I originally started this article by stating how much technology has changed the recruitment industry, but then I deleted it because, let’s face it, technology has changed pretty much every industry. I suddenly realised that there was a far more interesting discussion to be had around not the technological change itself but how important the human element still is. The tech is undoubtedly impressive, but the more things change, the more they stay the same as they say.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of the technology surrounding recruitment these days. It’s hard not to be because it is pretty damned impressive. Just the fact that we can find talent for our clients or inform our candidates of the perfect role within minutes of it going live is incredible. In a similar way, geography is less of an issue. The location of the recruiter is now a secondary consideration to, say, your service levels or contact pool. The continued increase in WFH contracts and virtual workplaces practically negates the fact that the candidate may be in Carlisle, the client in Plymouth and the recruiter in Coventry. There is no distance in the digital realm. I am generalising here quite a bit, of course, because location is still often a factor, but the principle holds good.
Without doubt, as the tech landscape specific to recruitment continues to advance, we are going to see more input from AI style tools. Automated filtering and sorting of candidates is one area where it is already in use. This raises the possibility of suppression of subconscious bias and perfectly balanced, anonymised selection of candidates. That is a very attractive proposition. Other advances, from small changes to the recruitment process, such as video applications and interviews through to the huge possibilities presented by Applicant Tracking Systems, are surely going become a part of how recruitment operates at the most fundamental level.
WHAT ABOUT THE HUMAN IN ALL THIS?
That is a very good question. Where does the actual recruiter fit into all this technology? Are we soon to be condemned to the rubbish bin?
Somehow, I can’t see that happening because the recruitment industry is, at the heart of it, a people business. Candidates respond to a human being, and I can’t imagine a world where this would change. The same can be said about potential employers. They are usually invested with their recruitment partner, and no amount of clever AI will replicate that for the foreseeable future.
Just taking the few small examples above, it is obvious that there are requirements for a recruiter in the mix. A machine is simply not good enough for some functions. These ‘human points’ are invaluable for a solid, appropriate recruitment process. Automated filtering is a good example of this. While the system may be capable of sifting CVs and skill sets to generate a shortlist, it is just taking away a chore rather than doing anything new. The same is true of most advances; rather than replacing the need for the human element, they are refining the process leading up to it.
The move from the reliance on the High Street office to the digital landscape will certainly lead to a shifting of emphasis away from local to specialist industry knowledge. For the most part, this has already happened, and it is rare to find a recruiter who does not specialise. We are a living example of this. Our candidates and clients rely on Lavandi Talent to understand the beauty and cosmetics world, and it is that understanding that appears when we reach one of those ‘human points’. Relationships are built on trust, and from the initial handshake onwards, recruiters are building the trust needed for someone to put their career or employment goals in their hands. I doubt that will change in our lifetimes.