Why the Recruitment Revolution won’t be sparked with Tinder – Candy Crush for your Career?

The world of HR and recruitment software seems to be going through something of a renaissance as of late.  The world that was dominated by user-unfriendly bloatware is becoming increasingly fragmented.  As more players rose to fill the gaps in usability for a beleaguered audience so smaller competitors rose up too.  For a small provider or startup, HR is a domain ripe for disruption.  It bears all the hallmarks of an industry that at it’s surface looks unchanged.  For the founders of startups who may have been at the unfulfilling receiving end of so many HRBP’s in larger organisations HR is a logical starting point for your new disruptive software solution.

In the mists of history where HR met software has only led to monolithic structures or rebrands of logistics software. The people in these electronic processes treated in the same way as stock to fill shelves or car parts for an insatiable assembly line.  The same clunking UI that held payroll information for accounts and performance data for HR was rolled out and forced on recruiters for managing the applications of new candidates. The biggest competitive advantage was the supposed “ease” of managing a candidate process.  In effect this led to a system in which people applying to large organisations were held at bay with template emails and auto-responses.

There are a great number of new systems for managing recruiting in a way that is more effective.  If you’re still managing the hiring process for your organisation in a “spreadsheet of doom” now is a great time to change to one of the newer systems – Greenhouse, Lever or my ATS of choice Workable are all enabling their users to manage applicants through the process in amore human way. (Provided you use them in a human way – template emails that sound like template emails still suck).

To match the rise of the new round of applicant tracking systems (ATS) we’ve also seen new tools for other areas of hiring.  Recently we’ve seen large rounds of investment for many mobile based “job discovery” tools.  They all have the obligatory cool names like Jobr, Emjoyment and Blonk. The trait these apps all share is their appropriation of the Tinder style user interaction.  Like a job? Simply swipe and you’ve applied, or at least made contact with the posting company. It’s so easy!  And that’s my problem.

“It’s a Match!” …but does either side really care?

There are enough problems with application processes that are too lengthy but to remove or lower the barrier to application to a simple swipe, by extension, must also lower the thought process behind the application.  Does scrolling through job listings on your phone equate to the same thought and consideration on the candidate side as seeing an advert, being taken to the companies website to learn more and then making an application?  There is an innate disposability in the action of a single swipe, there is little effort either physically or mentally in idly swiping through career options.  As a recruiter, I want more than that.  I don’t want the company I work for in a beauty parade held up for the swipes of someone looking for a Candy Crush Career…

Whilst the act of application, that is expressing interest in a job via one of these apps or polishing a LinkedIn in order to apply, fulfils the basic criteria of “job seeking” it does seem to overestimate the impact of technology on human behaviour.  The “ease” of use for the candidate is the equal and opposite reaction from the Recruiter side who is now given over to service of a greater number of applicants that haven’t really gone to the lengths of application they normally would have.

There are a greater number of applicants and it becomes all the more difficult to find the signal in all that noise.  Those who are not at the coal face of recruiting often tout an increased volume of applications as beneficial.  As if throwing more bodies into the top of the funnel will result in the same level of quality and increased output from the same recruitment team.  Whilst this can be true it’s only true if the quality is maintained. Scaling a recruitment effort is much more than opening yourself up to more applications. The best adverts for vacancies should cause potential applicants to opt in or out and gauge their own cultural fit.  The worst metric for the success of any recruitment effort is the raw metric of applications.

Perhaps at the root of all this is the transient psychology of a Tinder swipe. People are time deprived and the application of the swipe to jobs seems like a saving but in effect shifts a burden to a recruitment function that will only truly engage if they too swipe your application.  Monotonous, machine like swiping. Less and less meaningful engagement. Just as Tinder was a nail in the coffin of notions of romantic love perhaps Tinder-clones for recruitment are just at odds with my romantic views of candidate experience?

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