The Future of Recruitment - Where Tech and Emotions Meet

If you ask recruiters how much of their day that they spend adding value to candidates or clients directly, for instance talking about development and skills, the answer may shock you.

Although we cultivate a people-first culture at Harris Lord (a significant reason why our clients come back to us), I would estimate that this number may hover around the 15-20% mark. Given the complexity of recruitment, this is actually a relatively good result. But it should be higher. On the horizon is technology that will take on the heavy lifting of the role and may enable recruiters to increase the added value.

This is, after all, how we make our difference. The world market for skilled persons has never been tighter. For example, the EU27 now exports 60% fewer of their graduate-standard employees to the UK than a year ago and this means that recruiters have to work even harder to find suitable candidates. Failure by recruiters impact the client’s bottom line through project delays and lower productivity.

Big Data technology in the sourcing sphere is starting to make a dent in the hundreds of hours recruiters spend trawling sites like LinkedIn. When you have an intelligent algorithm that is finely tuned to find that needle in a haystack, why not let it work its magic?

Matching suitable candidates and employers has always been the “black-box art” of recruitment; art more than science. You may think that it is here that no technology can supercede the work of an intelligent recruiter. You may, however, be wrong. AI matching technology has already developed with the potential to take a deep dive into the culture of an organisation, the requirements of a particular job, the personality of an individual hiring manager and the background of every single candidate. Few recruiters are able to consistently go into such detail.

Do massive changes in the recruiting industry beckon?

Dependence solely on AI risks dehumanising decisions. We maintain that it is critical that an element of human creativity should remain. This is the Harris Lord difference – we thrive on the creativity, the unexpected associations made by our colleagues to provide solutions.

Another technology which is both blessing and curse is the Chatbot. Chatbots are already taking over a heap of mundane communications. They have their place; they don’t tire, they are never rude and can be available 24/7. Simple calendar tasks such as confirming interview times or updating candidates contact details are great examples where efficiency and effectiveness work together. But missing an opportunity to re-establish a personal relationship may lead to a weakening of the all-important bond and trust which is so vital. And who appreciates an automated telephone call? Not many I am sure, so why would a Chatbot be any more welcomed?

Technology helping to make the world more human is possible. But it is not guaranteed.

Technology will take more of the strain. Just look how over the last decade how many companies have realised that success comes with the cultivation of active social channels. Embracing a consistent approach, valuable streams of inbound enquiries are achievable. As the well-known recruitment expert Greg Savage says, “Recruitment IS Marketing.”

As we go to work and see people buried deep within their device screens or sitting oblivious with their air pods, you can’t help but think that there is a risk that technology could still suck the emotional life out of recruitment. Instead of having a chat about the role with a hiring manager and candidate, you analyse the data and whatever the robot says, goes. It starts to make economic sense.

Job placement is a people-industry; one that we hope won’t become boiled down to an algorithm. Harris Lord is a company that understand the vital contribution of these various strands of technology, but we are conscious that it should be used to supplement our emotional intelligence rather than replace it.

We contend that humans will always be the best judge of other humans. An understanding of humour, excitement, fear, anxiety and the array of emotions stirred when taking the risk of changing jobs is not something easily replicated by circuits. Human recruiters need to continue to inform and shape algorithms, as, without a decent level of experience and input all sorts of unexpected outcomes could materialise.

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Andy Trowbridge

18th September

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