Survey: Candidates Prefer Recruiting with a Human Touch

Survey: Candidates Prefer Recruiting with a Human Touch

A study published recently by the Dutch HR consultancy Randstad found that a whopping 82 percent of job seekers found heavily automated recruiting processes frustrating, especially if they never hear back from employers about the status of their online applications. SHRM’s Aliah Wright highlights the report’s key findings:

  • 95 percent said technology should be used to assist the recruiting experience, not replace it.
  • 87 percent said technology has made looking for a job more impersonal.
  • 82 percent said the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are used behind the scenes and come second to personal, human interaction. …

Too much technology with too few recruiters has hurt the process, said Dave Marko, managing director, On-Demand Analytics Solutions and Information Management for Acumen Solutions in Washington, D.C. Increasing automation without increasing staff creates an imbalance “that forces people to be less personable.” Every touch point that an organization has with candidates is significant, he said. “The goal is to increase candidates. But with all the technology, there’s not enough [recruiters] to make that human connection.”

These findings jibe with another candidate survey conducted a year ago by the American Staffing Association, a staffing industry lobbying group, which found that over three-quarters of respondents preferred some human interaction in their job search.

New recruiting technologies do show some promise in removing subjectivity and bias from the hiring process (and indeed, this may be one reason why some candidates don’t like them). Automation is no panacea, however: The algorithms used to build recruiting software can easily reflect the biases of their creators, resulting in the new problem of “algorithmic bias.” If an organization does not have complete confidence in its technological solutions, neither will candidates.

The main driver of candidates’ coldness to automated recruiting, however, is likely that it is making recruiting less personal rather than more, which goes against the trend of individualization that is fast becoming the norm throughout the world of HR. Looking for a job requires a lot of emotional energy on the part of candidates, and a little personal acknowledgement from a prospective employer can go a long way toward improving a candidate’s experience and perception of the organization. Today’s smartest organizations are looking at automation as a way to make recruiting more personal, through ever-more-targeted job ads and applicant tracking systems that ensure candidates remain up-to-date on the status of their applications and are don’t get lost in the mix.