There should still be a place for inspired hunches in the recruitment process

16 April 2019

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We all like to think that, in place of a lack of experience or even qualifications, if only we could land an interview we could knock ‘em dead with our ideas and the force of our personality to land that dream job.

Unfortunately, the chances of that happening in the future are becoming less likely as employers increasingly use machines to manage the recruitment process.

History is littered with novices who were given the nod for important positions because a perceptive boss noticed a hidden promise in them and went on to be world beaters.

From Pitt the Younger, who remains Britain’s youngest Prime Minister at 21, to Andrew Neil, appointed Editor of the Sunday Times at 32 after impressing Rupert Murdoch and, more recently, the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whose lack of managerial experience didn’t prevent him from following in the illustrious steps of Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United, we all love to see a chance being taken on an apprentice,.

However, in a survey published this week, more than 80% of employers reported using technology to manage high volumes of job applications.

Often the biggest and best changes are made by people in senior positions who are not saddled by precedent but rather are given their head to follow their instincts.

Computers, however, are not built to think outside the box which is why inspired hunches are likely to be less common in the workplace.

Machine learning and predictive analysis have become popular and efficient ways for recruiters to identify talent while also removing bias but there should still be a place for human interaction in the process.

While most employers favour use of ‘cognitive gaming’ or online tests in selecting the best candidates, more than half of those surveyed said they would still like to see personal decision making.

The survey of 1,000 young people was co-conducted by the 5% Club - a charity whose members commit to having at least five per cent of their workforce in ‘earn and learn’ training through apprenticeships and graduate programmes.

The survey also suggests a human touch is needed to attract young people in the digital war for talent with young people still preferring an element of human interaction.

Lady Cobham CBE, Director General of the 5% Club said: “Human ‘touch’ points are still incredibly important for the young, with traditional forms of recruitment such as assessment days and face to face interviews favoured as an opportunity to build a relationship and see the company ‘brand’ in person. 

“In a candidate driven market and with many competitors vying for talent from the same pool, companies must consider the recruitment process as part of their employer brand.

Part of this means understanding how young people want to be treated during the recruitment process, the tools used to assess potential and the candidate ‘journey’ - often the recruit’s first experience of the company.

Getting the balance right between human ‘touch’ v ‘technology’ is vital if businesses are going to attract the best early talent, like apprentices, and ultimately fill roles, imperative in the current skills crisis.”

 

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