In protest of labor-saving machines in the textile industry, Ned Ludd supposedly busted up a few knitting machines in the 1770s. Jump forward a hundred years to a group of self-described Luddites smashing machines during the Industrial Revolution.

In both cases, people were protesting and resisting the emergence of technology that made work more efficient, more precise, and more effective.

A test to help you find out

When it comes to recruiting technology, are you an adopter or a Luddite Recruiter? Take this test to find out.

  1. Candidates can apply with just a name and email address.   Yes or No
  2. I establish minimum qualifications in discussion with the hiring manager.   Yes or No
  3. I rely on a keyword search to identify “good” resumes.  Yes or No
  4. I work with candidate data outside of my ATS/CRM.   Yes or No
  5. I place more value on referred candidates than those in my ATS/CRM.   Yes or No
  6. I administer assessments after candidates are interviewed.   Yes or No

How many times did you answer Yes? If it was three or more, you may be a Luddite Recruiter.

Some approaches to recruiting technology

Some insights into each statement and what your answers might say about your approach to recruiting technology:

  1. Candidates can apply with just a name and email address.
    Making it very easy to apply makes your work more difficult. Objective, job-relevant application data can help differentiate candidates. Luddites would rather work harder.
  2. I establish minimum qualifications in discussion with the hiring manager.
    Hiring manager opinions may be inaccurate. Job analysis is an objective process for defining minimum qualifications, and it provides documentation to support your rationale. Luddites may value opinion over evidence.
  3. I rely on a keyword search to identify “good” resumes.
    Two people with similar qualification may use different words to describe their experiences. Searching for keywords only identifies groups of people who chose the same words. Luddites value resume reading as a form of job security.
  4. I work with candidate data outside of my ATS/CRM.
    ATS/CRM technology can add consistency, fairness, and speed to comparing candidates. Using the ATS/CRM to analyze all of your candidate data allows you to optimize the investment in this technology and work faster and smarter. Luddites seek ways to retain old practices and glorify legacy skills.
  5. I place more value on referred candidates than those in my ATS/CRM.
    Referred candidates typically get hired more frequently than non-referred candidates. However, objective candidate evaluation makes it possible to see which kind of candidates is actually the best fit. Luddites often prefer the path of least resistance.
  6. I administer assessments after candidates are interviewed.
    Candidate data that can be scored and ranked will quickly and objectively identify who to interview, reducing the interview-to-hire ratio and making your recruiting efforts more efficient from the outset. Luddites may confuse the number of tasks they perform with the quality of tasks performed.

The scramble to migrate to mobile platforms

Assessment as a form of objective candidate evaluation has been in place for over a century. However, the interactive, multi-media nature of the web has transformed what the assessment experience can be. The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices has put a high-fidelity assessment delivery tool — and extremely sophisticated measurement experience — into the palm of the candidate.

According to the Pew Research Center January 2017 Mobile Fact Sheet, 77 percent of American adults have a smartphone. And among 18 to 29-year-olds, ownership is 92 percent.

Despite this level of market penetration, according to the 2016 Candidate Experience Awards and Research survey, only 12 percent of the 98,831 responding candidates completed their employment application via mobile device. And of those who applied via mobile device, about 75 percent of them completed a test or assessment on that device.

Who is the Luddite here? Is it the candidates, who are likely to use mobile technology whenever possible, or companies not understanding their candidate population and making use of available technology to streamline and facilitate the application process?

Applicant tracking systems have been scrambling to migrate to mobile platforms, and the status of that migration ranges from mobile adaptive to mobile-first design.

Have you found a partner to implement a mobile-first design candidate evaluation? Or — honest, now — are you a Luddite Recruiter?

The value of an engaging assessment experience

According to the 2016 Candidate Experience Awards Survey and Research Report, 75 percent of companies are using assessment. More interesting is that 85 percent of Candidate Experience Award-winning companies are using assessment. As for evidence of best practices, 69 percent of winning organizations have conducted in-house validation of their assessments versus 46 percent of non-winning organizations.

Organizations recognized by their candidates as delivering a favorable experience are using assessments — and using them with high standards and high expectations. There’s no Luddite Recruiters in these organizations.

Use of simulations grew by over 50 percent from 2015 to 2016. A little more than half (54 percent) of Candidate Experience Award Survey participants now state they are using simulations as an element of their candidate evaluation. Candidates who are engaged in simulation-based assessment have the highest level of satisfaction with the opportunity to present their abilities.

Simulation-based, multi-method candidate evaluation is an emerging form of technology being adopted by the segment of talent acquisition community that understands how big data, predictive analytics, and selection science are revolutionizing candidate engagement and evaluation.

The evidence is clear: Candidates value an engaging assessment experience, and organizations are ramping up their adoption. Luddites beware.

Better efficiency, increased retention

Expectations for a measurable business impact run high with organizations that use assessments. Some 46 percent of companies using assessments say they invested in the strategy to improve candidate flow efficiency, while 57 percent of companies expect to increase new-hire retention.

The biggest expectation for business impact focuses on new-hire performance, with 81 percent of assessment users stating a goal of improving metric. Together, these benefits translate into faster time to hire, greater retention, and higher levels of new-hire productivity.

Luddites may protest all of that. How about you?

Joe Murphy

With over 35 years of experience in human resources, including roles as director of Human Resources and manager of Training and Development, Joseph P. Murphy is a principal and executive vice president of Shaker, developers of Virtual Job Tryout®. He is also a board member of Talent Board, the non-profit organization responsible for global research on the candidate experience.You can follow Joe on Twitter @virtualjoe or connect with him on LinkedIn.