectively filled with the help of automation. If you aren’t looking forward, you’re going to fall behind.

Robots are our friends. Shed away your fear of robot overlords. Automation works in tandem with real live people to improve businesses, not in spite of them. Artificial intelligence isn’t scary and it isn’t something to shy away from. Find out just how much there is to be gained, and how you really have nothing to lose.


Herefish can help you put automation to work for your staffing or recruiting firm! Get in touch today and let’s get your robot sidekicks into action.

Bullhorn Partner Marketplace