Despite digital options, human touch still important for recruitment: Survey

Digital options can be overwhelming for jobseekers

Despite digital options, human touch still important for recruitment: Survey
Sixty-three per cent of employees think the surplus of digital options has made job searching more difficult, according to a survey released by Randstad. Pixel Embargo/Shutterstock


While the assortment of digital tools available to jobseekers — such as social media platforms and mobile applications — may sound appealing and even empowering, they might actually be overpowering for some.

That’s because almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of employees think the surplus of digital options out there has made job searching more difficult, according to a survey released by Randstad.

“There’s so many options — just a plethora — making it overwhelming,” said Carolyn Levy, president of Randstad Technologies in Toronto.

Canadians want options when it comes to searching for a job, but 41 per cent said they feel lost with all the methods and tools available, and in knowing where to start their search.

“Technology has drastically changed how companies and jobseekers connect, and it can be overwhelming for both employers and prospective hires” said Marc-Étienne Julien, CEO of Randstad Canada.

“With technology comes convenience, but hiring is still a human-centric endeavour and companies must be cautious not to lose sight of this,” he said.

“Technology and a human-forward approach do not need to be mutually exclusive, but can complement each other with the right balance of efficiency through technology and the warmth of face-to-face interaction.”

On that note, 64 per cent of Canadians said they prefer more face-to-face interactions with people during the hiring process, found the survey of 1,367 workers, including 330 managers or employers.

Technology can’t replace human touch, it needs to accelerate it, said Levy.

“You want to use technology and big data to help you make the best match, but that face-to-face (part) is still what people are looking for, even though we’re on that digital trend to go elsewhere,” she said. “We don’t want to get robotic, we just want to use AI to help us accelerate relationships — not replace them.”

It’s about using the information and the social experience to do the first screening of a candidate, and then providing that personal touch, said Levy.

“You’re going to find better candidates that way,” she said. “When you think about the reasons that employees pick employers, or why employers pick employees, it’s that relationship, it’s the boss relationship, it’s the culture, it’s the company. And if you only see that in a written format, it’s a different experience.”

Canadians also feel overwhelmed by the crowd, found Randstad — almost two-thirds (62 per cent) said they find it hard to stand out from the pack online and on social media platforms.

“Now, with all the social profiles — you can apply, for example, through Facebook using your Facebook profile — there are so many avenues that now there’s a significant difference in volume, and because there’s so many scripted ways to apply, everybody looks the same,” said Levy.

“If you have experience and 15 other people have exactly the same experience and you’re filling out an application online, you’re less likely to stick out than… if you had a really well-written resumé that was on paper, mailed in and at the hiring manager’s desk.”

Volume is a huge part of the issue, she said.

“(You) could be an amazing applicant that gets buried in the pile — you’re the forty-thousandth application that came through, and they just don’t see you because they don’t have enough time. It’s (about) what are employers doing then to find the right people through all of that mess of ‘OK, we have this many more applications, what have we done with our internal process to handle that, to get through all the applications?’”

That’s not to say employers shouldn’t be going the digital route — 45 per cent of jobseekers research and apply for new positions through their mobile devices, found Randstad.

“As an employer… if you’re not able to make a good mobile experience on your site, that’s where you might lose applicants because when they’re thinking about it or they’ve done research or they’re somewhere else and they’re not tied to their desk, that’s when they’re doing the applying,” said Levy.

“Everything is going the mobile route… everything is about flexibility.”

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