The recruiting world is awash in breakthroughs, with new game changers coming online seemingly every few weeks. 2019 was a landmark year for these changes, with the global job market shifting to a candidate-centric model and employment levels reaching all-time highs around the world.
This focal shift has meant that recruiters and HR departments as a whole have found themselves jostling to find ways to stay ahead of the curve. Remaining an employer of choice in their sector has become a competitive game. Some of the movement seen this year has related directly to the emerging technology of AI, and some have been more people-focused. Yet even those human-level developments have an aspect of technology in them, it is the 21st-century after all. Today we’re going to look at our picks for the recruitment milestones that had the biggest impact on the industry over the course of 2019.
The Rise of AI-Powered Recruiting Technology
Jumping in feet first, let’s look at the cutting-edge tech that’s powering so many of the other items on our list—Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Software that can learn and tailor it’s behavior accordingly is beginning to make its presence felt in the historically people-oriented sector of recruiting. This year saw the meteoric rise of AI use in several areas of the industry, from screening tools that do more than just read resumes for keywords to chatbots that learn new answers to more people they chat with.
Resume reading bots are old news, having come into vogue in the last decade. By now, anyone who’s been in the job market has been taught they need to customize each resume they submit so the screening bots will pick up on them and pass their application up the chain. Lesser known are the new solutions that combine keyword scanning with the analysis of recordings of a candidate answering questions to produce a score of that person’s overall reliability as well as the cultural fit with the company.
Chatbots and more chatbots
Once again, nearly everyone has encountered a chatbot by now. Whether on your banks website, handling basic account queries, or on Twitter answering your general questions for an airline. And once again, the tech backing these bots up has shifted to more AI and machine learning underpinnings that allow them to actually learn the answers to more questions than they were programmed with. The new generation of chatbots can even be connected to internal databases, allowing applicants to get answers to questions like “when was my interview again?”
Keeping track of rejected candidates
This one is huge and has the potential to deeply impact the recruiting world even more as we enter the 2020s. Just because an applicant wasn’t right for the first job they applied for, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be perfect for something in the future, right? AI-driven recruitment marketing solutions can help recruiters stay in touch with these candidates, continuing the conversation and keeping them engaged with the company. By maintaining these relationships, the recruiters talent pool stays active, and deep, so when a new opening comes online the software can recommend people already in the database. This cuts the time-consuming and often costly process of listing an opening and sifting through the myriad of applicants that come in.
We know, technically pre-hire assessments are old news, having been used in recruiting since time immemorial. We’re including them on this list because, well, a lot has changed. Today’s assessments are conducted largely online, and increasingly by more of those AI-powered bots. This allows the results to be combined with resume scan results and the sum total analyzed for not only skills fit but cultural fit, too.
Human administered assessments will generally focus on the so-called soft skills, such as how someone copes with time pressures, responds to negative feedback, and the like. The flipside of that coin is what we saw really take off this year, the AI-powered and often gamified online skills test. The latter is then run through customized algorithms to generate a final applicant score that can tell the recruiter everything they need to know about the concrete, fundamental aspects of the candidate’s abilities.
Developments in Applicant Tracking Systems
The humble ATS, stalwart friend to recruiters everywhere for years already. Many companies have had an ATS solution in place for years, yet you might be surprised at the number that don’t. Opting instead to track applicant progress via an archaic combination of pen/paper and spreadsheets.
ATS software is responsible for all digital touchpoints from when a person submits an application, through the hire stage of their journey (even if that stage ends with a rejection). These are the systems responsible for the arduous, 45-minute application process that sees a person manually entering their entire work history. They are also responsible for the 2-minute, mobile-friendly variety that revolutionized the application process in 2019.
The candidate-centric nature of the job market has lead to companies battling to create the fastest, most streamlined application process possible in order to not lose applicants. If you were sitting on the bus heading home at the end of a long day, would you want to start entering work experience via your smartphone? What if you could apply with 3 or 4 quick taps and a couple of swipes? Sounds better, doesn’t it?
Candidate Relationship Management Software Comes into Its Own in 2019
There’s been another major leap forward in candidate management software, the explosive growth of the candidate relationship management (CRM) system. This set of tools handles all of your candidate facing needs before the application is submitted. So everything from scheduling your social media posts to interacting with visitors to your career portal via chat interface.
This is the realm of the recruitment marketer, the aspect of recruiting that deals not with active applicants, rather with the passive job seekers out there. Making up an estimated 80% of the market, passive seekers are those folks who are currently working, not actively looking to change jobs, yet are open to jumping ship should the right opportunity present itself.
In conjunction with recruitment marketing automation solutions, the CRM is the one piece of business software that can have the biggest impact on your recruiting bottom line. The time, energy, and money HR can save by drawing from the high-quality talent pool that recruitment marketing develops by nurturing relationships with these passive job seekers cannot be overstated. Rather than a complete job search needing to be launched, a mature and robust talent pool can be drawn from instead. And if you can select from a half-dozen pre-scanned candidates rather than fishing from the ocean of unknowns out there and ending up with potentially hundreds to parse—well the savings present themselves.
The Latest Cohort to Enter the Market is Unique
This year saw a ramping up of the number of Generation-Zers (~18-24) entering the job market. And this cohort is unlike any previous in several important ways. First, they’re big. Like, huge. This generation represents the single largest cohort to enter the job market, ever. So it pays to cater to their tastes and preferences.
And those tastes and preferences are heavily skewed toward the digital. Being so-called digital natives, Gen-Z represents the first generation who have never known a world without computers, smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, etc. This also means they’re accustomed to the instant gratification these devices enable. So if you’re not presenting a mobile-friendly application process, they’re not interested.
This generation is also unique in one decidedly non-technical way—they’re values driven. Before considering a position, these young people will do their research into each potential employer courting them. If they don’t like what they see in terms of customer service, employee value proposition, community good works, etc, they won’t think twice about dumping that company from the list.
In fact, this last aspect of the upcoming job seekers is perhaps the most important. As the market overall has shifted in favor of the candidate, if a company is unable to impress them with a community volunteering project, or a corporate donation matching scheme, then no matter how much AI they’re using in the application process, it won’t matter since they won’t have any applicants to scan.
So it pays to know your audience inside and out, and to take advantage of that knowledge combined with the emerging technology making waves in the recruiting world to bolster those efforts. And for those on the hunt for a new position, watching for the company whose values line up with your own is a great way to know you’re looking in the right direction.
For more information on how to start putting technology to work for your next job search, get in touch, we’d love to discuss the options Jobful can provide!