Touch versus technology in digital war for early talent

9th April 2019
Alex Lynn

Young people still prefer a high level of human ‘touch’ when applying for jobs, believing human recruiters to be better at identifying talent versus technology, according to a new survey published today by The 5% Club and Schneider Electric UK. Furthermore, the survey highlights a disparity between the most popular forms of digital recruitment tools utilised by employers and those favoured by young people themselves.

The rise of machine-learning and predictive analytics has become an efficient way for many companies to find and recruit early talent, improving workflow, removing bias and managing high volumes.

However, according to The 5% Club, companies that fail to embrace the balance between human ‘touch’ points and the right forms of technology, risk finding themselves on the losing side of an increasingly digital war for talent, with young people turning to companies who do succeed in getting the balance (and tech) right.

According to the survey:

  • Over half (52%) of young people don’t believe that technology does a better job at identifying talent compared to human recruiters, with only one percent feeling more comfortable working with technology over people during the recruitment process.
  • Over half of young people (58%) would like to experience a 25% tech-enabled and 75% human interaction during recruitment, with a further third preferring 50% tech-enabled and 50% human.
  • Whilst young people are positive about the use of cognitive gaming in recruitment today, this tool is only used by nine percent of employers surveyed.
  • Similarly, experiences of online knowledge assessments and on-demand videos (where candidates provide a response to set questions) are rated as positive by the young people surveyed, but only put into practice by a third of employers.
  • A total of 67% of employers believe young people expect to see technology being used in the recruitment process, yet results show that only 18% of young people feel that technology gave them an advantage in the recruitment process.
  • Eight-five percent of employers agree that the rising use of technology helps to manage high volumes of applications and 76% said technology helps workflow.

Peter Hogg, Talent Acquisition & Mobility Manager, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, commented: “Digital recruitment technology has a lot of potential to improve experiences of candidates and those tasked with assessing early talent. Such technologies boost productivity, reduce the volume of repetitive tasks and allow talent acquisition teams to focus on where they add the most value.

“Yet, the findings of the survey suggest that we should not be complacent, revealing a widening rift between the needs of recruiters and young professionals. Recruiters consider the increased use of technology as part of the attraction, assessment and selection processes necessary to scale up and offer improved candidate experience. Young professionals do not trust in the technology’s ability to correctly and objectively assess their skillsets.

“Digital natives both professionally and personally still favour traditional recruitment practices, desiring as much as 75% of human interaction throughout the process. If we want to attract and retain top talent, we can’t ignore these findings. We must constantly strive to strike the right balance of technology and the ‘human touch’ throughout the process, offering the right guidance with the technology.”

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