Human Instinct vs Tech-Driven Insights: The Importance of Striking the Right Balance

Posted on 07 Jun 2017 by Mike Brett

Xref was established on the basis of what our founders saw as an urgent need for an HR industry shake up. Many senior-level HR professionals were leading the industry in much the same way they always had been and the opportunity for positive change was rife. HR, an inherently human profession, had become almost too reliant on ‘gut feeling’, given the lack of consistent, reliable and measurable data that tired, old recruitment processes were offering.

Today, tech-based recruitment solutions are emerging that are enabling organisations to make data-driven hiring decisions with the confidence that they have done their due diligence during the recruitment period, and have the evidence to back it up. However, the naturally perceptive human instinct of great HR professionals should not go untapped for the sake of technology. Getting the right balance between the two is critical to ensuring good, reputable hires are made.

During our recent Pro Bono News webinar Megan Platt, Recruitment Leader at New Horizons, raised a number of interesting points about the expectations of today’s NFP HR department, and being able strike this perfect balance was one of them.

Megan pointed out that today’s HR department needs to adapt and operate more like the rest of the business it represents, with bullet-proof processes that foster productivity and accountability for actions taken. But the recruitment function of an NFP’s HR department can be somewhat more challenging than that of their corporate counterparts. While the relevant steps must be taken to ensure decisions are made based on reportable evidence, the sensitive nature of the cause, customers and communities NFP organisations support means that attracting the right people is even more paramount, so a level of intuition is still crucial.

Following the webinar, Megan explained this further saying, “At New Horizons, we exist to enhance the wellbeing of our customers and the community. We must be able to treat everyone as an individual and think outside the box to help them in their unique circumstances. We work with vulnerable people, so we must have the right governance in place. While data allows us to make essential reference checks and offers a great record of information to look back on, it should support, not take the place of human perception.

New Horizons’ core values are passion, integrity and respect - all inherently human traits - and, while technology can ensure we conduct processes in the most efficient, effective and defendable way, we must incorporate our own personal opinions to ensure we are recruiting people that are the right fit for our customers, as well as our organisation.”

One of the key challenges NFP recruitment teams face is a skills shortage, which means that the right talent with the right experience can be difficult to come by, let alone the person that is absolutely the right fit for an individual organisation. The risk is that, in trying to find the right people, organisations end up with a team of individuals that all look, act and operate in the same way. And this is where technology really comes into its own.

For organisations such as New Horizons that offer such a wide range of support to such a large and varied audience, a tailored approach to recruitment is essential and one of the reasons why Xref works so well for them. The flexibility of the platform enables the recruitment team to work with Xref in conjunction with the customers and communities it supports, to ensure those seeking support remain in the driving seat and that the right people are recruited to meet their specific needs.

Being able to then look back on hiring decisions made and analyse the outcomes they offered is another key benefit of tech-based recruitment solutions.

As Megan commented, “Data comes into its own when you start measuring the goals you want to achieve and the people you need to bring on board to make that possible. Using data to benchmark talent and recognise the key traits that make people successful in specific roles, adds a layer of insight that can be stored, called on as and when required. This can significantly cut down the time taken to shortlist candidates.”

Ultimately, technology should be an enabler not a hinderance, distraction or even the defining factor in a recruitment decision. Solutions like Xref strive to make life easier for recruitment professionals, ensuring they make smart, confident and informed decisions, but they will never replace the natural instinct of the great HR mindset. Maximising the benefits of both human and technology insights, at the right points in the recruitment process, is key to delivering the best recruitment results for immediate and future success.

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