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HR Study shows: Digitalization is not IT

Mobile recruiting, applicant management systems, social media and online job-search platforms – they all have one thing in common: they are children of the digitalization and are shaking up the HR scene. While in the past recruiting was done by hand, today (almost) everything is done with a mouse click. The processes are visibly more efficient and simpler, thus giving HR recruiters more time for the truly important processes and the people behind them. – Sadly this is not true. Recruiting is still done like yesterday, incredibly homogenous and much is misunderstood, like the study “HR Management Trends 2016” shows.


The Study “HR Management Trends 2016”, which was conducted by jacando in collaboration with the Swiss SME Association and HR Today, investigated in the first of three parts how recruitment is done today. For this 100 HR recruiters and business professionals from Switzerland were interviewed on the handling of the digitalization. Simultaneously over 100 websites of Swiss companies were analysed on the same criteria. It seems, that the digitalization has only arrived in increments and that there is an enormous discrepancy between perception and reality.

The evergreen: job portals and career pages

In times of shortages of skilled labour and war for talents the target-group-oriented publication of vacancies is a necessity for an efficient recruiting process. Innovative, and to the behaviour of applicants adjusted channels are thus a clear competitive advantage when it comes to finding the best candidates. One look at the study however shows that the search is still very homogenous. Most vacancies are still published through job portals or the own career page. Social media channels like Xing or LinkedIn are – despite the widespread acceptance and usage – still at a disadvantage. When they are utilized – which is rare – then not through the company account, but simply for sharing job vacancies via employees.

Applying like the old days

Those, that thought today mainly efficient application channels like the use of social media or the one-click-application are wide spread, are wrong. Over 60% of all respondents said that they still manage applications via email or post. Such methods not only are outdated and put a strain on the environment through the massive paper-waste they generate, they are also incredibly time- and cost-intensive. While the average application via post takes 36 minutes to process, the handling of the one-click application with an application management system with only 7 minutes unbeatably faster and cheaper.

A lot is misunderstood

Applicant management systems or mobile recruiting are new terms that are often misunderstood or explained too simply: while an applicant management system is the systematic management of applicants but not with an Excel sheet, does mobile recruiting not just mean a mobile-optimized job listing. The reality is much more complex and precisely that is misunderstood. Thus it is no wonder that while the questionnaire showed a relatively high utilization of applicant management systems (40%!), the retrospective review yielded only a very meagre 6%. Similar results are yielded for mobile recruiting and thus shows that much work to raise awareness must be done.

Foray shows: SMEs waste Millions

That the missing or flawed use of efficient recruiting methods has uncomfortable, financial consequences shows the study with a focus on small and medium Swiss companies (SMEs): Through the missing deployment of such methods more than 6 million applications are mismanaged in more than 3 million hours of work. That this is expensive for the companies is obvious. The No to digitalization costs companies around 130 Million Swiss Francs each year.

The candidate is king

Good employees are the capital of any company and to find these specifically is an art form. When it comes to the search and recruitment of the best, a change of thinking must happen – away from “If you want something, you have to work for it” and towards “The applicant is king”. Based on this motto, companies have to ask themselves on which channels and how the good applicants are moving and how they can reach them. Additionally, companies should accept that the digitalisation can help them in their search for the perfect employee. Because one thing is certain: the digitalization can neither be stopped nor is ever going to lose importance. If you do not jump onto the train now, will soon be at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting the best.

About the study

The detailed results of the study (in German) can be downloaded free of charge here. Part II (Employer Branding) and III (Social Media in HR) of the study will be published in the third quarter of 2016.

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