SumTotal Blog

The Digital Transformation and the Future of Recruitment

May 3, 2018



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The digital transformation of recruiting is not a new trend; however, while some people are fully engaged in this disruption, others are not. Why did some anticipate that technology would become deeply integrated into talent acquisition and job seeking and others miss it?

In her book, The Signals are Talking, futurist Amy Webb writes, “smart thinkers get trends wrong because of present-day bias and because they fail to think outside of their usual frame of reference.”  Did these organizations continue to think about talent acquisition as filling an open position rather than recognizing that it is a tool to engage with top talent and attract future employees and leaders?

To ensure your organization is fully engaged, and is not falling victim to this mindset, let’s break down the five ways digital transformation is shaping the modern workforce.

#1 Social is not going away

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Social networks changed the way companies recruit and employees search for jobs. Social media sites Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are now mainstays of recruitment while new social networks like Amino Apps, Raftr, and Hype each has millions of followers by providing alternative platforms where people share all types of information. In the latest CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers and HR professionals, over 70% of employers now use social media to screen candidates before hiring.

The drawback to using social media for hiring is obvious, and there are legal risks for employers to consider when viewing the online profiles of potential candidates. A profile picture can reveal race, gender, age and other attributes of individuals that can potentially influence the sourcing process, leaving candidates exposed to a recruiter’s bias. Granted these same biases will appear in a face-to-face interview, but at least in that scenario, the candidate was selected for an interview; in the other situation, they never make it past stage one.

#2 The power of personal branding 

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Most modern workers have an online social presence, a digital footprint that works as a personal brand. Typically, this online presence is a positive thing as recruiters reward job candidates who demonstrate excellent communication skills, project a professional image, display creativity and share background information that supports their professional qualifications.

Some companies are reconsidering their use of social media information in candidate screening due to legal concerns, while other companies refuse to hire people without an online presence.  Several recruiters I spoke with said they are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find that job candidate online.  For job seekers, this means the personal is no longer private. It is incumbent upon the individual to review their digital footprint regularly to ensure the image projected is the image you want the world to see. Your data is being captured, read and stored in the cloud for all to see and it’s never going away, even if you think it was deleted.  If you think something could be questionable or inappropriate to post, it probably is. A good rule of thumb is only to post materials that your grandmother could read without getting the vapors.

#3 Current employees spread the word

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Each month hundreds of millions of people use Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  According to Facebook, 1.37 billion people visit the social network on a daily basis.  Imagine harnessing that kind of sourcing power to help recruit talent.  Savvy recruiters already know that building their employer brand is an integral part of a highly effective recruiting process, but imagine the potential of harnessing current employees spreading their positive experiences within their social networks? Most people trust their friends and connections more than a company website.  A review, positive or negative, shared by an employee can reach thousands of people in an instant.  Think of the impact a company review on Glassdoor can have on your talent pool and recruiting efforts.

To tap into this invaluable resource, begin by encouraging your employees to spread the word about company openings, offer employee incentives for referrals, and, importantly, build a positive culture that will attract people and inspire positive reviews.

#4 Mobile candidate drop-off

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Job seekers today live on their smartphones, barely breaking eye contact with their screens long enough to interact with other humans. They are technology natives who communicate with nimble consumer-grade apps all day long.  Global strategy consultancy Kelton, reports that 86% of all active job searches begin with smartphones. When these candidates are exposed to an outdated mobile recruitment experience, it goes something like this:

  • Click on a job that interests them and gets sent to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
  • Once in the ATS they must search for the job again by scrolling in a job list page. When they find the job title they click to review the details of the role again.
  • Next, candidates are prompted to create an ATS login with password and password reminders.
  • At this stage there’s usually some pre-screening or knock out type questions presented.
  • If the screening questions are successfully passed, the candidate is finally given a job application to complete.

Does this sound like fun?  Imagine trying this on a smartphone on a lunch break or in a coffee shop.  Most job seekers leave after 3-4 page scrolls and clicks.  And yet the reality is this experience is the norm for many companies and job seekers alike.

Why candidates “drop-off”?

A leading global hospitality company recently conducted a review of their mobile recruiting program and found a direct correlation between the amount of information they requested from people in their application process and the applicant abandonment rate.

You need this information, so what can you do?

The trick is finding the balance of sharing enough about the company and role to keep people engaged while capturing the candidate data needed to have a follow-up – all without driving them away. One recruiter I spoke with recently used the term “Goldie Locks” applications that offer not too little, not too much, but just the right amount of information to get the job done.  For him, the sweet spot was requiring only two to three clicks for an online application and providing between 300 – 1500 words of company/role information for most jobs.  Much more than that tends to increase the drop off rate too early in the exchange.

#5 Use analytics to drive mobile engagement

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We use data analytics to examine where people drop-off corporate marketing websites, so why are we not using them for recruitment opportunities?  Learning what path job seekers take to find your company’s site and where they abandon the online application process provides invaluable user-experience insights, one of which is to provide a better roadmap to attract, engage and retain potential future employees. Too many companies still have recruitment processes that evolved around traditional recruitment processes (think time-to-fill metrics) or are constrained by technological limitations of outdated HR systems.

I recently interviewed an experienced corporate recruiter at a global software company who told me, “I’m spending more time keeping my system updated than sourcing or interviewing candidates.” To get an understanding of where things stand at your company, view the hiring process from the job seeker’s perspective. Apply to one of your company’s open jobs on a smartphone and fully experience the process from start to end.

Digital transformation is disruptive, and it is radically changing not only the way people look for jobs, but also how companies recruit to fill open positions. Today I’ve only touched on a few topics; there is so much more to explore including using video, biometrics and machine learning to encourage, screen and review candidates.

As technology further evolves, we shall continue to see the way we hire shift. The only concern is what are you doing to ensure your hiring process continues similarly?

Want to learn more? Join us on May 6th for our 5 Ways to Digitally Transform Your Precruitment Process webinar.

 

 

 

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