What roles will emerging technology play in recruitment?

What roles will emerging technology play in recruitment?

We’ve come a long way from posting wanted ads in the local paper. These days, job seekers begin their hunt online — and so do recruiters.

Online job boards are probably the most significant change that recruiters have had to deal with in recent years. But they’re just the beginning of the ways technology has changed this and other HR functions for the better. Here’s a look at a handful of technologies in the process of disrupting recruitment as we know it.


The cryptography that powers blockchain has implications for a variety of industries and activities — including HR and recruiting. Blockchain provides immutability in transactional and financial records and helps prove authenticity in our manufactured goods supply chains. But this public ledger could be used to securely record data on personnel, too.

Which “data points” are most helpful to employers during recruiting? It’s things like past employment, education, certified skills, work performance and the results of background checks and verifications. Blockchain can vouchsafe all of this information for employees throughout their careers: a good thing for hiring managers and applicants alike. It adds trust and authenticity to a person’s application, helps weed out faked or exaggerated credentials, and helps speed the bureaucracy along.

There’s a lot of work to be done on industrial blockchain standards, but it’s likely to become a staple in personnel management and many other fields before much longer.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is another technology with a vast amount of potential that we’ve only barely begun to harness. Does it sound like an unlikely tech tool for recruiting? Maybe it shouldn’t.

The list is long, and getting longer, of companies successfully using VR to recruit and train new generations of workers. Jaguar, the British Army, Intuit, General Mills, and many others are building their own VR apps and experiences to treat applicants and new hires to things like:

  • Inside looks at company offices and headquarters to experience a “day in the life.”
  • Games and aptitude tests to judge candidates’ skills, interests, and subject matter expertise.
  • Fully interactive training simulations to prepare students or train new hires on dangerous equipment safely.

Building VR apps is a great way to show off your company’s culture at recruiting events and trade shows, to test candidates on their abilities, and to engage in safe and detailed onsite training for more advanced employees or those in the process of onboarding.

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Social media

Social media is hardly a breakout technology in 2019. But for recruiters, it seems like social sites are only just beginning to yield their full potential when it comes to targeting and vetting recruits. Maybe more than any other medium, seeing how somebody comports themselves on social media can go a long way in determining whether they’re a good cultural fit.

First and foremost, remember that Facebook is the first stop for many internet users. Your company probably has a page there, which means you should have a careers page there, too. Populate it with photos from employee events, testimonials from your workers, a look at your benefits and community involvement, and anything else you can brag about when it comes to your culture. Social sites are a treasure trove of people who follow and care about your brand, and those with the relevant skills to thrive in your organization as an employee. More importantly, social sites make it easy to find the Venn-diagram-overlap between the two.

But if there’s a social network that’s synonymous with recruiting and job hunting, it’s LinkedIn. LinkedIn Recruiting offers advanced tools for HR personnel, such as advanced filters to make the candidate search far more efficient, and even automated tools to instantly alert you when candidates matching your requirements happen on by.

Machine learning

Machine learning can be a recruiter’s best friend when it comes to dealing with piles of resumes and trying to winnow down a large number of candidates. Tools like semantic search use machine “intuition” to interpret what a recruiter is searching for, without taking their search query literally. In other words, machine learning can intuit all of the possible meanings and derivations of keywords and search phrases, instead of forcing HR personnel to guess about the phrasing applicants used in their resumes and cover letters. The result could be a dramatic savings of time and effort.

Big data and geofencing

Location data can be one of the most useful tools for “marketing” to job applicants, as well as one of the most controversial. Some of the data that may be of most interest to recruiters comes with privacy implications attached in the post-GDPR world.

So long as it’s collected with permission and used transparently, location data can do a lot of good when it comes to connecting companies and organizations with the talent they’re looking for. For Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, geofencing provided precisely the boost their recruiters were looking for, and at a critical time.

The hospital has a constant need for certified pediatric nurses, but until recently they found it difficult to find qualified applicants. So they turned to geofencing. After working with data brokers to find out where ideal candidates live and work, hospital recruiters set up geofences in those areas to push job-related ads to qualified candidates as they pass through the geofenced areas. The results? Up to four new applicants every week.

This is just a taste of the technology out there that’s helping job hunters find opportunities they didn’t know about — and helping recruiters with the daunting task of narrowing down a world full of candidates.


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