Has technology improved our employment prospects
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Has technology improved our employment prospects?

This affects us all. When I first entered the world of work, the environment was very different. Computers were well-established in the office, but there were some interesting differences. We were still using fax machines. The computer monitors weren't like the flat screens we use today. There were also no such things as standing desks or ergonomic office chairs.

19 April 2021

The most startling change, however, came with the arrival of the BlackBerry. It's strange because we don't have these devices today, but that is only because they have been replaced by smartphones and corporate email apps. This change, however, was extremely disruptive to our work environment.

It had a dramatic impact on how we worked. Suddenly we were available and always contactable at all hours of the day. The emergence of Citrix was another interesting development. It allowed us to log into our work computers from anywhere, including at home.

What the Pandemic did was formalise the use of these technologies as new more permanent work arrangements. There are now no real formal hours for when we should start or end work. For some of us, the workload has subsequently increased. For others, the flexibility now on offer has been a welcome reprieve. The experience that we have all had with this change is personal and unique to our circumstances and the industries we work in.

How this has changed recruitment

What is interesting however, is the impact this has had on how we find employment. We are now in an environment where there are fewer barriers to entry for seeking the jobs we want. New job opportunities are now more visible. It's easier to contact people in companies about job opportunities thanks to social media platforms like LinkedIn.

The impact technology has had on recruitment is fascinating because technology has already had a profound effect on our work lives. I wanted to dig a bit deeper, so last week I ran a poll with my LinkedIn network.

I asked them whether technology has improved their job prospects. Just over half of the respondents (54% to be precise) replied that technology has helped provide them with new job opportunities. Interestingly, 31% reported that it had help them connect. Just 15% of those who replied to the survey stated that technology had not help them at all.

Survey: Has technology improved your employment prospects?

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Source: LinkedIn poll, 81 votes

Obviously, this is a broad question which will result in a broad range of answers if you drill down into the experiences of each person. But, it is an important question to ask. At a high level, technology has created a far more dynamic and liquid job market, which is great for both candidates and clients. In theory, the emergence of job portals, online applications and email will have accelerated the speed of recruitment.

But as technology removed the personal touch?

There's no doubt the technology has streamlined and improved recruiting. We've seen the introduction of applicant tracking systems that rank CVs and filter results based on a company's needs. Meanwhile, social media and automation tools are also helping recruiters reach top candidates.

The challenge however is more cultural. The question is whether or not technology has removed the personal touch from recruitment and has been detrimental to the candidate's experience?

In Switzerland, there is a certain etiquette when hiring highly skilled candidates. This is after all, a country where good manners are valued and respected. Employees are expected to demonstrate these qualities to both their employees and candidates.

However, the candidate experience has inevitably become more digitalised, especially during the Pandemic. Some candidates and companies may see this as detrimental to the recruitment process. There are certain subtleties, instinctive feelings and body language present in a personal interview, which may be lost during a video conference call. It can also lead to the candidate's experience feeling cold and distant.

Technology should be seen as a recruitment solution

I believe that the benefits that technology brings to recruitment far outweighs the negatives. Applicant tracking systems are far from perfect, but they do save time and can ensure a much higher quality interview process. Technology can also simplify scheduling calls, posting job descriptions and sourcing candidates.

Using social media is not just an effective way to find recruitment talent, but also a chance for a company to build its employer brand and attract high-quality candidates effortlessly. I believe that the trick is to blend technology with a personal touch during the recruitment process. Technology should be seen as a complement to the recruitment process, but not a substitute for the personal touch that should always be there.

As a candidate, technology can certainly improve our employment prospects, if we take advantage of it. But it can also enhance our overall candidate experience when looking for our next role.

Luca Semeraro

Head of Badenoch & Clark
Zurich, Switzerland

Follow Luca on LinkedIn