Recruitment: automation is pushing away young candidates

Younger job candidates are becoming frustrated with automation when making applications, new research has found.

July 11, 2023
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More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents born after 1996 reported being put off by not being able to speak to someone directly during recruitment processes and less than a third (31%) wanted to see more automation during the recruitment process.

The younger cohort of candidates, found the study by Reed Talent Solutions, was also more likely than any other age group to withdraw during the recruitment processes because of their dislike for automation and preference for dealing with a real person, which they perceived as being much quicker.

Only 64% of older employees felt the same way, found the study of 1,000 people who had secured a new job in the past year. Less than half (46%) of people born before 1996 experienced similar frustrations.

Neither group wanted more automation, however, with under half of older applicants wanting less human involvement and under a third of those born post-1996.

The reasons given by those older applicants who withdrew their applications early were that the process was too slow (51%) and that they weren’t fully aware of the job description and salary (31%); only 16% of this generation withdrew due to automation.

Julie Hinchcliffe, managing director of contingent workforce solutions at Reed Talent Solutions, said the findings underlined that it was unwise for organisations to imagine younger people wanted more automation. She said: “Businesses need to reconsider how they use automation throughout their recruitment processes to attract the next generation of talent. We all assume the younger generation prefers technology and its convenience – but in reality, the human element is so important.”

The research also pointed towards key trends that were consistent for all generations. For example, the most people would prefer to be told they have secured an interview for their job from someone directly, as opposed to via an automated response because only a human could provide immediate feedback and clarification, and appreciate nuance.

Hinchcliffe added that automation could help some recruitment processes if done well, “but what is key, is ensuring the time it takes between encountering automation and hearing back from a person is kept to a minimum. The longer you leave it, the more disengaged the candidate will be.”

She said that speedily delivering salary information was crucial and that in a market “where attracting talent is more of a competitive sport than a walk in the park, businesses need to regularly assess and evaluate their recruitment processes to ensure they’re as inclusive as possible”.

According to Hinchcliffe the survey brought some interesting differences to light that HR teams needed to consider. For example, generation Z candidates (those born after 1996) are much more likely to want more human interaction during the interview stage, whereas boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) preferred human assistance during the booking of interviews and tests, and during the reference and vetting process.

Hinchcliffe concluded: “Knowing when to implement human interaction or chatbot assistance, can really change the experience for potential candidates. If candidates leave you feeling heard, valued and respected for their time in the application process, they are much more likely to want to accept a job offer, or even try for another job with you in the future if unsuccessful.”

Original Article: Personnel Today

Combining technology with human interaction can lead to more successful and fulfilling recruitment outcomes for both businesses and candidates. For all your recruitment challenges – contact our HR & digital recruitment specialist Gareth Allison on 02920 620702

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