Lyndy van den Barselaar, MD of Manpower SA. Photo: Supplied.

DURBAN - As digital transformation continues to seep into each and every industry and sector and the skills gap continues to widen, it is no secret that employers need to adopt high tech approaches to attracting candidates. 

The 2018 Global Candidate Preferences Survey provides insights to guide innovative recruiter strategies. 

What do today’s job seekers and candidates want? That’s a question employers need to ask, as companies are facing an unprecedented scarcity of skilled workers. A recent report from ManpowerGroup found that 45 percent of employers globally report difficulty finding the skills they need, producing a global talent shortage at a 12-year high. 

"As the business landscape continues to evolve, businesses will be searching for candidates with both the necessary hard and soft skills, to ensure they are flexible and adaptable in their role. This is no easy task, especially in a competitive job market," said ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar.

Employers that attract talented candidates in this competitive environment are breaking through with innovative use of technology. The 2018 Global Candidate Preferences Survey from ManpowerGroup revealed that effective employers are investing in digital tools designed to help prospect, screen and engage candidates, including using artificial intelligence-powered bots to navigate CVs. 

“Humans should not see bots as a threat in the recruitment industry, rather they should use them to their advantage,” explains van den Barselaar. When human resources receive an overwhelming number of applications, artificial intelligence (AI) can help manage the early stages of interactions in a way that feels more human. This technology investment not only streamlines processes for the prospective employer, but importantly can also enhance the candidate experience. 

Chatbots use computer programs designed to hold up their end of a conversation, and this technology can be used in recruitment for preliminary conversations with candidates. The technology is attractive to HR managers who seek a responsive, low-cost means of answering and asking questions. 

For example, a bot might ask applicants about their willingness to relocate for a position and then respond with follow-up questions to gather data about candidates, based on their answer. Bots augment human power. 

The Gartner Customer Experience report for 2017 predicts that by 2020 85 percent of enterprise-customer relationships will be managed without human interactions. Furthermore, the chatbot market is expected to reach revenue of $3.1 billion by 2021, according to Research and Markets 2018. 

She said, "This is something that employers across all sectors need to be aware of, and embrace where possible".  

It’s also true that bots are still in the early stages of development. Employers who experiment with this technology should understand that the chatbot becomes a representative for your employer brand. It should be programmed with the language, values and concepts that are important to the organisation. 

Overall, for candidates, bots provide a clear advantage. Chatbots have been linked to higher volumes of completed applications, a higher quality of applicant and an improved candidate experience. 

The advantage of AI for employers is the ability to combine high-tech with a high-touch approach. “For employers to beat their competitors to the right candidates, both are needed,” concludes van den Barselaar.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE