Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of job candidates would opt for in-person interviews over digital recruitment methods, according to a survey published yesterday – but the findings show technology can be beneficial for attracting talent.
The survey of 700 people found 10 per cent had used at least three technologies – such as social media and smartphone apps – in their job search in the last six months.
Jill Bassett, workforce solutions director for ManpowerGroup Solutions, which carried out the research, said: “Tech alone will not add value to the candidate experience… There is no real substitute for seeing and feeling the connection, or the lack thereof, with a company and its culture. Personal contact can positively differentiate one employer from another.”
Since GDPR’s introduction in May, such preferences are now protected by law. Under the new rules, if a candidate is unhappy with any element of the recruitment process that involves no human intervention – for example, software which filters through CVs – they can legally request a person reviews their application instead.
Candidates also have the right to know if they will be subject to automated decision making during the application process.
In particular, Holly Cudbill, associate in Blake Morgan’s employment team, urged employers to be wary of using so-called ‘kill questions’ – questions which prevent applications from proceeding, depending on the answer given – to reduce the number of applicants. A classic example, she said, would be asking if somebody had been convicted of a criminal offence, which triggers a pop-up blocking them from completing the rest of the application if they answer “yes”.
Cudbill added that many recruitment websites and company careers pages still included kill questions, often without the organisation “having really thought about it”.
“From a practical perspective, organisations should remove kill questions and instead ensure that the information collected during the application process is reviewed by a real life person which, given the survey by Manpower, is a rare example of two-thirds of people actually agreeing with the law,” she said.
Dan Hawes, co-founder and marketing director of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, said that, while technology had improved the efficiency of volume recruitment, it had compromised important human elements.
He said: “We may have reached a saturation point where the human side has all but disappeared [but] savvy employers fully appreciate the ‘candidate experience’.”
Hawes said using social media to broadcast jobs and give company insights, and video interviewing – which 9 per cent of those surveyed prefer – were positive uses of technology for the job applicant. However, such methods can only “do so much to create a lasting relationship”.
Hays’ What People Want report, published earlier this year, found similar results. Almost seven out of 10 (69 per cent) respondents said they wanted someone they could contact during the recruitment process, while almost half (48 per cent) reported being deterred from a role because of a poor first impression of the organisation.
Director of Hays HR, Barney Ely, said: "Today’s candidates expect an efficient, well-designed online application journey that makes searching and applying for roles as easy as possible. New technology has great potential to enhance aspects of the recruitment process, but the human element is incredibly important to employers and candidates alike.”