First impressions often end up being the last impressions, especially in relationships that are transactional in nature. As an employer, you won’t be interested in a resume that has multiple typos, the same goes for candidates – if they find your interview process patchy. Candidate experience in the talent acquisition process can make it or break it for you. Despite knowing this and more, where are we lagging and can technology help us overcome the struggle?
Why employers need to buckle up
The 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report points out some key aspects that constitute a robust candidate experience. According to its findings, 52% of candidates prefer interviews that are easy to schedule. A faster application process can woo about 51% of job seekers out there. Additionally, 47% of applicants have shown their preference for constant communication from the hiring authority in the form of prompt feedback and follow-ups. Apart from this, a Glassdoor study shows that 72% of applicants would share their reviews about recruiting companies and 52% won’t even bother to apply to those with a negative online reputation.
Technology: the saving grace
The past couple of years have virtually turned our lives upside down. From grocery shopping to medical checkups, nothing is beyond the reach of technology. Organizations must remember that the candidates they are looking to hire are people whose habits have been dramatically transformed by the acceleration of digitalization. Technology can not only help hiring managers meet prospective employees right where they are but also raise the bar of candidate experience.
Technology is already revolutionizing the recruitment process since before the pandemic. Let’s look at some examples:
· Candidate assessment tools
One of the most basic yet essential mediums for effective candidate assessment, these tools make the evaluation of applicants objective, productive, bias-free and comprehensive along with elimination of interview scheduling time. Most notably, they cut down the time taken by traditional assessments and offer an agile solution. No one, in this age of hyper-disruption, wants to take a 20 minute pen and paper test when, through the right use of technology, it can be done in one-fourth of the time.
Gamification in recruitment or skill gaming has become a buzzword. However, the trend began much before the onset of the pandemic. Back in 2016, Uber leveraged its app to deploy in-app coding and debugging challenges called ‘hacker challenges’ to engage engineers. Quick and efficient, these challenges took about a minute to complete and offered applicants a whiff of fresh air amid the conventional long-winded assessments. The car brand, Jaguar created a free mixed reality app where candidates could demonstrate their inquisitiveness, perseverance and problem-solving abilities by playing a set of challenging puzzles.
The British Army saw an increase of 66% in the number of applicants after implementing VR simulations to expose candidates to various training scenarios. A similar method was employed by the US Navy for an immersive candidate experience. The Walmart-owned online shopping platform, Jet.com adopted VR to give their candidates a slice of their work culture by showing them various facets of their office virtually.
Imagine an online shopping experience that deprives you of information about your order progress. As consumers, we hate to miss any update pertaining to even the smallest investment of ours. Why then, should candidates not be able to monitor their progress for something as life-changing as a job application? Treating candidates as consumers begins with the crucial step of keeping them up to speed with every update on their applications. This is where dashboards can help immensely. Aside from the fact that these tools help candidates to stay apprised of their application status, they also help establish employers as caring entities who value their prospective employees’ time and efforts by offering them timely updates.
· Artificial Intelligence
Candidates love a recruitment process where their doubts and questions are answered with readiness and speed. Bots and AI assistants have proved their efficacy in offering clarity in the hiring process. IBM enjoyed a 35% hike in applications after deploying ‘Watson’, their AI assistant to guide applicants through the process by prodding them towards the right roles based on their skill sets.
· Social media
By social media in talent acquisition, we’re looking beyond LinkedIn. Yes, as a professional network, LinkedIn caters specifically to businesses trying to fulfill various goals like recruitment and lead generation. However, it’s time we widened the possibilities of what social media channels can do. McDonald, for example, leveraged Snapchat where candidates could apply to the company using a video of just 10 seconds. That’s not all, the AR feature of the app was utilized by the organization so that candidates could try on a virtual McDonald’s uniform. This not only shortened the process but also made it rather engaging among its target audience.
While we have almost unanimously agreed that technology can streamline the hiring process for businesses by reducing manual work and ushering in speed and quality, for candidates, it makes them feel acknowledged, valued and respected. We are at a stage where by 2026, we are anticipating an investment of $246 Bn in HR software by businesses. The time, then, couldn’t be better to start investing in the right technology that directs the right talent to your organization simply by switching the gears of candidate experience.
(The article was first published in Business World.)
Senior Vice President – Operations