Businesses need better online candidate experience as competition for talent hots up

LBusinesses in the UK are set to ramp up their use of digital, including new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), in an effort to deliver a better job candidate experiences and attract high quality talent.

As skills shortages reach a critical level within many industries, two thirds (65%) of recruitment and HR leaders expect candidate experience to become a key differentiator within business over the next five years. Indeed, 69% believe that candidates will come to expect the same personalised service that they get from consumer brands such as Amazon. As a result, 70% plan to accelerate the digitisation of recruitment in their organisation in order to compete effectively.

The new research – launched today by Capita Resourcing and based on interviews with 350 HR and recruitment specialists, 500 business leaders and more than 2,000 employees – exposes a growing concern within UK businesses that skills shortages and recruitment challenges are set to become even more severe. More than two thirds (67%) of recruitment leaders fear that the shift from a predominantly human workforce to a hybrid workforce, where humans will work alongside robots and AI, is likely to make recruiting high quality talent even more challenging over the next five years as competition for those skills hots up.

Digital is viewed as critical to unlocking many of the elements that combine to deliver a great candidate experience, providing speed, personalisation and a seamless user journey across channels. More than a third (35%) of organisations are already deploying chatbots to answer candidates’ questions, 28% are using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and 20% are integrating AI into their systems for sourcing and advertising jobs. The research shows that adoption of these newer technologies is set to soar in the next five years, with a further 57% of organisations planning to integrate AI into their recruitment processes and 43% planning to implement RPA.

However, the research reveals that current efforts to digitise recruitment processes are failing to meet expectations and only 14% of recruitment leaders describe the digitisation of their HR function as ahead of others or driving best practice.

Geoff Smith, Executive Director of Capita Resourcing, said: 

“Candidates and employees now expect the same level of experience and service as they would get when dealing with a global, consumer-facing brand outside of work. That means a simple, seamless user journey, real-time responsiveness, compelling information and content across channels, and engaging communications at every stage.

“Getting this right isn’t easy and most organisations still have a long way to go, but HR and recruitment professionals should regard enhanced candidate experience as the lens through which all decisions are made, particularly when it comes to technology adoption. That means ensuring they have a trusted technology partner helping them deliver a robust digital strategy which aligns with and supports the organisation’s overall workforce and digital transformation strategy, rather than operating in a silo and making one-off indiscriminate investments in technology which invariably encounter integration problems and have little impact.”

The research highlights a range of issues with digital implementations within recruitment, with 44% of respondents reporting problems with technology integration and 43% citing difficulty in finding suitable technology partners. Other barriers to effective digitisation include a lack of digital skills within the recruitment department and the level of investment required.

However, despite these challenges, recruitment leaders still believe that their organisation can derive significant advantages if digital is deployed in an effective way. Nearly nine in ten (87%) think that they can dramatically speed up the time it takes to recruit skilled people into their business and 76% point to digitisation as being a springboard for transforming the HR and recruitment function itself.

Interestingly, the research revealed that both recruitment leaders and employees believe that organisations need to find the right balance between digital and human touch points at each stage of the recruitment process, but there were marked contrasts between the two groups on where and to what extent automation should be applied, with recruiters generally expressing a greater appetite for digitisation.

Six in ten (60%) of recruiters would be prepared to hire someone on the recommendation of an advanced algorithm, even if it goes against their judgement on meeting them. But 75% of employees feel that interview and selection processes should be driven and ultimately managed by people, rather than just machines.

Organisations clearly run the risk of ‘over-digitising’ talent acquisition and 61% of recruitment leaders say it’s difficult to find the right balance of human and digital elements.

The full research findings can be found in the white paper, The Digital Difference: Delivering Better Candidate Experiences in the shift to a Hybrid Workforce, which is available for download –

Author: Editorial Team

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