The jobseeker’s revenge

by in Recruitment, Recruitment Trends

For years, one of the many complaints from jobseekers has been that they are continually sent jobs that are not suitable for them. Be that from job boards sending job alerts on a daily or even hourly basis, or from over-enthusiastic recruiters pitching jobs just on the off chance. Or maybe it’s the result of ‘keeping your details on file’ at a big corporate they once applied for. BMW and Marks and Spencer have my details on file for a couple of jobs I applied for 27 years ago. I’m still hopeful another Admin Assistant job comes up that they think I’m bang on for…

Well, the tables might be about to turn.  

With the prospect of Gen AI, candidates will be able to turn themselves into recruiting machines. From thousands of applications in the space of a few minutes, to automated responses and interview scheduling, the candidate just got a major upgrade.

It’s being widely discussed that application numbers – something we’ve always monitored at Wave – are about to increase significantly as candidates will no longer be searching and applying for jobs manually, they’ll be using a variety of tools to increase the volume of applications they can send.

The immediate challenge of course will be the inability to correctly assess the right jobs to apply for – Generative AI is good but not that good… yet. And candidates may not allow the AI to have a tight criteria of roles to apply for. As a jobseeker, I can see some logic in quantity over quality, especially where you can apply for 1000 jobs in a matter of minutes.

I get the fear, the fear of missing out. In a strange way it’s partly connected to Wave’s vision of creating a world where talent is never missed. From a candidate perspective, it’s the idea that you always want to make sure you find the right job at the right time – the sliding doors moment. From a recruiter’s perspective, you want to ensure you’re finding the right candidate at the right time. But with so many jobs (and candidates out there), how do candidates know when they’ve found the job they nearly missed (that sliding doors concept again) unless they look at all the jobs? This issue and practice has the potential to literally break recruitment. 

And, partly, we’ve brought this on ourselves. Not getting back to candidates, making it difficult for candidates to apply on clunky ATS’, long and tiresome application processes and times to hire, the dreadful immediate bland auto reject (even today my LinkedIn feed is full of complaints about ‘ghosting’), I could go on…. The way in which we’ve created the candidate experience has been terrible, it’s just about hanging together.

Things improve when there is a massive shortage of candidates – at which point they’re treated like gold dust, and the pendulum swings the other way – again likely too far. Truthfully, as an industry, we treat candidates so dramatically inconsistently – a true example of supply and demand economics, one minute just a CV and an email address, the next, a priceless artefact – and now it’s time for a bit of payback.

Candidates just got the tools to pretty much automate the whole process into a dystopian future where the prospects of AI negotiating on their behalf are just around the corner. The answer for the recruiters? Fight back with their own AI. It’s like the recruitment version of The Terminator – The Recruitinator. Sorry, that’s a really bad made up word! But like the movies, much of this is a dramatic version of what could happen. I mean, the tech is there today so there is every chance we will slip into this process. I really hope not. There is a simple answer though.

We automate LESS – that’s recruiters and candidates. I think if candidates start automating this process it could be the awakening that we’ve all been waiting for. The industry as a whole will need to evolve the way in which we treat the process. Recruitment does not get better with more quantity-based actions from either side of the fence, whether you’re using AI or not. We actively need to discourage this behaviour and make it more about quality not quantity.

We need to increase the quality at every stage, that’s job ads, sourcing, candidate applications, communications, interviews and feedback – only by doing this will we avoid an all-out AI war on recruitment! And that benefits no-one but the people that build the AI. And the AI. Maybe the robots are coming…