The foundation of a high-impact workforce relies on the quality of its employees, but we can’t build successful teams with antiquated recruiting processes. As the demand for talented individuals goes up and pressures on recruiting teams simmer, talent acquisition professionals are constantly in search of better ways to hire.

On average, talent acquisition professionals spend nearly one-third of their work week (about 13 hours) sourcing candidates for a single role and some groups spend even more. Fortunately, new automation technologies are coming to market that offer more efficient ways to modernize and streamline recruiting efforts.

As the hiring process has evolved from newspaper ads to job boards to social recruiting, the next wave of this industry is recruiting automation. Just as salespeople and marketers have benefited from software-enabled automation in recent years, recruiters are increasingly turning to automated mechanisms for hiring the best talent, and the industry is responding accordingly. From initial candidate sourcing to the final hiring decision, new technologies are coming to market quickly to address the latest hurdle.

While many will sensationalize the notion of artificial intelligence (AI) by conjuring up images of witty robots and faceless companies, don’t be fooled. Recruiting automation is designed to give recruiters a promotion, not replace them altogether. Employers are already adopting recruiting automation tools that do everything from source candidates to schedule interviews, screen applicants and even conduct background checks. The purpose is to give recruiters more time to be creative and strategic. Much like Salesforce and other sales automation tools did not render sales professionals obsolete, we anticipate a similar trajectory for recruiting automation.

Tasks like drafting an effective job description, which can be incredibly time consuming, can be automated as a machine learning tool can help predict how it will perform and offer tips to maximize the number of applicants. Hundreds of resumes can be pre-screened by machine learning algorithms in order to sort out the best candidates. Once those candidates are identified, recruiters can create customized messages that are drafted ahead of time. Even screening and interviewing candidates can be automated with technologies that can analyse candidate voices for emotional cues and analyse recorded phone interviews that rank them in order to match the best candidates to the job.

Simply put, automated recruiting takes a process that was once highly individualised, time-intensive and difficult, and uses new technology to quickly and effectively screen applicants whilst allowing recruiters to gain information about a much broader range of candidates.

At its heart, automation is about saving time and improving the candidate experience helping to fast forward right-fit candidates through the recruitment process.

Though AI can help streamline communication in a more human way, it falls short in replacing some human capabilities. AI can’t develop and foster relationships the way people can, and these nuances matter in nurturing a strong team. The numbers indicate talent acquisition professionals are embracing automation rather than being afraid of it. A 2017 Genpact study found that only 10% of those surveyed strongly agreed that AI threatens their occupations today, and the Entelo Recruiting Trends report found that budgets are shifting toward automation as 62% of companies plan to spend on AI-powered recruiting software in 2018 and of those, 86% plan to spend specifically on intelligent sourcing software.

The future of a dexterous workforce lies in innovative recruitment. While today’s job seekers are proactive about researching potential employers and acting more like customers, employers are responding by training talent teams to look more like sales professionals or marketers, who have benefited from a decade of influence from automation. Companies that invest in a data-driven approach to hiring now are the ones who will win the war for talent well into the future.