Empathy in Recruitment

AI recruitment, social media recruiting and mobile sourcing are growing. The future of recruitment will greatly rely on technology to help recruiters find the professionals they are looking for a lot faster and more efficient. There are also developments among HR tech professionals to eliminate all elements of biases both man-made and tech-made in AI recruitment software. It is nothing new for recruiters to fear of losing their jobs in the coming years with tech taking on more advanced roles. There is really nothing people can do to stop innovation in recruitment. However, in the far future, no matter how advanced technology is, it will never eliminate human connection – empathy will always have a place during the hiring process.

The Big Challenge

The Big Challenge

The hiring process is no longer predictable as it once was many years ago. Establishing empathy in recruitment is becoming more and more of a challenge for many organisations nowadays. Why is that? There are quite a few reasons behind this. One is ghosting. Employers ghosting candidates and candidates ghosting employees. This phenomenon is becoming more prevalent and is damaging trust and integrity for both candidates and recruiters. In short, it attacks human connection. It reaches to the point that some candidates prefer to be evaluated by an AI software rather than a real human being.

When it comes to tech, there is algorithmic fairness. When it comes to human beings, it’s just plain fairness. However, millions of candidates have had bad recruitment experience. Ghosting is just one of them. Other issues include lack of diversity and inclusion, gender discrimination, wage inequality and of course, bias.

*In Malaysia, fresh graduates find it more and more difficult to land jobs that suit their degrees. A big number of these tertiary fresh graduates settle with unskilled and low-skilled jobs where they can be considered 'over-educated' and their current jobs are not related to their level or field of education, as they can’t afford to stay inactive long. The scarcity is made worse by the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fresh graduates in Malaysia are in the hundreds of thousands every year. That’s hundreds of thousands of young people out there hoping to find a job and make a living.

Our roles as recruiters are pivotal for this problem, not just for fresh graduates but for all job seekers out there. There are times that it is heartbreaking for us to inform someone that they didn’t get the job. But we have to, it’s part of the job. In doing so, we contribute a tiny effort in solving one of the biggest issues in recruitment and employment here in the country, lack of empathy.

Is empathy the solution?

Is empathy the solution?

It’s part of the solution, a big part. Empathy is a strategy to empower jobseekers and encourage them and, in the process, enhance a recruiter or employer’s reputation. These days, jobseekers when looking at career pages, jobseekers focus on the salary information and employee reviews. Most of them are also using their mobiles phones so if they read anything that throws them off, they scroll or go to the next page.

Empathy goes a long way, especially right now. How does empathy make you a better recruiter?

  • It helps you better connect and engage with jobseekers. Empathy helps us better understand and identify what matters the most to jobseekers and in doing so, improve our communication and decision making.
  • It improves the overall candidate experience and eventually the employee experience. Jobseekers find value even if they didn’t get the job.
  • It positively impacts corporate culture making it healthier and more proactive.
  • It helps eliminate all forms of discrimination including gender, race and age during the hiring process.
  • It helps recruiters and employers better understand talent analytics and that factors that influence them. Empathy is a way forward to collect people data regarding their skills, critical thinking, camaraderie, compassion and overall behaviour towards their colleagues.
  • It helps organisations better understand the job markets they target.

Do you have empathy?

Do you have empathy?

Empathy is not something you can turn on and off to suit particular situations. It should always be active no matter the circumstances. In a globalised, advanced and diverse world, empathy can be difficult. But, it is something all of us can develop with practice and research.

Empathy helps recruiters shape the way they engage with jobseekers that benefits everyone. Empathy is an intangible asset and has so much impact in so many lives, let’s practice it more.


Written By Damien Lim
Damien Lim is the Managing Director of Asia Recruit. He’s been with the company since 2009, having joined the company as a Senior Recruitment Consultant, and went on to be the Consulting Manager, before assuming the role of Director in 2015. Apart from providing strategic guidance and leadership, Damien is committed to ensuring that the Company achieves its vision, mission and long term goals.

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