“It’s Too Impersonal” - Overcoming the Most Common Objection When Introducing New Technology to Talent Acquisition

March 7, 2016 | Alina Karle | HCI
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I hear it all the time from hiring managers and the executive team.  “It’s too impersonal.”  I hear it every time we want to introduce new technology to improve our scalability, and efficiency.  Strangely I work for a company that is on the forefront of technology and innovation, but when it comes to talent acquisition the first thing mentioned is “it’s too impersonal.”

Such a statement is understandable. Our corporate culture recognizes the value of our employees and wants to protect the core values it holds dear.  The 3 values…Always Open, Act as One, and Think Big are entirely dependent on the people that come to work at Axis Communications. So of course finding and hiring the right talent is VERY, VERY personal.

At the same time recruiting is very intensive and time-consuming. The more burdened the HR team the less effective we can be to the hiring manager in selecting the right candidate in a reasonable period of time.

So how do we overcome this objection?

By making it the focus of your business case let me give you an example.

The first argument out of the executive staff when I mentioned pre-recorded video interviewing was “it’s too impersonal.”  I knew this had to become the central argument of the business case, a list of pros that far outweighed the con of pre-recorded video interviewing being too impersonal.

How do we address this unsubstantiated but totally believable cliché?  Turn it on its head.  “Too impersonal” isn’t a question; it’s a statement. No statement can be answered.  So instead we have to ask “How do we make technology personal?” Here are a few examples of what we included.

  • What kind of talent do we want to hire?

When I analyzed who we wanted to hire most of the positions tended to be individual contributor roles that required less than 5 years of experience, therefore we are hiring a lot of digital natives. Additionally, the bulk of our positions require 50% travel or more. We recruit across 4 different time zones and 3 different countries.  The conclusion was digital natives are more comfortable in front of the camera than they are on the phone, and video interviewing offers a lot more flexibility to candidates that are road warriors or for candidates have trouble taking time off work to meet the interviewer’s schedule.

  • How does this benefit the talent?

Benefits to the candidates include that most video interviewing platforms offer on-demand learning and a practice tool before they do the video interview. Video interviewing also lets candidates know how long the video interview will be before beginning, and most importantly this is a chance for the candidate to showcase their personal brand much more effectively than a phone interview.

  • What about the employer brand?

Today’s talent wants to know more than a company’s business hours, pay, and vacation time. They want to know about the people they will be working with and the company culture.  So to make video interviewing more personal to the candidate we recommended that a hiring manager, a peer and the recruiter all created a short video for each open position as part of the information provided before they begin interviewing. The manager would talk about their expectations for the position, peers would talk about the community and environment, and the recruiter would talk about the core values of Axis.  These are not branded videos with music and logos in the background, but short, real unscripted videos so the candidate can see the real us and how we embody the culture.

  • Is it too impersonal for the hiring manager?

Instead of the recruiter conducting a phone screen and the manager reviewing the recruiter’s notes, the hiring manager can see the video responses and get the information “right from the horse’s mouth.”  Video interviewing eliminates the middle man. Additionally managers can receive candidates faster because it isn’t as reliant on the recruiter’s workload.

Addressing the question of how to make technology personal combined with the statistical and analytical data provides a fully rounded business case.  This business case convinced the executive team to run a pilot for pre-recorded video interviewing. Turning the statement “it’s too impersonal” on its head is a great way to build a business case for any technology including online reference checking, robust applicant tracking systems, personality and behavior assessments, and video interviewing.