High Tech Vs High Touch – HR’s Balancing Act Continues

Technology is everywhere. We see it in our gadgets, cars, and even on the bus to work. In the last decade, scientists have made giant strides in the area of digital technology, making it easily adaptable for everyday use, and at work. Today, digital skills are a prerequisite for securing a high paying job. Aside from this, companies have also benefited enormously from advancements made in digital technology. It’s no wonder companies continue to contend on the issue high tech vs high touch.

One of the areas fraught, mostly, with the high tech vs high touch controversy is the area of recruitment. For companies to maintain their competitiveness and relevance, they must always recruit the best talents (candidates). It’s on the backdrop of this that recruiting firms and HR in organizations look to employ any tool that guarantees the highest level of efficiency. As a result, many see AI and robotics as the ultimate solution.

It’s no secret that the future of work relies on being digitally efficient. Recent happenings, particularly, the coronavirus pandemic, have shown that when it comes to the question of leveraging on high technology, there’s only one answer. Without the existence of the machinery that powered telecommuting, the world of work would have been in shambles.  It doesn’t come as a great surprise to see that jobs in programing saw a 72% increase in demand between 2011 and 2019, according to a UK survey.

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When it comes to digitization, it’s almost impossible to exhaust its benefits, which is why there’s such a high level of digital disruption in the workplace, as seen today. Nevertheless, companies must exercise caution when digitizing procedures. As far as recruiting goes, balancing technology and people is of utmost importance. The process of recruiting demands more soft skills than the presence of high-tech.

Before now, recruiters have used software programs such as the applicant tracking system to optimize the recruitment process. And that has worked wonders in cutting down the amount of time spent sorting through hundreds of applications. The use of other tech enhancements, such as video interviews, has also greatly improved the efficiency of the recruiting process. Further automation wouldn’t make recruiting more proficient. In fact, many recruiters have expressed difficulty working with a fully automated process, because it has led to an increase in candidate absenteeism or worse: making an unqualified candidate to slip through. These are technological glitches that emerge leading to some big losses.

In essence, the full automation of the recruiting process wouldn’t make recruiting more effective. And the reason for this is simple: recruiting new employees requires more of the human touch. For all the goods that come with automation, it hasn’t advanced enough to the point where it can replace the human touch. The UK survey also showed that there was an increase in demand for caregivers between the same period. And they expect this will continue to increase in the 2020s, showing that not all jobs can be fully automated – some don’t even need to.

Recruiters also must consider the candidate’s comfortability when deciding on the procedure to follow. As far as candidates are concerned, an over-compensation of machinery makes the process impersonal, according to a survey carried out by the American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor. The survey, which involved over 2100 adults, reported that 7 in 10 candidates think job hunting is too impersonal as it stands. While most acknowledge that technology makes job hunting easier, 59% of those surveyed responded that technology makes landing a job harder. As many as 85% think that personal contacts are more helpful to get a job than the internet.

The high tech high touch discourse is one that’ll continue to divide opinions. Nonetheless, maintaining a balance between high tech skills and high touch skills is crucial in recruiting. In as much as leveraging on high technology is all the rave, it’s essential for staffing to maintain human contact.


  • High tech vs high touch: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future by the World Economic Forum||February 14, 2020
  • Utilizing Technology for hiring by Recruiter box
  • High tech vs high touch: What’s more important in staffing by Barb Hammerberg||April 11, 2018

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