Indian employers love bots, but employees prefer good ol’ humans

Talk to me, please.
Talk to me, please.
Image: AP Photo/Gautam Singh
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Slowly but surely, bots are making inroads into the human resources (HR) industry. But the responses they evoke may depend on which side of the table one is sitting on: employee or employer.

Predictably, employers are turning fans of technologies that shorten the recruitment processes, improve hiring ratios, and free up human managers for more complex tasks. From monotonous recruitment tasks in offices to parsing through hundreds of resumes, conducting mock interviews, scheduling appointments, on-boarding employees, and more, automated systems do it all. That, too, with more speed and efficiency than their human counterparts.

Employees are a different story, though.

Of the nearly 2,500 candidates surveyed by HR services firm Randstad India, an overwhelming 83% said technology that makes the interview process more efficient also turns recruiting into a significantly less personal experience.

This lack of human interaction had an acute effect on performance: 78% of the respondents felt they’d do much better in personal interviews than in automated tests. Nearly six in 10 participants of the survey complained that “an overly automated interview process would be less transparent and will not provide the essential feedback they seek.”

The findings, published on Nov. 21, spanned responses of the employed (70%) as well as those of jobseekers (24%). The largest share of the respondents—a third of them–came from the IT sector, followed by those from the manufacturing and banking industries.

What works online

However, despite the hesitation, employees are coming to terms with the growing role of tech in recruiting. Around 89% of them were open to interacting with automated platforms during future interviews.

“While technology, including AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and automation, will play an increasingly important role in sourcing and selecting the right candidate for the right job, the touch piece of the recruitment process is becoming increasingly important,” Paul Dupuis, managing director and CEO of Randstad India, said in a statement. “Leveraging technology to enable (a) better, more personal touch is the crucial combination for sustainable growth.”

Half of the respondents cited having gone through an interview process significantly or completely aided by technology. The most common tech intervention, receiving 43% of the votes, was online interviews like Skype and Google Hangouts. They’re the closest, most personable replacement for actual face-time.

Meanwhile, recruitment agencies and job boards are on the back foot. Social and professional networks have come to be the most sought-after places to discover and apply for jobs today with 43% of candidates scouring the web for their next opportunity.