Recruiting Automation and Apple Pie

When it comes to process improvement, automation gets a lot of attention, and for good reason. Automation can really help you take your business to the next level by keeping your processes consistent, organized, and timely, as well as by shouldering a lot of tedious work that would otherwise fall to your employees. But as valuable a tool as automation can be, these days automation may be becoming an excuse to not think critically. It’s easy for businesses and their recruiting departments to fall into the trap of over-using automation, either spending time and attention of projects that don’t really impact the business or risk losing the human touch that makes a good recruiting department successful.

“a genuine human connection is essential for carriers to establish with current and prospective employees”

One of the luxuries that we have at Tenstreet is the opportunity to work with hundreds of carriers to see what automation projects tend to return the most impact. Once we start to work with a new client to help them find ways to improve their recruitment process, our general rule of thumb is to first ask, “If a given area were to be automated, what impact would that automation have on the business?” After we’ve examined all of the opportunities and impacts of potential automation, we then prioritize those opportunities in terms of both time saved and results attained. As an example, at a given company we may see that automating aspects of “respond to drivers more quickly” may rank ahead of an opportunity to save some time each day from managing the recruiting process, because maintaining quick and efficient communication with their current drivers is more important for that company to succeed.

Whenever a business sets out to improve their recruiting process, the goal tends to be focused on a “mom and apple pie” vibe. Because a genuine human connection is essential for carriers to establish with current and prospective employees in order to get them excited and invested in working for your business. Carriers want to take advantage of all the cost- and time-saving benefits that automation can provide, while still being able to build that genuine connection with their candidates and their employees. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to combine both of those ideas to form and implement a concrete recruiting strategy that makes that goal a reality.  In order to develop a recruitment strategy that really moves the needle operationally for your company, you need to first figure out how to find a good balance of automation and personal human interaction.recruiting automation pie

While every company is unique and automation needs may change depending on their individual situation, there are definitely a few areas that we’ve seen successfully and consistently benefit carriers across the industry when automation is implemented. For those who are considering implementing automation in their driver recruiting process but confused about where to start, here are the top four most effective areas to automate in the driver recruiting process:

1.    Responding to New Applicants

One of the most important things you can do to improve your recruitment process is to reduce the time it takes for your business to respond to new applicants. All too often, the cost of a slow process is virtually invisible. That cost is hard to see because it’s in the candidates that never make it through the recruitment process. In these cases, carriers are either too slow to connect with the candidates (and sometimes fail to connect with them entirely), or too slow to move them through the hiring process. As a result, those drivers end up receiving offers from a competing carrier first, and go somewhere else.

There are ample opportunities to take advantage of automation in the initial recruitment stage. From automatically crafting more targeted and personalized welcome emails or texts instead of a generic “Thanks for applying,” to improving how long it takes a recruiter to reach out personally to each applicant, to keeping each applicant informed of where they are in the hiring process, automation can help you to keep candidates engaged and moving through the process. Incorporating automated messages, alerts, and reminders, as well as automatic candidate tracking in your recruitment strategy, can help you to make sure that your recruiters are able to quickly connect with new candidates as soon as they apply, regardless of the day of the week. It can also help you keep your candidates informed and on top of the next step they need to complete in order to move forward in the pipeline, such as getting orientation set up, sending in a copy of their CDL, or signing a release for a background check.

2.    Re-Engaging with Previous Applicants

The reality of recruiting is that most applications you receive will not lead directly and seamlessly to that candidate joining your company as a new driver. Many drivers will take a longer path to getting hired at your company, and most will probably apply more than once. In fact, for most carriers, 40% of applications in a given month are from drivers that have applied in the past but then dropped out or stalled in the recruiting process. Having all those candidates re-apply with you is an opportunity to re-engage with the driver and make a great and lasting second impression, but handling those candidates the same way you would handle a brand new applicant is not the way to do it.

"40% of applications in a given month are from drivers that have applied in the past but then dropped out or stalled in the recruiting process"

Drivers who have taken the time to apply twice to your business have a genuine interest in working for you that your recruiters can cultivate. But sending out a generic “Thanks for Applying” message and engaging with them as if you’ve never heard of them before leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to cultivating a personal connection with the candidate, and can only cause them to re-examine their options. Whether it’s making sure that a re-applying candidate’s application is automatically identified and sent to the best recruiter, or ensuring that the recruitment process picks up exactly where they left off last time, carriers have the opportunity to save time, as well as show their re-applying drivers that they remember them and value them as prospective employees.

3.    Sending Offer Letters

Congratulations! You’ve managed to respond to your driver quickly and move them successfully through the hiring process, and now it’s finally time to make them an offer. Unfortunately for recruiters, individually composing and sending off the job offer for each candidate in writing carries a lot of pressure. At this point, after you’ve come so far and put in so much time and energy, it’s all too easy to make a misstep and cause your sure-hire candidate to rethink their options. Automating this step is one of the simplest moves you can make and it leaves your business with one less thing to worry about. For many carriers, finding a template that’s proven to work and then automating their offer letters can help them cement the commitment of their drivers and save their recruiters a lot of stress and administrative headache at the same time.

4.    Tracking Procedures and Paperwork

recruiting automation robotOne of the most convenient uses for automation is using it to track your procedures and processes to make sure that all your I’s are dotted and your T’s are crossed. There’s nothing more frustrating than telling a driver they’re all set and putting them on a bus to orientation, only to realize that a crucial step has been missed in the recruiting process. In order to avoid that frustration, carriers use all sorts of checklists and forms, but most of the time these are completed and reviewed manually and are often subject to human error.

Automatically tracking and reviewing each step on the checklist as it’s completed not only ensures that the processes and paperwork are being followed and filed correctly for each candidate, but it also eliminates human errors and takes the pressure off of your employees to perform tedious tasks like machines. When tracking candidates and paperwork is automatically taken care of, it frees up your employees to spend more personal time communicating, guiding, and building relationships with each driver.

"eliminates human errors and takes the pressure off of your employees to perform tedious tasks like machines"

So for those who are looking for ways to improve their recruiting process and boost their results, take a look at how your business handles these four processes.If these processes are essentially manual operations, we suspect that your business could both reduce the workload on your recruiters and better reach your candidates by automating these four steps. If you’ve already automated these four areas, congratulations, you’re already ahead of the curve. But remember that process improvement is a journey, not a destination. There will always be room for progress, so keep a critical eye on your recruiting procedures and always be on the lookout for new ways you can improve.

Key Takeaways:

  1. It is essential for carriers to establish a genuine human connection with current and prospective employees.
  2. Improving processes includes both recruiting automation and human touch.
  3. Reduce the time it takes for your business to respond to new applicants with automation.
  4. Reengage with previous applicants with automation.
  5. Automate your offer letters to cement the commitment of drivers and save your recruiters a lot of stress and administrative headache.
  6. Track your procedures and processes to make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed with automation.

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