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October 20, 2020

Human to Human: How Staffing Will Always Be Powered by Recruiters

There’s a lot of talk about how automation and AI are going to eliminate the need for recruiters. Some predict that algorithms will soon be sophisticated enough to match people with jobs in much the same way that algorithms match couples in the world of dating.

However, the dating industry is the wrong analogy for recruiting. Going on a date is a low-risk enterprise. Doesn’t work out? Who cares? It’s (maybe) one meal. 

Taking a new job is high stakes. It’s your livelihood. It affects not only your ability to live your life, but also your family’s ability to live theirs.

Recruiting actually has much more in common with the real estate industry. Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. A bad real estate move can be devastating in much the same way a bad career move is.

The way the real estate industry has changed in the last 10 years can also shed light on what will happen to recruiting in the next 10 years.

Today, a realtor’s value is no longer their access to the MLS. Homebuyers can find everything they need when they first start looking by visiting Zillow, RedFin, or any of the other websites that provide real estate data. 

You would expect that, as real estate database companies get better and better at serving up personalized recommendations to homebuyers, the number of real estate agents would plummet, but there are ~23% more real estate agents in the United States today than there were in 2004, the year that Zillow started up (source).

Why? Because even if it was an option, most people looking to move would not be comfortable adding a home to their online shopping cart. Most homebuyers wouldn’t be comfortable completing an expensive, life-changing transaction online without anyone to talk to.

The value of the real estate agent has found a new focus—they act as advisors, guides, and arbiters throughout the incredibly stressful process of homebuying. 

Career moves can be understood in the same way. LinkedIn and job boards have made opportunities as accessible to jobseekers as Zillow has made properties to homebuyers. Chatbots and email/SMS automation make sorting candidates and coordinating schedules as easy as booking online appointments. 

People still want and need advisors to help them make decisions, though. They still look for expert help in connecting with employers, in pitching themselves the right way, and in making decisions.

Great recruiters have always provided more value than a job board. Going forward, thanks to technology, all recruiters will need to bring that added value.

That’s wonderful news for job seekers, employers, and recruiters alike.

Automation and AI allow recruiters to stop worrying about the transactional parts of their job. They don’t need to spend so much time screening, coordinating, and scheduling. Those activities need to get done (no desk could run without them), but they don’t need to be run by a person, let alone an expert.

Instead, recruiters will be able to focus their energies on the aspects of their job that make a bigger impact. They’ll be able to have conversations that get at deeper motivations. Algorithms may be able to tell you how a person performed in the past—they may even be able to give you a probable range of how someone will perform in the future—but the data points they’re dependent on don’t factor in any form of emotional intelligence.

What motivates a candidate? What kind of team would help them thrive? What are their goals? What do they want their life to be like?

Human behavior can’t be boiled down to ones and zeros. AI will never (at least in the foreseeable future) be able to grapple with what makes us human. So, it will always fall short when it comes to helping people with their careers. A “career path” isn’t a straightforward concept—it requires creativity and emotional intelligence to carve out.

That is where recruiters will always have a place and value to offer. 



About the Author 

Adam has twenty years of professional recruiting and staffing industry experience. He began his career in the trenches as a recruiter and grew into leadership roles in recruiting management and operations. He is passionate about recruiting and understands that fostering and maintaining relationships with candidates increases bottom-line results.

Adam founded Great Recruiters to serve as a platform to elevate and grow great recruiters. It is the only reputation management platform that helps staffing firms improve their bottom-line by increasing the performance of their recruiters, attracting more talent, and promoting their brand.