Online Screening: The Reality of Jobseeker Behavior

Aug 27, 2001

It is interesting that prescreening has been the focus of much recent discussion. While not a new concept, the active examination of prescreening’s advantages and tools presuppose three basic tenets:

  1. Automated prescreening occurs through the careers section of the corporate website. Therefore, this discussion acknowledges that the corporate website can and should be the center for recruiting and candidate data-gathering activities.
  2. Regardless of whether it is “scientific” or “non-scientific,” prescreening automated through the corporate careers website can supplant an inefficient traditional recruiting process with a more efficient, effective practice enabled by the power of new technologies.
  3. To effectively utilize prescreening, it takes front-end features that are tightly integrated with robust back-end data-processing functionality.

But even with well-elucidated coverage of prescreening’s potential, there are still skeptics among us. Reservations about adoption stem from a variety of concerns – including a lingering, generalized discomfort with technology, a poor understanding of the applicability and advantages of automated prescreening in a recruiting process, and a lack of confidence in jobseeker acceptance of a recruiter-driven, question-based process. Perception of Jobseeker Behavior To date, conversation has revolved around the corporate recruiter’s practices. Implementation issues such as configuration have dominated. Indeed, the recruiter’s platform must be understood and education around it is both needed and welcome. But still, commentary has not covered the issues around jobseeker behavior that are equally significant. After all, the jobseekers are the first users; their buy-in is essential in order for automated prescreening to succeed. Let’s take a look at the jobseeker’s side of this. A common inquiry is, “Will jobseekers answer skills-based questions?” In fact, this is often posed with a negative perception already in place. The expectation seems to be that jobseekers will not be participants in their share of the automated prescreening equation. This perception has caused hesitation among some who are considering automated prescreening. It has also provided an excuse for those who are not enthusiastic about automated prescreening practices either because of deficiency in their technology tools, or limited vision. Survey Says… This perception is a misperception! In a survey of more than 1,500 visitors to the careers websites of four Fortune 500 companies, iLogos Research found that the reality is a large majority (88%) of jobseekers are willing to answer questions and provide information about their skills. Jobseekers, it seems, welcome the opportunity to embrace the expanded functionality of new Internet recruiting technology to improve communication with corporate recruiters. They want to utilize self-service Internet resources to hasten the process of matching themselves with the right job opportunity. Time to Apply A frequent corollary to the issue of whether jobseekers will answer questions is, “How much time will candidates spend to apply online?” The implied concern here is that the Web is a “click and go on” medium and careers website visitors will be repelled when applications call for detailed and lengthy responses. Here again, the survey data is unequivocal. According to the iLogos Research study “Perception vs. Reality: Jobseeker Behavior Online,” 92% of candidates are willing to spend more than six minutes applying online to a job of high interest. Sixty percent of candidates are willing to spend more than 15 minutes applying online to a job of high interest! (Perhaps those who are deterred are not serious candidates to begin with?) Know the Reality To fully understand and make decisions about the use of recruiting technologies, it is imperative to be educated about the realities that impact implementation and application viability. In the case of automated prescreening through the corporate careers website, both the practices of the corporate recruiter and the jobseeker must be considered. Decisions should be based in realities – on primary data, high-quality information, and a clear view of all aspects. The reality of survey data cited here provides a strong case for not underestimating corporate careers website jobseekers. Their willingness to engage in a prescreening process, in conjunction with the advantages of automated prescreening for the corporation, should encourage all corporate recruiters to closely examine the application of prescreening to their recruiting process. Make sure the corporate careers website is optimized to use Internet recruiting technology to achieve the most efficient and effective recruiting…based on reality, not on perception.

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