By Gerhard Hartman, Head of Department: Sage HR & Payroll International Division
The job market in Kenya is a paradox. On the one hand, an estimated 2.5 million youth are unemployed; on the other employers find it difficult to fill key positions that require scarce skills. Some 71. 8 per cent of Kenyan employers who took part in a recent Corporate Staffing Services survey said they receive too many job applications that need extra time and cost to screen.
In this context, it is important for recruitment agencies and corporate HR departments to make smart use of technology to make the recruitment process more efficient and cost-effective. There are many tools that can streamline the recruitment process, from managing job applicants and filtering CVs, to interviewing and screening candidates, and right up to the onboarding process.
Here are some ways to use technology to add value to your recruitment process:
1. Social media
More and more people are looking for jobs using social media, so it is a great way to broaden your candidate database. You can connect with people in your industry on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter to expand your professional network. Your network can help you share jobs through Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, hopefully attracting some high-quality applicants.
If you’re considering calling someone in for an interview, have a look at their presence on the Internet. From their social media profiles, you may be able to get an idea of whether they’ll be a good cultural fit with your business. And it could be interesting to see who follows them on Twitter or who their LinkedIn connections are. This information will complement what you learn about them in your interviews and from their references.
2. Online portals and platforms
Online platforms such as Sage SkillsMap give you direct access to people in Africa and abroad who are looking for jobs, as well as the tools you need to publish your jobs to the Web and track the applications you receive. These tools help automate a lot of the paperwork for you, while giving you access to high-quality candidates.
One powerful feature of such tools is their applicant tracking systems, which handle the recruitment process electronically from the requisition of a new position to placement. These applications use best practices and include workflow to automate the process, for example, helping you to sort CVs to find the people with the right experience and skills for a job.
3. Mobile apps
Many Kenyans have smartphones and are using their mobiles to research and apply for jobs. Why not use an online platform that gives candidates access to an app they can use to interact with your job opportunities? At Sage, we know the future is mobile and we are giving our customers the power to control their businesses from the palm of their hand. We connect them to accountants, partners, candidates and employees with real time and intuitive information about their business.
4. Video interviews
Video conference calls – using Skype, for example – are great for doing an exploratory discussion with a candidate who lives too far to travel for a first interview. But technical problems such as poor voice and video quality mean that doing an interview this way will always be a little unnatural. Video is a useful way to screen out unsuitable candidates, but a face-to-face meeting is still essential before you hire someone.
Remember, technology is there to add value for the recruiter, not to replace him or her. Though it can help you to gather CVs more efficiently and identify suitable candidates faster, technology is no replacement for the art of building relationships. Technology’s biggest benefit, perhaps, is that it gives you more time to focus on the human side of your job as a HR professional.
Results of the Corporate Staffing Services survey can be found here.