As we walked around at Personal Hungary HR exhibition it became clear that the job market presence of Generation Y and Z is one of the most urgent matters for HR experts. Inspired by the lectures, we started our mini-series on the recruitment of the generations in focus. In the previous part, we discussed the interconnectivity of employer branding and recruitment. Partly based on the Generation Y applicant experience of our previous article, now we expand on how to make the most of the available software solutions and online platforms.
My personal experience is reaffirmed by the statistics. A region-specific survey showed that an average member of Generation Y spends more than 4 hours online per day, while Generation Z is online almost six hours daily. According to the survey, Generation Y primarily uses laptop to access online platforms (42%), while Generation Z prefers smartphones. Surveys conducted in Hungary and in the USA indicated the still-leading position of Facebook among social media sites, while also showing that Instagram enjoys great popularity among younger users. The first survey focuses on the number of users per social media site, while the second one studied generational social media preferences.
Many companies see the potential in a Facebook business page not only as a tool to reach customers, but as a channel for employer branding and to share open positions. This strategy can convert loyal followers of the brand into ideal employees. Akin to Facebook market places, job sharing groups are flourishing. Ads spreading on the popular social media site are likely to operate with trendy images, GIFs and videos. With a good reason, of course, as Y and Z communication is embedded in visuality. Some of my favorite examples are created by Artificial Group, attracting new employees with fresh and clean imagery that blends into the company’s style.
The lack of text on Instagram might account for the slight reluctance on the part of employers to adopt the platform for recruitment. In the previous part we emphasized the importance of a well-written, honest job description. Textual content has a better place on Facebook. It is possible to squeeze a detailed description under the picture on Instagram, but it is far from elegant. In this case, the post should not aim to inform exhaustively, but to draw attention to the opening. So, it is enough to include a link directing to the job description on your website and some carefully chosen hashtag.
Link can do the trick on Facebook or any other social media instead of the “apply on the given email address” strategy. This practice has quite a few advantages. Directing applicants straight to your website builds trust, as they are encouraged to collect information about the company. It also leads to valuable statistics that identify the platforms and ads that return more job applications, driving educated adjustments of recruitment and branding strategies.
In an ideal case, all of the above links help candidates land on the user interface of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) on the company’s career page. This channel provides a more organized and transparent recruitment process for both the applicant and HR professionals. No CV will get lost in the blackhole called spam folder, no-one will be accidentally missed from the answer list. The applicant won’t forget about the ad either, as it won’t land among many other post saved for later application via e-mail.
Communicating as a Company
Adapting the response speed of chat apps is enough for a Gen Y- and Z-compatible communication. Integrating the apps in the recruitment process and to the ATS may have as many cons as pros. While the generations in focus are likely to use chat apps not only for personal, but business communication as well, conversations taking place on such platforms are less transparent, less organized and less easy to search than email.
After timing and platform are set, we can turn towards the content. Here comes the first temptation, a generic response: let’s get over with this round with a short “thank you for your application”, maybe “our colleague will be in contact with you shortly”. Well, a good first impression may necessitate a bit more effort in wording. The note sent to the applicant should be congruent with the employer brand, the style consistent with that of the communication taking place in any other company channel.
“Shortly” and “soon” should be exiled from the vocabulary, as it equals to “never” for many. It’s better to inform the candidate about the planned finishing date of the pre-filtering stage instead. The eager candidate will have a date to hold on to. It stands a good chance that he or she will adjust the next job post browsing accordingly, and continue the search only after the given deadline, especially if it’s close. If the pre-filtering stage is delayed for any reason (for example flu sabotages the efforts), another note can be sent to inform the applicants in a manner and extent that fits to the company image.
Planning the recruitment stages in advance is a piece of cake with an ATS in place. Detailed statistics about previous recruitments are a tremendous help in estimating the time necessary for each stage. The finishing date of the pre-filtering stage can be included in the automated first message as it is already known at the time of posting the position.
After pre-filtering, as the selection progresses, more personalized feedback can benefit the employer brand and the long term human resources. This still does not mean you need to write every individual a custom email, when there are still plenty applicants on the short-list. A sophisticated ATS enables HR professionals to add the reasons of rejection to each unselected candidate using granular categories. This feature helps to customize emails to each candidate group, to inform them that for the applied position improving their language skills or gaining more experience is essential (or even let them know if there is a more fitting position open). The candidate will be grateful for the feedback, and may even return for the next opening as the ideal candidate, now armed with the requisite skillset.