16th October 2022

Automation in Recruitment: 10 recruitment agency processes you can improve with software automation


How using software automation in recruitment solves some of its biggest frustrations

There are many aspects of recruitment that create challenges. Recruiters, job seekers and employers may all encounter elements that are unsatisfactory and which hinder and frustrate.

From the perspective of recruiters, one of the biggest recent challenges has been the shortage of talent. Such a problem is systemic and there is little that individual recruiters can do to alleviate the problem of there being too few applicants applying for too many roles.

However, automation in recruitment can address other frustrations related to the actions and steps which go into making up the process of hiring. Time wasted on repetitive manual tasks such as sifting CVs; errors and inaccuracy caused by copy-typing from paper forms such as timesheets; lost, misplaced or missing documentation required for onboarding; delays in arranging interviews because of diary clashes – all just some of the common frustrations that create drag and draw out the recruitment process.

In this article we’ll focus on how software automation is able to provide the solution to these process problems. This isn’t restricted to the recruitment process itself. Software automation is also amazingly purposeful when applied to the back office processes of recruitment businesses. Here are ten recruitment agency processes that benefit from software automation.

10 recruitment agency processes you can improve with software automation

Attracting Candidates

1. Buying, creating and managing job ads

With the appropriate cloud recruitment software, agencies are able to automate the creation, purchasing of slots and posting of vacancies on conventional job boards and other websites which accept ads and where there may be traffic from people who match the profile that you wish to recruit.

Using templates for ads supports brand consistency for agencies and their clients. Fixed ad content such as ‘boilerplates’ and conditions can be written, standardised and then simply wrapped around job-specific content as required across all ads.

This saves time and ensures consistency of communication and presentation, as well as accelerating the placement of ads in the right places to attract the talent you need.

2. CRM & pipelining candidates from talent communities

‘CRM’ is usually Customer Relationship Management, however, when customised for and refined for recruiters it may also refer to ‘Candidate Relationship Management’. This, in effect is a database of prospective candidates, including passive and active job seekers. Maintaining accurate records of everything you know about potential candidates enables you to identify candidates that may be pre-qualified and fast tracked for a role.

Over time, the CRM centralises and accumulates valuable candidate info such as qualifications, certifications and previous interviews and written assessments results, all in one place. Using contact and profiling information alongside the contact information of candidates allows recruiters to segment and communicate directly, with a high degree of personalisation. Over time this can be used to build talent communities of engaged prospective candidates within which you may quickly be able to automate the identification of fast track candidates for specific roles.

Managing Applications and Candidate Assessment

3. Track candidates with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An ATS has become the de facto standard for any agency that wants to effectively and efficiently control the recruitment application process. Essentially, if an agency has only one recruitment automation software tool, then it is likely to be an ATS.

An ATS centralises the management of each candidate’s application through the entire lifecycle, from receipt of CV or application form, through various stages of screening, filtering and assessment, and through to rejection or appointment. An ATS tool, such as JobAdder, makes the recruitment process simple, providing good user experiences for recruiters and candidates.

4. Using pre-qualifying questions and social channels

Embedding pre-qualifying questions into the online application process is a good way of getting answers to the questions for which a negative response is an absolute deal breaker. 

Questions such as right to work, residency status, certifications and licences, the absence of which may make an applicant unsuitable can be put up front, establishing each candidate’s status and preventing recruiters and inappropriate candidates wasting their time. A negative response to a pre-qualifying question automates rejection, preventing the application from progressing any further.

Another area where pre-qualifying has been enabled by some recruitment automation platforms is in their ability to crawl social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and social profiles on special interest group (SIG) communities including Stack Overflow and Wikipedia, to identify those with appropriate knowledge and skills.

5. Using pre-screening questions

The use of pre-screening questions lets recruiters asks questions and score a candidate based upon the responses given and ranked in line with rules and conditions that have been set up. 

This allows strong applicants, worthy of fast tracking through the recruitment process to be identified at an early stage, often accelerating the time-to-hire dashboard KPI. Their CVs or application forms can be given priority attention to progress them through the recruitment process as quickly as possible. This process also identifies weak candidates, enabling them to be ruled out as early as possible, saving recruiter and failed candidates from wasting time unnecessarily.

6. CV, resume & application form filtering

Using recruitment automation software to search for keywords and phrases allows stronger candidates to progress while filtering weaker applicants out of the application process. As a manual process, when done properly, CV and application sifting is one of the most time-consuming parts of the recruiter’s job.

Screening out unsuitable or less capable candidates automatically and flagging up stronger candidates that deserve more attention helps prevent the best talent from being overlooked.

There is increasing sophistication of automated recruitment software due to the incorporation of Machine Learning (ML) technologies. This may often be wrongly termed Artificial Intelligence (AI). ML is able to ‘learn’ by analysing vast amounts of data to identify patterns and recognise them when it sees them occur. 

When applied to CVs and application forms, such patterns may consist of a combination of qualifications, certifications, keywords and specialised terminology, or other content that may be of interest for the purposes of recruiting a specific role.


7. Using automated video interviews

As a result of lockdowns video became an essential business tool for meetings of all types. However, recruitment automation took the use of internet video to a whole new level. Today video interviewing has become widely used, shortening the time to shortlist and accelerating time-to-hire.

The process of automated recruitment video may follow a number of different formats. One of the most widely used is where a candidate submits a video recording of their responses to a set of questions sent by the recruiter. 

Some of the most advanced automated recruitment video software is capable of automatically analysing video interview content by looking at visual and voice characteristics through facial recognition, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and speech analytics, adding another layer of assessment and intelligence intoin to the selection process.

8. Using automated live interview scheduling

Using video, live interviews require scheduling. And when face-to-face (F2F) interviewing is part of the process, there is the time and cost of travel for candidates. When a panel interview is required, perhaps with employer representatives such as line managers, as well as recruiters, there is the need to coordinate multiple diaries. Organising interviews and juggling this mix of variables is likely to drag on the recruitment process, slowing time-to-hire.

Recruitment software automation solves the problem of diary clashes and coordination issues. By using a suitable interview scheduling tool recruiters simply publish a diary of available time slots and provide candidates with the self-service capability of selecting an appointment that fits in with their existing commitments.

Back Office Functions

 9. Worry-free onboarding, documentation and contract management

Once the hiring process has been completed and successful candidates have accepted job offers there is the need to manage the process of onboarding. There is often a significant amount of documentation that needs to be exchanged. 

Failing to manage and maintain the documentation may constitute a breach of compliance or employment law, so it is important for it to be auditable. Manually document management is time consuming and it is prone to errors. Ensuring the latest versions are maintained, and identifying gaps where documents are missing may inadvertently lead to compliance or employment law breaches.

Onboarding documentation often includes recruiters and employers sharing induction information and requires candidates’ acceptance of terms and conditions of employment, to acknowledge the reading and understanding of policy statements such as user IT policies, and sharing and signing contracts of employment. In return, candidates may need to share documents such as passports, right to work papers, qualifications, certifications and licences.

Recruitment software automation tools provide the capability to manage the process of sharing and signing documents from both sides. Again, using a self-service approach, new hires are able to access an online document management account to securely store and maintain their own up-to-date documentation throughout their employment, as well as having access to updated policies and contracts. A recruitment software automation tool ensures that documentation is faultlessly managed, eliminates human errors, flags up gaps for follow up and is completely auditable, guaranteeing compliance and provides evidence of best effort should questions be raised.

10. Timesheet processing and client invoicing

For temporary employment arrangements for contract and freelance staff there is usually a requirement for a timesheet system. The process of eliminating as much paper as possible from the office has been on-going for at least two decades. For recruitment agencies, one of the biggest steps towards the ‘less paper office’ is adopting an online timesheet software automation tool.

Recruitment software automation for timesheets allows line managers to securely approve time worked by temps and contractors. Online timesheets may use digital signing. This prevents the fraud that is sometimes encountered when paper timesheets are altered, as well as eliminating any confidentiality issues about hours worked. 

A good, automated timesheet solution for recruitment agencies takes raw timesheet data and is able to generate client invoices, which may then be automatically sent by a digital channel, such as email, to the employer. This facilitates fast payment, especially when a client is using an automated payment system to execute the payment process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about automation in recruitment include:

What is automation in recruitment? 

Recruitment is a process heavy activity. It requires quite a bit of manual input to progress the various activities along, unless you use software automation. Sifting CVs and applications, deciding who to reject and who to prioritise is invaluable, especially when hundreds of candidates respond to an advert.

What are the benefits of automating my recruitment agency processes? 

Time saving, labour costs of recruiters and back office staff processing paper etc. Faultless accuracy means that processes are error-free. Process steps don’t get missed and important tasks or actions don’t fall through the cracks, as they can when using a manual approach.

Will recruitment processes become fully automated in the future?

It’s unlikely that the ‘H’ in ‘HR’ will ever become truly obsolete. Chances are that the recruitment industry will never achieve full automation that avoids the need for human recruiters in the future. (Famous last words!). However, the use of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence software technologies is likely to increase the value that recruitment automation software should be able to deliver.

How will automated recruitment tools affect business?

When it comes to the business impacts of recruitment software automation, efficiency increases, as do accuracy, speed, fluency and the tempo of business. Recruitment businesses with the right RecTech automation tools in place enjoy competitive advantage and better business agility because they are able to be more responsive to the needs of clients and to changes in the operating environment.

Does automation in recruitment help with scaling my business?

Growing a recruitment business is of course a major ambition for many recruitment business owners and agency principals. Recruitment software automation is a fundamental requirement for upscaling business. Manual processes that may be manageable without RecTech software automation are likely to become unwieldy as the volume that require processing increase.

What automation should I introduce first to my recruitment agency?

Conducting an analysis across your agency to identify the most labour intensive processes is a great starting point. Once you know how the time of recruiters and back office support staff is spent, then you can prioritise those labour intensive processes for ‘treatment’ with recruitment software automation! High volume processing areas of the recruitment industry, such as processing candidate applications, adhering to candidate documentation compliance requirements and timesheet processing are frequently targeted for improvement with software automation. 

Next steps for agencies considering automation in recruitment…

There are many players in RecTech, making it a hotly contested market. There is also some crossover in functionality. For example, advertising jobs, promoting vacancies to talent communities, and CRM are closely related, and inevitably some recruitment software automation systems try to condense and bring related capabilities together.

That said, it’s unlikely that one single recruitment software automation platform is going to cover all the needs of your recruitment business. In these circumstances, a good approach is to start with a ‘hub’ technology platform that can do the heavy lifting and then integrate this with tools that are dedicated to other specific elements of the recruitment software automation mix.

One way is to start with the ETZ back office solution that puts timesheets and invoicing at the core. It is an appropriate solution that allows the integration of all the other tools required to build your agency’s ideal recruitment software automation stack.

There is a lot to choose from and agencies need to be clear about which platform is going to be responsible for which function. It can be a minefield and it is advisable to select a trusted recruitment software automation partner, such as ETZ, to ensure that technology returns the best value to your recruitment business.


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