We are in the midst of what is being called the fourth industrial revolution, driven by technology and automation like never before. With the increasing ubiquity of automation, how is it impacting the job market? Especially in a country like India that is set to have the world’s youngest workforce by 2020. How will technology impact the hiring process in the emerging talent pool given that job seekers have all the information they need in the palm of their hand. YourStory met with Paul D’Arcy, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Indeed to get his opinion on how Indeed is transforming the job search market, Indian job seekers’ expectations, and employer branding.
YS: How do you think the job seeker has evolved globally?
Paul D’Arcy: Job seeking has changed a lot over the last 10 years, not only in India but all over the world. The most important change has been the access to information. Till quite recently, it was very difficult to know what jobs were out there. ‘How much people were paid for different jobs? What was it really like to work in a different company? What all options are there?’
Today, a lot of those problems have been solved, and people carry an entire job search with instant access to all that information on their phones. That has created both opportunities and challenges and forced job seekers to be more proactive.
However, the average recruiter looks at a resume for only six seconds. So, job seekers must figure out how to quickly showcase what's special about themselves as human beings and as workers to get their attention in an increasingly crowded world of applicants.
YS: How has Indeed evolved to serve this evolving market? What have been some of the highlights of your journey?
Paul D’Arcy: I've been with Indeed for seven years. And the company itself is almost 15 years old. When I started, we were just beginning in markets outside the United States, but it wasn't until three years ago that we had a significant presence of people here in India. So, we've focused on a few things, one, just doing everything we can to bring more and more jobs online.
The next big thing that we did is give organizations all the tools that they need to manage candidates and communicate with job seekers. That was our next big evolution.
Today, our big focus is on just getting better at managing the over 250 million job seekers across the globe who are on Indeed. In any given month, there are about 25 million jobs listed and the challenge is finding the right match between jobs and job seekers.
YS: Can you tell us a little bit about Employer Branding 3.0? Why it is relevant today?
Paul D’Arcy: There's a lot of talk about employer branding. When people think about employer branding, it is the story we as employers are telling the job seekers. I think the most interesting way to think about employer branding is really in relation to identity. For any of us, after family and health, our career is the next most important thing. And around the world, but especially in India, work is a really important part of our identity.
When we choose a place to work, we inherit the brand of that employer. In some ways, even our families, inherit the brand of that employer. So, it's really important for employers in India to be able to tell a story that makes employees proud. An employer brand is really like a movement that people want to join. And so you want to be able to talk about the impact that your work does; and the impact and commitment that the organisation has to employees in helping them live their best life.
YS: What about employee advocacy in Employer Branding?
Paul D’Arcy: Today, there are a lot of channels that employers can tell a story through. For example, there are employee reviews out there now, and 97 percent of people looking for a job say they want to understand the reputation of the employer before they accept an offer. Employee advocacy is very relevant.
It may be less so for smaller businesses who may not have that many reviews, but it is amazing how many reviews there are for even mid-sized organisations. I also think job seekers understand that there will be some people who are unhappy, and that it wasn't a fit. But when you read reviews, it really is possible to get a very clear view of what it's like to work in an organization. And most reviews are generally positive about organisations, but they also show what the pluses and minuses are. That information is very powerful for job seekers.
YS: What’s your take on the gig economy? Do you think it's here to stay?
Paul D’Arcy: The gig economy has been one of the most fascinating economic shifts in a long time. One of the most important things that it taps into, is flexibility. People choose gig economy jobs for different reasons. It may be because it works with their lifestyle, they can choose when they work and how much they work. And maybe because it gives them a better path to income because it allows them to earn money between jobs or to pay for school, or something else. I think the gig economy is here to stay. The growth is amazing. But it's also worth noting that many gig economy companies are not profitable. And so the entire sector is still funded by investors. It'll be interesting to see how that evolves to a permanent state. But I do think that will happen.
YS: How integral is technology to win the competition for the best talent, and how do AI and ML bring in differentiation?
Paul D’Arcy: There's no doubt that technology is foundational in understanding who the right job seekers are, who your strongest employees are, and how to create and optimise all the channels to communicate with people. But technology creates as many problems as it solves, right? I think that the foundation of hiring remains human. It's figuring out how to best describe what the work is, what's special about the organisation, the heart of the organisation, and how to communicate and give a great experience to people whom you're interested in and who are interested in working for your organisation.
I think that organisations that really invest in making sure that they're doing right for their employees and creating a great experience for candidates are the ones that will be most successful. The ones who can make the process human by leveraging technology will be the strongest.
YS: But do you think that humans will always be part of that equation?
Paul D’Arcy: There's no doubt that humans will always be a part of the equation. Work fundamentally is human. While recruiting is increasingly automated, at the end of the day, you have a person working with other people, usually for another person. And it's all those human relations that are really important. What most hiring managers and recruiters want is to let technology limit the pool of candidates down to a few of the best fit for a particular role. Then they want to meet them and talk to them and it’s back to the human processes.
YS: How large a role does automation play in Indeed’s hiring process?
Paul D’Arcy: We are investing a lot to automate recruiting. In many parts of the world, we have a platform called Indeed Hire, which is full-service hiring. What we've done is looked at and analyze the time it takes to do every single recruiting activity, and then found ways to automate and cut a tremendous amount of that work. And that product for us has essentially been a learning experiment to see how we can get better automating recruiting, which will lead us to develop and bring new products into the market that help organizations across the globe do that. And then of course, also use those capabilities for ourselves.
We do very little outbound recruiting today, as it takes a tremendous amount of time, is more expensive, and doesn't result in better outcomes. We spend a lot of our effort now doing inbound recruiting and automating as much as possible, so we can understand what skills someone has, as opposed to getting swayed by the brand names of where they went to school. It may have worked in the past. When we're able to do this in a more automated way, it helps us get to a much better human interaction when that recruiter meets that candidate.
YS: What would be your one tip to the new-age job seeker who has so many options?
Paul D’Arcy: I think everyone should be spending a few minutes of every day, thinking about their career, where they are now, and where they want to go. I think the reality of today is that people are looking for their next right job. And organisations need to make sure that they're providing clear career paths. Millennials, who are an increasing part of the workforce, are more and more open to switching jobs and trying new things. So, my advice is to keep an eye out on the available jobs,think about what your ideal job is, and set up job alerts. It also might help to think about whether there might be more interesting opportunities, be selective, but apply to the ones that could give you a better life or help you grow your life and career. Always think about how you shape your career to give yourself the life that you want.
YS: What has been Indeed’s experience in India, and how similar or different is the job economy here recently, the rest of the world?
Paul D’Arcy: India is a unique market for a few reasons. One, it's an enormously large labour pool. It's also unique in the way India is woven into the global economy. India is one of a very small number of countries with a very high rate of migration across the world. Indians wind up working all over the world, and then coming back home as well. And that two-way migration connects India to the global labour force in an interesting, unique way. There are only a few countries – India, the US, the UK and Canada – that really have a similar profile. The other thing is the way in which the world's skilled jobs migrate to India. So, you have large portions of the Indian labour force that are very doing work that is in support of other economies, which makes the country very connected to the rest of the world. This creates a set of dynamics that are very different from what we see anywhere else.
The Indian labour force is very young, and is growing and changing at an incredible rate. When we look at people looking for jobs online, we've seen the number of people visiting career sites in India grow by 120 percent in two years. In most countries, you see growth of a few percent.
One interesting thing that we've noticed about Indian job seekers is a real desire for flexibility. 53 percent of job seekers in India say that they would take a pay cut for increased flexibility. Everyone wants work-life balance, so employers should shape a differentiated experience to attract the best talent.