The ideal candidate experience – how to attract the right talent | Part 1

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Why you should invest in recruiting

The fourth industrial revolution is fundamentally changing the way we work. Increasing digitization and, above all, automation and the associated effects on job roles mean that different skills are required today than in the past. A recent report by Capgemini Research Institute, ‘Fast forward to the future’ revealed that within workforce management, organizations ranked “digitization of core HR processes – such as recruiting, onboarding, learning and development, and performance management – as among the top-three priorities they will be working on in the next 12 months. Organizations are facing a re-invention of recruiting. This calls for a change in thinking in recruiting. In their quest for the right talent with the right skills, organizations compete with each other not only due to technological trends, but also due to demographic developments. An “ideal” candidate experience is needed – knowing that “ideal” is always dependent on the specific target group of applicants and can ultimately only be assessed individually. In recruiting there is no “one-size-fits-all solution.”

A changing way of working requires new skills – and therefore adjustments in recruiting

Both digitization and globalization are driving rapid technological development in the economy and society. This leads to a changing way of working, a replacement of previous job roles and the emergence of new roles. This in turn inevitably results in new demands on applicants. New skills, especially digital skills, are needed to meet the new requirements.

As early as 2017, our “Digital Talent Gap” study showed that every second company is observing a widening of the “digital talent gap.” This trend is continuing: only 29% of functional leaders believe that they have the right employees to meet current job requirements. In addition, only 24% of functional leaders report that they are able to quickly recruit the required talent with the current processes and resources.

In short, today’s recruiting does not seem to be ready to identify and successfully attract the right talent with the right skills needed in the future.

Demographic changes lead to new applicant needs

Demographic changes are also putting organizations and HR departments under pressure and require a change in thinking. The shortage of skilled workers is increasing, and the generational change is changing the values and needs of employees – the demands on a modern, attractive employer are different today than they were in the past. Younger generations, in particular, want meaningful work and the opportunity for personal development and fulfilment.[1] A work-life balance is no longer sufficient; GenZ is more concerned with “work-life integration.” There are also differences between generations when it comes to recruiting: 17% of all those under 30 would, in case of doubt, prefer not to apply at all rather than fill out a classic e-recruiting form.

A rethink of recruiting from the applicant’s point of view is needed

Talent portals such as Honeypot furthermore reveal that the recruitment market has changed dramatically. Today, it is the applicants who are in the favorable position when it comes to choosing a company; the companies themselves have to actively seek for qualified applicants. Thus, the requirements of the applicants are increasingly important.

Companies have to redefine and implement their recruiting strategies in light of developments on the labor market. An applicant-oriented approach that is adapted to the needs and values of today’s applicants, but also to the new requirements of the future working world is needed.

Recruiting for the new normal – focus on a digital, agile skillset

Many industries and companies have restricted or even completely stopped recruiting. The situation changes almost daily; clear and consistent guidelines are missing. This makes planning for the new normal difficult and personnel planning more difficult, and it makes the subject of recruiting seem almost redundant. But just because the competition for the best talent may have been temporarily put on hold, it is far from over.

We also see that recruiting in certain sectors continues to be relevant and is even being expanded. This  is true of the IT sector in particular. On the other hand, a digital, agile skillset is in greater demand than ever and is becoming increasingly relevant in the wake of current developments. According to the World Economic Forum, digital skills, design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation are the key skills relevant to the new normal. In addition, digital skills are not only important for the IT industry or the IT department “ rather, these skills are highly relevant across functions and must be combined with other (soft) skills in order to successfully drive the necessary digital transformation in the new, post-COVID-19 reality.

In order to attract the right talent with the right skills, applicant-oriented recruiting is still of highest relevance for organizations.

Our blog series – inspiration for your candidate experience

In our blog series “The ideal candidate experience – how to attract the right talent,” we point out how you can create an ideal candidate experience for your specific candidate group in four consecutive articles:

  1. Applicant needs in recruiting – What matters to today’s applicants
  2. Candidate journey design – What to consider when developing a candidate journey
  3. Candidate journey measures – What does the optimal candidate journey look like?
  4. Recruiting & HR tech – How new technologies will change recruiting

Be inspired by our blog series and put your recruiting strategy and candidate experience to the test!

This article is co-authored by Ann-Katrin Jünemann.


[1] Fantapié Altobelli, C. et al. (2017).Trendforschung zur Optimierung und Sicherstellung der externen Personalbedarfsdeckung

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