Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

One-click is all it takes

Applying for a job has never been easier for candidates: What does it mean for recruiters?

One-click is all it takes

“We introduced
one-click apply to make applying
for jobs faster
and easier.”

Digital advancements over the last decade have changed the way we do, well, almost everything. From contactless payments and dating apps, not forgetting the ability to purchase anything from bin bags and pegs to Smart TVs and cars on the internet, it feels like we can get everything from a swipe, tap or click. In many ways, these actions have revolutionised consumer behaviour, and - perhaps predictably - recruitment hasn’t been immune to these changes. So far, CV-Library, Indeed, Hays and LinkedIn are just a few platforms offering a ‘one click’ approach to job hunting – allowing those searching for jobs to pre-upload details about themselves onto an online profile and apply for as many jobs as they want to by merely clicking an application button on each advert that appeals. It is not at all dissimilar from the way an individual would purchase goods on Amazon or bid for an item in an eBay auction.

But what were those recruitment firms hoping to achieve by turning parts of the recruitment industry into a one-click shop. For LinkedIn it was about making applying for jobs less time consuming. A spokesperson for the professional social network explained: “We introduced one-click apply to make applying for jobs faster and easier.” Yet, despite the inarguable decrease in time it will take to apply for a job with just one click, some may question the suitability of this approach when recruiting for more complex roles, or when emotional, cultural or behavioural applicant assessments are required. While this function may have its uses, could it be deemed too simplistic?

LinkedIn certainly doesn’t think so. The spokesperson adds that they “don’t believe one-click apply increases the number of unqualified candidates applying for roles” arguing that if sites are pre-sifting roles for candidates – allowing applicants to choose roles based on salary and personality match – they will “provide jobseekers with the information they need to understand if they’re a good fit for a job before they reply”. While this has been rolled out with jobseekers in mind, is it what the candidates actually want?

Recent research from Hays, which took in the opinions of 15,000 workers in the ‘What Workers Want Report 2018’, suggests that they probably do. One of the key takeaways from the report was that if an online application takes longer than 15 minutes to complete, more than 70% of potential applicants would be willing to ditch the process altogether. According to the report, today’s candidates demand an experience that allows them to continually save the job application process, revisit their application at a later date and upload their CV with ease. The less clicks, the easier, the better – right?

“Provide jobseekers
with the information they need.”

“Most candidates already have a current job and it’s hard and stressful enough looking for a new role.”

Not quite. Despite candidates wanting a seamless online experience, 69% responded to the Hays study saying that it was still important to them to have a human point of contact during the hiring process. Leah Ryz, a user experience consultant – who has previously applied for a job via one-click - says that whilst this style of recruitment was convenient at the time she “did wish there was a human that she could’ve spoken to”. Likewise, Rob Wildey, an employee benefits developer said that his past experience with one-click recruitment was “easy” but found he could only access certain types of job by using this method. “I found the jobs requiring experience and knowledge aren’t advertised in this way,” he says. “It’s also easy to miss-sell a job on a one-click application.”

Furthermore, Hays’ research found that applicants still overwhelmingly prefer submitting a CV to apply for a role – with 85% wanting to put their hat into the ring in this manner. However, candidates do want a fast experience even if it is via more traditional methods. Because of this demand, Margo Leftly, Managing Director of Healthier Recruitment, believes that traditional job boards are slowly becoming a thing of the past as candidates seek easier and faster ways to apply for jobs. She explains that many people forget that “most candidates already have a current job and it’s hard and stressful enough looking for a new role”. As a result, Leftly notes the rise of easy-apply jobs boards. Yet, they are not without issue. Leftly adds that she has “found that platforms where people can go on and upload CVs actually just results in multiple agencies filtering through them. As a result, at her agency they chose to avoid these candidate sources to “look to proactively contact candidates to get an understanding of their preferences.”

She adds: “Although recruitment can be supported with technological developments, businesses should never lose the core fundamentals which make it a success: relationships, human contact and understanding.” According to Leftly, even if the recruitment is sped up, or made easier at the initial application stage, with easy-to-use tech-abetted interfaces, the human recruiter still has an important role to play – in aiding the candidate and in assessing them. This, adds Leftly, doesn’t mean that “technology and other resources [shouldn’t be] used to improve processes.” Rather, the Managing Director argues that recruiters need to keep in mind that the “human element of recruitment is what sets aside an exceptional experience from a very transactional one.”

Whilst Lorna Davidson, CEO of recruitment firm RedWigWam, agrees with Leftly that providing human-to-human recruiters and candidates is a crucial part of the industry she doesn’t think that one-click applications will take a chunk of agency business or overhaul how recruitment currently functions. Whilst acknowledging that one-click applications offer benefits, Davidson argues that she would question any recruitment agency solely filling their databases in this way. She explains: “I think there has to be a balance between quantity and quality so that you know you are talking to people who really want to work.” Subsequently, recruiters would be wise to consider applicant demand when introducing easy-access strategies to appeal to the best pool of candidates.

“The human element of recruitment is what sets aside an exceptional experience from a very transactional one.”

“It’s been a long mantra of mine that if you’re not adding value, as a recruiter, you may as well change your name to LinkedIn.”

Yet, despite this concern, Davidson explains that jobseekers want easy ways to apply for jobs and recruiters need to keep up and move with the times. “The threat to standard recruiters is that they are not going to be flexible enough for candidates in future,” she adds.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive Officer at recruitment trade body APSCo thinks much the same. She warns that in a time where technology is ever closer to making manual sourcing redundant recruiters need to become adaptable in order to thrive, adding “it’s been a long mantra of mine that if you’re not adding value, as a recruiter, you may as well change your name to LinkedIn.” She warns that with computer programmes now being able to identify, track, screen and process applicants much more quickly and with greater accuracy than a human, businesses which don’t consider how these systems could impact productivity levels may quickly find themselves trailing behind their more innovative competitors.

Which leaves recruiters in a difficult place. If they become too fixated on rolling out the most sophisticated, quickest hiring technologies, they may lose sight of the importance of human contact and this could cost them top quality candidates – as well as their reputation. Many seasoned recruiters have said that modern-day recruitment is all about striking a balance between onboarding innovative hiring technologies like one-click apply and letting human recruiters continue to do their jobs duly. Whilst recruitment sector heavyweights like Swain says that there will always be a “dedicated place for humans in the sector” this shouldn’t beget complacency from recruiters. Otherwise they might find themselves having to use the very application processes that put them out of a job to find a new one. After all, one click is all it takes.