Technology has not Replaced the Recruiter

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For decades now we have all heard about how new technology is going to make parts of our lives obsolete.  In most cases, technology has improved and enriched our lives over the years.
When innovation enters the workplace, there is always some fear that certain roles will be replaced by technology or automation.  The recruiting industry is no different.

When Monster and Career Builder entered the marketplace, they claimed to end the need for recruiters.  If everyone looking for a job can put their resume up on these websites, why would a company need to use recruiters? All a company needs to do is go to those websites and find the people they want to hire, right? Anyone who is in recruitment is giggling a little at that one. When LinkedIn entered the market, there were similar claims. There is no shortage of “experts” trying to convince companies that their database or sourcing algorithm can do what I do. The recruiting industry has grown into a $130B industry in the United States last year alone (American Staffing Association).

Over the past few years, I have read many blogs and articles touting how big data/recruitment analytics are going to put all recruiters out of jobs. These articles are written by people who understand analytics and how to use them to help predict change in business processes and industries. The problem I see is that none of them have worked or even touched the recruiting world. It is being claimed that with enough data and predictive analytics they will be able to deliver a list of prime candidates for any need. These candidates will not only be well suited for the position, but ready and willing to discuss changing jobs. While this is possible, it completely ignores the largest variable in the recruiting world; the human touch.

Changing jobs is not as simple as a numeric formula or uploading a resume. In many cases, changing jobs can be life changing as well.  New company culture, a new boss, a new system to learn, new products, a new commute, a new schedule can be a big change in a person’s life. A recruiter can be key in helping encourage the candidate during the decision-making process and help consider both the long and short term benefits of taking a new job.  Candidates are people, not just a number or a resume. People need to feel wanted and courted. They need to have their questions answered and concerns addressed. This is certainly the most important part of the recruiting process and cannot be replaced by data or analytics.

If experience has taught me anything, it is that technology will certainly change how we do things in the recruiting industry, but not the need for what we do. What analytics, resume databases, and new sourcing tools do not provide is a good candidate experience. What I realized early in my career is that recruiting is much like dating.  Technology has made dating a much different experience today, but it still comes down to human interaction and a “fit” for both parties. Relationships are fundamentally at the core of recruiting, and until that changes no amount of technology can replace a good recruiter.

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