The power of digital recruitment to create SA jobs
Traditional recruitment tools are failing South Africa’s unemployed and companies still using them are losing out on key talent as a result. According to Mathew Conn, Group CRO at Merchants, this is adding to the country’s growing rate of unemployment, with adequate job seekers being overlooked for available roles every day.
“With a high supply of entry-level talent who have limited experience, businesses need to do away with the traditional recruitment methods, which by their very nature, reduce the exercise to tick-boxing by seeking to match a candidate with an available role through a traditional job posting and CV method,” says Conn. “Instead, business must focus on developing the type of talent they need, rather than finding it because the reality is that the unicorn’s businesses are hoping to recruit are just that – fictitious.”
Ruling out key talent
When millions of students leave Matric to enter the workforce each year, hiring companies default to two pre-requisites when selecting candidates – level of education and related experience. “Before the selection process has even begun, the majority of potential talent within the local market has been ruled out – exacerbating an already critical unemployment issue facing the country,” explains Conn.
If businesses continue on this trajectory using traditional forms of recruitment – such as placing a job ad and matching job requirements to potential candidates – only 20% of unemployed youth would find the advertisements, and an even smaller percentage would be accepted into the formal job market. The solution? Focusing on cognitive ability and learnability rather than experience and education, through digitisation of the recruitment process.
Removing barriers to entry
“For unemployed youth, without the necessary skills and qualifications, this removes the barrier to entry and provides them with an improved chance of entering the job market. For businesses looking to hire, this presents an opportunity to match the right talent to any available role and provide the necessary training and upskilling to ensure consistent performance and improvement throughout the business – resulting in a win-win situation,” notes Conn.
He notes that in his experience, staff members are inclined to treat customers the way they are treated by their employers – and with many job seekers being sole providers for their families, job security is a top priority in South Africa. “Staff who feel valued will ultimately provide the best possible customer experience to the end client – putting the business at a competitive advantage,” he says.
Results of digital recruitment
“In 2018, after Merchants South Africa acquired a digital recruitment tool called MyCalling, we saw the potential to reach an untapped talent pool – which most businesses would pass up – and get South Africa’s youth into the job market, regardless of skills or qualifications,” he adds.
Over a short period, this tool allowed Merchants to match more than 6 000 individuals with suitable roles, with 74% being younger than 35. Around half were either students or unemployed at the time and 15% had no previous working experience – neither of which affected their ability to develop skills and fulfil their roles.
“A business’ most important asset is its people, and any business looking to succeed in South Africa needs to be willing to put in the work to ensure that the roles they are offering are right for their people, and not the other way round. The recruitment of tomorrow puts the jobseeker first,” concludes Conn.