Many recruitment processes still deliver a poor candidate experience
In March 2015, we published our article: “7 trends in recruitment and selection“. Time for an update. It is remarkable how slow organisations are in adapting to trends, and using the opportunities offered by current HR tech solutions. In my family, there are several young graduates looking for a job, and the stories that are shared via the WhatsApp family group and during the annual family BBQ are terrible. Even (or maybe: especially) big organisations are very skilled in creating a negative candidate experience.
The processes are slow. Some organisations still use an automatic e-mail reply to applicants: “We have received your application, and you can expect to be informed about possible next steps in the coming weeks”. Any chatbot can do a better job, and the experience is better, even if you know it is a chatbot. “Hi Tom, nice you are interested in a job at XYZ! Unfortunately, our process is slow, but you can expect a reaction latest on July 1. If anything changes, I will let you know. Do you have any questions for me?” “Can I maybe already do an online test?” “That is a great idea, here is the link.” Most job profiles are still long lists of requirements, sending the message: “We know exactly what we are looking for, so please do not dare to apply if you do not meet the requirements”.
The first contacts are most of the time with young recruiters, for whom recruiting is the first job. They do not have real experience in the organisation. Candidates are kept away from real people in the initial exploration phase. Most procedures are company centric, not candidate centric. I think there is no excuse for a poor candidate experience (there never has been of course), and I suggest candidates who have negative experience, to draw their conclusions quickly, and save their energy for more attractive opportunities.
New trends in recruitment and selection
What are some of the new trends we see in the area of recruitment and selection?
1. It is all about the candidate experience
As outlined above, unfortunately many experiences of candidates are still poor. Designing an attractive and relevant candidate experience, as the first step in the longer employee journey, is very important. As we described in our article “Where to start when you want to improve the employee experience“, not all the elements of the employee journey are easy to change. Redesigning the recruitment process is probably one of the easier ones. Recruitment is often a high priority (“We need new people, fast”), and recruitment is a process that many people understand.
The big consultancy firms generally do a good job in the initial phases of recruitment: their attractive business courses for talented students, taking place at nice locations, are well known (and expensive). Designing a business course that is attractive is relatively easy, it is more difficult to make sure all employees (and ex-employees) contribute to a positive candidate experience.
Some interesting service providers in this area (and there are many more): Betagig (“Beta test your next career with job shadowing opportunities”), Jibe (“Build a better talent pipeline with Jibe’s candidate experience platform”) and Meetandengage (group and ono-to-one chats, also for candidates).
2. Semi-automatic referrals
Recruiting via referrals is increasingly important for organisations. Where initially referral programs worked mainly with money as a reward, you now see more game-like rewards as well (points, leaderboards, badges).
There are various tools that can help organisations to manage the referral process (as Firstbird, Soosr and Happy2Refer). An interesting new contender in this space is Simppler. Employees connect their network to Simppler (if they want…), and the software then searches for suitable candidates in their network. And we know, that generally software is better (and faster) in detecting suitable candidates than humans.
3. AI powered search (or: from active to passive candidates)
The candidate search software is quickly becoming more powerful (all of them are “AI powered”, of course). If you give the machine an indication of the type of candidates you are looking for, it will start a broad search, and deliver a long-list of potential candidates quickly. You can feed the machine with a list of requirements, but also with the profiles of people who are already successful in your organisations (or other organisations) in the domain where you are looking for candidates.
This development will probably also mean the end of the traditional job boards, where you can post vacancies. Why would you need a job board, if your machine can search almost everywhere? Of course, candidates need to be visible online, but today most candidates are visible. The software will also look at the personality profile of potential candidates, to check if there is a match between the personality of the candidate and the ‘personality’ of the organisation.
The initial contact between candidates on the long-list and the organisation, can be done by chatbots, via the preferred platform of the potential candidate (FaceBook chat, WhatsApp, WeChat etc.). The chatbot can do the initial screening. “Hi Tom, are you interested in an opportunity in Winnipeg?” “No.” “Thank you for your candid answer. Are you interested in new opportunities anyway?”
Some examples of providers in the intelligent search area: 1-Page Talent On-Demand (“….the most sophisticated candidate matching algorithm ever created”), Aevy (“Find your next genius”), Hello Talent (“Smarter. Faster. Hire.”), Hiretual (“10x faster talent sourcing”), HiringSolved (“The fastest way to find talent”), Human Predictions (“Prioritizing recruiting prospects based on real-time data”) , Joberate (“Recruiting better and more diverse talent faster using J-score”) and Talentwunder. Of course, Google for Jobs will heavily influence this arena, although I think it will be (initially?) Google for jobs and not Google for candidates.
4. From fixed jobs to fluid roles
Organisations are more creatively using the opportunities of a more flexible workforce. It helps to think less in terms of jobs and more in terms of assignments. There is an assignment to be done, and how can we quickly find the best possible people who can (and want to) do the assignment?
Organisations are less organised around fixed jobs, and more around flexible teams, that look for suitable candidates in the internal- and external talent pool. Candidates are recruited to strengthen a pool. It is important they have the right skills, and that they fit well culturally in the organisation.
An example of a solution that can be used to establish teams with people that together have the skills and the motivation to get the assignment done, is Part-up.
5. Clever and automatic candidate selection
Humans are not very good at selection. The combination human and machine can improve the quality of selection a lot. especially in areas where performance can be clearly shown and measured, developments are going fast. If you are coding software, you feed the machine with a piece of code you have written, and then the machine will determine how good you are, and in what type of team you will fit and add value, as teams have different coding styles. No cv, no diploma, just some of the work you have done.
Some examples here: Codility, DevScore, Harver (“The ultimate preselection platform”), PredictiveHire (“Accurate candidate performance predictions powered by artificial intelligence”), and Seedlink (“Use technology to make better decisions on hiring and talent management”.
6. Chatbots to improve communication, and to improve the recruitment process
Chatbots are in increasingly used in recruitment, to have conversations with candidates. They can save recruiters a lot of time, by answering the first questions of candidates, and helping to make the first selection. The chatbots can talk with applicants on the website of organisations, but also through the various social media (Facebook chat, WhatsApp, WeChat, Slack). The chatbot asks questions, and the applicants can give answers by typing text, or by answering a multiple-choice question. (“Are you interested in a job in France? Please answer yes or no.“ “No.“ “I am sorry, we do not have opportunities outside France now. I will contact you if a suitable opportunity occurs, Thank you.“)
There are various providers offering chat bots specifically for recruitment, like Ari, GoBe, Jobo, Joboti, Job Pal and Xor. The US Army already uses a recruitment chatbot for years, the famous sergeant Star. To check if a potential new team member will be successful in your team, you can use the Saberr hiring bot.
There are more trends on my list (like “resumes and motivation letters are becoming less important”, “the further rise of data driven recruitment”), but as I am running out of time and space, the six trends above will have to do.
- Josh Bersin: Google for Jobs: disrupting the recruitment market?
- Josh Bersin: AI comes to recruiting – Will interviews go the way of the dinosaur?
- Tom Haak: Where to start when you want to improve the employee experience?
- How can recruiters improve the candidate experience?
- HR Trend Institute: 7 trends in recruitment and selection
- Infographic: 7 trends in recruitment and selection