Will Recruiters Be A Thing of The Past?: AI and Recruitment

We’ve all been privy to the ongoing debate about the future impact of AI on jobs (which we discussed in a post here) and you’re probably watching with interest, aren’t we all? Sure, there are those Doomsday prophets that shout from the top of their lungs that we’ll end up being ruled by our AI overlords and others that see the benefits of automating menial processes. As with any major technological advancements in history there is reticence, but today we’re going to have a look at the fate of Recruitment as it faces the inevitable introduction of AI.

With the gradual introduction of AI in all facets of life it’s clear that professionals will need to start adapting and that some roles will become obsolete while new roles will arise. Will Recruitment become a thing of the past in the next 5-10 years?

An Industry Built on Human Interaction

It’s apparent that Recruitment as an industry is a perfect candidate for AI and machine learning automation, but what would that mean for the human aspect of hiring? If you look at the staffing industry, recruiters match candidates with jobs requiring a certain skill-set – something that an algorithm could probably achieve with ease. However, let’s not jump the gun, there’s no need to make lists of transferable skills just yet.

In theory, most jobs could be replaced by AI processes, ranging from Medicine and Law to Teaching, but who would venture that far? Technology is nothing new in Recruitment. As seasoned recruiters will tell you, the industry looks completely different than it did in the 80s and 90s. We now have so many programs and technologies to help streamline the processes and we’re still here. There have been several attempts, even by LinkedIn to “cut out recruiters”, but none have succeeded. Why is that?

This is the business of working with humans. Recruiters base their livelihood on finding the perfect solutions for their candidates based on their skills, dreams, their career aspirations and personalities. When it comes to working with clients, they don’t just base their match making on a job brief- it’s really not that easy! Any recruiter will tell you that trying to fill a role solely on a job description is useless work, it is not a long-term solution that works for anyone.

When working with candidates and clients, a recruiter needs great communication skills, empathy, negotiation skills and a knack for reading between the lines. They have to be able to also see what candidates and clients alike need even if they themselves don’t see it yet. How could a machine ever completely master the finesse of it all?

A Knack for Understanding

Furthermore, a good recruiter doesn’t just scour job boards for available candidates- if that’s all they did then a lot of agencies would be out of business. Their talent for getting in touch with passive candidates and enticing them with opportunities is what gets most candidates out of a job and into a new one. In the IT industry particularly, the number of passive candidates compared to active candidates far surpasses! Databases are a great tool for any recruitment business, but finding talent gems doesn’t just happen by spamming.

Managing the recruitment processes from both sides is key as well. While the conversation about AI and Recruitment seems to stop when discussing matching skillsets, it appears that a very important part of the conversation has been brushed over. All recruiters know that anything can go wrong at any point. Candidates can get cold feet, clients can be wary of offering a role for whatever reasons, and so much more! This is where social skills and intuition play a big part. Reminding candidates of their reasons for looking for a new role, or say highlighting the business pains of clients if they were to miss out on a candidate could never be reproduced by a machine.

Advancements in technology are certainly to be embraced by the recruitment industry as they happen. They have been and forever will be tools that steadily free up the time of recruiters to focus on the things that matter, but technology will never take a recruiter’s place. The only ones that need to worry are the recruiters that simply fire out CVs in the hope that something will stick without bringing any actual value. The recruitment industry will never become an army of HAL 9000’s, but instead will grow and become better and better with the help of AI.

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