If you’re like most HR leaders, you’re making changes to your candidate experience. What happens when someone is interested in working with you? How easy is it for them to find information, apply to a job, or ask questions about your work culture?
Those incremental changes to the candidate experience are important, so don’t stop what you’re doing. But as we so often see in business, things can change in the blink of an eye. I predict within five years the candidate experience is going to look a heck of a lot different than it does now—just as it has changed significantly in the past five years. It’s helpful to keep one eye toward the future so you can continue to make your candidate experience stand out.
In order to help, I revved my DeLorean up to 88 mph and took a look at things five years from now. What did I see? A world where automation has optimized the talent-discovery process, and where new technologies revolutionize the way positions are filled and even the way we think about how we apply to jobs.
A Move to Automated Talent Selection
If you’re a hiring manager, your hiring process probably requires a few Advils. For every open position you have to sort through hundreds of applications, many of which aren’t remotely qualified. It’s incredibly tedious, mind-numbing work.
But five years from now, automation will revolutionize how you find interview candidates. Your system will be able to sort through the applications, grading each one on your preset criteria. Once it selects the top candidates, it can even schedule interviews. All you’ll have to do is evaluate each candidate at the interview stage.
So if your organization is still using paper applications, it’s time to make the switch. Artificial intelligence is going to be great at sorting through candidates, but you need to make sure you’re feeding your system the information in the 1’s and 0’s it needs.
The Rise of the Video Interview
Let’s say you live in a large city and you have a quality candidate from just outside your immediate geographic area. Or maybe you’re trying to hire someone from a rival organization.
These factors can complicate interviewing. We’ve all been there—the constant rescheduling, the no-shows. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
Enter the future of interviewing: videoconferencing. Some organizations already do this, but these are rarely true interviews. Often candidates are simply reading their responses to a list of questions. In five years, though, technology will have advanced to the point that videoconferencing will be reliable and ubiquitous enough to assume all your candidates will have access to it.
You’ll be able to navigate the scheduling pitfalls of hiring, allowing you to talk with a candidate at the time that works best for them. And while shaking hands at the beginning and end of an interview will become a thing of the past, meeting a candidate on their terms will result in more positive interactions and a more dynamic conversation.
The Gig Economy Will Change How We Apply to Jobs
The gig economy and the rise of freelance work has already changed how organizations hire. Many are hiring workers for more short-term positions, and candidates themselves have mostly welcomed and embraced this flexibility.
But there’s a double-edged sword here: It includes even less loyalty to employers. In an era when employer loyalty was already declining, the gig economy has altered the paradigm even further. More and more people are looking for positions that fit their own needs, as opposed to an opportunity to grow and advance within an organization. The idea of working for one organization throughout your career is now a rarity, especially in hourly positions.
I’m not here to comment on whether this development is a positive one. What I will say is that I think organizations will begin to shift how they approach candidate sourcing. Five years from now we’re going to see a lot of organizations begin to share their applicant pools. Any organization that’s part of the pool will be able to hire candidates not already hired elsewhere.
While this may seem a bit counter-intuitive when it comes to hiring, it’s a concession to reality that organizations need to make. People want to work, and you can provide a gig. It may be more of a transactional attitude than we’ve emphasized in the past, but that’s OK. The candidate, after all, is your customer. Give them what they want.
The End of the Job Application
I don’t think any of my predictions are far outside of the realm of possibility, but I’ve been saving my boldest prediction for last.
I think the job application is going to go the way of the dodo.
Think about it. So much of the information we ask for on job applications really has no bearing on a person’s skills or potential. The fact that someone has lived at three addresses in 10 years tells you nothing about their ability to drive a forklift.
Coupled with this is the rise of new technologies. Maybe it’s going to happen within 10 years instead of five, but I predict organizations will have access to blockchain technology that tells them all the relevant information they need about a candidate. Perhaps there will even be databases where past clients, employers, and former coworkers can rate a person’s work performance—like Yelp, for work. Or maybe it will be part of a platform like LinkedIn.
It’s a bit out there, I know, but here’s what I think: Anything that can free hiring managers to focus on evaluating the soft skills and intangibles of candidates is a benefit. The more time they have to make the right decisions, the better off their organization will be.
So start getting ready for that future right now.