Recruitment in 2024: Meaning, Processes, & Technology

As the world of work evolves, so does recruitment. Understand the impact of AI, automation, and evolving hiring processes on talent acquisition in 2024.
Grace Nguyen
Grace Nguyen
Senior People Operations, FlexOS
Leveraging five years in HR and a keen eye for innovation, I help people-centric leaders choose HR tech that boosts employee experience and aligns with organizational goals.
March 21, 2024
min read

Building a “dream team” of high-performers, who can collectively strive toward greatness with strong team dynamics, is what we all look out for.

As a business leader, manager, or HR professional, you know how crucial it is to have the right people on the team.

But it ain't an easy job!

As the world of work evolves, so does recruitment.

Remote work, digital nomadism, the gig economy, and talent marketplaces are reshaping the talent landscape.

"The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world." - Steve Jobs.

As the HR lead at FlexOS, and someone who's always striving to improve in my field, it's crucial for me to stay adaptable and continuously seek out new methods to enhance our recruitment process.

The good news: Recruitment technology has also been evolving over the years!

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) and candidate relationship management (CRM) software have become indispensable tools for streamlining recruitment processes and attracting top talent.

With automation and AI recruiting, HR professionals, talent acquisition specialists (TAS), and hiring managers can now proactively identify and target potential hires based on their skills, experience, and cultural fit.

They enable you to see beyond the resume, understanding the person, their potential, and how they might thrive among the team.

They automate routine tasks, help you do the work more efficiently, provide a better candidate experience, and drive better recruitment results.

Want to dive in best software selections? Check out my review of the best ATS software and recruitment CRM.

In this article, I distill the important aspects of recruitment, what stays the same, what has changed, and how to navigate the recruitment landscape in the coming years (with automation & AI!)

What is the Recruitment Process?

Recruitment is one of the important Human Resources functions and a strategic tool for organizational growth.

But, what exactly does it involve when we talk about bringing someone on board to do the job?

The approach to recruitment and the number of stages it takes vary significantly depending on the organization's unique needs—its size, industry, culture, and more.

If you’re part of a large enterprise with thousands of employees, the process should be structured and standardized. It often involves specialized recruitment teams and leverages advanced technology tools like recruitment CRM and ATS Software to deal with high-volume hiring and maintain strong talent pipelines.

If you’re a hybrid remote team with many global talents, you might need to be adept at virtual interviewing and assessing cultural fit among diverse backgrounds.

Regardless, here are some crucial stages of recruitment you have to go through:

1. Identifying the Need

The process begins with recognizing a vacancy within the team or the company.

Maybe your team is expanding and carving out new roles as it evolves, or a team member has decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

It is crucial to conduct a job analysis to determine the role’s responsibilities, required skills, and how it fits into the larger organizational structure.

Remember, today's workplace is not limited to just hiring full-time employees. You can also bring on contractors or tap into the gig economy for specific projects, as long as you keep a keen eye on the legal nuances associated with different types of employment to ensure compliance and mutual satisfaction!

Check out the Best Contractor Management Software for streamlined onboarding and management of project-based members, freelancers, and external stakeholders.

2. Crafting Effective Job Descriptions

I believe you already have an idea of what a job description (JD) includes. We all have to write at least a job description at some point in our career, even though it’s not my favorite part of the job!

A job description is the first touchpoint that shapes a candidate's perception of your company and the role they are considering. But it can also be a “source of bias, confusion and frustration for job candidates and employees.

Recent studies have shown that merely adjusting language for gender neutrality is not enough to attract a diverse talent pool if the organization's overall perception of diversity remains unchanged.

However, it is the most straightforward and effortless way to connect with the new generation of the workforce, GenZers, who are highly aware of the diversity and inclusion efforts of the company they are applying for.

Tools like Textio can help identify and remove language that might show bias in job postings, emails, employer brand materials, and other job-related content.

Textio helps identify and remove unconscious bias language in JDs.
Click here to see our detailed review of Textio and other AI Recruiting Software

Free alternatives to Textio include Gender Decoder and MS Word Inclusiveness Editor (free for MS365 users).

Also, job titles are changing due to the evolution of work and AI in the workplace.

Job titles change over time.

I wonder how long we'll still see titles like "Receptionist" or "Data Entry Specialist" on modern job boards!

It’s clear that there are some jobs AI will replace. Technology automates many of the routine, repetitive tasks that used to make up these traditional job descriptions.

With the new world of work, technological advancements, and digital transformations, people are expected to constantly learn new skills, adapt to changing roles, and enhance their collaboration skills more than ever before.

As a result, to attract the most talented candidates in today’s fast-evolving job market, hiring managers are also challenged with crafting engaging, relatable job content that tells the company's story and paints a compelling picture of the role and work experience.

3. Sourcing and Attracting Talents

With the job description in hand, the next step is identifying and attracting potential candidates.

This can involve various sourcing strategies, such as posting job advertisements on different job boards, leveraging employee referral programs, partnering with recruitment agencies, attending job fairs, or utilizing social media and professional networking platforms.

The goal is to cast a wide net and reach a diverse pool of qualified candidates.

Some recruitment software has strong sourcing tools that can help you streamline and automate this process, especially for bulk hiring, for example:

Eightfold AI for talent acquisition
  • Eightfold AI, #1 in the Top 40 HR AI Tools, can use AI to match candidates with roles based on their potential and capabilities.
  • Fetcher can search through multiple platforms to find candidates that match your job requirements and reach out to them with personalized emails.
  • SmartRecruiters can find and attract candidates from a wide range of channels, including job boards, social media, and its own Talent Discovery database.
  • SeekOut can help you find candidates who aren't even actively job-seeking, especially in tech and engineering fields.

In some cases, you might want to nurture talent pipelines and keep the connection with past candidates or potential ones for future job openings.

Recruitment CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) software can help build and manage these talent pools, automating messaging, optimizing your career sites, and tracking candidate engagement over time.

Top recruitment CRM tools like Zoho Recruit, Bullhorn, Beamery, and Phenom People have AI-enabled features and recruiting chatbots to help you enrich the passive talent pipeline and deliver a positive candidate experience.

Zoho Recruit’s AI Chatbot engages and suggests best-fit positions for candidates.

4. Screening, Assessments, and Shortlisting

a. Initial Screening

Screening and assessments are different things, but I put them in the same group because they both lead to a similar goal of narrowing down the pool of candidates to a manageable number who will be invited for interviews.

Screening can be executed manually by a dedicated HR professional or, more efficiently, through automated systems.

This step often involves reviewing resumes, experience, cover letters, and other required application materials to assess candidates’ qualifications and fit for the role. Or in my interpretation, to filter out candidates who do not meet the basic job requirements.

If you handle high application volumes, having an application tracking system (ATS) is essential.

ATS software like Manatal, SmartRecruiters, Lever, and Pinpoint have advanced features, including AI capabilities, to help you screen candidates faster, keep track of progress, summarize key result metrics, follow up with potential candidates, and store everything in a centralized database. (No more multiple spreadsheets or paper files, yay!)

For those who only need a helping hand with resume screening, AI HR tools like Skillate can be your assistant! It helps automatically extract information from resumes in any file type and evaluate them against the JDs.

This way, you save significant time on manual work and also minimize unconscious bias.

Skillate for automated resume parsing.

b. Candidate Assessments

Often, resumes do not provide the complete picture of a candidate, and you may need to conduct further rounds of screening interviews or practical assessments to gain a better understanding of their skills, knowledge, and abilities, as well as their personality and potential cultural fit.

Typically utilized after initial screening, recruiting assessments are a deciding factor before candidates are invited into the final interviews.

They can take various forms:

  • Personality Assessments: These evaluate behavioral traits and tendencies, helping to understand how a candidate might fit within a team or company culture.
  • Cognitive Ability Tests: These measure a candidate's problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and ability to learn new information quickly.
  • Skills Assessments: Often tailored to the specific job, these tests verify a candidate's proficiency in necessary technical skills or knowledge.
  • Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs): These present hypothetical, job-related scenarios, assessing a candidate's judgment in resolving work-related challenges.
  • Job Simulations: These provide a realistic preview of job tasks, allowing candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform in actual work conditions.

Giant firms like Google, Amazon, and IBM, with their vast resources and dedicated teams, have the luxury of designing and implementing their own recruiting assessments. However, SMEs and startups now also benefit from the availability of pre-built assessment software to evaluate candidates effectively.

For example, platforms like Pymetrics, Glider, and HireVue (all ranked among the top 20 most-used AI HR tools) can help you quickly conduct online assessments, from game-based and skill-based to technical ones.

Pymetrics' game-based assessment.

c. Text-based interview and asynchronous interview

With the rise of remote work and the need for more flexible recruitment processes, I've seen companies replace traditional methods with text-based interviews and asynchronous video interviews.

Text-based interviews (also known as chat interviews or asynchronous text interviews) involve candidates responding to interview questions via a messaging platform, a recruiting chatbot, or a dedicated portal.

Asynchronous video interviews (or one-way video interviews) involve candidates recording video responses to pre-determined interview questions.

The questions may be presented one at a time or as a set of questions that candidates can answer at their convenience within a given time frame.

Both options provide a cost-effective and efficient solution for the early stages of recruitment, particularly for screening a high volume of applicants from different locations.

SparkHire, a leading player in this field, said they helped their customers save 438 hours over 900 interviews and $91,000 annually with this approach!

SparkHire one-way video interview.

5. Interviewing

There you have it: a shortlist of very potential candidates who have passed the initial screening and evaluations and are ready for the next round of interviews.

Depending on the role and the company's resources, interviews can take different forms, such as one-on-one's, panel interviews, or group interviews. Each type has its own advantages and should be chosen based on the role's requirements and the company's culture.

To get the best out of face-to-face interactions, besides preparing what to ask during these interviews, it's important to stay organized and align all the efforts made during the previous stages.

Streamline communication and collaboration. Ensure everyone involved gets alerts and reminders. Keep all candidate information organized and pass it on to the next person in charge.

Workable's side-by-side view of the candidate's resume and interview scorecard

Many systems offer features like automated scheduling and reminders, candidate scorecards, interview guides, and centralized notes, ensuring a consistent and well-documented evaluation process.

Reliable, engaging, and effective video conferencing makes conducting online interviews easy and provides a smooth experience for you and your candidates. Check out my detailed review of the best virtual meeting platforms here (2024 & AI features of Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet and other innovative solutions).

6. Background and Reference Checks

Background checks involve reviewing a candidate's criminal record, employment history, educational qualifications, and other past activities to ensure they are qualified and safe to hire.

If you need a dedicated solution to automate background-checking tasks, Checkr and GoodHire are top-rated.

Checkr for automated background checking.

On the other hand, reference checks involve contacting a candidate’s professional and personal contacts to gain insights into their work ethic, character, and abilities.

Tbh, I don't always conduct reference checks for all candidates! In fact, it depends on the nature of the job, the company policy, and the legal requirements pertaining to the position.

With positions that involve handling sensitive information, financial responsibilities, working with vulnerable populations, or operating in a highly regulated industry typically require thorough vetting, these steps are very crucial to ensure no potential risks for the company.

I know that we are familiar with conducting reference check calls. But I also understand that these manual checks take up a lot of your time and limit the number of people you can speak with.

Requesting references via email or surveys can be an alternative method, especially if you have to do it for most candidates.

Software like Xref and iCIMS help simplify reference checking by sending customized surveys to references, providing dashboards to review, and analyzing reference feedback for you.

Xref reference checking processes.

7. Sending Job Offers

Once the final candidate is selected, a job offer is extended.

This may involve negotiating compensation, benefits, and other terms of employment to ensure a mutually agreeable arrangement.

The offer should include key elements such as the job title, start date, salary, benefits, and any other perks or conditions of employment.

Ensure your offer letter is clear and includes the next steps, such as the acceptance deadline and pre-employment requirements, if any.

8. Onboarding New Hires

Onboarding new hires is as important as finding and hiring them. But sadly, only 29% of new employees feel fully prepared after onboarding.

The onboarding process sets the tone for their level of employee engagement, belonging, and commitment from the very start.

"If your onboarding is terrible, your employees start in a disengagement hole because they bonded over your bad onboarding. And now you're trying to pull them out of that and demand performance. People will feel they made a terrible decision by joining this company." - said Employee Engagement expert Christie Hoffman.

They deserve personalized onboarding journeys.

This includes pre-boarding welcome materials, clear role expectations, a 30-60-90 day plan, structured training phases covering organizational, technical, and social elements, progress summarization, and assigning an onboarding "buddy" to ease transitions.

Engaging new hires early with managerial check-ins reinforces their importance and fosters strong working relationships from day one.

HR software like Lattice, Workleap, Workable, or Hibob has helpful onboarding features that allow for customized plans, automated processes, sentiment capture, and result analysis so that you can deliver a smooth and effective onboarding experience to newcomers.

Workable for onboarding new hires.

Best Practices for Successful Recruitment in 2024

Recruitment in 2024 has evolved beyond conventional approaches, employing adaptive strategies to effectively attract and retain the right talent amidst the shifting market dynamics and evolving work landscape.

"The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area." - Bill Gates

It's essential to establish clear success metrics to evaluate the success of your recruitment strategies and guide your recruitment efforts in the right direction.

Recruiting metrics (AIHR)

Also, incorporating advanced technologies and personalized engagement approaches has become integral to recruitment success.

Tailored Engagement

Personalization in recruitment stands out as a significant trend in recent years.

Tailored engagement strategies ensure that potential candidates feel valued and understood, which can significantly enhance the recruitment experience and also your employer brand.

Here are some ways to implement tailored engagement:

  • Candidate Personas: Develop detailed candidate personas to understand and appeal to different applicant groups' specific needs and motivations.
  • Communication: Customize communication methods and styles to suit individual candidate preferences, whether it's through text, email, video calls, or in-person meetings.
  • Employer Branding: Tailor the employer brand message to resonate with the desired talent pool, showcasing company culture, values, and career growth opportunities.
  • Feedback and Follow-Up: Provide personalized feedback and timely follow-up throughout the recruitment process to build relationships with candidates and improve their experience.

Leverage Recruitment Technology

AI recruiting, automation, and advanced technologies are here for good!

These innovative solutions streamline recruitment, enhance efficiency, and provide valuable insights to help organizations make informed hiring decisions.

One of its primary advantages is automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

For example, ATS software revolutionizes how resumes are collected, screened, and sorted. These systems parse through vast numbers of applications and filter them out for you. This automated process significantly reduces the time and effort required for initial screening, allowing you to focus on the most promising candidates.

From communication and scheduling to analyzing results, many tools can help you do it more quickly and more effectively.

Steps of a hiring process that can be automated. (Freshworks)

Recruitment technology also plays a crucial role in enhancing the candidate experience. With the rise of mobile devices and social media platforms, candidates expect a seamless and engaging application process.

Many companies utilize mobile-friendly career portals (like ZipRecruiter, Workable, and ZohoRecruit) and leverage social media channels to promote job openings and engage with potential candidates.

This approach increases the reach of job postings and provides candidates with a more convenient and accessible application process.

Also, AI-powered chatbots can assist candidates with common inquiries, keep them informed about their application status, and engage with passive candidates.

For a complete look at what AI can do to enhance recruitment, check out our detailed guide on AI Recruiting (The Complete Guide + Tools‍).

As technology continues to evolve, it is essential for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and embrace the latest recruitment tools and strategies to gain a competitive edge in the race for top talent.

Recruitment: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of candidate experience in recruiting?

First impressions matter! A positive experience can lead to candidates accepting job offers, referring others, and even reapplying in the future if they're not selected.

Conversely, a negative experience can deter candidates from considering future opportunities and damage the company's reputation through negative word-of-mouth or online reviews.

A seamless, respectful, and transparent recruitment process enhances the candidate experience and contributes to attracting top talent.

How long does the recruitment process take?

The recruitment process can vary in length depending on factors such as the complexity of the position, the number of candidates, and the company's hiring procedures.

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

For example, a straightforward hiring process for an entry-level position may take a few weeks, while filling a senior or specialized role could take several months due to more extensive interviewing and assessment requirements.

What recruitment software do I need? ATS, CRM, and RMS

Having the right recruitment software solutions enables organizations to attract higher-quality talent faster and more cost-effectively.

These solutions streamline hiring processes, enhance candidate experience, improve collaboration among hiring teams, and provide analytics for informed decision-making. They often come with built-in features or can integrate with other HR systems to facilitate a smooth transition from candidate selection to onboarding and further employee management.

Choosing the right recruitment software depends on your business's size, recruitment volume, industry-specific needs, budget, and compatibility with your current HR tech stack, including HRIS Software, Employee Management Software, Contractor Management Software, and (Free) Payroll Software.

Two key types of recruiting software are ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and CRM (Candidate Relationship Management).

  • ATS software helps organizations manage job postings, applications, resumes, and candidate communications. ATS streamlines and automates the hiring workflow and assists in tracking candidates' progress through the recruitment pipeline.
  • Recruitment CRM focuses on building and maintaining relationships with potential candidates, even if they are not actively seeking a job. Recruitment CRM tools help recruiters engage with talent pools, nurture leads, and improve the overall candidate experience.

While ATS and CRM systems serve distinct purposes in recruitment, their feature sets can frequently overlap. Many modern ATS solutions incorporate CRM capabilities for nurturing candidate relationships and building talent pipelines. Robust CRM platforms may include ATS-like functionalities such as resume parsing, job posting management, and applicant tracking.

Another popular option is the Recruitment Management System (RMS), a comprehensive platform encompassing ATS and CRM functionalities. It handles the complete recruitment lifecycle, from job requisitions and postings to candidate sourcing, screening, interviewing, and onboarding.

This may confuse you when choosing your first recruitment software. I suggest analyzing your current processes, bottlenecks, and goals to determine the must-have features.

Then, other specialized tools for video interviewing, background checks, assessments, and more can be added to enhance your recruitment strategies.

For more details, please explore my guides on the best Recruiting Software and top picks of Recruiting Software for Small Business.

What are the different ways to recruit?

There are several ways to reach out to talents, from traditional methods to modern ones. Common methods are:

  • Job boards like Indeed, FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster.
  • Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for networking and job posting.
  • Employee Referrals: Current employees recommend potential candidates.
  • Networking Events: Attending industry conferences, job fairs, and professional meetups to connect with potential candidates.
  • Campus Recruitment: Hiring directly from educational institutions.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Third-party firms that specialize in matching employers with suitable candidates.
  • Headhunting: Targeting individuals with specific skills and experience for high-level positions.

Using a mix of recruitment methods can widen the reach and increase the chances of finding the right candidate.

What are Internal and External hiring?

Internal and external sourcing, each method has its own benefits.

Internal recruitment, for instance, is the practice of filling vacancies with existing employees. This could be through promotions, internal transfers, or re-employment of ex-team members.

Internal hiring can be faster and less expensive. Also, the familiarity these candidates have with the organization is invaluable – they already know the ropes, which saves time and boosts morale. Yet, this approach has its limitations, including a smaller talent pool and the risk of creating another vacancy that needs filling.

External recruitment, on the other side, opens the doors to a world of potential, bringing in fresh perspectives, new skills, and experiences that might not be available internally.

Choosing which method requires the hiring team and manager to work together and assess the specific skills and experience required for the role, the availability of current employees with those qualifications, and the potential benefits of fresh insights from an external hire.

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Human Resources have changed forever. With Remote Work and AI storming to the scene, this is what HR looks like in 2024.