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The Future of Technical Screening Could Look Much Different

As HR and business experts are pointing out, new technologies are changing work as we know it.

Take Forbes contributor Sylvia Vorhhauser-Smith, who says that in the future “employers may not have employees as we know them today,” but instead have “virtual talent warehouses” with some permanent talent, but much of it task or project-based. Some of this talent, she says, may not even be human.

Also notable is how these new technologies (artificial intelligence, robotics, etc.) and the resulting changes in the nature of work also promise to cause major changes to technical job screening. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what technical screening will be like even 10 years from now, with the help of technical recruiting experts, we’ve come up with the following four predictions.

  1. Artificial Intelligence, Bots, and Screening Technologies Will Take Over Much of Technical Screening

One of the biggest complaints IT hiring managers have about technical recruiters is that many lack sufficient relevant technical knowledge. As technologies continue to advance, especially those in the emerging third and fourth platforms such as AI, shortcomings of relevant technical knowledge among recruiters will only become more acute. The result: recruiters will struggle to differentiate between strong and poor candidates for tech roles associated with those technologies.

We expect, however, technology solutions to arise that will help recruiters with their pre-screening efforts. In other words, much of recruiters’ work in sourcing and initial screening will be shifted to technology tools. Some examples:

  • We expect that recruiters will rely on prescreening bots for specific areas of expertise to give them a baseline understanding of candidates’ competency.
  • Bots could do the first level of screening by chatting with candidates.
  • Bots could help identify fraudulent candidates.

IT hiring managers also could see their roles in candidate screening and resume review decrease. In part, this is because tech hiring is snowballing that many hiring managers won’t have the time to serve those roles. Instead, skill and screening assessments—made more powerful by new technologies—will help fill the need.

However, there are limits to the impact of automation in screening. Human review and monitoring of data from automation will be important. And, as noted in the next prediction, an automated screening will still need to be weighted with live, person-to-person technical interviews.

  1. The Human Factor Will Still Play a Role, Particularly in Technical Interviewing

Most of the experts we consulted with believe, as we do, that—at least for the short- and medium-term future—technical interviews conducted by hiring managers or other IT professionals will remain an important part of the screening process. After technology-driven prescreening for evaluating required competencies, technical interviews with human experts are needed to evaluate candidates’ relevant experience. The human factor is important at this stage because only qualified people are able to probe candidates’ responses, understand their nuances, and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

As one technical recruiting expert noted, bots could assist human interviewers in providing better technical interviews. For example, by identifying appropriate questions to ask based on the job role and candidates’ experience.

Perhaps in 20 years AI and bots will have developed the ability to effectively evaluate the experience. In the next five to 10 years, however, we believe it’s doubtful that technologies will be able to replicate the experience that human technical interviewers can offer.

  1. New Types of Assessments

We expect new types of assessments to arise to meet the screening needs of employers using contract- and task-based workers.

One example: As recruiting expert Steve Levy suggested to us, we could see assessments that deliver skill and team compatibility scores. These scores would help determine if candidates’ skills match the needs of a project or team. The company would use the scores of other team members to ensure that the gig worker would bring the needed skills.

Another example from Levy: an “adaptability to new technology” assessment. As new technologies come to the forefront, employers need to know how well job seekers are able to adapt.

Plus, with much of gig tech work likely done remotely, we may also see assessments that gauge a person’s ability to work remotely, without supervision. After all, if a person is a remote gig contributor, the employer is going to want to ensure the person will be able to work well in that environment.

  1. More Robust Professional Profiles

Many tech professionals might not even wait for employers to give them assessments. Instead, since they will be serving as entrepreneurs selling their own services to a variety of employers, they could have skill and experience assessments done on themselves to be able to showcase their skills and experience on their professional profiles.

We envision the development of skill certification programs, in which peers formally vet workers’ skills, allowing job seekers to show the certification in these skills on their professional profiles. Job seekers with tech skill certification would likely find themselves at an advantage in landing gig work associated with those skills.

One technical recruiting expert told us that while nice to have now, having profiles in the development platform GitHub, the programming online community Stack Overflow, and on LinkedIn will soon become musts for tech talent. Although with Google announcing in May a push into the job search market, Google for Jobs, it will be interesting to see how that impacts LinkedIn, other job search companies, and technical screening.

Some good news: applying for jobs could become much less time-consuming for candidates, which is good news for both them and employers. When candidates apply for positions, career history and online profiles could eventually be automatically submitted to recruiters without any effort from candidates. In addition to saving time for candidates, employers will benefit from eliminating candidate abandonment during the application process.