Here comes a guest post from one of our HR Hackathon Gold Sponsors, Stack Overflow Careers.

During the hackathon, they will be giving a session on IT Recruitment at Stack Overflow.

Let’s go:

Like it or not, the tech industry is beginning to tie itself up in knots. There’s an abundance of start-ups advertising themselves as the next Uber for something or other, venture capital investors are throwing money at the ‘next big thing’ without knowing exactly what that is, and, most infuriating to those of us in the recruitment industry, there’s far too many companies trying to ‘fix recruitment’ with some fancy new app.

1. HR Hackathon Berlin, May-TWITTERCardJust take a look at the companies using office space everywhere from the Silicon Valley to the Silicon Roundabout, and a good portion of them will be developing some sort of platform or app that will help your start up find the best staff quickly and cheaply.

The problem is, none of these can ever really do what they need to, due to the sheer number of variables that can affect the hiring process. They’ve got the best of intentions, but unfortunately they’ll never be able to predict that your prized web developer Julius will turn down your fantastic offer because his pet dog has become sentient and wants him to join him in his ‘Uber for dog food’ start up. I don’t care how good your app is. Julius is gone.

They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing again and again while always getting the same result. If that’s true, then we should be seeing the interior of Arkham Asylum pretty soon. We need to address exactly where technology sits in the recruitment process.

You can game the system all you like, at the end of the day, it takes a human touch to bring things home. Technology will never be a substitute for a detailed chat with your prospective employer about exactly what this job offer entails. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have a place in our world. Quite the opposite in fact, it’s an invaluable resource, when it’s applied correctly.

Now, of course, I’ve got reasons to be so dismissive of an entire emerging industry, because I work at Stack Overflow. We’ve got an entire community of developers and software professionals we can tap into to help them get a better job, and through Stack Overflow Careers we can grant employers access to our community to help them find new team members. Unlike a lot of other companies, we don’t need to rely on an app to find technical staff, as we have them coming to us daily.

However, I didn’t start my career here. I’ve worked in places that have struggled to find staff, for whom the idea of tech that could shorten this time down would have been brilliant. But as we’ve discovered, such tech doesn’t exist. What we can do, however, is create something that would make the lives of HR managers, internal recruiters and (yes, even these guys) agency consultants, a lot easier, not to mention the most important person of all: the candidate.

Lets direct this passion into something measurable. Something fixable. Something useful! We’re living in the future. There’s so many more problems we can solve rather than spending our time trying to fix something that needs a human being to be in charge of. Lets make the best ATS ever, one that doesn’t have any of the problems we’ve encountered before.

smartphone-coffee_320Lets employ tech in our hiring processes to make our businesses look awesome. L’oreal, for instance, have an incredible app that personalises each candidate’s individual interview journey, right down to pointing out the best places to get a coffee on their way to the offices for their interview.

Personal touches like that may not secure every single offer they make, but I bet it’s helped them dramatically increase their inbound applications simply through positive word of mouth social marketing. They’ve successfully integrated technology into the art of social recruiting, by putting it somewhere it could be used effectively.

We’re living in the future, a time where we can do incredible things with tools that weren’t available to us for many years. However, we need to remember that recruiting is still a very human job, and one that an app simply can’t do.