If you haven’t noticed the entire world has gone online. Your university courses can now be held via a video conference; the advent of educational MOOCs; finding the love of your life (or not) via online dating websites or mobile apps; filing your taxes (less fun than Tinder, but definitely important); online grocery shopping; or making an online order to have an entire glam squad arrive at your own front door. Online recruiting is part of the Internet’s Wild West that’s gained maturity since the days of 90s job boards. (Shout out to Monster!)
What is online recruiting?
Online recruiting is posting a job position online, identifying qualified talent, and having the majority—if not the entire—process done on the World Wide Web. Though the power of the Internet, jobs and people are quickly and efficiently matched. It’s not just about posting a position or attracting a candidate, it’s largely streamlining the entire the end-to-end pipeline:
- preparing the profile for the vacant position
- choosing the appropriate online channels to post the job description on
- collecting and organizing applications through an applicant tracking system (ATS)
- weeding out the unqualified applicants
- rating and ranking the best out of the applicant batch
- selecting and contacting top candidates for interviews
- scheduling those interviews (can be in-person or online)
- conduct the interview(s), perhaps paired with a variety of technical and/or other simulated work exercise
- make the applicant an offer
What’s the benefit of online recruiting (versus job boards)
Most industry experts can understand why it would be ideal to do this kind of work online. It is 2019, after all. But it’s always great to see how impactful online recruiting really can be:
1. Rapid, geographical reach
An online recruiter can post a position on LinkedIn and boom—this position has exposure to 260 million active users on the platform. It’s incredible how quickly and widely a company can advertise. However this kind of advantage is with a caveat: it’s only useful and helpful when organizations have the tools to efficiently sift through all applications. The average number of applications for a given position is 118. If a company is a giant, multi-office corporation it can reach the thousands. 20% of those applying receive an interview.
2. Efficient speed
A post goes live instantly—which means candidates can reply and apply just as quickly. While an exception, one use case from HFC Bank mentions how it took only 3 hours from a vacancy appearing on a company's website to an interview. For fast-growing enterprises or for positions needing to be filled pronto, online recruiting moves at lightening speed.
Like so much of tech tools, online recruiting is a great cost-saving mechanism for organizations. In ye olden days, firms spent big dollars on print advertising strategies, design, and assessment tools and methods to target potential employees.
4. An (more) equal playing field
Receiving applications having an algorithm or AI look for keywords, particular skill sets or certifications means that it’s more objective in recommending certain candidates. Online recruiting makes applying to a job accessible to people from different company offices or geographical places. Recruiters online play a huge role in accessible job opportunities.
5. Memorable candidate experience
Applicants expect convenient and positive experiences in every online recruitment interaction, from ordering food via app to adding a pair of trousers to their shopping cart. Online recruiting presents the same potential for candidates: a streamlined and pleasant recruitment experience. Memorable touch points can be engineered into each candidate touch point, from the automatized email—“Thank you for applying…”—to receiving feedback from an interview. A positive candidate experience builds a flattering impression of a brand, even for rejected applicants.
With more automation, hiring managers have more freedom to control the process, focus on humanizing the candidate experience, and quickly see which are the top candidates. Automation does not mean depersonalization; in fact, it’s quickly meaning the opposite: organizations tailor software to its unique needs and requirements. Recruiters can find candidates according to the unique search parameters.
Brief overview of recruiting and how online recruiting happen
Recruiting has come a long way since its origin point of the Second World War. With men fighting on the front lines, severe vacancies occurred in nearly every industry.
The Internet upended how organizations posted for positions and how candidates found out about various opportunities. ATS and databases made it easier to search and sort through resumes. It also made it possible to spread out the candidate search to other parts of the country. Online recruiting can now be done fairly rapidly (depending on how hard the hiring managers and company web designers work to streamline it). No more showing up to an organization, resume in hand. Staffing agencies now act an outsourced hive mind for different companies; many of these agencies specialize in different verticals, like IT or executive search.
Like recruiting has developed for different generations, the next stage of online recruiting is changing for the Millennials and Gen Z.
Much of what’s happening in recruiting is influenced by the cross-pollination of social movements, like MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, and the public call for more diverse and inclusive organizations. Generational patterns/shifts change expectations and create a need for systematic change in the workplace. For younger candidates and employees, they are more concerned with the social impact companies are creating. The reality is more Baby Boomers retire each day, Millennials are starting to make up the majority of the workforce, and the first of Gen Z trickles into the modern workforce.
A “boomer" is a person that was born between 1946 and 1964, named after the “boom”of births following the Second World War era. They’re one of the most populous generations and make up 79 million of the total United States population. To give perspective, the generation before them (the “Silent generation”) numbered 47 million while Gen X total around 55 million.
Millennials is anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019), according to Pew Research. Anyone born from 1997 onward is part of the new generation called ‘Gen Z’. Note: "generational cutoff points are not an exact science. They should be viewed primarily as tools, allowing for analysis”.
Each generation possesses a unique relation with technology itself. Boomers did not grow up accessible technology; it was reserved for office use if computers were accessible. Digital tools did not come into play until later in their adult live. Millennials are the first generation to be born in a digital era, where tools were quickly integrated and accepted. Arguably they were the first generation to use the Internet as their “second brain”. Gen Z has always known digital tools and interactions; they’re "digital natives", so to speak. They’ve been raised with computers and the Internet.
Because Boomers, Millennials and Gen Zers have varied histories with technology, each generation demands something particular from a recruiting process. Expectations from the recruitment process stems from experiencing technology itself, but it also has to do with changing priorities about the workplace.
Generations in the workplace
Boomers tend to equate their work with self-worth and tend to have solid work ethics. Their motivations stem from gaining a new promotion, special perks, and having a reliable job. In general, this generation is addicted to overworking—even when it means serious consequences to their health, family, and loved ones. Goal-oriented, this generation welcomes new challenges, dedicating time for education and development. Since they tend to value “face time”at the office (even if it means staying unnecessarily long), they may be suspicious of remote work or may not understand its value. This generation’s competitive and workaholic method has impacted the modern workplace. With the entering of Millennials, we see how they’re redefining the world of work.
In one study by Deloitte, they found that 76% of Millennials view organizations as a potential positive impact for social good. They want to join companies that prioritize values that contribute to making the world a better place. Their looking for a place that has progressive values, like ensuring teams are diverse and inclusive. Social movements like MeToo and WomenInTech highlight how important incorporating various demographics into the workplace is to this generation. It stems from their own experiences as the first generation to be highly diverse, with minority groups representing 44 percent of the Millennial population. It’s the generation bridging a historically white workplace with a multicultural setting. As the first technology wizards, Millennials understand the ubiquity technology brings, including the flexibility to work remotely.
Millennials are those wanting a more balanced and humane perspective to their workplace.
The first of Gen Z is slowly getting into the workforce.The oldest Gen Zers are around the age 21 years old and taking the first steps into the world. So far the data shows these young adults enjoy autonomy and don’t like to be reachable at all times—unlike Millennials: 66 percent of Gen Zers versus 71 percent for Millennial women, and 57 percent versus 74 percent for men. Because they’ve grown up with instant connectivity all their lives, this may show a bit of “tech fatigue”. After all, corporations spend billions of dollars to keep people viewing their phone screens. This generation does have some concerns about technology; Gen Z women tend to be more pessimistic about it making a positive difference. They’re also more concerned with security, privacy, and personal information being put into the “wrong hands”.
Hiring managers need to be sensitive to the various concerns and goals of each generation.
For Boomers, promote these key features:
1. No slang
Yes, that may be a general rule, but with Boomers it’s especially obnoxious, not clever. It could result in misunderstanding and simply reveal your company does not offer clear objectives. For goal-oriented Boomers, slang only obscures potentially important information. When writing the job description, keep the language concise.
2. Use Facebook and LinkedIn
These two platforms are especially helpful for the recruitment process. LinkedIn is a clear favorite for online recruiters. But Facebook is also a great alternative. Boomers use Facebook more than any other social media platform, so that means more eyeballs will be able to come across your job ad. Use Facebook ad campaign to segment and advance target for the Boomer demographic.
3. Post easy-to-reach links
Younger generations tend to use live chat features, but Boomers prefer talking with a real person. This could be an opportunity to make a memorable candidate experience. It builds touch with a Boomer applicant by making phone and/or email links readily available. Also consider making links a one-click function, especially on mobile.
For Millennials, online recruiting means:
1. Demonstrate a purpose-driven place
The job description, be sure to include the mission statement of the company. Millennials want to see why their work will make a difference to this particular company, industry, or region. By doing this, you’re equipping a Millennial with a sense of purpose and drive to apply and envision themselves as part of a dedicated team. Feel free to create bullet points of the amount of carbon footprint the company offsets, the number of team volunteer days it held last year, or other activities showing an organization civically engaged.
2. Show room for growth
Millennials value training and career development. Salary and benefits are a must, but Millennials want to see whether there’s room to expand and develop within a company. Share with candidates how your company has a stipend for career development courses, how it has plans to expand in another region, or brag about the success of the company mentorship program.
3. Keep it convenient
This generation is used to food delivery services, movies on demand, and fast fashion. They like quality and convenience paired. Mobile tech is a perfect marriage of these two, blending how quickly a candidate can apply. Take inspiration from LinkedIn’s Easy Apply, or think of how to internally optimize your company’s application system. It should be simple for applicant’s to submit a resume to kick off the recruitment cycle.
For Gen Z, they want:
1. Short-handed content
This generation does not want to be spammed with job application requests or see intrusive amounts of ads on their social media. (By the way, their favorite social media tool is SnapChat—a service that allows users to send video messages that expire). They want advertisements that quick and to-the-point. Anything long seems like its treads on their privacy and personal time. To recruit online for potential employees, keep it short and sweet with this generation.
2. Keep it social
They’re still in their early 20s; yet studies have shown this is a pretty sensible generation. According to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Generation Z "prefer juice bars to pub crawls, rank quality family time ahead of sex and prioritise good grades before friendship”. All in all, the kids are doing alright—except they have less time on their hands because there is more opportunity to do different things, from making music on their Macs to playing video games. Their biggest “time waster” is spending time on SnapChat, Twitter, and Instagram. Which means recruiters can begin targeting them there. Be sure to keep the content and ads accessible and short.
3. Keep in touch
60% of Gen Z wants multiple check-ins from their managers weekly, if not daily. They value feedback and interaction highly. Tis generation will want updates about their progressing application, a time frame when to expect a decision, and perhaps want to dialogue with an employee via a live chat. Gen Z wants to be in touch with a potential employer, which could enable rapid feedback about the recruiting process itself.
Recruiting has come a long way from handing a hand-typed resume to a staffing agent. With new technology taking over a multi-generational workplace, it means technology can be tailored to work for each age group, demonstrating and creating an inclusive workplace.
Because, no matter age or creed, doesn’t everyone want to belong? Tech-driven recruiting may be one tool to ensure everyone has a chance to just that.