By Richar Collins, Co-Founder & CEO CV Wallet
Summary: Jobseeker adoption of AI will become the norm in 2024, resulting in a breakdown of trust and an oversupply of applications. These two factors will have a significant impact on Job advertising, Assessments and how Talent acquisition teams hire. Demand will shift away from volume and towards quality with pre-verification and pre-qualification of applicants being widely adopted as a fast, low cost way of countering these problems.
Back in the day when I used to be a recruiter, the old hands used to wax lyrical about how recruiting was so easy now and how, when they were a lad, usually during a recession, that to generate candidates they used to have to…pick your painful anecdote, comparing their job to child labour in a victorian sweat shop and getting up at 4am to clean the chimneys and shovel coal etc.
Fortunately the world has changed alot since then, but I suspect even those old hands would be looking back with rose tinted glasses, longing after simpler times, where thing were either black or white, a candidate market or a jobs driven one, instead of where everything seems to be shades of grey, with a backdrop of the largest fastest changing technological landscape in history with the introduction of Generative AI.
Having talked about it throughout 2023, 2024 is where we will actually see the biggest effects of job seeker adoption of Generative AI.
This adoption of GenAI by jobseekers will result in 2 key trends for the year which will then drive much of the change felt by TA teams.
Too many (unsuitable) applications
A breakdown in trust of the application process
Too many applications….
Partly this will be the result of Jobseeker adoption of AI tools, not just the spam bots, but just the ability to use AI Co-pilots to help complete applications faster. But with Google Job Ads finally expected to launch this year and perhaps to a lesser extent, X (aka Twitter) having launched their jobs search products, this will combine to generate even more applications per job.
Not only will there be too many applicants but more of them will be unsuitable for the jobs they are applying for. To make matters worse they will be increasingly difficult to tell apart having been similarly tailored to the job that they are applying for by the GenAI.
We see this having some major effects on the job advertising industry, which when combined with existing trends will result in a tumultuous year:
● A drop in advertising spend, as a result of this over supply of applications, and resulting drop in prices
● Continued momentum towards performance based pricing
● A shift towards applicant quality as a result of too many unsuitable applications.
All the above are factors that we will see shift put pressure on the commercial models for how recruitment advertising is bought and at the same time creates the opportunity for Recruitment Marketeers to alight their Talent acquisition goals (of delivering a shortlist of qualified candidates to hiring managers) with how they buy their advertising.
This in turn will enable TA to have their job advertising help get them closer to the hire, specifically by moving away from buying advertising based on its duration to clicks (CPC), to applications (CPA), and finally, and better still, qualified applications (CPQA).
Unlike with the applicant shortages of the last few years, demand will increasingly be for better not more, which is a huge shift for Job boards to come to terms with.
Filling the top of the recruitment funnel has never been easier. Getting to the right applicants, however, has never been harder.
A breakdown in Trust
Whether it is personal information in a CV, answering screener questions or completing assessments, Generative AI is increasingly doing the job for Jobseekers, and it doesnt care so much about the truth. So much so it even has its own word for it, hallucinations.
Whilst we have lived with white lies on CVs for many years, the threat of being referenced at the end of the process has kept most people honest. However, that's all changing, and many people in the industry have been shocked when they watched TikTok videos of applicants using AI to complete assessments and answer interview questions in real time, whilst playing computer games and having no knowledge of what they were actually talking about.
You only need a small but unknown number of people using these sort of tools, to create widespread mistrust.
The industry will of course have to react to this threat to trust, and we expect to see the following changes to behaviour within the hiring process as a result.
● Providing proof at the start of the process. Hiring teams will require more proof at the start of the process. Needs to be a light touch approach so as not to put off the best candidates using old skool application forms. But expect to see some form of pre-qualifying and pre-verifying of applicants at the start of the normal hiring process.
● Return to in person interviews and assessments. Whilst providers will adopt tools such as auto-proctoring and verification, particularly for hard skill assessments, which will help, they aren't perfect, and it will be an arms race in which trust will be the loser. The result will be a return to more in person interviews and assessments - though this in itself will be challenging when you have shifted to a remote workforce as a way of overcoming local skill shortages.
● A shift to using soft skills assessments. Soft Skills are harder to cheat at, largely as there is no one right answer, you are assessing yourself. Whilst hard skills are much easier to assess, “85% of job success is attributable to having well‐developed soft and people skills” (Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center). We will also expect to see employers increasingly doing more initial sourcing based on a candidate's soft skills.
The rise of pre-verification and pre-qualifying applicants.
One solution that solves both the problem of too many unsuitable applicants and the breakdown in trust is by pre-verifying and pre-qualifying applicants.
So effectively to ask them for key information at the start of the process, sort of like killer questions but with proof. Things such as; are they who they say they are (Identity check); Do they have the right to work in this job; Can they provide proof that they have the specific skill or vital qualification you need for the job - eg a driving licence for drivers, nursing qualification, etc etc.
These verification checks need to be done at the start of the process, ideally immediately after the application, and they need to be very fast and light touch. We are NOT talking about referencing here, quick and simple, as a way of just screening out those applicants who are not suitable.
The time saving in processing alone is significant. Especially if you have 1,000’s of applications and are rejecting 99%+ of them.
Over time we expect that more and more information will be provable on a CV, and as Jobseekers store that proof (it's what we build our CV Wallet App with its BlueTick Verification system specifically for), we envisage a future where the initial shortlisting process becomes a completely frictionless process, without the need for human intervention.
Another benefit of pre-verification we expect to see increasingly over time, is that not only does it rebuild trust, but it can be used, in the case of assessments, to source candidates who have already proven that they have the skills that you are hiring for. Whether they be hard skills or soft skills.
A glimpse of the future
This adoption of GenAI by jobseekers, combined with HR Tech's equally rapid adoption within their platforms, doesn't require much crystal ball gazing to give us an idea of what a future hiring process may look like.
With Jobseeker AI talking to Employer AI as part of an auto apply process, job interest, followed by suitability of skills, experience and qualifications being confirmed, a short/long list created, before humans step back in and do the thing that we do best.
2023 saw the emergence of Generative AI tools for job seekers. Those tools have been rapidly adopted and continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. The impact of them, however, is only just starting to be felt.
The 2 main effects will be from significant rises in unsuitable applications, and a breakdown of trust in the application process.
This will have a significant impact on Talent attractions teams, recruitment advertising and assessment industry.
One way that these threats will be countered will be the adoption of Pre-verification and Pre-qualification of applicants at the start of the process.
Over time, as part of proof being required within the application process, jobseekers will routinely store and share this information with employers, resulting in a frictionless hire system of the future.
By Richard Collins
Richard is Co-founder of CV Wallet and a pioneer of the online recruitment industry since 1995 having previously worked as a recruiter. As a serial entrepreneur within the TA Tech and ADTech space, Richard has founded and successfully exited 3 companies, including most recently, ClickIQ, a programmatic advertising solution which was sold to Indeed in 2019.
Connect with Richard on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cvwallet/
Or Email Richard@CSquared.uk
About CV Wallet
CV Wallet’s Global Programmatic Network uniquely combines our award winning, programmatic sourcing technology with a global media network that’s optimised on applicant quality to automatically deliver qualified, verified candidates on a cost per application basis, straight into your hiring process.