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The Pokémon factor

Recruiters and HR managers need to be wary of new technology but the reality is that technology will both disrupt and enhance the industry in the next five years. 

Augmented reality is having a big year. The success of mobile game Pokémon Go has certainly helped to put the technology on the map. However, while the idea of chasing virtual creatures around town may not be the best use of staff time, it has raised the question of whether the technology and certainly the gamification element has a role in HR and recruitment. Technology trends can of course be faddish so it’s right to be cautious. Chasing ideas for tech’s sake can be expensive and time wasting and yet technology has already changed the industry significantly and will continue to do so in the coming years but which technologies should you back?  Here we look at four key tech trends and their potential for disruption.

AR tech has been around for ages, but Pokémon Go has really brought it to the forefront. So what is its potential in recruitment a HR? To get a glimpse of the future it is worth seeing the work of Meron Gribitz on interaction with augmented reality and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Imagine using the technology to monitor body language in real time, throughout the interview process and even using it as a lie detector. It could also be used to test applicants, identifying potential health and safety issues in a real scenario or virtually fixing a real machine to prove competence.

Training is a huge part of getting a new recruit into a business and VR allows for a much more efficient, cost effective way to both educate candidates but also train potential recruits. The British Army last year used VR as part of a recruitment drive to give potential recruits a taste of driving a Challenger II tank, while Germany’s Deutsche Bahn used VR to immerse candidates into the role of electrician and train driver.  Also US food company General Mills is using VR tours of its office campus to attract new recruits at graduate fairs. But what about the idea of interviewing candidates virtually? Imagine interviewing via avatar in a virtual location? Look no further than the Oculus Selfie Stick!

The use of artificial intelligence to drive automation in the recruitment process is starting to emerge, particularly in handling candidate queries. It’s bound to happen and start-ups such as Connectifier have potential, but in reality though, as in other industries, the use of AI is still in its extreme infancy. To lay the foundations and provide intelligent services today, algorithm-based bots are certainly the next best thing. Last year the FT’s Michael Skapinker said let’s see if algorithms can make better hiring choices but it’s not just about hiring. Helping managers cope with the increasing demand of multiple agencies and complex hiring requirements will become essential. The increasing complexity of agency and candidate management and the potential impact of Brexit will see more businesses turn to cloud-based intelligence to keep complexity and costs low, using the algorithmic bots to reduce administration and risk while improving relationships.

PwC’s Multipoly business simulation game is a great example of how gamification is already working in recruitment. It’s attempt to fully engage its pool of job candidates during the search process, testing their readiness for working at the firm is intriguing. By getting candidates to work in teams, solving real world business problems has resulted in 190 percent growth in job candidates with 78 percent of users reporting they were interested in working at PwC. Is this the future? Will millennials be gaming their way to new jobs? Research from High Fliers recently claimed that employers are expanding graduate recruitment by a further seven and a half percent this year, increasing competition for the top graduates. Gamification and other new technologies are seen as unique ways to attract interest. Even GCHQ has got involved. No sign of Pokémon Go here though. There is of course no one size fits all technology. HR and recruitment will dabble in trends, at least those who can afford the risk. However, essentially technology has to enable, make work easier, more efficient and above all reduce costs. It has to support processes and methods that work not create new ones for the sake of it. Avoid the hype but don’t be scared of change for the better.

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