Blog Post

Candidate-Centered and Efficient Recruiting: How to Have It All

By Tom Brunskill
July 11, 2024
Topics Recruitment

Candidate quality and application volume are two of the biggest stressors for Talent Acquisition (TA) teams today. To attract a large talent pool, TA teams create frictionless applications that can be completed with a single click. The drawback? Recruiters are inundated with volume. They struggle to identify right-fit candidates in a sea of applications.

Candidates aren’t benefiting from these one-click applications either. Instead of spending extra time customizing their resumes, many candidates submit hundreds of applications and cross their fingers in hopes that something will land. Often, they never hear back from anyone.

Recruiters are looking for innovative ways to hire, and applicants are looking for new techniques to get noticed. 

AI Isn’t the Best Way to Solve the Volume Problem

In this AI-first environment, automation tools should alleviate some of these frustrations, but often they create additional friction for qualified talent. Juggling academic and other responsibilities during the job search, many early-career candidates turn to AI to quickly find open roles, submit endless applications, and sprinkle key words into their resumes to make it past the initial screen. Sadly, their applications get lost among those from thousands of others who are using this same technique.

Recruiters are under their own stress, managing high application volume and organizational demands to shorten time to hire. That’s why 58% of employers use AI tools in their recruiting tech stack.

While these tools create efficiencies for recruiters, they can also depersonalize the candidate experience and tarnish the employer brand. There is a fine line between shortening the recruiting process and making candidates feel more like numbers than humans.

The Downside to Referral-Based Recruiting

While AI tools create problems by leading to depersonalized applications and candidate experiences, incredibly personalized recruiting—networking and referrals—isn’t the next best option. Yet, TA teams and candidates alike lean on these strategies. The “who-you-know networking” trend is back and it’s getting (some) candidates jobs: applicants with a referral had a 38% greater chance of getting their resume reviewed than those without one.

These hyper-personalized recruiting strategies help TA teams with the volume problem, but they also bring about a slew of issues. Talent leaders aim to attract candidates from all backgrounds, but prioritizing referred candidates does just the opposite. This inequitable approach to sourcing candidates disproportionately benefits white men because they are most likely to know decision-makers. Who is least likely to navigate the job process through personal connections? First-generation college students, immigrants, and other historically excluded groups. The talent that many companies seek to hire is the least likely to come through an employee referral.

Talent Acquisition needs a more equitable way to identify quality talent that doesn’t rely upon personal relationships or AI algorithms that reduce candidates to key words in a resume.

Job Simulations: Connecting Motivated Students to Your Company’s Great Jobs

Even motivated students don’t know what to do to get a job, with fewer than half feeling confident that they know how to find the right career path. Eight in ten students turn to online, self-guided resources to access career information rather than turning to their career centers. Luckily, online job simulations are very effective tools that students can use to explore different roles, companies, and industries to get a sense of their career fit. In this low-stakes environment, they can build the “real-life skills” needed to land a job regardless of their professional network or background. Students who apply to a role after doing a job simulation are interested and informed—and more likely to convert into hires.

Recruiters can extend interview offers to these candidates with more confidence, knowing that they have a better understanding of the role. Students who take the time to complete a company-branded job simulation demonstrate their intent to work for the company and motivation to learn, and they also can speak to the job with greater confidence. Knowing this, recruiters don’t have to rely on the same handful of universities to recommend their top talent or lean on employee referrals. By turning to Forage as a trusted source, in the same way they have historically leaned on trusted schools, they end up saving 20–40% of the time usually required to find the right-fit employees.

How Forage Helps Companies Equitably (and Efficiently) Source Quality Talent

Here at Forage, our mission is to get motivated students into great jobs. We were acquired  by EAB and Seramount in April because we all believe that together, we’re uniquely positioned to bridge “The Great Disconnect” between students and employers. That’s why 100+ employers from the Fortune 1,000 use our job simulation platform to recruit early talent. These custom online experiences introduce candidates to employer brands and critical components of their roles. Therefore, when a student comes through Forage, they are 3x more likely to be hired than their peer who did not, no matter their personal connections or background.

We’re proud to support both students and recruiters on the path to education and career success. Students gain general knowledge about what to expect from a hiring process in addition to company-specific experience that is next to impossible to find on job boards. They get past AI-screeners—without having to lean on their personal network—and advance further in the candidate funnel by showcasing their newly acquired skills and knowledge.

To learn how your talent acquisition team can add job simulations to your recruitment strategy, schedule a call with one of our experts.

About the Author

Tom Brunskill
General Manager, Forage