How Generation Z is changing the face of recruitment in 2017

Ask any business about its top challenges for 2017 — the odds are good that recruiting and retaining talent are somewhere on that list. Smart companies know that they're only as good as their best workers, and will prioritize seeking out the best of the best for their organizations.

As technology continues to evolve, it plays an increasingly important role in the way companies approach the talent search and the hiring process. Hiring managers and HR experts shared their thoughts on the future of recruiting and what's on the horizon for this important area of business operations.

Recruiting Generation Z

Generation Z have grown up in a very technologically advanced time, barely remembering life before the Internet and smartphones, if at all! This new generation of workers expects more from their career, and as a result employers need to re-evaluate what it is they’re offering if they want to attract talented and skilled new candidates. So how Generation Z is changing the face of recruitment this year?

Today’s always-on culture means that younger workers are used to having everything at their fingertips, and receiving everything almost instantly. And this will continue into their job search. Gen Z job hunters expect quick communication, and a faster turnaround from job application to job offer, than any other generation before them. Access to emails on smartphones and tablets, as well as phones and even video calls means that candidates can be reached from almost anywhere at any time. Employers need to adapt their recruitment strategy this year to ensure a smooth and speedy process, otherwise they could risk losing talented candidates to savvier competition.

It's all about digital – expert’s opinion

"From the résumé to the search to the interview, we're moving toward a digital hiring model," says Bob Myhal, director of digital marketing at CBC Advertising and former CEO of NextHire. "Résumés will be displaced by constantly evolving representations of individual experiences, skills and aptitudes that exist purely in the digital realm. Innovative tools that use social media, big data and other technologies to give tremendous insight into individual job seekers will be the primary screening method."

Jon Bischke, CEO of Entelo, notes that digital profiles could provide far more insight into a candidate than a traditional résumé can, and many recruiters have realized that.

“Talent acquisition has become a seller’s market,” said Laura Kerekes, chief knowledge officer of ThinkHR, a provider of human resources solutions. “For employers, it’s all about maximizing the candidate experience through the job application process.” Kerekes says that the “cardinal sin” of modern recruiting is neglecting the candidate, not making that process fast, easy, or engaging enough.

PitchMe - speaks the new language of recruitment

We expect that the next trend will be not just sourcing social and mobile recruiting data, but actually applying intelligence to summarizing the important information.

Tech-based hiring tools will allow recruiters and hiring managers to easily and affordably find, evaluate and organize top job candidates, while innovative assessment and filtering techniques will help provide a 360-degree holistic view of top applicants. With the help of SmartMe profile, companies will better predict which candidates are most likely to be a good fit for a position, and which are not.

How to build your professional network? Summary of PitchMe's lecture at Coventry University London

PitchMe's co-founder Piotr has recently had a pleasure to talk about careers to a number of final year students, fresh graduates and young professionals. Last Thursday he met with a current cohort of MBA students from the Coventry University London and had some very inspiring discussions with the group and their course leader, Dr. Beem Beeka.

In the era of extremely competitive job markets PitchMe always highlights the importance of networking over the “dumping” approach of sending 10s or 100s of CV for more or less random positions. The odds of getting a job these days using conventional recruitment methods look very grim for a candidate.

It must be said at the beginning, that in order to be successful on the job market you need to possess skills and a certain level of academic aptitude, unfortunately nowadays there is no way around this. However, from our (read: PitchMe Founders') personal experience, our actual skills were never the most important factor! Every single job or internship that we have ever got was influenced by personal connections, either directly with the potential employer or with people who recommended us for the roles.

How can a young, aspiring and ambitious young professional develop their network? Piotr presented the following 3 ways to build a professional network and have fun in the process:

1. Make a lot of great personal relationships during your time at University

If you got into a University that has a selective recruitment process, you can be sure that you are not surrounded by random people. They may all behave like an immature bunch right now, but most likely within a decade they will end up in top positions at world’s renowned organisations. So cherish the time you spend with them and remember, the closer bonds you build now, the better your network in the future will be.

2. Join a professional membership body or a society. Attend events and collect business cards. Follow up on the connections you make!

One of the best ways to mingle with experienced professionals is to attend events and networking sessions. We know this can be terrifying - how do you approach those people, how do you start a conversation, how do you keep them engaged? It may be a trivial comparison, but a professional networking session can be compared to being in a bar and approaching people. When you are a student and you learn how to approach random people in social situations, it will be much easier for you in professional environments as it requires the same set of skills - courage, having something interesting to say and being able to communicate it in an interesting way.

3. Join an innovative recruitment platform

An effective recruiter will not be throwing you into random recruitment process by ‘dumping’ your CV wherever he can only to attract his commission. A good recruiter will coach you to find out what is your desired career path and will make you realise what skills you require to achieve that. A great recruiter will then help you gain those skills by engaging you with potential employers in a productive setting (NOT an assessment centre!) where you will be able to get to know the company and build a lasting relationship. This is the process that differentiates PitchMe from any other platform on the market.

Reading this may sound cliche, but having spoken with numerous successful individuals, those are indeed the key factors to building a successful career. The fact is that in any organisation the more senior you become, your work becomes less content-based and more relationship-oriented. Business development is all about knowing people and being in the right place at the right time. The earlier to realise this, the more likely you are to be successful!

As described above, you can actually turn this process into a lot of fun… It just requires the right mindset.

Why recruitment is still in the Stone Age

Everyone around us is buzzing about tech revolution. We come across start-ups disrupting traditional markets, digital companies replacing established institutions and innovative individuals redesigning the conventional business. We can say that these tech businesses are so successful because they address one or more gaps built-up by companies over many years of doing business-as-usual.

While we have seen examples for tech-revolution in diverse sectors, such as commerce (Amazon), social media (Facebook), communications (WhatsApp), transport (Uber), finance (Bitcoin), dating (Tinder) and tourism (Airbnb), we are still waiting revolution to hit the recruitment.

Some authors are identifying LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster to be on the wave of tech revolution in recruitment. But have those websites really changed anything within traditional recruitment or have they just shifted the conventional process onto virtual platforms, thereby repeating or even widening the efficiency gaps in the system? It is true that jobseekers now can browse jobs and submit their CV online. But once the ‘apply’ button is clicked, their CV disappears into the virtual nirvana and the applicant has no control of his or her application. Only 2 out of 5 candidates receive a response after they apply for a job. But what are the main issues around traditional recruiting?

Quality of Hire

The reality is that companies on average access only 2-3% of the available talent pool to fill a given vacancy. We observed that almost all recruitment solutions are reactive, sourcing candidates when the need arises. The immediacy of that need means that companies are entirely reliant on candidates already in the market: signed up with agencies, looking at ads, on job sites or on databases. However our research has shown that these jobseekers only represent around 20% of the qualified candidates in the marketplace. And the struggle does not end there: to access the total of 20% of suitable candidates, companies have to go trough an infinite number of agencies, databases and advertising media.

Time to Hire

Given the typical reactive recruitment environment, the average hiring time is 8-12 weeks (from job opening to accepted offer), during which time the role is unfilled. For that period there is either no productivity, or productivity is provided by diverting someone else, likely the manager, or by using contract labour. All these options have a tangible cost, and if the hiring timeline slips, the cost goes up. We have calculated that in-house recruitment teams generally have longer hiring times than agencies or outsourced recruitment solutions - on average 12-16 weeks, due to a lack of extensive databases and wider industry contacts. These are big numbers, having in mind the headline costs it is clear that the in-house solution is looking as less attractive as outsourced.

Gamble of Predictions

The essence of recruitment is prediction – providing an accurate forecast of a candidate's likelihood of performing well in the future. Yet most organisations lack reliable systems for measuring employees' performance, which explains why many employers simply hire the people they like. The result is a game of untested predictions, which turns recruitment into a leap of faith. Up to 160 candidates apply for a single advertised position and the employer has to pick just one! It's the equivalent of investing a great deal of money in weather forecasts without subsequently paying attention to the actual weather.

Default Preference for Extroverts

Our survey indicated that employer has a clear’s preference towards an extroverted work force. Influenced by the idea that if a candidate is not action-orientated or motivated to network he is not a useful addition to the team, employers came to place emphasis on the social; team-work and ability to build relationships. They favour team-work and the ability to build relationships. They prioritise risk-takers, networkers, decision-makers. We see employers correlating extroverts being a good leader, and perceive them to be more intelligent, more attractive, more likable and capable, without any proven link between this perception and actual ability. Huge questions therefore exist around how we create environments that cater for everyone and how we build organisations that thrive and reap the rewards of the diverse strengths of different personalities.

PitchMe's vision of the future HR industry

One thing seems to become evident: the tech revolution in recruitment is not satisfied by the simple criterion that interaction between applicant and recruiter is happening online. To start a revolution in the recruitment sector the whole way of thinking must change. The PitchMe survey showed that job seekers have a mind-set of “Job hunting – CV sending” created decades ago by the conventional recruitment.

We see future recruitment going down the path of predictive hiring. This goes far beyond the common talent search happening out there, which is largely based on keyword searching which is garbage in and garbage out. There’s a long way to go to introduce concepts such as artificial intelligence and digital approach into the minds of HR professionals and recruiters while they are still stuck on CV reading.

There’s always going to be tension about software and whether it can do things better than a human. At PitchMe we are of the strongest viewers that software has to support human decision-making, not remove it altogether.