Demand for ‘Consumer’ Experience Drives Recruiting Tech

Recruiting TrendsRecruiters and recruiting solutions will continue trying to keep up with the ever-changing demands of younger workers who have integrated technology of all kinds into their lives. While Korn Ferry Futurestep CEO Byrne Mulrooney said the “break-neck speed of technology advancements” will allow recruiters to focus on their core responsibilities, his company’s 2018 talent acquisition report makes clear that the growing impact of consumer technology is driving the way vendors are envisioning new recruiting products.

None of Futurestep’s 10 predictions are particularly shocking. They are (in our words):

  • Artificial intelligence and technology will reinvent the human recruiter’s role.
  • Sourcing is becoming more personal.
  • Relocation’s not so important as technical tools for remote work continue to expand their capabilities.
  • The disrupting Millennials are shifting workplace dynamics as they take on more management roles.
  • More companies are hiring from within.
  • With the labor market so tight, employees have rediscovered the hiring of new college graduates.
  • Employers use social media and other channels to satisfy candidate demand for active communications.
  • It’s no longer enough to talk about your culture. You have to prove it operates as advertised.
  • More candidates are also customers and they have to be engaged as both.
  • Job-hopping may not be the new black, but it’s not a worry, either.
  • Let’s look at the list thematically rather than point-by point.

Let’s Talk AI

All of these trends align with developments taking place in the wide business and consumer worlds. AI, for example, is almost everywhere nowadays, driving recommendations on Netflix and helping Amazon forecast price tolerance. We certainly can’t argue with Futurestep’s contention that AI’s use in sourcing has become mainstream and, consequently, the company’s vision of solutions that allow recruiters to manage their process from sourcing to compensation planning to following up with candidates for future opportunities seems logical.

Does that mean recruiters will be replaced by machines? Futurestep’s answer is pretty much the standard answer one gets in any sector: “With technology taking the brunt of the once cumbersome work, recruiters now have more time to invest in high-value areas of delivering an outstanding candidate experience and impactful advice to hiring managers.”

Whether hiring managers listen to that advice remains an unanswered question, though we’ll take bets.

Those same technical advances can be applied to internal candidates, as well as prospects who are already hidden away in an employer’s database. Such “talent rediscovery,” as Restless Bandit CEO Steve Goodman refers to it, can save employers time and money, not to mention result in a more effective search. In an interview last year, Goodman pointed out that these people have already been vetted by a company’s recruiting team and already have a relationship with the company. Leveraging that relationship, he said, makes a lot of sense when the labor market is tight.

As you consider all that, consider as well Futurestep’s note that “job hopping is no longer taboo.” Futurestep says technology is a big reason for this, but more important may be the fact that younger workers see frequently changing jobs as normal. In this case, technology has caught up with the workforce’s dynamics instead of driving them: Talent’s hard to find, young people will jump around until they find what they’re looking for and more powerful tools are helping recruiters match the right people to the right roles based on everything from skills assessment to super-specific personality traits.

Communications Grows Seamless

Screening and sorting data is one thing, developing personal relationships is another. AI is at play here, as well, helping employers use social media and other communications tools to reach out in ways that customize channels as well as messages to the candidate’s interests, location and communications preferences.

This is something job boards in particular should consider, given the way many candidates are abandoning them in favor of industry- or topic-specific website. For example, many a clueless tech recruiter has flamed out on LinkedIn while their smarter, more detail-oriented colleagues can at least get a fair hearing on GitHub.

Meanwhile, the range of communications keeps expanding. Though email remains a favorite business tool, whether futurists like it or not, more candidates prefer the immediacy of texting and chat tools, and recruiters aren’t resisting. “Because this takes less time and the response is often much faster, candidates are actually getting more interaction with recruiters,” Futurestep said.

The Changing Workforce

In some ways, advances in recruiting technology are coming in the nick of time. Not only is the labor market tight, its core dynamics are changing in ways that push recruiters to behave something like software developers: always learning new tools and methodologies, keeping up with candidate expectations and responding creatively and personally to issues as they arise.

You see that as millennials bring their impatience with long-established practices into the management ranks, and how they expect their employer’s culture to mesh with their own views on how to get things done and live life in general. At the same time, Futurestep points out, many of these newly minted managers must learn how to manage up, since they’re supervising workers with years more experience and knowledge than they have. That’s bound to make learning an essential part of any successful culture, which means learning is something recruiters will have to showcase as they pursue candidates.

Learning is also important to hew increasing number of new college graduates companies are hiring, Futurestep said. According to an August 2017 survey by the company, nearly two-thirds of hiring managers say the best time to recruit college students is at the beginning of their senior year. That’s led to more firms offering in-depth training programs, often in-person as opposed to online, to prepare new hires for both their jobs and their company’s culture.

Finally, Futurestep observes that for many employers, candidates and customers are the same people. As a result, it sees recruiting and marketing departments working more closely together. This isn’t only because they want to entice their candidate-customers—they’re worried that an unhappy candidate experience will result in a lost customer. Futurestep’s research reveals that’s a legitimate concern: More than 50 percent of the professionals it surveyed said they’d stop buying from a company if they felt it treated them badly during a job search.

Image: dominickide / Pixabay

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