Five Changes in HR due to Technology

The 21st century is the age of technology. Smart living is not just another fancy term as our lives are continuously impacted by the permeating embrace of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Internet of Things, Machine learning, and more. Your smartphones know more about you that you can ever remember. It knows where you went to shopping last New Year eve, how long were you there at the shopping mall and when did you get back home. When such is the power of technology is it possible to remain insulated from its affect as a human resource professional? Not even remotely so.

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Top HR Technology Trends in 2019: What to expect?

HR Technology has finally come of age and it is changing at a faster rate than ever. Cloud-based HR software are growing in number and more new companies than are developing AI-based tools to change the entire talent management landscape. Also, bigger multinationals like IBM, Salesforce, Google and Facebook are entering the space, which indicates that HR Technology is not a fringe phenomenon but is a mainstream trend.

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How to implement HR analytics

How to Successfully Implement HR Analytics?

HR analytics allows HR professionals to monitor and analyze process and people performance, and identify the bottlenecks. With HR departments creating huge piles of data every single day, HR Analytics can be highly empowering, provided there is a clear process in place to implement it in the organization. Here we discuss few easy ways of implementing HR Analytics.

Business leaders now expect HR departments to provide strategic inputs to steer the organization towards the path of better growth and development. HR teams, in turn, are hoping analytics will provide them the necessary clarity and direction and considering the benefits that HR analytics has, the hopes are not unfounded. However, many organizations are yet to realize the complete potential of HR analytics owing to its messy adoption. Here we tell you about the steps to improve HR analytics implementation in your organization:

Define the HR analytics process for successful HR analytics adoption

One of the basic requirements for applying HR analytics successfully in your organization is to research and define a process that is relevant to the goals of your business.  You must look at the direction where the business wants itself to pivot and the KPIs that should be measured to reach that objective. Based on this conclusion you must define a HR analytics process that creates strategic value for the organization. The defined HR analytics process should not only be able to analyze the past performance but also be capable of predicting the efficiency and efficacy of HR activities and their impact on overall organizational performance.


Plan a HR analytics framework to easily implement HR analytics

Once you have a clear definition of the HR analytics process it’s easy to create a HR analytics framework that would drive the implementation. One of the commonly known frameworks used in HR analytics is the LAMP framework. LAMP stands for Logic, analytics, measures and process. These are vital components of a measurement system that drives strategic change in the organization. HR analytics often provides organizations with insights that supersede the ability of existing processes to use them properly. With LAMP framework in place, HRs have the opportunity to enhance their decision making and act as driver in strategic change.

Experiment with different HR Analytics tools while implementing HR Analytics

Today, HR analytics is a mature market with more and more tools available for all kinds of users. These tools combine data mining and analysis, visual statistics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide watertight control over the data generated and extract its maximum value. These tools feature user-friendly intuitive interface that is easy to explore by an HR professional with minimum technical assistance. It is useful to become acquainted with a couple of such HR analytics tools before settling for the best combination that works for your organization’s HR process.

Hire skilled professionals for better HR analytics Implementation

Analytics is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. There are numbers everywhere and huge loads of data always ready to be explored and analyzed. Lack of analytical skills is one of the major hurdles that organizations face while implementing HR analytics, however, HRs are not be blamed for this gap. Most of the time HRs were not trained well for technical roles, which is changing with the increasing dominance of data in every field. Nevertheless, for successful HR analytics adoption there are some prerequisite skills that HR professionals must have:

  • Strong logical and analytical acumen
  • Good IT skills
  • A solid understanding of HR processes and metrics
  • Curious and inquisitive minds to chase factual answers

To make better use of HR data, organizations must meet the above described criterion and continuously invest to improve their technical capabilities. HR analytics is all about building a narrative out of data and a specialized HR analytics tool will serve this very purpose.



5 hr technology challenges

5 HR Technology Implementation Challenges

Whenever a new technology disrupts an industry, there is a huge wave of optimism around the immense possibilities and innovations brought about by the technology. It’s only when the excitement settles down that we begin to see through the possibilities and look at the challenges that will arise either while implementing the technology or in the post-implementation phase. In the current business landscape no one can deny the importance and impact of HR technology as far reaching. However, we must also keep in mind the various risks, and hurdles involved in the path of its successful implementation. We already know what drives the HR technology adoption.

Here are the top 5 HR Technology Implementation Challenges

HR Digitization is a Key HR Technology Implementation Challenge

The biggest challenge while implementing a new HRIS or ATS are people, not the system itself. Unless all key stakeholders are sure that change is necessary, HR technology implementation will continue to face resistance. The adoption will be mired with fear, insecurity and confusion. Educating the key players and leaders about the functioning and benefits of HR tech will help bring about a consensus that digitization of HR is inevitable. Planning for people to accept the change is as important as planning for new processes and systems. If you want to make the best case for HR tech implementation you need to complete various steps such as:
• Define the success of HR tech implementation and measure it at regular intervals
• Assign specific responsibilities to stakeholders, and measure their levels of commitment
• Assess the skills and willingness of people to make the HR tech adoption successful. Conduct regular surveys and hold discussions to figure out the knowledge and views of people over the course of implementation of the project.

Also Read: Need for HR Digitization

Customization is a key HRIS Challenge

There is no straightjacket solution for businesses looking to implement HRIS in their organization, as they have various needs that keep on changing as the business evolves. Finding a solution that can scale with the growing business is one of the challenges that companies experience. You would want to spend as much time as possible focusing on the bigger business problems rather than complaining to your HR technology vendor about a missing feature, or waiting for it to scale the system as per your requirements. Besides every organization have different employee policies, recruitment workflows and HR processes. Can HR technology vendors provide a customized solution as per the organization’s requirement without much hassle?

Utilizing Reports and Analytics is an HR Technology challenge

Each HR tech tool generates a lot of data based on your organization’s workflow. Is your HR team equipped to handle such huge amount of data? Many of the current HR solutions are equipped with advanced reports and analytics. But if the business intelligence provided by them is not used for evolving the process and making it more productive, the whole point of having a HR tech solution implemented is lost. Only one of three HR managers describe their proficiency with data analytics as either good or excellent. In this scenario, even HR technology adoption will not be able to provide its maximum benefit.

Also Read: The Importance of HR Analytics in an Organization

One of the key HR Technology Challenges is Managing Multiple Vendors

Another challenge that comes in the way of HR technology acceptance is the need to implement different solutions to manage different aspects of HR processes. Unless you are implementing a comprehensive HRIS, which covers HR management, Recruitment automation, referral automation, Payroll processing and other HR tasks through one solution, you will most probably have to deal with multiple HR software. However, this is far from the ground realty. Enterprises often have two or more HR tools managing their HR processes. Seamless integration of these tools with each other is a challenge. Also, each tool generates its own data, and unifying this data for an accurate analysis and then performing an analysis is again a tough task to accomplish.

Resource Constraints also results in HRIS Implementation Failure

In a survey conducted by Mercer, 29 % of respondents cited Resource constraints as major challenge in implementing HR technology. These internal resource constraints include, “not having enough people to pull it off.” In addition to human capital, there might be budget constraints as well. Most startups that have less than 100 employees but want to automate their HR tasks in order to focus on business problems have very less choice of HR solutions. Barring a few, majority of HR vendors focus on SMEs and Enterprises as their target audience. Thus, small companies are often left with no choice but to either handle HR processes manually or pay a premium to get a customized solution.

Also Read: What is driving the adoption of HR Technology?

Driving the adoption of HR Technology

What is driving the Adoption of HR Technology?

HR Technology is now a hot marketplace. $5.5 billion have been invested in HR startups since 2014 through VC investments. This shift in investment towards new HR and workplace tools signals a growing trust in the benefits of having a digitally driven HR process in the organization. What are the main drivers of HR Technology adoption? Let’s examine.

A massive wave of innovation is sweeping the HR industry. Many organizations are adopting cloud-based technologies and building digital infrastructure for HR. Results of Sierra-Cedar research reflects that 45 % of large organizations and 51 percent of mid-sized companies are going to increase their HR Technology budget. It’s an exciting time for HR Technology. But what is driving this excitement?

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Benefits of using an Applicant Tracking System

Top 10 Benefits of Using an Applicant Tracking System

Automation is a buzzword in the recruitment industry. While we witnessed the first automation technology making its mark in HR in mid 1990s, it wasn’t until last 5 years that applicant tracking system became an absolute necessity for HR professionals and there were good reasons for that. HR Technology has come up in a big way in the last few years. While large enterprises have been quick to adapt, there are still several small and medium businesses that are stuck with the traditional ways of hiring, thus losing out on top talent and hours of productivity with every passing day. There are umpteen benefits of using an Applicant Tracking System. We have listed here the top 10.

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Disruptive HR Practices in 2018: What is changing for HR?

Disruptive HR Practices in 2018: What is changing for HR?

The advent of technology and changing demographics are forcing significant differences in the way organizations hired and managed their talent in the past. CHROs, recruiters and every HR practitioner must adapt to these changes and bring a new order to talent management. They must give due importance to the changing times and keep an eye on the best practices to implement them in their organizations. This is the only way to build an HR policy that is disruptive and meets the demand of the future.  Let us examine what has changed and will change for the HR in the coming future. Here are the disruptive HR practices for 2018.

Man-Machine Collaboration is a disruption in HR

Harvard Business Review predicts that as much as 80% of the employee turnover is due to bad hiring decision.  In the same context, another report by Business Insider reveals gut hiring has 50% failure rate. The writing on the wall is clear. Relying on human gut for making hiring decisions instead of analytics data can prove expensive to an organization. It is no longer man versus machines and those who still believe in this are missing the bigger picture. In fact, the future is about man with machines and how machines can enable better decision making.

Humans are prone to unconscious bias, boredom, exhaustion and many other behavioral tendencies which may alter the final decision. On the other hand, machines have no such pre-conceived notion, can do the same task tirelessly and with greater accuracy. Using machine learning algorithms can help make better assessments as they employ a strictly scientific approach based on previous trends and data. To ensure a successful outcome, recruiters should leverage the power of these algorithms to narrow down on their choices and use human intelligence to make the final decision. Since the existing HR practices are neither scientific nor based on evidence, we are bound to see a growth in man machine collaboration in the future. Growing competition for top class talent is going to make sure that HR professionals resort to integrated approach, where Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are as important as human gut.  Machine will help automate repetitive tasks of HR and give them bandwidth to invest time in strategic decision making.

(Also Read: Need for HR Digitization)

HR emerging as a value based role is a disruptive innovation in HR

The annual C-Suite Challenge survey asks CEOs across the globe to identify significant business challenges in front of them. This could be a little surprising to know, but the most critical concern of CEOs in 2018 is the ability or inability to attract and retain talent. What does this mean for HRs? They have got a great responsibility on their heads. This also reflects the growing importance of HR, from an activity based role (hiring, training, payroll) to a value based role, where we focus on the value these activities create for the business. This challenge is an opportunity in disguise for human resource professionals to rise above their current role. This is a chance to evolve and become a strategic business partner. To do so, the HR needs to think as a business – identify the customers, define value proposition, measure results and build a data-backed business case while asking for investments/budget allocations. This is not all. HR’s strength is its human element and as a people’s manager, HRs need the human touch to induce loyalty, employee engagement and a genuine work culture.

(Also Read: How to Improve Your Human Resources Department?)

Continuous performance assessment in HR is a disruptive HR practice

There has been significant buzz around performance management in the last few years. A survey of 300 HR leaders revealed 21% have already moved away from rating system in their performance management. Changing needs of work environment have necessitated this reaction from companies to ensure better talent development, less costly performance management and improved retention rates.

Organizations don’t need to do away with ratings altogether but this trend shows clearly that continuous performance assessment is very much possible and can have a transforming effect on your organization. According to Josh Bersin’s Deloitte HR Tech Disruptions report, more than 70% of companies are reinventing the performance management process in their organization. The new process includes having a regular employee-manager interaction, employee activity tracking, productive feedback and learning opportunities.


Continuous performance assessment in HR is a disruptive HR practice

These changes in process are being acknowledged by HCM vendors who are shaping up their products to address the new concerns, although we are still far away from a complete solution to implement continuous performance management.

People Analytics Tools are HR technology disruptions for 2018

The last few years have seen an enormous flux of people analytics in HR processes. Organizations now resort to analytics and reporting tools to study their employee behaviour and improve metrics such as retention rate. Some tools have embedded intelligence to predict the factors that trigger high performance outcomes from employees. There are other analytics tools with embedded recommendation engine that tells which employees should take which training in order to optimize them for maximum performance.

Recent advancements in software and technology that can make sense of large datasets and the explosion of data itself have made sure that organizations can now fully utilize the maximum potential of people analytics. HRs already have access to huge data piles about their employees such as their demographics, academic credentials, compensation and performance data. With people analytics coming to the fore, HR can effectively and strategically leverage this data and act on it.

(Also Read: Importance of HR Analytics)


The importance of HR analytics in Organization

The Importance of HR Analytics in an Organization

A recruiter’s role has evolved over the years. Earlier they were only responsible for filling up vacancies arising out of a new role or requirement, or an employee moving out. In the current context, a recruiter has a bigger role to play. Organizations now understand that their biggest asset is their workforce, which explains why there is an increasing emphasis on finding and attracting the best talent.  This growing competition for talent is also a result of rising candidate awareness. High performance employees understand they are a valuable asset and therefore do comprehensive benefit analysis before committing to a particular organization.


Job search is no longer a once in a two year affair. In this smartphone age, jobseekers are constantly checking out new, better opportunities on the go or even while at work. Thus, your role as a recruiter, hiring manager or talent acquisition specialist has grown manifold. From filling up vacant positions to finding and hiring top talent, to retaining them, it’s a tough task at hand. Helping you out in your daily pursuit are the latest HRMS, comprehensive recruitment software, talent management systems and applicant tracking systems.

(Also Read: Disruptive HR Practices in 2018: What is changing for HR?)


Collectively expressed as HR Technology, these tools have opened up new possibilities for recruiters that either remained hidden till now, or were ignored for lack of the requisite data and resources. The infusion of HR Technology has given way to data-driven recruiting and HR analytics. These methods work on data acquired through HR technology tools like Applicant Tracking Systems and Recruitment Management Systems. Learn more about HR analytics here:

What is HR Analytics?

Analytics is based on data. HR analytics is the science of gathering, organizing and analyzing the data related to HR functions like recruitment, talent management, employee engagement, performance and retention to ensure better decision making in all these areas. By using various types of HR software and technology, HR departments are creating a large amount of data every day.  However, the objective of HR analytics is to actually make sense of this data and turn it into a valuable insight.

Benefits of HR Analytics

Application of HR analytics results in a number of strategic and operational advantages to HR.

Benefits of HR Analytics

Increased need for data and analytics tool in HR to make better HR decisions

An important role of HR analytics is to provide access to critical data and insights about the workforce which can be then analysed for making better decisions. Not only does it improve the HR performance but also provides a better understanding of what motivates employees to work productively, and how do the organizational culture affects employee performance.

(Also Read: How to Improve Your Human Resources Department?)

Better Quality of Hire is one of the HR data analytics benefits

Running machine learning algorithms on jobseeker’s data allows companies to identify the best matching talent for a vacant position, thus improving the quality of hire.

A vital benefit of HR metrics and analytics is Employee Retention

Similarly, using employee data, recruiters can recognize a pattern of high performing employees and accordingly modify their employee hiring and retention strategy. HR analytics helps identify the departments suffering from the maximum attrition and the reasons causing it. It can also help HR in identifying the activities which have the maximum impact on employee engagement and thus allow organizations to invest in such activities.

(Also Read: How to Increase Employee Engagement – Five Important Tips)

Transformation of HR as a strategic partner is one of the benefits of Workforce analytics

The application of HR analytics can provide a unique vantage point to HR department to validate its importance and its role as a strategic partner in a business’ performance.  HR professionals can provide business leaders with verifiable data to back their talent hiring, retention and engagement policies.

(Also Read: How to Improve Talent Acquisition?)

Business analytics in HR can help predict the hiring needs of an organization

HR analytics can help predict the changes that may be in the organization’s future. Using HR analytics, one can predict the skills and positions which are needed to improve business performance.

With the manifestation of HR technology on a never before scale, we can assume there will be more focus areas adding to this list where HR analytics can play a role in ensuring better HR performance and improving business performance an a whole.

(Also Read: Big Data in HR: Why it’s here and What it means)

Challenges of HR Analytics

It is true that the various HR tools being used today churn out huge amount of data every day, but without the clarity of how that data can be useful for a particular decision making process, it is difficult to tap into the true power of HR analytics. Although there are many local challenges that a company might face while implementing a HR analytics strategy, the major challenges that HR analytics face globally boil down to:

  • Multiple sources of data: With different HR tools catering to different functions of HR, there are too many sources of data working in isolation. Whether it is your HR information system, Applicant tracking system, learning management system or an employee referral software, every tool creates its own data and integrating it with the other sources is a major challenge. You could be surprised to know that data scientists spend 85% of their time just collecting and cleaning data, i.e separating the useful data from noise. Also, you cannot use the data from one source in isolation while making a strategic business decisions.  Thus a major challenge is to integrate these silo systems and make them communicate with each other.
  • Lack of Skills and Training: While it’s true that data scientists are at the forefront of this data & analytics revolution, Hiring managers and even CHROs have a preconceived notion that HR departments have little to no role to play in analyzing the data. Considering the technicalities involved, they hesitate to learn and implement these tools, supported by a mindset which is fearful of the learning curve. The HR managers would rather rely on their human intellect and understanding than going through training for a HR analytic tool. They often fall back on a faulty argument that machine intelligence will take out human from human resources, which is not at all true.

How to Use HR analytics?

Despite these challenges, organizations are committed towards utilizing the benefits of HR analytics and use it in the following ways:

  • Long term planning and strategic decision making: Most top performing businesses use data not to make windfall gains but to forecast and plan for future. Using data to analyze the ROI of various programs and initiatives helps make better decisions for company’s future.
  • Using automated tools: Using automation tools and automated processes not only reduce data errors due to human factors but also give time for more important strategic tasks. Evolving to these tools is one of the easy ways to utilize the real power of HR analytics.
  • Building an analytics savvy HR team: It is good to have data but without a team which feels comfortable with data, one is still stuck with age old methods. Therefore, building a HR Tech savvy team of human resource professional, either by training or reskilling or new hiring, is going to be mandatory in future. Top performing organizations are already working towards enabling digital transformation in their human resources department.

Disadvantages of HR Analytics

While the advantages of HR Analytics are immense, there are also a couple of disadvantages to using it in the current scenario. Since HRs deal with huge amount of sensitive and confidential data, security and privacy are two main concerns. Any HR analytics system which handles this data must be designed to prevent any unauthorized access. There have to be multiple levels of access and the system must be constantly monitored for any data theft. Maintaining such a system will obviously lead to greater costs and that’s the second main disadvantage to implementing HR analytics. High acquisition and maintenance costs mostly act as a deterrent, especially for smaller companies to implement such a system. Also, operating a sophisticated HR analytics tool requires special expertise and that results in additional training costs, or the costs of hiring an IT expert to handle this system.

However, since HR analytics is still in development stage, HR are still awakening to its immense potential, there will soon be a time when using these tools will become far easier and cost effective.


Chatbots-In-Recruitment: How-Do-They-Help?

Chatbots In Recruitment: How Do They Help?

Chatbots have finally arrived. Gartner predicts by 2021, 50% of enterprises will spend greater budget on chatbot creation and bots than traditional mobile app development. Chatbots are the future of interactions happening between you and your customer. They will define the quality and outcome of conversations between people and digital business services and data.  For recruitment industry, this is the newest addition to the already happening family of AI and Machine learning.

While it’s still early to predict whether these bots will ever take place of a human, the coming future is surely full of exciting possibilities. The future will belong to organizations that make data their best friend and adopt artificial intelligence and AI tools fearlessly in all of their processes, especially in recruitment. Talent acquisition specialists need to rise for the occasion and think beyond the normal; automation of routine tasks is mere tokenism. What you need is a revolution fostered by innovations like chatbots.

Know more about the benefits of chatbots in recruitment:

Arrival of Recruitment bots

Chatbots are essentially the evolution of automation. These tools not only perform repetitive manual tasks efficiently but also have the potential to transform the entire recruitment process by removing bias and enhancing the decision making capabilities of the HR. But what is a chatbot and how old are they?

While we are hearing about Chatbots a lot these days, you will be surprised to know that the first program which resembled the functions and abilities of a chatbot was first developed in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum.  Named Eliza, the program mimicked the language of a therapist. While the intelligence of Eliza was limited, it opened the gates to a world of possibilities where we could converse with technology the same way we do with each other. Fast forward to 2016, and today we are finally able to see fully functional bots which are able to converse with humans the way the humans would like them to.  But what is it about bots that make them so attractive?

Click here to know more about the history of chatbots.

Few years ago, the world of technology was all about creating stuff that could be used “on the go.” The smartphone revolution led to creation of websites which were responsive in nature. Responsive design is still the buzzword. Later, mobile app development arrived on the scene in a big way as developers began creating apps for everything. But you know what’s funny about apps? The most popular apps on all mobile platforms are all messaging apps, whether it’s Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp. Humans love to converse as it turns out and that’s where the real potential of a bot lies.

(Also Read: Innovation in recruitment industry)

Benefits of Using Bots for Recruiting

While Chatbot technology is still in nascent stage, its creators have already found ways of implementing it in different industries, and industry leaders are also upbeat about this new shining weapon in their armor. Recruitment is one of the major focus areas of chatbot developers. Take a look at some of the aspects of recruitment that Chatbots aim to address:

  1. Using chatbots in HR saves screening time
  2. HR chatbot benefits in scheduling of interviews
  3. Advantage of HR bots in answering jobseeker’s queries
  4. Recruitment chatbots help trigger notifications to candidates

Using chatbots in HR saves screening time

Screening is a basic yet important part of hiring, but it most definitely takes up more time than it actually deserves. Automating it with chatbots makes sense as it will save crucial time.

HR chatbot benefits in scheduling of interviews

Once a candidate goes through screening, successfully scheduling their interview should be an automatic follow through. Chatbots can do that too. Again a big time saver!

Advantage of HR bots in answering jobseeker’s queries

For every job description out there, there are plenty of doubts that a jobseeker can face. Without any established communication channel, these jobseekers would not be able to clear those queries and may opt against applying to that job, even if they are the perfect match. Bots equipped with artificial intelligence and access to data can not only understand the questions but also come up with the closest matching answer through machine learning algorithms.

Recruitment chatbots help trigger notifications to candidates

Most job seekers complain that they never hear from recruiters after crucial events like submission of job applications or interviews in case they didn’t satisfy the matching criteria. Most recruiters don’t do this intentionally but they are so tied up with their schedule and the menial manual tasks that they have to let go of communicating with the rejected candidates. This creates a major communication gap and acts as an employer brand killer. With bots in action, such communication gap can be plugged as the bot can trigger an automatic notification email after an event.

All these are only some of the initial use cases of a chatbot in recruitment. As the recruitment process evolves, there will always be more that can be achieved through these amazing applications of AI.

So now we understand the real benefits of using chatbots in recruitment:

Benefits of Using Bots for Recruiting

Now coming to the debate that surrounds AI and will inevitably come to chatbots also:

Will Chatbots Replace Humans?

First, with evolution of automation tools like ATS, then Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning and now ultramodern AI tools; chatbots, there is an undeniable dominance of technology. But is this dominance a sign of dependence? Does it make the humans redundant? The answer is NO.  Gartner predicts that in 2020, AI will generate more jobs (2.3M) while only eliminating 1.8M jobs.  Thus up through 2020, all industries and that includes recruitment, will experience a varying level of “time and effort saving with most of them witnessing no job loss.”  So is there any reason to worry for HRs? We don’t think so.

In fact, HR-Tech collaboration is the best thing to ever happen to the HR industry.  For instance, making subtle observations about the nature, weakness and strengths of a candidate will be difficult for a bot. These traits, human values are best judged by a human and that’s why the human factor will never go out of fashion in case of human resources.

(Also Read: HR technology disruptions for 2018)


ATS Vendors

A Guide to Boolean Search Recruiting with Examples

Talent sourcing is simple. You have an open vacancy in your organization. All you have to do is perform search basis keywords, designation, location, job title, experience, skills and other requirements in your ATS which obviously will return the best profiles matching your query and behold! You have found your candidate.

Okay. That was all in good humor!

We all know talent sourcing is the trickiest part of hiring because the software that you rely on may return the highest qualified candidates, but it may or may not return the best candidates for that role depending on the search and matching capabilities it comes equipped with.  Today vendors may entice you with fancy words like Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and cognitive computing but before these technologies exploded on the scene, most Applicant Tracking Software relied on Boolean search for their search and matching capabilities (and they still do).

Search engines like Google have been the flag bearer in this area as they first introduced Boolean in their search algorithms which was followed by much complex Semantic search and quickly progressed to AI based deep learning algorithms for returning search results to user queries. Recruitment has been quick to pick up the clues and has followed in the feet of the online search industry.  The current breed of recruitment software has vastly improved algorithms to source candidates more effectively.  We will see now how the search technology in ATS has moved from Boolean to Semantics and why the shift was necessary.

Boolean search strings in recruiting

Recruiters have relied on Boolean search for returning matching candidates from their company’s CV database in an ATS, or from other systems such as LinkedIn for a long time now. The search technology in most applicant tracking systems is an application of a standalone Boolean logic or combination of a two or more Boolean logics. Being equipped with a Boolean search functionality means you can use “OR”, “AND”, “NOT” , word operators to find candidates for particular requirement. In addition to these, we also have the “” and ().

So in total, Boolean logic works through five operators

  • OR
  • AND
  • NOT
  • “”
  • ()

For example, if you are searching for a marketing executive for your digital marketing team, and the manager insists on a Google Adwords certified individual, all you need to input is Marketing AND Google Adwords through a text query. If your recruiting solution has well-built taxonomy you might not even have to type Google Adwords in the query box, as it would automatically show in suggestions or fetch a Google Adword certified individual once you input Marketing as a key skill.  However, taxonomies are more of a semantic search concept than pure Boolean logic.

Other boolean search recruiting examples can be:

  • Job skill AND Experience AND Location

Software Development AND 5 years AND New York

A candidate who has software development as a skill,  5 years of experience and preferred location as New York.

  • (Job Skill OR Job Skill) AND Experience AND Location

(Software Development OR Software Testing) AND 5 years AND New York

A candidate who has software development or software testing (any one of the two) as skill and 5 years work experience and preferred location as New York

  • (Job Skill NOT Job Skill) AND (Location OR Location)

(Software Development NOT Software Testing) AND (New York OR London)

A candidate who has software development as a skill but software testing is excluded and preferred location is New York or London.

In an ATS these logics are also applied through check boxes and extensive filter

As it is evident, Boolean is a pretty easy way of constructing a query that fetches some relevant data.

Limitations of Boolean search techniques

True enough, boolean logic can find you candidates from your database as long as the search is syntactically correct. But that doesn’t mean it is finding you the best candidates. One limitation is that Boolean search works on exact terms specified in the query. For instance, a recruiter searching for “Web Designer” would certainly miss profiles that do not have the term and are alternatively listed as “Front End Designer”, or “UI Designer”.

The other problem that comes with Boolean search is the limited parameters around which you have design your query. For instance, if you need a candidate with 5 years’ experience in a particular skill set, such as software testing, there is hardly any way to specify this using Boolean, unless the developers of the Applicant Tracking System went to extreme pains of creating the most advanced Boolean search system. Another limitation is the sheer number of results that a Boolean query returns and that too not in any particular order. To get to the best possible candidate, the HR might have to open each profile and find the best match, which again is a time taking process depending on how large is your database of profiles.

Evolving to Semantic Search Recruiting

Some ATS’s have fought this drawback by providing functionality where candidates are divided in Premium and Other category based on predefined parameters like their College, Experience Years, and Current Employer. But that’s not good enough. Therefore, it’s time to look beyond and incorporate new search technologies with Boolean to make the most effective talent sourcing machine. With arrival of Semantic search and the age of artificial intelligence we have big hopes for sourcing and recruiting industry. How this search technology is different from their previous counterpart, we will study in our next post.

(Also Read: The Benefits of Semantic Search in Recruiting)