Graduates of recent years, and those soon to emerge from our higher education institutions, are well versed with technology in pursuit of their studies, in their work, and throughout their career.
That may be stating the obvious, but what might not be quite so obvious to new graduates, and those looking to enter the workforce now, is the extent to which technology plays a huge part for recruitment firms as they go about the task of finding prospects for the jobs they have to fill for their clients.
How then, is the use of technology in the recruitment process benefiting graduates/candidates?
Indeed, some might say that the growing pervasiveness of technology in the recruitment process, while ‘revolutionising’ the recruitment industry for the better for recruiters themselves, may not necessarily be to the betterment of the job seeking graduates.
I’m probably old fashioned, but as someone who employed staff for a consultancy business where often the issue was poor communications between management and staff, I always saw the business of hiring as a very personal process that you needed to get right at the beginning of the recruitment process.
My experiences of ‘recruiting’ and hiring or, indeed, being hired myself, is that of a very personal, ‘one-on-one’ interaction between the hirer and the prospective employee. In those days, more often than not, you dropped your CV off directly at the offices of a prospective employer, or sent it in by the old fashioned ‘post’ in response to an ‘encouraging’ first discussion by telephone with the company.
More than likely, the opportunity to speak with the company in the first place was after a referral from another professional who happened to know someone in the company you have ‘targeted’. It was also more the case that you did everything directly with the prospective employers, rather than using a recruiter. It was all about professional networking, keeping your ear to the ground, and waiting for the opportunities to come up.
In short, a very personal process from go to whoa, with the telephone or maybe the fax pretty much the only technology between you as the candidate and the company as your prospective employer.
Thank god for the technology we do have nowadays – Internet, emails, mobile phones and text messages and video interviews. Saves time, and is much more efficient and effective all round – particularly for recruitment firms and employers.
Of course, I’m not advocating the good old days or reminiscing about my own experiences all those years ago as both a candidate and job applicant (several times) and an employer. Neither would recruiters today have the time to put up with such a less efficient, slow process, unlike the processes they have now with the latest technology.
But, I do wonder if the extra-personal approach to hiring I once knew is quite as personal today for the many thousands of candidates – fresh out of higher education studies and vying for a position through a recruiter – due to the greater use of technology.
Mind you, an international recruitment chief, who was visiting Australia to discuss the ‘automation’ and greater use of technology in recruitment, recently told me the personal interaction between candidates and recruiters is not impaired by technology, and the process is significantly more efficient and far less time consuming.
But, it seems from what I was told it’s not just the different ways of finding candidates that’s changed for recruiters, but technology now underpins much of the initial interviewing and job application process and other interaction between the two.
In fact, I now understand that it is highly likely this initial interview process by many recruiters – to ‘seed out’ the best and most suitable candidates for the position they are employed to fill – will be done by video over the Internet.
When I mentioned this to a colleague recently he said a video-interview was the first stage of seeking a job experienced by his son.
And, as an international recruitment firm chief told me: “What we notice is that bringing candidates into the office and doing personal interviews is declining, and the importance of video interviewing is growing as part of the recruitment process.”
“We have state of the art online video interviewing tools which we use to great effect.”
But what about for the candidate? So much for the ‘look ’em in the eye’ and ‘get to know them up front and close’ interviewing process that was more the norm in my day.
Sure, when the technology is available today to enable a recruiter in the first instance (not the prospective employer) to weed out the ‘best from the rest’ of candidates, it’s the most efficient way to start the process. And, once the video-interviews are done, the list of candidates will undoubtedly be down to a more manageable level.
But here’s where I am concerned: does the weeding out process using video-interviews mean that very good candidates who don’t interview well over the Internet miss out on getting a chance for a second interview, and thus a ‘personal’ face to face chat with the recruiter or prospective employer?
I don’t doubt the ability of a professional recruiter to make a good assessment, by video interview, of those candidates they think might be the right person to go to the next round.
To my mind, however, interviewing by video is not always a good substitute for the recruiter actually being face-to-face with the prospective candidates and eliminating them, or taking them to the next round.
I say this almost entirely from a candidate point of view, not that of the recruiter who is undoubtedly benefiting enormously from the use of technology in their business, with significant efficiency gains, including more efficient use of their own human resources.
It’s something, however, graduates and others vying for a position within a company or organisation need to be mindful of – that first-up video interview is the chance to impress the recruiter, before you hopefully move to the next stage and the opportunity to maybe impress the prospective employer in a face-to-face, up-close-and-personal interview.
It’s also just the start of your entry into the workplace of today, where technology is all-pervasive and critical to the competitiveness and success of many businesses.