The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | May 2020

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Here is your May guide to the latest in recruitment trends, technology, and industry insights. As we continue to adjust to working and socializing from our homes, there is an increased premium on staying connected. This edition will focus on how the current trend of looking for ways to be “alone together” has created spikes in our digital world that may increase interest in what once seemed like novel tech and reshape employee engagement. 

WORKING FROM HOME IN HIGH DEF: NEW TECH ADVANCEMENTS IN VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOLS

At this point, most of us working from home could probably teach a master class on using one of the popular video conferencing platforms. Where video calls used to be more of a functional tool – a stand-in for in-person meetings – the current out-of-necessity increase in use has resulted in a greater focus on advancements on these platforms.

We’ve all been on a video call with moments of choppy audio. A team at Google has created a seamless experience by patching the glitches with AI-generated speech that mimics the speaker’s way of talking.

  “… the team built a new neural network, WaveNetEQ, [which was] trained on a large dataset of 100 recorded human voices speaking 48 different languages until it could auto-complete short sections of speech based on common patterns in the way people talk.”

While this improved functionality is being piloted in the Google Duo video-calling app, it’s a solid move ahead of the company announcing free access to its Meet Video-Conferencing platform

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/04/06/998410/google-artificial-intelligence-autocomplete-internet-voice-speech-glitches-video-call/

Beyond AI, VR has also made a resurgence in the video conferencing space. HTC Vive Sync platform (in beta) seeks to add greater depth to video conference calls. Colleagues, donning the HTC gear, enter the virtual space and use a selfie to create a customized avatar that mimics their actual movements.  

https://mashable.com/article/htc-vive-virtual-reality-meetings/

WITH GAMING ON THE RISE, COULD VIRTUAL WORLDS FINALLY HAVE STAYING POWER?

As we continue to look for opportunities to be alone together, engagement in games that focus on virtual worlds has grown exponentially. While this doesn’t provide the immersive experience promised of VR, the appeal of popular virtual world games, such as Animal Crossing, is the ability to go beyond simply video chatting to socializing spatially.

In addition to providing an individual escape, some users are mirroring real-world experiences like attending conferences (Deserted Island DevOps) or hosting a talk show. 

https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/02/virtual-worlds-video-games-coronavirus-social-networks-fortnite-animal-crossing/

Reports estimate internships have fallen by 52% since early March. For students not on campus, there’s the loss of getting to know an employer they wouldn’t have considered. And for those who have managed to secure an internship, there is still the loss of the in-office (or on-office-campus) experience, which provides a greater understanding of company culture. Employers will need to consider new ways to bridge the experience gap for this Gen Z audience. Virtual worlds are not new (we all remember Second Life), but often the right conditions – usually tied to meeting an essential need – are necessary for an idea to go from novel to essential.  

WE’RE COMMUNICATING “AT WORK,” BUT HAVE WE LOST THE SPONTANEITY OF OUR OFFICE LIVES?

Houseparty, once considered the app du jour for Generation Z (my tween nephew “put me on” to this app last year), had seen a significant decrease in users in 2019, but since March, has been on a meteoric rise, becoming the No. 1 social app in 82 countries with 50 million downloads in a month.

Houseparty is one of a new crop of apps reintroducing spontaneity back into our lives. Sage working-from-home advice often focuses on establishing a new routine as a way of re-establishing some semblance of control over our daily lives. While helpful, joy is often found in the unexpected. So, what we’re left with is the need for spontaneity, but only when we want it. 

The Loom enterprise app breaks away from the traditional scheduled video call, introducing a video messaging service that lets users send quick clips of themselves to share thoughts or collaborate on work projects. 

Similarly, Clubhouse, an exclusive audio-based social network, allows people to spontaneously jump into voice chat rooms together.

While we’re staying connected with our colleagues, what we’re missing out on are the water-cooler conversations, those chats about weekend plans that often happen over lunch, or overhearing a challenge on a project that you can provide real-time insight on – organic office culture.

https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/18/clubhouse-app-chat-rooms/

COULD DATA-DRIVEN INSIGHTS FROM GAMING IMPROVE HOW EMPLOYERS DEVELOP TAILORED UPSKILLING PROGRAMS?

Beyond creating an outlet for human engagement, games contain a wealth of user insights. The interactive nature of a game – choosing a character and outfits, collaborating with other users, making real-time decisions. The data generated, which moves beyond simple “likes”, provides greater insight in users’ decision-making processes enabling a more tailored experience.

“[Electronic Arts] tracks how well customers are performing in the games. It can then generate targeted recommendations, such as more competitive playing modes for high-skill players, and tutorials for those who are struggling. EA has a dynamic messaging team that uses various channels to communicate directly with players.”

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/telling-data-story-behind-video-gaming/

Beyond creating an outlet for human engagement, the interactive nature of a game — choosing a character and outfits, collaborating with other users, making real-time decisions — provides greater insights into users’ decision-making processes enabling a more tailored experience.

ROUNDING OUT THE SCOOP: PSYCH, SOCIAL, LABOR AND TECH

Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

About Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

Jahkedda has many years of experience providing strategic guidance, data, and insights on job-seeker trends in support of TMP Worldwide and its clients. She has also worked in-house on the candidate attraction team for a large fortune 500 company. Jahkedda has a passion for psychology and storytelling; understanding why we do what we do and how to change behaviors...only using her powers for good. Jahkedda is a member of TMP Labs: a design thinking focused innovation lab.

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