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What was your reaction to the title of this blog? Did you read and think: “Who is this jerk who thinks recruiters can be replaced by computers?” Or maybe you thought: “This guy must have no recruiting experience to say such a stupid thing.” My guess is that there were some 4-letter words that came to mind that I cannot post here!
So why did I choose to piss you off to start this post? My goal was to get you to think. Where do recruiters drop the ball and create a situation where candidates would prefer to talk with a computer? Before you discard this post or chalk it up to cynicism, finish reading!
1. AI is responsive. If you've ever experienced a chatbot, you know they pop up and engage with you similar to the way a human (in theory) should respond to another human. In some instances, you can actually carry on a pleasant conversation, get additional information, or even schedule an appointment... all through the chatbot or other similar artificial intelligence. These tools are designed to encourage communication which has been shown to increase conversion rates, increase customer satisfaction, and create greater efficiencies for the customer and the company.
These tools weren't designed to steal your job; they were designed to encourage communication. Communication has been shown to increase conversion rates, increase customer satisfaction, and create greater efficiencies for both the customer and company. You might be thinking, "I do communicate!" And the truth is, it's just not enough.
We've all heard of the black hole of applicant tracking systems and the abundance of recruiters who are non-responsive to candidates (talk about pissed off!). It seems many recruiters would rather spend time and energy hiding from candidates than to engage in honest communication with candidates.
In all of my years in the industry, the single biggest complaint I hear from candidates is that the recruiter won't call them back!
2. AI is honest. Computer intelligence is generally used to handle with facts. Chatbots can schedule appointments per open timeslots on calendars, provide answers to predefined questions, or route messages to a particular person.
The point here is that AI tools are programmed to be honest about something--like availability, information, etc.
See, if recruiters would just tell the truth, think of the positive impact it would have on candidate experience. As recruiters, we have all made the mistake of not wanting to let someone down after an interview gone wrong, only to string them along into thinking he's still in contention for the role. We think we're doing them a favor, yet the best thing to do is practice honesty and provide feedback and pointers for the next time around.
I would hope that few recruiters would be guilty of the lie of commission, but most would be guilty of omission at least some time in their career.
3. AI is on time. I'm currently demoing a mobile application that connects directly to my CRM to remind me of calls I need to schedule or are currently scheduled. This is not some glorified to-do list; it's artificial intelligence that asks me if I'm ready for the call, dial the number when I respond "yes," suggests a follow-up time and date while I'm still on the phone with a candidate or client, and sends the calendar invite to the person. When all is said and done, it logs all of that into the CRM. This tool also scans my CRM to ensure there are no calls or meetings I forgot to add to my calendar.
According to a recent survey, 61% of potential candidates experienced recruiters who were often late to scheduled calls. In almost every reported incident, the common excuse was, "I was caught up with another candidate." Do you think candidates care why you were late? They just care (and will remember) that you were late!
I am not advocating that AI should or will undoubtedly replace recruiters in the future like many industry pundits are currently suggesting. However, I am suggesting that there are things we can learn from AI if we want to be more valuable to candidates as we engage with them. The result? We become more valuable to the companies we're working for.
On the flip side, however, AI can definitely be leveraged by recruiters. They can assist with sourcing, scheduling, and just basic interactions with candidates. If we can offload the administrative functions of recruiting and spend time really understanding what makes each candidate tick, maybe we can co-exist after all--but that's for another blog.