Is an All-Tech Recruitment Process Better for Generation 2020?

Connecting with a younger generation involves meeting them on their own terms.

June 27, 2017

A couple of years ago, I was in the process of interviewing candidates for an entry-level position with a mid-sized client company. After the final round of interviews, the client and I agreed that one candidate was the best fit, so I put together a job offer and emailed it to him.

The next day, the candidate, who’d already found a job elsewhere, declined the job offer—by text message. To be honest, I was shocked, to say the least. I felt the candidate was disrespectful for not taking the time to respond in an appropriate manner: by email or phone.

However, it didn’t take me long to realize that from his point of view, the candidate had responded appropriately. For many Millennials, text messaging is a perfectly valid form of communication, both for social and business interactions. In other words, if I was going to interact successfully with Millennials, I would have to adjust my frame of reference.

Connecting with a younger generation involves meeting them on their own terms

Generation 2020, the large group of young workers who will be entering the workforce in three years, typically use text messages and apps to communicate with people and companies, whether it’s to send a direct message (DM) to a friend or ask question to a company’s customer service department. To attract this group, recruiters should start meeting them on their own terms—by using technology. Here’s why:

  • It’s how they communicate. Gen 2020 aren’t used to phone calls and long emails. To make a connection, recruiters need to use quick text messages, DMs, or even bots. Note that according to research by AT&T with Frost & Sullivan quoted in Christy Roland’s article “Whitepaper reveals the messaging industry remains strong,” the open rate for text messages is more than 90 percent. That’s considerably higher than for email marketing. While this might not be as relevant to communications intended to keep candidates informed about the status of their applications, it’s very significant in regards to alerting talent about new job openings.
  • It keeps them engaged. Technology can also enhance the candidate assessment process. Instead of having candidates fill out long questionnaires describing their experience and skills, technology can be used to create games that assess applicants’ qualities and skills. This is a far more practical and objective method that bypasses any human bias that could impact the recruitment process.
  • It provides transparency. An increasing number of companies are using ATS programs that allow applicants to log into their accounts and see their progress. This transparency is empowering for candidates, who no longer have to wait around for an employer to contact them before they decide whether or not to move on to the next job application.

As long as the recruitment process is carefully designed to match the ideal candidate persona, then using only technology to implement it could be precisely the strategy needed to consistently deliver a good candidate experience. And ultimately, that’s what employers need to keep attracting the high-potential talent of tomorrow.

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