In a labor market still trying to cope with shortage, technology can be helpful in trying to get vacancies filled. Yet, we are facing a problem. Recent research has shown that recruiters are far behind when it comes to technology adaptation, whereas candidates are in pole-position when embracing all kinds of tech. It seems both ends of the spectrum are living on different planets. For companies to win the current war for talent, their HR-managers urgently need to take steps towards adapting what technology has to offer them. 

Whereas candidates are tech-savvy, recruiters are lagging behind

Did you ever read John Gray’s bestseller ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus’? Gray argues men and women behave in totally different ways when it comes to thinking, feeling, communicating, … They seem to live on different planets. Strangely enough, this difference also can be observed in the world of HR. Employers and candidates seem to have outspoken different views on technology when it comes to recruiting, a recent study by PSI Talent Management proves. The study, published in ‘Recruiting Times’ pinpoints some interesting perceptive disharmonies. Candidates are much more open-minded when embracing technologies such as robotics or the use of artificial intelligence than recruiters believe them to be. To put it differently: recruiters have a misconception about what candidates know, accept and expect on technology-issues. Recruiters themselves, on the other side, seem to be strikingly old-fashioned in adapting these technologies.

So, mind the gap! Let’s give some concrete examples. 58% of all candidates feel at ease when using game consoles, whereas recruiters think only 36% is. Same when it comes to using VR-headsets in recruiting processes. 45% of the candidates feels comfortable, but only 31% of the recruiters believe they are. Almost 98% of candidates are at ease with the idea of Artificial Intelligence being used during the recruitment process. Only 70 % of the HR-managers is convinced.

Companies and organizations are taken at speed

The gap also exists in the social media field. Having their Facebook pages viewed by recruiters is fine for 56 % of the candidates. Hardly 32 % of the recruiters believes this statement. The same holds for Twitter: a striking 84 versus 26 % difference!

Are recruiters against gathering information on social media?

This reveals a staggering mis perception at the recruiters’ side. Consequently, recruiters are far from eager to use modern technology in their searching and selecting jobs. Hardly half of them does watch social media profiles of potential candidates. Why is it recruiters are so much against consulting this vast amount of relevant information gathered on social media? They could easily shift to a higher gear in their recruiting work and – by doing so – lift the quality of their job to the next level. Strange, because today they are no longer against what long time ago was hightech as well, such as the use of smartphones and tablets, Ali Shalfrooshan, head of international research at PSI Talent Management says. Apparently, it takes a while for them to get used to new technology and implement novel techniques in their search for ideal candidates. We are forced to conclude that the recruitment squad is doomed to stay behind, leaving the candidate as the undisputed winner of the current war for talent.

No wonder old-fashioned companies and organizations are ‘taken at speed’ by those where the HR-managers are not lagging behind when it comes to technology acceptance and adaptation. And let us not be misunderstood: we are not only talking about leaving ‘good first impressions’ to candidates by applying some fancy technology. For sure, nice ‘user experiences’ are a effective way of attracting candidates who have plenty of choices to pick from. Of course, a candidate will be charmed by technology-loving organizations, as they seem to be modern, young, dynamic, …

Advantages of smart searching and matching technologies

No, it is about much more than just offering attractive user experiences. Being slow at adapting technology, recruiters are first and foremost letting down themselves. Smart technologies can offer a real advantage in their searching and matching work, by offering tools that make their recruitment faster, completer, more accurate, more flexible. By using hightech and artificial intelligence, matching candidates to job profiles can be done in a much more effective and efficient way. Large semantic ontologies and machine learning help finding matches ‘at the speed of light’, unparalleled by what humans are capable of doing. Robots are perfect agents to perform initial candidate screenings: they save time and money, and offer extra time to human recruiters to do what they are (supposed to be) really good at: having face-to-face meetings with candidates. Needless to say, technology can take recruiting to the next level.

What the farmer does not know…

There is this famous German saying: ‘was der Bauer nicht kennt, frisst er nicht’: the farmer does not eat what he does not know. That is: it takes time to help the HR-community get rid of its cold water fear. There is no reason for such fierce resilience. The incentive of overcoming their fear is clear: embracing technology in your daily work will make your job more flexible, accurate, complete and transparant. Adapt, or die.

John Gray, in his Mars-Venus bestseller puts it as follows: ‘if you understand that you do not understand each other, problems can easily be solved.’ Unfortunately, this oneliner does not (yet) hold for the HR-community. OK, we have the early adapters: they understand the added value and take obvious advantage. But we are still waiting for the early majority to make a real turn in the war for talent. Do not be afraid of technology: embrace it and make it your companion.