Back in December I was doing some last minute holiday gift shopping for my family. You know, the classic Tuesday night where you go to a surprisingly busy department store, get what you need, then try to resist the temptation to buy all of the tacky, random items next to you in line.
They get me everytime.
After getting what I needed and thanking the cashier, I saw a table set up out front that explained why the line was so long in the first place. “Scan the QR code to apply for the holidays”. It was clear that understaffing was a massive issue for this store and thousands of others around the country. Even though I have only been with Paradox for seven months, I got super excited on the off chance that they were maybe using conversational software to hire faster and go after the shrinking talent pool. So, I gave it a try.
My excitement soon turned into disappointment when I realized it just sent me to a lousy career site that looked like it was built in the late 90s. I can’t imagine how many kids just a few years younger than me would go through the same exact experience and immediately close the tab on their phone.
The candidate experience I went through was somehow so much worse than those cheap checkout items.
Text to apply feels premium and organic, not cheap.
I'll be the first one to admit, I spend way too much time on my phone throughout the day. But luckily I'm not alone in that “issue”.
Gen Z spends on average around three hours a day on their smartphones, nearly double the amount of Gen X and three times more than boomers (I really think it's more like 5 hours). And with about 61 million Gen Z candidates beginning to enter the workforce, there is plenty of opportunity to meet the standards of this new generation.
So what was wrong with that QR code advertisement in the department store? Well, that’s a little harsh. Using a QR code to capture candidates is actually a great experience. From 2018 to 2021, QR code interactions grew more than 95%, ringing in a sense of comfortability and ease for younger generations. But when your job application starts in this quick and easy-to-use QR code but then moves into an antiquated desktop-first application, candidates begin to drop off. Fast.
Gen Z candidates are going to immediately drop off when we are forced to either log in to apply or doom-scroll an old career site to find the right location. It’s not what we want. It’s not what we’re conditioned for. And, in many cases, we would literally rather be unemployed than subject ourselves to such a tedious process.
Our attention span is short, so get to the point.
The unfortunate reality is that our generation's attention span is minuscule. With TikTok (the bane of many a boomer’s existence) and incredibly fast automation in our everyday lives, buying time with consumers or candidates is difficult. Just a few seconds and poof, gone.
These platforms, for better or for worse, have forced younger generations to process information at a much quicker pace. And when the information is not interesting enough we are more likely to move on and forget about the experience.
When short-form video content only has less than eight seconds to interest a young viewer before moving on, employers are going to see the exact same reaction from candidates. Applications and the process for candidates to find an application is simply too long and cumbersome. If you are going to display a table at the front of the store for the convenience of a potential customer to become a candidate, that convenience needs to follow throughout the entire hiring experience.
This is how it should look:
Conversational software powered by an assistant which allows candidates to use text to apply and quickly set up interviews, 24/7. There are plenty of high-volume roles in which the process can and needs to be fully automated, but without conversational AI the process will feel segmented and slow to candidates (with plenty of checkpoints for major dropoff). Love or hate Gen Z (trust me, we don’t mind) this is what we want in a hiring experience. High touch, modern, and fast. Really fast. Allowing them to start and make a difference in your business as soon as possible.