By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Automation has become an enormous part of our everyday lives, from coffee makers turning on at 6 a.m. sharp to Gmail sorting through emails to Amazon auto-shipping another order of paper towels. Both at work and in our personal lives, we’ve become so reliant on it that we don’t even think about it. It’s just as true in recruiting, where like the rest of the world, we rely automation to drive results, improve productivity and simplify tasks. However, it’s more important in recruiting than possibly anywhere else to remember the basics.
The problem with the way many recruiters are working is that they see technology as a replacement for human interaction, but this idea is fundamentally against everything we know about recruiting. We know that recruiting has always been and always will be a relationship-oriented, high-touch business, which means a computer will never be able to replicate all that a recruiter does to bring in the best and brightest.  And that’s exactly why it’s time to rediscover the art of recruiting, and find out what it means to be human driven and automation supported.
Technology is not a substitute for engagement
HR and recruiting’s use of technology must go hand in hand with exercising good-old-fashioned human interaction and relationship building. It requires a perfect balance of the two and an understanding of when to use each. Above all else, engagementshould be where you’re focusing the majority of your time and energy, so be careful not to get in the mentality that the recruiting technologies you use are doing the work for you. Technology and automation enhance what we do, but they’ll never replace it.
Put technology to work the right way
The value that technology and automation bring shouldn’t be ignored. There’s a reason we’ve become so technology dependent. It makes things easier. The best way you can use these tools is to first of all choose the right ones and secondly, let them take care of tasks that take away from you being able to engage with candidates. Put technology to work so you can make time for conversation-focused recruiting.
Build a reputation of excellence with your candidates
If we’re going back to the basics of how we recruit and why we do what we do, then I have to talk about the reputation companies gain with candidates over time. This area, above all else, is so heavily reliant on the people doing the recruiting. A reputation of excellence is gained over time by doing things the right way and valuing human interaction. While technology makes your job easier and can support and reinforce your efforts, candidates will remember you above all else.
Always make time for follow up and feedback
Don’t put in time and effort in the beginning only to let those connections fall by the wayside. Make follow up and feedback part of your normal routine, and use technology to help you track and remember this. Technology and automation can even be used in your follow up and feedback, but remember that from beginning to end, or from the first interaction to the last, the human element is key.
Recruiting is built upon a foundation of conversations and relationships, but when executed properly, technology can support and enhance what we do. Its magic lies in allowing us to place the focus back on the lost conversation and engagement-oriented history of recruiting. 


Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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