There can sometimes be a mismatch in recruiter expectations when it comes to early career candidates and the use of technology professionally. Technology is being used more and more in the recruitment process, particularly for roles that attract high numbers of applications or by employers who recruit high numbers of professional roles on a regular basis.
Technology such as automated video interviews is becoming more and more common with recruiters, particularly large organizations. This type of technology can streamline recruitment for employers being more time and cost-effective. On the flip side, it can prove harder and more uncomfortable for some candidates.
I have experienced this mismatch of expectations first hand. Having spoken to many employers who believe that whilst the use of technology in the recruitment process is more efficient and time effective for them, they also believe that it is easier for younger candidates and more what they would expect given they use. With the high use of technology in day to day life for young people such as face time and social media, recruiters can often believe this type of technology is comfortable for early career candidates.
On the other side of the coin, I have also spoken to many early career candidates who are comfortable with the social use of technology but are terrified when it comes to the professional use of technology. They can often be oblivious to the link of skills that come from the social use of technology which they can utilize in the professional use of technology. Here are your tips for using technology to effectively engage early career candidates.
Don’t assume they are comfortable with technology
Provide resources or tips for them to practice before the recruitment process interview or pitch. Recognise, especially for younger candidates, this environment and situation could be brand new to them and actually scary. Provide perspective and support to the candidates to get the best out of them.
Recognise the block between the social and professional use of technology
From your viewpoint, an early career candidate’s natural and adaptable approach and skills to everyday technology in the world of work may be obvious. However, recognize that to the candidate this may not necessarily be obvious at all. There can be a barrier to understanding technology in a professional setting which can be much more unfamiliar to a younger candidate than it is to you with your experience. That’s not to say they don’t have those skills but they may need support understanding how they are transferable and where they might use them in a work environment.
You may need to break down the role more than you would expect and think about how you can talk about how technology is a key part of what you do in a way that is understandable, comfortable and related to early career candidates. Believe it or not, some young people are not comfortable with technology. Which leads to my final point…
Understand some young people are terrified of technology
For some early career candidates, while they can be much more technology savvy than they realize, there can be a perception that technology is purely coding, programming and anything that fits into that hardcore techy bubble. They don’t always see the skills and knowledge they naturally have from the social and educational use of technology.
They don’t always see this as clearly as recruiters do, reinforce why you believe they are already tech savvy and help them bridge the gap in their own minds that a proportion of what they have learned socially and through study can be transferable to their professional careers.
The initial premise is true; early career candidates are naturally more tech-savvy than the generations before them because they have been raised in an age of fast technological advancements.
However, don’t assume they are comfortable with technology in a professional setting or have either the self-awareness or world of work awareness of how to transfer those skills from social life to a work environment. There are some great candidates out there that can be lost due to wrong assumptions.
I encourage you to provide more information, resources, and a different conversation to candidates to help bring the best out of them to truly get the best candidates in your organization.
About the author: Nicola Clemmit runs the Nicola Clemmit Consultancy: supporting candidates towards successful CVs, covering letters, applications, and interviews.