Research from Manpower Group Candidate Preferences Survey has found Australian job seekers are rejecting many of the technology solutions that promised to upend the HR market and prefer human interaction in the recruitment process. The findings are suggesting that digital disruption of the sector has thus far failed to advance beyond online job ads. The ManpowerGroup 2018 Candidate Preferences Survey asked 18,000 job seekers across twenty-four countries – including over 800 in Australia – about how and where they look for jobs and which technologies they prefer.
The findings identify a new group of job candidates known as Early HR Technology Adopters – those who have used at least three or more technologies in their job search during the past six months. This latest data reveals that although the rate of early HR tech adoption by Australian job seekers is consistent with the global average, sitting at 10 and 11 percent respectively, it is well below some of the most dynamic and innovative economies in the world, including India.
When it comes to technology, the survey found that social media job ads were most widely used by Australian candidates (23 per cent). And while 21 percent have used a smartphone app to search or apply for a job, the adoption of other technologies by Australian job seekers has been slim. Only 10 percent have used text messaging to communicate with a potential employer, a mere 9 percent have completed a video interview and 6 percent have participated in a virtual job fair. Furthermore, while social media job ads were the most widely used of all HR technologies, the proportion of Australian’s making use of them was lower than the global average of 31 percent.
Most notable is the importance Australian candidates appear to be placing on human interaction. When asked what technology they preferred to use during the candidate experience, even Australia’s Early HR Tech Adopters – those most likely to use new technology for a job search – selected high-touch, in-person interviews as their number one preference (27 per cent), with video interviews coming in at only 4 percent.
ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand managing director Richard Fischer believes this latest data shows that Australian candidates regard finding a new job as a highly personal process and are more comfortable with direct, face-to-face engagement.
“The survey reveals that when it comes to something as important as landing a new job, Australians want a personalised, high-touch process,” said Mr Fischer. “While Australian job seekers may use social media and smart apps at the beginning of their search, it is clear that they prefer human interaction once their application has been lodged.
“For employers, this means that attracting the best talent continues to be dependent on engaging directly with candidates and adopting an approach to recruitment that puts the candidate at the centre of the process. While many efficiencies have been introduced in terms of HR technology, nothing has yet replaced the candidate preference for in-person interviews as the primary vehicle to determine right fit for a role and to gain insight into a company’s culture.”
The survey also found that while Australians prefer the personal touch, they have responded positively to the benefits of the initial online application process. Australia’s Early HR Tech Adopters submit 28 applications on average during their job search process compared to the global average of 18. The benefits of the online application are also recognised by those less inclined to use job-search technology, with the average Australian job seeker submitting 17 applications compared to the global average of 10.
“Overall, the message is clear,” concludes Fischer. “Australian job seekers prefer a recruitment process that starts with technology and leads to human interaction. Employers must be willing to find the right balance between the two and engage directly with candidates if they are going to attract today’s best talent.”