Employee recruitment, selection, and assessment has been for many years one of the most prominent and important areas of research and practice in human resource management. More recently it has been heavily affected by the emergence of technology, influencing all different aspects of the recruitment and selection cycle (Woods et al., 2020). New and various forms of technological developments have appeared, making a strong impact on the way recruiters work and job seekers look for a job.
Technology in attraction
The first stage of the recruitment and selection process includes the attraction phase. Attraction is not identical to recruitment. Recruitment is broader than attraction, including many different elements, important for the whole selection process, such as the different activities organizations undertake in order to identify a desirable group of candidates, attract them into their employee ranks, and retaining them at least for the short term (Taylor & Collins, 2000). Attraction refers to the initiation of the applicants’ interest and therefore is considered the first step of the hiring process.
Internet-based, or on-line recruitment was one of the first technological developments in the field. Job boards / job sites offering employers the opportunity to advertise their job openings online to a wide audience were the first applications in on-line recruitment and are still used heavily nowadays, since they are often perceived (and probably they are) as highly effective from both recruiters and job applicants (Nikolaou, 2014). Similarly, companies have shown interest in developing specialized career / company / job sites where they advertise their own job openings. Technology has enabled company career sites to become a very effective tool in attracting and maintain candidates’ interest, supporting extensively the employer branding initiatives and policies a company may undertake (Lievens & Slaughter, 2015).
Social media though and social networking websites have been the most important development in the field of digital attraction. Nevertheless, recent studies have challenged the wide acceptance of social media, raising major concerns about their usefulness both among recruiters (Zhang et al., 2020) and job-seekers (Johnson & Leo, 2020). More research is urgently needed in this field, since there is no sign that the use of social media, especially LinkedIn, is going to go away any time soon. On the contrary, early signs have shown that the advent of COVID-19 has shifted both job seekers and recruiters towards more extensive use of social media, according to recent reports in the media (e.g. Wilding, 2020).
Technology in screening
The second stage of the process includes screening candidates’ available information regarding their suitability for the position, often also called cybervetting, defined as the use of nongovernmental, noninstitutional online tools or sites (e.g., search engines and social network sites) from employers in order to extract informal, often personal information about prospective or current employees (Berkelaar & Buzzanell, 2014). Cybervetting seems to have a strong negative impact on applicant reactions. Candidates expect that professionally-oriented websites, such as LinkedIn, will be accessed by potential employers and often encourage this access by including their LinkedIn profile link in their CVs or application forms, but they do not have the same attitude towards personally-oriented social media, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Technological developments have also facilitated the administration and execution of many time-consuming tasks in the screening process. For example, the extensive use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) can reduce the duration of the screening process, providing effective resume storage, resume parsing and keyword search for very large numbers of applications. They can also offer additional opportunities of combining the information candidates provide themselves with the information publicly available for them on social media.
Technology in selection
More recently though, two new technology-oriented selection methods have attracted increased attention. These are the asynchronous video interviewing and gamification/games-based assessment.
The asynchronous video interview (AVI) is defined as the type of interview where candidates are required to record their responses to a set of interview questions they are given and submit them on-line. AVI is more likely to be used during the initial steps of the selection process to assess minimum job requirements and reduce the applicant pool. However, the first studies exploring how participants perceive the AVI and also how effective it is compared to the traditional interview were not very supportive.
Another major development in employee selection methods has been gamification and games-based assessment (GBA). Gamification refers to the incorporation of game elements in non-gaming contexts (Georgiou et al., 2019). Gamifying a selection method often implies the conversion and adoption of an existing selection method into a gamifying version. The use of game elements in the selection process might promote fun, transparency, challenge and interaction. On the other hand, in GBA and serious games, actual on-line or traditional games are used, sometimes specifically built for use in selection, albeit not necessarily. Early research in this field has shown that gamification can be a reliable and valid selection method (Georgiou et al., 2019; Nikolaou et al., 2019) raising positive reactions among candidates and increased organizational attractiveness (Georgiou & Nikolaou, 2020; Gkorezis et al., 2020). However, as it is the case for any new selection method, we need more research to confirm further its usefulness and applicability both from a theoretical and a practical viewpoint.
Our challenges in 2023
Many of the aforementioned developments were further enhanced by the radical influence of the pandemic (e.g., in the case of AVIs). More recently, the speedy advancements in the field of artificial intelligence and especially large language models, such as ChatGPT-3 and -4 during 2022 and 2023, have also provided the field of hiring and staffing with further opportunities for development. Most applicant tracking systems have now incorporated these technologies, as an additional option for recruiters to use during their interaction with clients and candidates. Our projection is that AI will provide even more tools for recruiters but also support candidates during their job pursuit attempts.
The impact of technology on recruitment and selection is a fascinating area of research and practice both for work and organizational psychologists and HR professionals, offering increased opportunities for collaboration with other disciplines, such as informatics, computer and data science.
This is article is based partially on the research paper entitled “What is the Role of Technology in Recruitment and Selection?”, The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 24: 1-6, 2021.
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