“Good morning, Cat! It’s Thursday and you have a lot of work to do,” says the robotic voice from my smartphone, reading the message I typed in last night when I set my alarm.
It’s colder than I expected this morning, so I grab my phone to adjust my Nest thermostat, without getting out of bed. I listen for the furnace to kick on before I peel back the blankets.
“Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights,” I say as I stumble toward the coffee maker.
While the coffee brews, I’m still clutching my phone. I check all the notifications that came in while I was sleeping: Instagram comments, new emails, Twitter replies.
“Alexa, play my last Spotify station.”
By the time I sit down with my first cup of joe, I’m already busy setting task reminders on my Google calendar, adding items to my app-based grocery list, and watching videos on YouTube. (Who doesn’t love those miniature fainting goats, am I right?)
Just kidding. I don’t actually wake up this way (except for the goats). Once upon a time, this scene would have been completely absurd, but it no longer sounds like science fiction, does it? Nobody (I hope) will argue when I say that we are living in a technology-addicted society.
Deloitte says nearly 264 million Americans use their mobile phones 12 billion times per day, and other recent research says the average person checks their phone 80 times a day. It’s a problem, and it’s not going away. It’s not just that we use technology so much. It’s also that we can’t help but use technology because it’s in everything we do. Yet, within the confines of technology we can find ways to make real human connections. That’s one of the biggest draws of social media, and it’s also a key reason recruiting chat is the best way to reintroduce the human touch to the recruiting process.
How big of a problem are we talking about?
When technology started showing up in our everyday lives, it was mostly celebrated. We’re advanced! We’re smart! We’re faster and more efficient! But somewhere along the line, technology has become so pervasive that it touches nearly every aspect of our lives, and many people now feel like technology is taking over our lives.
Tech addiction is generally understood to refer to problems stemming from “excessive human-machine interaction,” which feels almost inescapable in this day and age. And those problems? Scientists who study human-technology interactions are connecting tech addiction with a range of mental and physical conditions like depression and social anxiety, in addition to reduced physical activity, musculoskeletal problems, and sleep deprivation.
Other research shows that tech addiction may actually change your brain function, by causing imbalances in neurotransmitters, similar to the effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol. But because technology isn’t simply a substance we can quit (while continuing to live in modern civilization), some sociologists are even arguing that it shouldn’t be called an “addiction.” Regardless of the terminology, it’s generally agreed there is still a lot to learn about the effects of living in a tech-centric world.
A quick internet search will reveal thousands of results that offer tips for combatting your tech addiction. Take your problems into your own hands, so to speak, by getting your phone out of them. And while many of those articles are well worth reading, individuals cannot be expected to do the entire job of eliminating the problem of tech addiction, especially when many technology companies are quite literally in the business of creating addicted customers for life.
We can do better
If we absolutely have to use devices and screens to interact with the outside world (and as recruiters, we are going to have to use our devices because that’s what candidates use and demand), the quality of those interactions should become our focus. Infusing our tech interactions with real human communication is a logical next step. This is especially clear now, since we’ve learned more about what happens in the human brain when two people have a conversation, especially with a visual element. (Hello, online chat for recruiting!)
We insist that technology (including and especially AI) won’t replace human recruiters any time soon. Rather, AI tools can and should help make humans’ jobs easier, faster, and more efficient. Recruiting chatbots and automated screening tools are a good example, and those are most effective when they free up human recruiters to focus on building relationships. And because job candidates have an advantage over employers in the current job market, candidate engagement has become perhaps the most important element of successful recruiting.
Conversational recruiting employs technology as the tool it was meant to be, and enables true human connection and the building of trust and mutually satisfying relationships between candidates and recruiters. That’s just one of the advantages of conversational recruiting, as well as predictive analytics and candidate referrals.
While there are clear benefits to taking breaks from technology and being more mindful, as individuals, about our technology consumption, the real answer is not necessarily less technology. The answer is smarter technology that we use smartly. The answer is technology tools that are specifically designed to make the recruiting process more human and foster connections between candidates and recruiters.
It’s also good for business, according to research from Bersin. The highest performing recruiting teams all do the same things: evaluate candidates for soft skills, personalize the candidate journey, and make candidate engagement a priority. Online chat for recruiting with live recruiters puts all of those goals within easy reach.
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