Sunday marks the soft opening of this year’s HR Florida Conference and Expo, the largest gathering of Human Resource professionals in the Southeast. This year, the annual event will draw more than 1,500 attendees who will get their minds blown by a panel of speakers who will challenge, inspire, dare, and engage them to do something they don’t have much time for these days – actually talk with people.

We’re not going cold turkey here. There is no need to lock up your smart device or ignore your boss’ emails after 6 pm. What these social business gurus are saying is that people need to do a better job of using tech for what it is (for example, it’s a great way to run a background check) instead of relying on tech to avoid human interactions (you might still hire a candidate who has a criminal history because of how they communicate with you, convey their story, and commit to your cause – but you’d never know that if you eliminate every candidate through an automatic screening service).

It’s no secret that HR professionals are some of the most overworked and overstressed employees in the workplace. That’s why it’s become increasingly easy, and some might argue necessary, for technologies like Applicant Tracking Systems to reduce their burden. But the keynote speakers at this year’s conference will encourage HR professionals to head back to the future and find ways to connect to applicants personally through the technologies that have become commonplace.

One of the ways we can do this is to simply get off our butts. “There is lot a thinking going on today and not enough actually doing,” says Chris Brogan, a New York Times Bestselling author and business strategist who has consulted with companies like Disney, Coke and Microsoft.

Brogan will deliver a keynote address called “Brave Now: How Confidence & Your Other Super Powers Will Deliver Success.” In it, he outlines three key areas that can help Human Resource professionals take charge of not only their daily routines but of their long-term goals. They are:

  • Acceptance
  • Permission
  • Execution

We’re not going to give away Brogan’s whole shebang (hopefully you’ll head to the conference to check that out) but we do want to highlight one issue that pertains particularly to our industry, the background screening audience.

Brogan says companies may want to re-consider a hardline approach when it comes to hiring individuals with a criminal conviction. Although each company will have to weigh this decision on its own, Brogan says, “I think that there’s lots of opportunity to get a lot more flexible with that. We have some strange social stigmas that surround that. There’s lots of opportunities where that shouldn’t be an issue.”

Brogan is not advising companies to throw caution to the wind, but he is saying it’s ok for companies to decide that a negative criminal background check isn’t the only reason an applicant should get bounced from consideration.

Likewise, Paul Hebert, Vice President Solution Design for Symbolist, an organization that helps create and implement “human” programs that connect employees with their parent company, says hiring managers need to re-evaluate their reliance on tech and instead, engage with candidates where it matters most these days – social media.

“If we were to leave hiring up to algorithms and take the human element out of it, our companies would fail rather quickly,” he sums up.

Hebert, along with TalentNet CEO Craig Fisher, make up the #HRFL14 Social Media Squad. Together, this dynamic duo will offer up the sexiest social media tools available and show you how to use them in partnership with real human connection. In other words, you’re going to get the best of both worlds in their presentation titled “Cool Tools and Social Media Fools.”

“Suppose you only let a machine pick candidates and it’s an entirely automated process. Do you think they’ll all get along with company culture? Would they all be a good fit? Would you have a higher rate of dropout, fallout, slow starts and no starts?,” questions Hebert.

That’s why Hebert recommends using social media NOT as a vehicle to determine someone’s character, personality or culture fit, but rather as a conversation starter to find common ground on which to speak to a person. This is an important lesson for hiring managers who are keen on attracting top talent (ie people who are getting lots of job offers). “If you’ve taken the time to learn about them and you can talk to them on their level, you have a better chance of connecting with them than your competitor.”

One of the best ways to suss out this information in a hurry is through a new tool called Riffle by the team at CrowdRiff. Fisher is a huge fan of the app that gives you detailed stats about the Twitter activity of any user you plug into it. “It’s one of the simplest and fastest ways to find out who, among your talent leads or applicants or in your network, is the biggest influencer,” explains Fisher.

It’s also a surefire way to give your message lift if you’re a hiring manager. “If you wanted to amplify your message, like a job posting, you could use a tool like this to find your existing influencers and get them to help you carry that message forward,” says Fisher.

Ultimately, the takeaway for HR pros and, yes, the rest of us, is that technology is nothing without remembering the people behind it. They’re the ones you really want to talk to so get to it.

Click here for more information on the HR Florida Conference and Expo. Don’t forget to come see the Active Screening team at Booth #326.


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