fullsizerenderThis article was written as a blog post for my friends at AptoZen, the company in San Francisco combining science and art to change how companies build their teams.

One Sunday I came across a job listing that looked like a good fit for my ambitions. Over a mug of hot tea I customized my cover letter, filled in the online application, uploaded my resume, and hit the submit button. Then I took a break to brew another cup of tea. When I returned to my laptop, there were two new emails in my inbox, both from the company on which I had just spent a portion of my afternoon. One acknowledged the receipt of my application. The next curtly informed me I wasn’t right for the job.

Yes, I was rejected by a robot before the work week had even started. My carefully crafted resume and cover letter were tossed, untouched by human hands, into an electronic dustbin. Their loss, I assured myself. And I think it is. If you’re hiring humans, you could be missing something if you’re not looking at them with human eyes. Your robot sees what’s there. Only you can see what’s not there. The thing you may be missing is potential.

Potential. This is what you see when your candidate screening is about discovery rather than elimination. Sure, automated screening is a time saver, like sorting pebbles on a beach, but your search could be stymied if some of the best agates are being washed out with the waves.

Are you smarter than a computer? Yes, you are. That’s why you’ve been given the responsibility of securing your company’s most important asset, its people. If you’ve done this long enough, you know that someone who looks good on paper doesn’t always look good in person. The opposite, of course, is just as likely to be true. After all, there’s a reason many companies pay bonuses for employee referrals. They recognize the importance of humans in the recruiting relationship. Without a doubt, robots are here, and they’re here to stay. Just remember they’re here to serve you. To help you streamline your recruiting and discover that perfect-fit employee.

You’re looking for an employee who’s going to be a great fit, not someone supremely talented at applying for jobs. When it comes to my application that was sucked into the vortex of rejection, I realize if I’d answered one of the questions differently, the system may have viewed it more favorably. But that would have required me to lie, a place I won’t go even in the pursuit of an interview.

Speedy rejection should never be a feature of your recruiting process. No applicant expects a same-day response, and a hasty brush-off can leave a lasting impression that doesn’t benefit your company. Instead, use your robot to sort and present candidates who have the best potential to meet your business needs. Then get some human eyes on those applications, looking for the gems that will glimmer with the right amount of polish.

Copyright 2016 Liz Behlke