Seven tips for impressing a robot recruiter

Make sure you stand out from the crowd in any AI-infused recruitment processes with these tips, from getting up to speed with the appropriate etiquette for using specific technology to remembering to keep the basics in mind

Increasingly, recruiters and hiring managers are turning to technology to help streamline the recruitment process. The intention is to reduce costs, the time it takes to hire someone, as well as administrative tasks for both candidates and employers. However, it can be a daunting prospect if you haven’t faced a virtual recruiter before.

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, 35% of hiring managers rated AI as a very or extremely important trend for the future of recruitment, while 50% said the same about data analytics . Recruitment is getting more technologically advanced and, as a candidate, you will need to adjust to this new way of working.

So, how can you stand out to non-human hiring managers?

1. Be visible

The first step is to make sure you are visible to recruiters (robot or otherwise) by using tools, such as LinkedIn, appropriately. Is your profile complete and up to date? Are you open to messages from recruiters and are your contact details correct? Do you regularly engage with others on the platform? Social professional networks are a leading source of quality hires, so make sure that you’re appearing in searches, and are visible to recruiters and hiring managers.

There are also excellent human recruiters out there, with almost 40,000 recruitment agencies in the UK alone. These people often control which candidates are recommended to hiring organisations. Building a relationship with a recruiter who specialises in your field is a good way, therefore, to make sure that you are made aware of new opportunities. They’ll be able to coach you on how to impress the robots too.

2. Get prepared and practice, practice, practice

Many areas of the hiring process will be transformed by technology and there are lots of different ways that organisations can approach automation. A virtual interview, for example, could mean creating a recording of yourself answering pre-screened questions, talking to an AI bot, or a video interview with your prospective employer.

Make sure you know which experience you’re taking part in and prepare accordingly. Check sites such as Glassdoor to see if candidates have shared details of previous interviews and get yourself ready. If you’re in any doubt about the process, contact the hiring manager to confirm the details. Not only will this allow you to plan properly, but the organisation will be able to see that you have considered and prepared for the interview.

3. Get au fait with video

Video interviewing technology has been around for a while, but its use has increased during the restrictions brought on by Covid-19 and is likely to continue to do so at an accelerated pace. Take some time to feel comfortable on video, so that you can feel confident and focused, rather than distracted by your own image or the sound of your recorded voice.

All of us are more accustomed to using video technology in our personal lives, but a video interview is a professional experience and requires a degree of formality. Be sure to practice this experience in advance of your interview so that you can concentrate on the points you want to get across.

4. Don’t lose sight of the basics

Just because you’re not dealing directly with another person, it doesn’t mean you should lose sight of all of the things you would usually do when applying for a role. Dress the part if you’re attending a video interview, for example, and prepare written communications with the usual pleasantries that you would normally use.

Most automation tools are designed to mimic human behaviour, so keep the basics in mind and don’t think they are any less important. Even if you are being assessed by bots in the early stages, it is likely that a human will read your application once you’ve progressed.

5. Keep pace with change

Things change quickly with tech that it is important to stay up to date with the technology in use. For example, many employers are now using Zoom for their video interviews, so use this for your practice sessions to ensure that you are familiar with how it looks and works.

As technology changes, so does the etiquette and culture surrounding it. It’s not always which tools are being used, but how they are being used that is important. While it will most often be important to dress formally for video interviews, this may not always be the case. Make sure you keep a finger on the pulse for changes to how we use technology.

6. Focus on your core strengths

One of the benefits of automation and AI in the recruitment process is the potential to remove and reduce unconscious bias. Most AI programmes do this by removing indicators such as name, dates and schooling so that the reviewer is not given any information which may reveal gender, age, ethnicity, religion or any other protected characteristics.

Previously, your CV may have attracted attention because you attended a prestigious university or had an interesting hobby that made recruiters take a second glance. Now they will only see information relevant to your skills and experiences, so make sure this content showcases your strengths and abilities.

7. Don’t forget the human element

Conversely, in a time when you are more likely than ever to be talking to a robot, soft skills have never been more in-demand. Among talent professionals, 91% agree that soft skills are very important, according to research from LinkedIn. If you make it to the interview stage, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to demonstrate the soft skills you have and times when you have used these in a professional environment.

So, while it’s crucial to harness your technical prowess, keep in mind that at the beginning and end of the interaction is a real-life human. Leadership, communication and empathy are highly desirable traits, so if you have an opportunity to create a connection then take advantage of that. Technical ability must be balanced with soft skills, not just for attaining a job offer, but also to enable you to perform better in the role too.

Spencer Symmons is the Co-Founder of Cardiff-based UK recruitment firm, CPS Group.

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