Based on interviews with more than 18,000 employers across the UK, a new study released by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) reveals that recruitment methods involving the human touch, such as filling vacancies through word of mouth and personal recommendation are still the most widely used by employers.
Just over one in ten (11 per cent) of employers said they used work experience as a recruitment tool, while the number offering a job as a result of a speculative enquiry has more than doubled.
Although the findings may be welcomed by parents who are unconvinced that their offspring’s broadband consumption actually equates to job hunting, the researchers say the findings point to a greater need to hone jobseekers’ social skills.
“Digital skills are crucial in the modern workplace, and while many young people excel in this area, these findings show how important it is for jobseekers to also develop their personal presence. Getting out there and speaking with people is just as important as being online, but it’s more difficult for the digital generation,” says Grahame Smith, a commissioner at UKCES.
“That’s why it’s important to break down the barriers between education and employers. By offering simple things like business mentoring, careers talks, work experience and mock interviews, businesses can make a huge difference to the future of young people. While only a minority of employers currently work with schools and colleges in this way, the good news is that those that do say it’s easy and rewarding.”
For those looking for work, making use of social media when job hunting can bring a world of information at the click of a mouse, but when it comes to making that all important first impression it seems there’s no substitute for legwork, the research adds.
What still really matters to employers is an opportunity to get face to face with candidates, and get a real understanding of how they tick and what they can offer.
“For employers, it’s important to not become over-dependent on one form of recruitment. Our research shows that word of mouth is still commonly used to hire staff – but this risks missing out on a huge talent pool just because people don’t happen to be plugged into the right professional networks,” adds Michael Davis, chief executive of UKCES.
“By striking a balance, both sides can benefit. Creating strong links with local education providers is just one way of achieving this, allowing employers to see first-hand what young people can offer, while simultaneously giving young people opportunity to build crucial contacts.”
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