How will job automation affect recruiters?

More and more we come across articles on the automation of jobs. They seem to give a semi-coordinated warning signal that some jobs lost during the economic downturn may never re-appear. Despite the fact that we have had some recent economic backwind, these jobs are facing a new threat. The Economist published an article in 2014; “Probability that computerisation will lead to job losses within the next two decades” with a list of roles that faced the greatest risk of disappearing. Telemarketers top the list followed by accountants, auditors and retail salespersons. Bottom of the list is the recreational therapist. Recruiters are not mentioned at all…

So the question could arise: Is the average recruiter more a recreational therapist or more a telemarketer?

Fortunately I don’t believe in averages. It is a measure of meritocracy and simply fails to recognize individual top performance. So let’s have a look at the recruiter skillset represented at each end of the scale, to determine which skills are relevant for top performance and which can be automated.

How to recognize the recruiter as a telemarketer?

  • Likes calling people (it’s obvious) and does a lot of phone screens
  • Not designing a process, but merely a part of a process script
  • One of many out there doing the exact same thing

How to recognize the recruiter as a recreational therapist?

  • Helps people to develop or re-establish skills
  • One-on-one in coaching, training and desire to help people
  • Highly specialized in its field and constantly explore new techniques

Job automation is here and will happen with all the activities that can be automated, including recruitment activities. In many aspects this is a good thing, freeing up time to spend on activities that cannot be automated and where key human traits like creativity, social interaction and personalization play a key role. It is a total misperception that by automating the recruitment process, we will de-humanize it. We will actually be able to spend more non-automated quality time with more quality candidates. The tools we have at our disposal are numerous, including video interviews, culture-matching, referral technology, e-assessments and so on. Not incorporating these technologies and still doing phone screens when you could be doing automated video interviews with an e-assessment, for example, is simply the fastest way to become a telemarketer.

So my advice: Take control of job automation in recruitment, by designing your own process based on individual job needs, and leveraging all the technology at your disposal if and when relevant.


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