Industry after industry was disrupted by hyper-growth, internet driven startups across the world. Today, that transformation continues as even industries and sectors that are primarily human driven are being transformed by digital personalization, artificial intelligence, and automation.
Recruiting is no exception. As we begin the new decade, it’s important to take a step back and think about what trends will continue in the coming years, what parts of your recruiting strategy deserve renewed focus, and which parts need to be completely revamped or eliminated.
This thought exercise can be daunting, but there are a few clear areas that deserve your attention.
As Gen-Z continues its rapid entry to the workforce, companies are scrambling to understand how to engage, attract, and retain these new employees. This generation is defined by being digital natives, especially when it comes to smartphones. It might be surprising, but despite their extensive digital lives, members of Gen-Z are much more likely than Millennials to crave experiences in the physical world. That is, as long as they’re allowed to bring their phones along. Gen-Z prefers experiences that seamlessly blend the digital and physical world.
This preference explains why there is an increased focus on creating more engaging experiences in retail stores by consumer brands. However, there’s no reason why your employer brand can’t also be strengthened by capitalizing on this marriage of digital and physical. An excellent area to begin integrating more technology and richer experiences is in your recruiting events.
Recruiting events offer ample opportunity to introduce new experiences with digital elements. Think seamless candidate registrations at an event through smartphones, paperless career fairs, and interactive information sessions. This is the time to reimagine your recruiting experience. Imagine hosting events like game nights on smartphones and having AR and VR experiences to show candidates what your company does or produces.
Personalization is what makes a candidate feel valued as a person rather than just another candidate in the recruiting pipeline. There are numerous examples of how personalization is leveraged in consumer media. Netflix is the proverbial example of hyper-personalized suggestions that keep an audience engaged with the platform. But how can technology be leveraged to create an experience that is highly digital, automated enough to be scalable, and personalized?
There are a few components required to pull this off.
For most recruiting organizations, the place to start is an applicant tracking system (ATS). Few softwares “do it all” well, so the ATS you choose should be able to integrate with various softwares that can augment it. In particular, it should integrate with sources of data that can help you tailor your communications to each candidate based on data you collect as candidates move through the pipeline.
Recruiting events are some of the best places to gather highly personal data to create a high-touch, human candidate experience (even when you’re automating a lot). These in-person interactions with candidates are where you can potentially find out things like a candidate's favorite brands, motivations, career aspirations, and countless other details that you can leverage later to personalize the candidate’s experience with your team. This could be as simple as recording the information gleaned early in the recruiting process, and later bringing it up in an interview or pointing out a particular resource at the company the candidate may find uniquely interesting. These personalized insights can be combined with data sourced from the candidate’s online footprint to create a more holistic look at who the candidate is as an individual.
The only way you’ll be able to utilize this personal data is if you have it in the first place. That is why it’s crucial to have an excellent recruiting tech stack.
The pace of innovation and tech-driven change has never been faster. As novel ideas disrupt markets, many skills are vulnerable to becoming obsolete, particularly those that revolve around knowledge of specific software and hardware, which could be deemed antiquated as new technologies emerge. A 21st century company should instead focus on developing employees with skills that are “future proof”, particularly soft skills. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2020 the top 10 skills required in the workforce are:
1. Complex Problem Solving
2. Critical Thinking
4. People Management
5. Coordinating with Others
6. Emotional Intelligence
7. Judgement and Decision Making
8. Service Orientation
10. Cognitive Flexibility
If you notice, some of these skills cannot easily be taught if one does not already have a good baseline to start from. Companies can certainly empower employees to improve their emotional intelligence and judgment, but it is difficult to learn any of these skills overnight. That being said, investing in training programs that teach these intangible skills may often prove more fruitful than those training programs that teach task related skills.
The emphasis on soft skills will inevitably affect the way you recruit. In fact, it may also give you an opportunity to recruit students you would have otherwise deemed unqualified. For example, a student from a more affluent financial background could have had more opportunities to take internships at prestigious companies through family connections or had the ability to take on an unpaid internship for a summer in favor of learning skills with the organization. A student with more financial burden or from a lower socioeconomic background may not have had the same ability to network to find a highly prestigious internship in their first few years or college. Or, they may not have had the financial means to work unpaid for an entire summer. However, their jobs, summer experiences, and upbringing may have taught them these soft skills through a more unique path. Thus, if you start to shift your strategy to evaluate students’ soft skills, you may find that you naturally recruit students with diverse backgrounds.
Find ways to gauge these soft skills throughout the recruitment processes. You can give candidates case problems during interviews or have candidates take aptitude tests, but at the end of the day good old fashioned in-person recruiting events can provide the richest data about soft skills. There are certainly data points you simply can’t gather any other way. There’s no software that will tell you how humble, passionate, good with people, or emotionally intelligent someone is, but you can often figure it out pretty quickly after a conversation.