September 21, 2017 – Eighty two percent of potential employees are often frustrated with an overly automated job search experience, according to a new study by Randstad US. The survey, which examined job seekers’ perceptions, attitudes and expectations of the job search process, revealed that while most candidates find value in technology, they are stymied when it supersedes the human aspect of finding work.

Respondents to the survey expressed their opinions on what role technology should play in the job search process. Ninety five percent of those surveyed agreed that technology should contribute to the recruitment experience but not replace it. Eighty seven percent of respondents, meanwhile, agreed that technology has made the process more impersonal.

“The findings reinforce what we’ve believed for quite some time, that successful talent acquisition lies at the intersection between technology and human touch,” said Linda Galipeau, CEO Randstad North America. “By leveraging emerging technologies, we are able to deliver on our clients’ and candidates’ expectations in a predominately digital world, but with more freedom to focus on the human connection. If done correctly, the right combination of personal interaction with the power of today’s intelligent machines can create an experience that is inherently more human.”


Ideal Candidate Experience

New, digital HR solutions and tools drastically change the way people connect to jobs, offering a seamless digital experience that is becoming the price of entry for employers, said Randstad, an HR services and staffing company. The survey found 82 percent of workers agreed that the ideal interaction with a company is one in which innovative technologies are behind the scenes and second to personal, human interaction.

Candidates, in fact, said that when working with staffing or recruitment firms, they found “a company that uses innovative technologies to find me jobs, but puts human interaction first as a priority,” as the most appealing.


Human Interaction

Job seekers have become increasingly savvy about what makes a great candidate experience and what leaves them with a less-than-favorable impression, said Randstad US. The study reinforces anecdotal evidence from the firm’s recruiters, who say that candidates want greater human interaction despite their self-reported belief that technology has made the job search process more effective.

When asked about their last job search that contributed to a positive impression of a would-be employer, respondents tended to focus on personal interaction. They named “the degree of personal, human interaction during the process,” and “the recruiter/ hiring manager I worked with,” as having most influenced their positive impression.

Ninety one percent of workers agreed that technology has made the job search process significantly more effective. Yet they also mentioned “the length of the hiring process” and “the communication level throughout the selection process” as the top two aspects of job searching that gave them a negative impression of a potential employer. And that impression has lasting effects: The survey found that one third of workers who had a negative experience during their job search said they would never reapply to the organization, nor refer a friend or family member to the company.

“Employers today, and in the future, will be judged by the experience they create for prospective new hires,” said Ms. Galipeau. “Job candidates are empowered to provide instant feedback on employers, rating a company’s candidate experience just as they would rate a movie or a product. In a tightening labor market, companies cannot afford to lose potential talent due to a poor hiring experience. And in a technology-driven world of talent, it’s not only about how a company markets itself, but what others say about the company that has a positive impact on employer branding.”

Randstad sheds light on four benefits of working with a recruiter in a technology-driven world:

1) Access to ‘Hidden’ Jobs

According to Randstad’s Workplace 2025 study, more than eight in 10 employers are expected to rely on staffing agencies to meet their talent needs by 2025. Employers realize the importance of leaving job openings in the hands of recruiters who will connect them with the right applicants on a more personal level, the firm said. Recruiters, in fact, are often tasked by companies to hire for positions not advertised to the masses.

2) Customizing Your Resume

Recruiters are resume specialists and can show you how to write a resume by suggesting the right keywords, skills and qualifications to include, said Randstad. A recruiting firm can help you optimize one’s resume to industry leaders who use applicant tracking systems. A resume can be seen as a virtual handshake and recruiters can provide the right advice to make a strong first impression.

3) Act As Your Career Agent

It’s difficult cutting through the noise of job boards, promotional ads and social media channels to find the right job. Your time and energy is valuable and best invested in a seasoned recruiter to speed up your search, the firm said. Not only can recruiters select opportunities fit for your hard skills, but they can present roles that align with your goals, workplace expectations and values.

4) Recruiters Want to See You Succeed

Finding meaningful jobs for people provides recruiters with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, Randstad said. Your success is their success and it brings them joy to take the job journey with you.


An Executive Recruiter Weighs In

“Candidates depend on recruitment firms not just to facilitate the administrative tasks but to provide real insights on the hiring company and the process,” said Drew Desky, managing partner of New York-based executive search firm Rand Thompson Consultants. “It is important for candidates to understand why the potential employer is hiring in the first place and to understand what situations they might be walking into. By having a good grasp on the underlying issues, a candidate is more likely to ultimately be a successful long term hire.”


Feedback Loop

Today’s challenge is no longer identifying and sourcing candidates, but getting their attention. To do this, organizations are highly focused on perception. They are anxious about what’s being said about their workplace environment and culture. Social media forums that were once used by disgruntled employees are now channels for job candidates to seek balanced information about companies. Past, present and future employees, it seems, are all in one giant feedback loop – and their opinions matter more now than at any other time.

In a recent Mullin International online poll, off-boarded employees have been shown to have increasing influence over prospective employees’ decisions to either approach or avoid a company. In fact, more than four out of five respondents said they were increasingly concerned about exiting employees’ impressions. Effective outplacement can minimize the negative effects of downsizing on company reputations.

Similarly, Mr. Desky noted, “there are specific functions that recruitment firms provide to their clients that technology can’t replace. If there has been recent news on an employer that is less than favorable, or bumps along the process, a recruiter can overcome candidates’ initial objections through an in-depth conversation. This can require a good amount of dialogue. A recruiter can empathize with a candidate and talk through the issue to see whether the roadblock is real or just perceived.”

Ultimately, the trust or frustration that a candidate develops in the hiring process carries over into feelings for the potential employer, he said. “Employers and candidates should both look to optimize the emotions that inevitably arise is the search, interview, and negotiating stages of the process,” Mr. Desky added. “At Rand Thompson, our candidates, as well as our clients, look for feedback and guidance at various stages of the hiring process. As each process and candidate are different, we find search is truly a personalized relationship business, and communication is key.”


Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media