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Mixing high-touch with high-tech in recruitment

Mixing high-touch with high-tech in recruitment

How do candidates use technology to find and apply for jobs? Several key themes have emerged from a global survey of 18,000 job seekers, including over 800 from Australia.

ManpowerGroup’s 2018 Candidate Preferences Survey has revealed the emergence of a new group of job candidates known as Early HR Technology Adopters, who will use at least three technologies in their job search.

Early HR Tech Adopters are unique among candidates:

  • They tend to be young, urban, highly mobile, and evenly split between males and females
  • 37% are Gen Z (aged 18-21)
  • 26% are Gen Y / Millennials (aged 22-34)
  • 78% of them are willing to move to a new city, region or country. For them, technology is largely viewed as an enabler of mobility.

Ten percent of candidates across Australia qualify as Early HR Tech Adopters. Globally, 11% fall under the definition, with their presence across other countries varying significantly. Australia is well below some of the most dynamic and innovative economies in the world, including India (31%) – indicating there is work to be done in providing and encouraging the use of recruitment technology from local employers.

According to the survey, the most used recruitment-related technology is social media job ads (23% for all Australian job seekers, 56% for Early HR Technology Adopters), and using smartphone apps to search or apply for a job (21% for all job seekers and 75% for Early HR Tech Adopters). Only 10% have used text messaging to communicate with a potential employer, 9% have completed a video interview, and just 6% have participated in a virtual job fair.

The high rate of engagement with social media ads suggests even passive candidates can be lured to click on targeted job advertisements even when they might not actively be looking for new employment. Another benefit for employers is the data and analytics these platforms provide, which can be used to improve and fine-tune recruitment strategies.

However, it’s not all about technology. Australian candidates place significant importance on human interaction. When respondents were asked what was likely to create a positive candidate experience, even Australia’s Early HR Tech Adopters – those most likely to use new technology for a job search – selected the following:

  • High-touch, in-person interviews (27%)
  • Use of a smartphone app (18%)
  • Video interviews (4%)

The survey also found that while Australians prefer the personal touch, they have responded positively to the benefits of the initial online application process. Australia’s Early HR Tech Adopters submit 28 applications on average during their job search process compared to the global average of 18. The benefits of the online application are also recognised by those less inclined to use job-search technology, with the average Australian job seeker submitting 17 applications compared to the global average of 10.

What do these results mean for employers? Clearly, Australian job seekers prefer a recruitment process that starts with technology and leads to human interaction once their application has been lodged. Technology is the conduit, but delivering a personalised or tailored message is still critical. It’s up to employers to find the right balance between the two and engage directly with candidates if they are going to attract today’s best talent.


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