Digital Natives: How to Recruit?

professional recruitment

If you want to survive in the “War for Talents”, especially among student talents, your employer should focus on digital recruiting as far as possible. This generation is known for its high affinity to digital communication, according to widespread opinion. The Digital Candidate Journey 2019/2020 study focuses on the extent to which these so-called digital natives also favor the digital application process: on which online platforms are student talents on the move? How do they want to be addressed? What roles can digital solutions such as chatbots play? And how can recruiting processes and employer branding be designed in order to position oneself as an attractive employer?

The winners in job platforms and social networks

Students primarily consult the major job platforms. In terms of awareness, Stepstone ranks first, followed by Indeed, Monster, Jobscout24 and Jobboerse. If potential employers want to address students directly on platforms and social networks, this should be done first on LinkedIn (over 90 percent) and Xing (over 80 percent). This is followed by Kununu and Glassdoor with a clear lead. On each of these platforms, a good third would like to be made aware of job vacancies. Only just under a third are prepared to make contact via Facebook and a good fifth via Instagram. WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify or Snapchat consider the majority of students to be private.

The chatbot is the worst performer – personal contact is preferred

The first time students make contact, the digital tour of the potential employer’s office with virtual reality glasses is best received by them. As soon as conversations with real human recruiters come into play, these perform better in comparison to virtual communication partners. Video calls (e.g. via Skype) and chats via social media or WhatsApp are more popular than participation in virtual career fairs via virtual reality on the PC. Only five percent of respondents can imagine written conversation with a chatbot.

Video applications are most unpopular

Students prefer to apply online directly via the company website or in writing by e-mail. Only a small proportion of respondents prefer to apply in writing by post. The perfect staging of the first impression by means of a video application is only possible for four percent of the candidates.

Conclusion: For students of the Generation Digital Natives, it is not only the speed but also the quality of personal interaction that counts in the application process.

The study authors come to the conclusion that access to the company for interested students and applicants is quick and easy. But personal contact should not be underestimated in the recruiting process. Even or especially in digital times, it is not only the speed but also the quality of personal interaction that determines competitiveness in the employer market. Digital natives consciously differentiate between online communication and a personal interview in the application process.

Recommendations for optimizing the Digital Candidate Journey

According to the study authors, it is advisable for employers to use digital solutions where the human factor is less relevant, for example in background processes. The human factor scores where it has the greatest influence: in building and maintaining relationships.

Since students in the social media differentiate between private and professional channels, LinkedIn and Xing are most suitable for direct contact through a recruiter. Facebook Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp or Snapchat are more likely to increase the attractiveness of the employer. Posts from trainees who report live from their day-to-day work can be used here, for example.

Virtual contact or application options such as chatbots or video applications are to be integrated into the recruiting process or offered as an option. Chatbots are used when, for example, applicants cannot be available for a personal interview due to time constraints. Chatbots can also keep candidates informed about the current status of their application. It makes sense to make the submission of a video application a condition if the advertised position demands the appearance and presentation in front of an audience.

Basically, it is necessary to build in several “physical” points of contact from the beginning to the end of the application process in order to establish and maintain personal contact with the talents as quickly as possible. For example, recruiters are sent to career events who can respond to the individual concerns of interested parties and build trust in the potential employer. The opportunity to do an internship, a project or a thesis gives applicants an authentic and comprehensive insight into the company at an early stage and enables them to work together until they are actually hired after graduation. Last but not least, future superiors also play a decisive role in the application process. Here, too, there is a need for interviews at eye level.

In short: Although student talents today have countless opportunities to inform themselves about employers digitally down to the last detail and to come into contact, face-to-face encounters bring a dimension into play that can be match-deciding for applicants and employers alike.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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