About a year ago, I was attending a Psychometric work shop and during the break one of the attendees was telling the room how he believes that AI is going to kill off recruiters and I couldn’t help but to notice a little smirk on his face as he was preaching to everyone.
Like this guy I am sure some people reading this would love nothing more than some cute little squirrel chat bot to replace those pestering recruiters who care for nothing but their commission cheques.
Admittedly, at the time his comments got me thinking and I had Oh S#*it! moment about whether I made the right decision to start a recruitment company!
Moment of truth – When I plunged into recruitment I had no idea how recruiters really worked and very early on, I too may have blurted out that same ignorant comment.
As an outsider coming in to the industry all I knew was that the industry had some issues because of the unethical way some recruiters operated and that there wasn’t a great deal of technology being used or leveraged by recruiters.
I thought that as a recruiter you just put up ads on job boards and you proactively seek out passive candidates in LinkedIn and on social. Provided you have the best interest of the candidate and the employer as well as a deep understanding of the role, you just play match maker and voila you make a placement!
Sadly not! I was wrong in a pretty big way.
If you want to answer the question of whether AI will kill off recruiters, you must first understand the challenges of the recruitment process and have an understanding of how AI works.
Firstly there is a skills shortage and low unemployment across most industries and around 80% of the talent are not actively looking for a job.
When you’re dealing with talented candidates who are in high demand they expect a lot more than just a conversation from the recruiter about the role.
Leaving a job that you love is a life changing event and candidates who are passive don’t make that decision lightly.
Great candidates have to be found, convinced and be reassured that they are making the right decision. They want good honest career advice from an experienced recruiter who has taken the time to understand their vision and has very deep understanding of the new opportunity.
Good recruiters use EQ and their soft skills to address those challenges. AI cannot do this right now and I am not sure that it ever will.
You’re still not convinced?
Let’s say you’re in need of a therapist for marriage counselling. Would you rather go see a human therapist or tell your problems to a robot?
Changing jobs or careers is a very big decision for most people. I believe AI will empower recruiters in the same way that AI empowers online dating.
Most single people out there would trust some AI’s algorithms to help them narrow down and serve them suggestions for a dinner date based on assumed compatibility.
It’s just a date right so no commitment and we’re cool with this but how many people would put their 100% trust in an algorithm to find them a life partner?
No recruiter wants to spend hours trawling through SEEK or LinkedIn’s 500 million profiles to find the hidden gems.
AI can help us narrow down our candidate search and cut down on hours of admin and we can use this time to build relationships with the great talent out there.
It should also remove some human bias and assist in race and gender diversity but it is purely an enabler or you could say a powerful tool in the tool box of a recruiter.
Everyone thought recruiting was doomed when job boards started to pop up and around 15 years ago some very smart people said that LinkedIn was going to kill recruiters but it didn’t. Instead it helped fragment the market and the number of recruiters more than quadrupled thanks to LinkedIn.
Recruitment agencies are not going anywhere but there is no doubt in my mind that those who refuse to change their business model to drive the right behaviours within their teams and don’t embrace change and technology will certainly be wiped out.
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