5 Emerging Technologies That Are Impacting Hiring and Recruiting

Technology is impacting just about every business process you can imagine. What emerging technologies will change the way you approach hiring and recruiting?

A decade ago, you probably wouldn’t have thought that you would be able to ask a speaker to order your groceries, that a car could drive itself, or even that your watch could report on your heart health. Yet, here we are.

Technology is changing the world as we know it, and that includes how we do business. From the supply chain, to marketing, to graphic design, technology has impacted almost every  business process. Whether it’s for the better is up for debate; nonetheless, if we want to keep up, we must adapt.

HR is one of the many sectors of business that’s been influenced by the ever-changing nature of technology. For most hiring teams, gone are the days of the resume drop-box in the lobby, enthusiastic walk-ins asking to fill out a paper application, or entertaining callers asking to speak to HR about open positions listed in the newspaper.

Technology disruption is putting new stress on IT departments. Big IT vendors such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce and LinkedIn are all pouring money into the HR technology market.

Technology is also changing the way companies recruit. More often than not, when walking the rows of a career fair or networking at an industry event, you’ll hear the phrase, “Please apply online.” If you don’t hear those words, a recruiter or manager might say, “Connect with me on LinkedIn.” The majority of jobseekers today are going to go through some type of technology system or social media hub to get their credentials in front of decision makers and hiring managers.

In the coming years, technology will inevitably be more embedded into HR functions. According to the latest research by Sierra-Cedar, HR technology spending increased by an astounding 10 percent, with total sales reaching more than $40 billion. For HR leaders, it’s time to decide whether you will be on the front or back end of the technology-adoption curve.

2018–2019 HR Systems Survey 21st Annual Edition
Sierra-Cedar 2018–2019 HR Systems Survey 21st Annual Edition

Here are five of the leading technologies impacting the scope of hiring and recruiting this year:


There was a time when the term “automation” was tightly associated with advanced manufacturing plants full of robotics. Although this is still a prime example of workplace automation, it is far from the only example. Automation is present in modern businesses small and large, ranging from automatic response to an email, to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to automate specific job functions.

Formally known as robotic process automation (RPA), CIO.com defines automation as, “an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes.” When used correctly, automation has the power to help organizations become more productive, while simultaneously reducing operational costs and increasing profit margins.

CIOs must automate the entire development lifecycle or they may kill their bots during a big launch

Automation is a great tool for hiring and recruiting teams to use, as it can streamline the large amounts of paperwork, processes, and task management that can be repetitive and time-consuming for the hiring department and the new employee. In fact, more than half of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is identifying the right candidates from a large applicant pool and, unfortunately, that’s because many of them are doing so manually. Automation tools created specifically for recruiting have emerged in recent years, which can automate tasks like writing job descriptions and screening candidates.

However, there are many automation-powered processes that also impact critical components of hiring and recruiting. For example, data management has become valuable to the functions of HR teams. These teams generate a ton of data through application and onboarding materials, and must take care of the accuracy, privacy, security, and intelligent value of their most valuable asset—their people. Luckily, sophisticated databases, like that of Oracle’s Autonomous Database, ensure valuable company data is consistently secured, without the need for human activity.

AR and VR

If you’ve heard much about the successes of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in recent years, you’re probably doubting the role they can play in hiring and recruiting. AR and VR found their fame in gaming phenomenons like Pokemon Go and Oculus Rift, but are increasingly being adopted in HR processes like recruiting.

AR is the technology that overlays information and virtual objects on real-world scenes in real-time, adding computer-generated graphics to a pre-existing environment. The origin of the phrase “augmented reality” comes from the word “augment,” which means to add or enhance something. AR technology uses graphics, sounds, and touch feedback to enhance the user experience in the natural world.

On the other hand, VR completely immerses the user into a seemingly different dimension. It typically requires some type of wearable headset, in which the virtual world is displayed, while also blocking out any sensory experiences from the user’s actual surroundings. As Reality Technologies states, VR aims to achieve total immersion, which is when a, “sensory experience feels so real, that we forget it is a virtual-artificial environment and begin to interact with it as we would naturally in the real world.”

AR and VR are being used in the recruitment process to inject components of gamification, a concept that uses game theory, mechanics, and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people. Gamifying recruitment can help HR teams move away from old application processes and shift the balance toward a smarter and more interactive approach. For example, companies like ActiView are offering VR technologies for hiring professionals to use to gauge the behavioral and cognitive profile of candidates in real-life simulations.

The Cloud

Chances are you’ve heard of the cloud by now, or even used the term yourself, but haven’t really stopped to give it a lot of thought. If you’ve edited a document in Google Drive, streamed music on Spotify, liked an article on Facebook, or updated your resume on LinkedIn, you’ve seen cloud computing in action, though you may not have been aware of it.

The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet, instead of locally on a computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a Web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies offer dedicated mobile apps. The cloud impacts our professional lives as profoundly as our personal ones. IDC even predicts that over the next five yearscloud platforms and ecosystems will serve as the launchpad for an explosion in the scale and pace of digital innovation… with as many new applications deployed in the cloud as prior generations deployed over the previous four decades.” Worldwide spending on cloud services is expected to reach $210 billion this year alone.

Software as a Service (SaaS) will be the largest category of cloud computing, capturing more than half of all public cloud spending in 2019

The cloud is a vital component of the tools and technologies of the hiring and recruiting trade, and it allows HR teams to expand their capabilities both simply and efficiently. For example, using the cloud is enabling recruiters to expand their pool of candidates and conduct a more global search for qualified professionals, without necessarily expanding their resources.

Compare private vs. hybrid vs. public cloud
Compare private vs. hybrid vs. public cloud

The evolution from paper to paperless recruiting means there are as many different databases for housing candidate information as there are places and platforms for reaching passive and active talent. However, businesses that deploy a private cloud for hiring and recruiting can combine these potential sources of hire into a single source for tracking, measuring, and reporting.


Although blockchain is widely associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it’s set to impact many HR functions as well. This includes many of the activities associated with hiring and recruiting, especially when it comes to sharing and authenticating candidate information.

At its core, blockchain is a self-sustaining public ledger. It operates by automatically executing “smart contracts” whenever the proper conditions are met, and it records those transactions for all to see. Blockchain technology offers a time-stamped and fixed record of data that is managed by clusters of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these “blocks” of data are secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles. Blockchain’s ledger properties are what make it so valuable outside the realm of cryptocurrency. A wide variety of industries have begun to adopt blockchain technologies, including healthcare, logistics, and even recruiting.

Blockchain, Explained
Blockchain, Explained | Source: Investopedia

Although recruitment applications of blockchain are still in their infancy, a lot of exciting new possibilities are now emerging. One aspect in which blockchain has become beneficial to hiring and recruiting is in regard to credential and qualification verification. Although many of us know it’s wrong to lie on a resume, many people continue to do so when applying for new roles. In fact, CareerBuilder reports that 75 percent of HR managers have caught a lie on a candidate’s resume.

The implementation of a blockchain-based record of candidate qualifications and credentials could make it nearly impossible for unscrupulous job seekers to falsify their resumes. A blockchain ledger can record academic credentials, professional certifications, and other qualifications that a potential job seeker may want to include on a resume. Colleges, universities, organizations, and other types of certifying institutions can publish this information to the ledger whenever a person completes a course or program, and employers could then check a candidate’s resume against the ledger.

Two in 5 HR managers initially spend less than a minute looking at a resume, 19 percent less than 30 seconds

Using blockchain for hiring and recruiting would make it much easier for HR professionals to verify and authenticate candidate resumes and ensure they’re selecting only the best candidates to fill open rolls.

Predictive Analytics

Today’s global explosion of digital information, big data, and predictive analytics is not only affecting the way organizations manage their customers, but it’s also changing the way organizations find top candidates. As data becomes more widely accessible and ready for use, HR teams can use it to make decisions supported by information and research. This is highly beneficial for organizations of all sizes; in fact, a study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management indicates companies that are mostly data-driven maintain four percent higher productivity rates and six percent higher profits.

Technology is separating the leaders from the laggards

Predictive analytics, a technology backed by machine learning, allows organizations to use their own data, as well as data from outside and third-party sources, in the decision-making process. It’s a type of data analysis that uses data to find patterns and generates models to predict future performance. As Monster describes, predictive analytics has traditionally helped companies to address the basic business questions of “who, when, and why.” However, when applied to hiring and recruiting functions, predictive analytics helps to anticipate and optimize activities such as talent acquisition, talent pipeline planning, and job-response optimization.

For hiring and recruiting teams, predictive analytics can offer forward-looking insights on their current workforce that could help to find top talent that fits the needs of the organization. Think of this way: Organizations already hold a ton of information on their employees, like personal attributes, educational background, and performance within the company. With predictive analytics, HR teams can find correlations in this data to determine the ideal profile of an employee who is likely to be successful.

With production performance, data on attrition, employee lifecycle information, and engagement survey feedback, organizations can now build prototypes that can predict the future performance of an applicant

Experts estimate that predictive analytics will find adoption among a majority of firms across the globe, not only when managing candidates and making hiring decisions, but also after the hire to determine employee progression pathways.


Technology in the HR realm is advancing at a rapid rate. In order to remain successful in hiring and recruiting, HR teams must become more tech savvy. As a wide range of technology-equipped tools become available, HR challenges like global recruiting, credential verification, and candidate engagement become simpler for teams to deploy.

As a final note, it’s important to consider that although technology plays a crucial role in transforming the efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of hiring and recruiting operations, technology itself does not create this change. HR leaders must leverage technology to drive real value to the business. In addition, just as leaders must understand how to evaluate and operate these emerging technologies, they must also pass this knowledge on to critical team members, including recruiters, training developers, and HR business partners.

Emerging technologies, like those described in this post, are poised to disrupt HR and redefine the future of the HR department. HR technology will prove to become valuable on a daily basis and become a vital tool for talent management, strategic decision-making, and the overall hiring and recruiting process.

Marie Johnson is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, UX Designer and technology writer from New York City. If I’m not writing my latest blog post in my kitchen, you’ll likely find me strolling through Central Park, cappuccino in hand.

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