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Businesses are struggling to attract Gen Zs



Businesses could lose the battle for talent due to automation, warns leading workforce solutions provider, Reed Talent Solutions, with research showing that Gen Zs are more likely to prefer human interaction in the recruitment process.

A survey of 1000 people who had secured a new job, with a new company, in the last 12 months, conducted by Reed Talent Solutions, found that the majority of Gen Zs (77%) felt frustrated with not being able to speak to someone directly during the recruitment process. In comparison, only 64% of Gen X and Boomers felt the same.

On top of this, the research also found that Gen Zs were much more likely to pull out from the recruitment process, with six in ten (60%) withdrawing an application early – with the most common reasons being the process was too slow (45%) and they would rather deal with a real person opposed to automation (37%).

In comparison, less than a half (46%) of the Gen X and Boomer generation have withdrawn their application early, with the top reasons being the process was too slow (51%) and that they weren’t fully aware of the job description and salary (31%); only 16% of this generation withdrew due to automation.

“Businesses need to reconsider how they use automation throughout their recruitment processes to attract the next generation of talent. We all assume the younger generation prefers technology and its convenience – but in reality, the human element is so important,” says Julie Hinchcliffe, Managing Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions at Reed Talent Solutions.

On top of this, when asked if they would prefer more or less automation during the recruitment process, less than a third of Gen Z (31%) and Gen X (24%) candidates wanted more automated processes, in comparison to nearly half (47%) of Boomers.

Julie continues: “Automation can help some recruitment processes, making it faster and easier for both the candidate and the employer. If done well, you won’t lose talent by implementing automation, but what is key, is ensuring the time it takes between encountering automation and hearing back from a person is kept to a minimum. The longer you leave it, the more disengaged the candidate will be.

“Those hiring also need to make sure candidates are given all the information they may desire throughout the process – from salary to the working environment – as without speaking to someone, if the information is not there, they are likely to be frustrated.

“In a market where attracting talent is more of a competitive sport than a walk in the park, businesses need to regularly assess and evaluate their recruitment processes to ensure they’re as inclusive as possible.”

When asked about the effectiveness of chatbots, Gen X and Boomers were the least impressed. Nearly half of Gen Zs (43%) stated chatbots were helpful, whereas only a quarter (25%) of the older generations agreed. The survey also found that different generations of workers preferred automation at different stages of the recruitment process. The Boomer generation was much more likely to prefer chatbots when trying to book an interview (51%), whereas only 29% of Gen Zs agreed.

The research also found some key trends that were quite consistent for all generations. For example, the majority of people would prefer to be told they have secured an interview for their job from someone directly, as opposed to via an automated response. The top reason for this was due to it being more personal and engaging, and because a real person can provide clarification and additional information.

“The survey brings some interesting differences to light that HR teams ought to consider. We found that Gen Z candidates are much more likely to want more human interaction during the interview stage, whereas Boomers prefer human assistance during the booking of interviews and tests, and during the reference and vetting process,” continues Julie.

“Knowing when to implement human interaction or chatbot assistance, can really change the recruitment experience for potential candidates. If candidates leave you feeling heard, valued and respected for their time in the application process, they are much more likely to want to accept a job offer, or even try for another job with you in the future if unsuccessful.”

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