As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of all invention. When businesses had to close their doors in March 2020 – when distance working and telecommuting created what was known as ‘the new normal’ – working practices were thrown up in the air and rewritten. In many industries, telecommuting was a practice that was only utilised by a selected number of staff; therefore, not only did the way we worked need to be looked at but also the software used.

Databases and other software that relied on connection to in-house servers were found to be unusable or at best impractical. Connecting remotely to computers in offices that maintained a physical connection to the databases was often the only way to complete tasks until all the necessary information was migrated to cloud-based databases with connectivity available anywhere.

How this affected the use of recruitment automation software?

As in all industries, recruitment was massively affected by the pandemic. At the end of March 2020, many people who thought they were in secure roles suddenly found themselves looking for work, whether this was a temporary thing prior to returning to their job once the world reopened or having to move in an entirely new direction. Job boards lit up with newly-created opportunities as the pool of candidates grew exponentially.

This massive growth in the number of people looking for new opportunities necessitated the use of recruitment automation software, with artificial intelligence (AI) and keyword searching used to whittle down the list of applicants to a manageable number of potential candidates. At this point, it must be said that the eyes of experienced recruitment consultants were necessary to both ensure that the software was looking for the right competencies and skillsets and to confirm that the applicants were those best placed to be taken forward.

More like the old normal

Once the recruitment automation software has done its job, the recruitment consultant’s job remains much the same as it has always been. Examples include the further screening of candidates and setting up meetings with clients in the hope of securing a placement.

A key difference is that rather than conducting screenings in offices, these took place via video link or over the phone. This had the potential to create a whole new world of potential issues, such as ensuring that both parties on the video call had a secure internet connection, which was not guaranteed during the early days of the first lockdown, to finding a quiet space away from unnecessary interruptions, which was not the easiest task given that schools were closed to almost all children.

As life has crept back towards normality throughout 2021, some of the automations designed and implemented throughout the first lockdown have been a great timesaver to many people, cutting travel greatly and increasing productivity to a vast number of people; however, the need for well-established recruiters to look closely at the applicants to ensure they put forward the best candidates to their clients remains as strong as ever.