If your organisation is using some form of software in their recruitment process that is built to support things such as video, whether that be actual video interviewing or simply in your ATS, it’s possible that the platform you’re using requires Adobe Flash Player. Flash Player is a plugin that is used to stream video, audio, and multimedia elements and while it was once standard across the web, its use has been slowly declining.

Adobe have announced that as of 2020, they will not be providing any updates for Flash Player – meaning the plugin will no longer be supported. The main reason behind the constant updates and fixes to the plugin is because of the major security risks that it poses to its users, ones which they’ve been unable to fix permanently. While Flash served a great purpose for a long time, it’s simply outdated, and recent advancements mean we simply don’t need it anymore – for the most part.

Elements across the internet that are still relying on Flash are going to need to make some big changes soon, as once Adobe stop providing updates there’ll be no more patches to try and cover whatever the most recent bug it has.

Google published figures which show the extent of the issues it causes, stating that the number of people viewing a web page in Chrome with Flash has decreased from 80% in 2014, to less than 8% in 2018. Google now forces its users to manually enable Flash to run in its browser so that it no longer runs as default. Instead, Google option to default to HTML5 and no longer rely on Flash Player themselves, the main reason why it is no longer enabled as default in Chrome.

The use of Flash Player started to dwindle since the introduction of HTML5 (and considering how many years its been, it’s a bit surprising that not everyone has caught up yet). It’s important to understand what risks come with using Flash Player if any software you are using relies on it, but it’s also important to recognise where candidates will come into contact with the system as it poses security risks for them too.

What Next? The shift to HTML5

HTML as most of us know it has been around for a very long time – even those who aren’t from a technology-based background probably have some form of understanding of what it is used for. But like all early developments it has limited functionality which needs to be extended through plugins to provide additional features (enter Flash Player).

HTML and Flash Player have served their purpose for a long time and were important components of what we get up to on the web. But now, HTML finally advanced to HTML5. HTML5 is basically built to solve the big problems of HTML to give us a cleaner and more efficient web. From a non-tech perspective, it lets us have better web standards with more efficient content and improved performance due to factors such as less reliance on plugins.

All of the big-name browsers now use HTML5 as standard, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox – so they support the changes that will be made when businesses are forced to stop using Flash. Rather than going into depth about how HTML5 actually works (save that one for your tech team!), we’ve outline some of the benefits:

  1. Universal compatibility – when you use Flash Player to share content, you’re relying on the plugin which some mobile devices are actually incapable of handling – whereas HTML5 has better capabilities in terms of its compatibility.
  2. Search engine visibility – HTML5 text functions the exact same way as plain text and can be copied, which means that search engines will find it easier to crawl your website for key words. Websites that are built with a heavy reliance on Flash Player risk being seen as operating as an image and therefore are less likely to be picked up by search engines. So, HTML5 can make it easier for your careers website to show up in google searches.
  3. Faster than Flash – some estimates have suggested that HTML runs up to 58% faster than Flash Player apps, no matter which operating system is being used to access it.
  4. Improved security – the security is far greater than what all of us had when using Flash Player for our content.

Of course, there’s another full list of benefits for developers and designers too, but lets focus on your recruitment software. It’s important to understand where your provider is in terms of what they use to support their platform. If they’re not ahead of the game and using HTML5, it’s possible that they might fall behind when the time comes. Especially if they rely heavily on Flash Player, which can sometimes be the case with video interview providers.

2020 is fast approaching and many companies will have to act fast to make changes if they haven’t already. Here at Shine, our platform is built from the ground up using HTML5 so there’s nothing to worry about on our end. And, you know we won’t have to make a major overhaul come next year.