I’m not just a HRacist – some of my best friends work in HR.
Human Resources need to kick their obsession with the whole humanity aspect of the sector. I know, seems like a bit of an oxymoron, but I believe that tech is ready and capable now to take the humans out of Human Resource. Admittedly, there are some aspects of the HR role that should stay sat firmly with people, humans, but getting HR to handle recruitment simply baffles me.
Now, bear with me on this one, I’m not just a HRacist – some of my best friends work in HR. I’m merely saying what every other industry under the sun seems to have worked out years ago.
Let’s examine some alternate forms of Human Resource management in the world and we’ll try to apply the traditional recruitment process and see if a pattern emerges.
Exhibit A-1 Sport
The Premier League
You’re the manager of a top premier league team and you need a new striker. So, what do you do? Well applying the traditional HR lead recruitment method, you would get a load of CV’s in and see who has the qualifications and experience your looking for. Who has transferable skills in scoring goals, maybe they have experience playing for a premier league team before… Get my point?
They don’t rely on agencies and interviews – they rely on numbers, data. Goals per game averages, successful pass ratios, injury stats; they track up-and-coming players and build up analytic profiles. Professional football is heavily reliant on analytics and has been for years. Who you hire, what position they play, what matches they play – all decisions based on analytics.
You ever see the film “Money Ball” starring Brad Pitt? Well it’s the true story based on the 2003 book “The art of winning an unfair game” by Michael Lewis. It’s a guide on using sabermetric analytics to know which players to hire and fire to maximise your budget. Traditional player picking methods were heavily HR based previously with scouts favouring certain traits or experiences in players and using this as a measuring stick to find new talent. Now it’s all numbers and every major league baseball team has a full-time analytics team.
You know why series do pilot episodes and screen tests? It’s to quantify audience enjoyment and engagement of the characters, plot, writing, music, everything really. This is done is because the entertainment industry realised long ago that the most accurate way to create successful TV shows is research; gathering data and working out what aspect of the show is popular and what needs to be refined. To find out if it is a good fit, they breakdown the show and quantify it. They then match those quantifiable values to the audience they are aiming the show at. It takes people to make a good show but it takes data to understand what makes a good show ‘good’.
There’s been a lot of elections recently and I dare say you may be as sick of hearing about them as I am but, if you can stomach it, think back to the elections of 2017. The constant polling, targeted online ads, region based leaflets and postal campaigns. Analytics. The entire UK election was run by big data and analytics. Entire speeches designed to set up hashtag-able sound bites (remember the conservatives “Strong and Stable” government). All political campaigns in the recent times have been heavily reliant on data analytics and again it’s for the same simple reason. Big data is now a legitimate, reliable and crucially cost-effective tool in almost any industry.
Look, all I’m saying is that some pretty major sectors have adopted analytics in roles which used to be done entirely by human resource type roles. The fact is: political parties, the TV shows we watch and the sports teams we support have all realised that big data is the most cost-effective method of meeting their Human Resources requirements. So why are most businesses using recruitment agencies to essentially blind hire candidates? Will big data and tech ever entirely replace HR? No, there are some aspects of the job which will always be best performed by a living, breathing Human Resource Manager. To me, it’s just obvious that recruitment isn’t one of them.
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