By Meghan M. Biro
HR (specifically talent management) is an art and a science. Achieving the right balance between the two should be the goal of every global leader.
HR is an art because, at its heart, it’s about people – in all their messy glory. It’s about hiring the right people, and then inspiring and enabling them to deliver stellar performance.
HR is a science because there are ways to measure talent, skills and compatibility that can take some of the guesswork out of the process and dramatically increase the odds of success.
The science side of this equation is where you find most of the technology juice and action these days. In fact, technology companies are coming up with innovations that knock my socks off (not that I make a habit of wearing socks but you catch my drift).
The core of many of these advances is sophisticated software algorithms that identify talent and match it to an organization’s needs. Suddenly your pool of hires is literally global and social. And most of the costly and time-consuming preliminary screening is taken care of by the software or social application. Hey – maybe it’s even in the cloud. You’re just dealing with the cream of the crop, the best potential people matches for your job openings. This kind of sorting is an HR and leadership dream come true.
Other new technology can help pinpoint team players based on core traits and personality matching. There are some very talented people who don’t play well with others. You may well want them in your company, but not in a team-based, project-based capacity. And natural team players who bring enthusiasm and cooperation to the game are invaluable, even if some of their skill sets may not be world-class. Being able to determine if a candidate is team-worthy before you hire can save a lot of talent management heartache, recruiting and leadership training budget later.
There’s new HR technology that allows the application process to be completed on mobile devices or tablets. This is a fantastic tool when you need talent ASAP. And software can find any red flags – such as obnoxious social networking behavior – that may well be a disqualifier. (Hint #1 to everyone — yes, every GENERATION not just millennials– watch what you post anywhere, it’s all accessible for all eternity. Hint #2: drinking too much at happy hour and tweeting is not always a smart career move if hiring managers are testing out your judgment skills)
How about finding talent that isn’t even looking for you? The cherished “passive job seeker”. New software and social platforms can discover the best and brightest, taking the most die-hard recruiter, headhunter out of the picture, and allowing HR or your hiring teams to establish an immediate dialogue with a star. This software alone has the ability to change the HR equation. Imagine being able to browse on-line for fabulous talent the way you do real estate or shoes? You might discover someone who ignites your imagination and leads to creating a position just to get this star on board.
The HR technology landscape is ever-evolving. It’s very exciting, but there’s a caveat: in embracing the science, never forget the art. Technology is not infallible. Remember the human dimension. The best HR practitioners and leaders know their organizations and culture brand on a visceral level. Finding talent can be made a lot easier by these fantastic technologies, but finding the“right fit” transcends even technology.
A version of this post was first published on Forbes.com.