Robots to replace recruiters?

I recently watched a Ted Talk by a gentleman named Tim Leberecht. The talk focused on 4 ways to build a human company in the age of Machines. Tim stated that half of the workforce is expected to be replaced by Robots in the next 20 years.

This is an amazing statistic and only time will tell if it is true.

The big question for this blog is, will Robots replace recruiters?

Well, they already have.

 

AI is already here. It has several benefits such as the ability to sift through large numbers of applications. Manual processes such as interview bookings may become automated. Organisations are starting to use chatbots or voice automation to improve the job seeking experience. One of the biggest candidate complaints is not getting a response. For me there is a big disconnect between what organisations market about their companies and why candidates should join them and thecandidate recruitment experience”. Candidates get excited about a particular role or company, they apply, then silence…

Chatbots and voice automation would help remove this issue.

I think that the advance of technology will ultimately aid recruiters and replace some of them, the CV pushers. However, recruitment or quality recruiters will not be replaced by Robots.

Let’s consider for the moment the fundamentals of a quality recruiter.

 

Emotional Intelligence:

There is technology out there now such as Headstart, which creates a profile of the candidate and focuses on personality traits and produces an algorithm to find suitable roles for candidates without some of the traditional bias around what is in your CV and educational grades. The Sthree Group have launched Talent Deck in the UK.

 

I think that these platforms are a great step forward for the industry. We are looking into a few AI platforms in order to decide what will suit our business best. If we do not embrace this, we will be left behind.

However, I do not believe that this replaces the skill and knowhow of a recruiter.

There have been hundreds of times when I have interviewed candidates and felt that this person will not be the right fit for our client. This experience has been improved over nearly 20 years in the industry. This is not about whether the candidate has the skills and experience to do the job, it has more to do with things such as the candidate suiting the company culture, will they work well with their future team or manager? Anything that requires a deal of empathy or EQ will be difficult to replace with AI.

 

Career advice:

I had a rare situation recently where a candidate who I had an offer for turned the role down and chose something else. During the process of deciding whether she would go for our offer or the other one I asked her to think about which role would prepare her best for the role after this one. You need to be planning your career; contractors can do this too. This role had exciting elements around Digital, Human centred design and Agile. The candidate decided to go for the other role for other reasons. I respect this, we will stay in touch and hopefully work together in the future. Robots are not able to give career advice, understand the candidate’s personal and career drivers and ultimately sell them the best opportunities out there.

Some recruiters get this horribly wrong, however if you are working with a recruiter who knows their market and can help you plan your career, it is highly beneficial.

 

Headhunting:

86% of the candidates who we place come from our existing networks, referrals and headhunting. AI will assist with creating lists of potential candidates to target but my understanding is that it is used predominantly to rate and sift through inbound applications or to target niche profiles.

Technology is helping us to be better and find candidates easier. You still need to engage with them and find them a worthwhile opportunity. A recruiter who loves an advertisement will soon become a dinosaur….

 

Interview preparation:

I mentioned earlier that the booking of interviews could benefit from automation. There are other benefits for a recruiter who books their own interviews that I will not go into today. However, the topic of interview preparation is a pivotal one for me. I have written 3 blogs on this subject and I am about to write a fourth. Lack of interview preparation or ability to convey why you should be hired by a company is the biggest reason why people do not secure jobs.

Whether you have 20 or 2 years’ experience, if you do not prepare you may not secure the role. We place candidates who have spent 10 or 15 years securing roles via their network where you are less likely to do an official interview. The time we spend preparing every candidate for their interview, no matter which level they are at, is one of the biggest differentiators between ourselves and our competitors.

This cannot be underestimated by any means.

 

Influence:

We do our best work with clients who work with us and let us be part of the recruitment process. We do not work well with companies that ask us to just send CV’s and keep us at arm’s length. We value relationships where we are involved in discussions between the hiring manager/s and Talent Acquisition and we are asked for our opinion of the candidate. I do not buy into the theory that the agency will always try and promote their candidate to get the deal. We promote the right candidate/s so that they get the job, perform well and the client gives us more work.

We do our best to avoid situations where the client would hire the wrong person. There is technology that will assist this too, however it does not replace a quality recruiter.

The best relationship with a candidate is where they give you their trust. We strive for this at all times. This puts us in a unique position to advise the client on what the candidate thinks about their company, their first impressions, their feelings about who they have met with, their concerns, what other opportunities they have, etc.

This allows us to give the client as much information as possible to make an informed hiring decision. You will not get this from a robot. Psychometric testing and assessment is a different matter of course….

 

Market knowledge:

As we grow our business we will continue to specialise. If a client is working with a recruiter who knows their market this is highly advantageous. The client can use the recruiter as an extension of their Talent Acquisition team who are often working hundreds of roles across different disciplines. We assist our clients by providing them with information regarding salaries, daily rates, market drivers, who is recruiting, who is downsizing, what are candidates looking for, how their company is perceived in the market. There is a long list of things here.

Again, you will not get all of these things from a Robot.

 

Telling you that you are making the right/wrong choice:

If you are a candidate and you are about to accept an offer for a role for company which is not right for you, we have no problem in warning you against this. Whether you decide to take our advice or not is up to you. However, we are out in the market 220 days per year so we know what is going on.

 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I do not feel that robots will replace recruiters. Not yet anyway.

We are embracing technology as it will only make us better at what we do. AI will automate a lot of manual work in the recruitment industry and potentially solve the perennial issue regarding candidates who apply for roles and then receive no feedback.

 

Please do let us know your thoughts on this blog.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog

 

Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner that provides executive talent solutions to local and international organisations.  We provide practitioners who excel at Digital, Technology and Business Transformation.

www.momentumsearchandselection.com.au

 

Alan Herrity