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Why AI is the End for Recruiters–But Not For Reasons You Expect

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We’ve all heard the buzzwords: artificial intelligence, machine learning, chat bots; they’re all the rage right now in the marketing realm and are quickly integrating into the recruiting ecosystem.

Every weak I receive emails that say “the role of the recruiter is dead” or that the “need for recruiters continues to decline due to artificial intelligence.”

So here I go commenting out of both sides of my mouth:

• The role of a traditional recruiter is dying a slow and painful death
• I have not met an organization in the past 3-4 years that doesn’t need a rock star recruiter

Those are contradictory statements, aren’t they? The hard reality is that the role of a recruiter is changing due to technology—just like every other role in any industry. But before I dive into my thoughts, let’s look at where we are with AI and its application.

Alexa, Siri, and Cortana: brilliant or burdensome?

Alexa controls my smart home. I can simply say “Alexa, turn on the lights in the family room” and the work is done for me. With the help of Alexa and my home security system, I can play music through my wall speakers in nearly every room, lock and unlock doors, and even open the garage, all with the sound of my voice. I’m a shameless technology junkie and I love that Alexa acts as my artificial assistant. But, if you ask my wife, you’ll learn that she’s not very amused.

I’ve walked in on her on many occasions yelling at Alexa to turn the lights on and off because she couldn’t understand her command. But when I walk in and say the command, Alexa complies without a hiccup… and this frustrates my wife even more.

Whether you have a smart home or a smartphone, I’m sure you’ve yelled at Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana because they couldn’t interpret what you said. I’ve even heard folks call Siri the 5-letter B word because of her inaccurate computation of a reply or voice-to-text transcription.

… What’s the point?

AI and machine learning are a great promise, but it’s nowhere near perfection yet. The same technology that powers Siri, Google and Cortana is applied to recruiting. Be careful, as it’s not perfect!

However, in its current form, machine learning and AI are well-suited to replace many of the time-intensive tasks recruiters slave over:

• Prioritizing resumes
• Scheduling interviews
• Scraping social media profiles, like LinkedIn and Facebook
• Updating profiles
• Identifying candidates most likely to make a move

You get the idea. Although some recruiters would love to turn the reigns over to a computer to knock out these tasks, many recruiters will be forced out of a job because they spend more time clicking keys than they do on the phone or in-person with a candidate. It’s a shame that so many recruiters have lost the art of candidate engagement because they spend too much time on functions we can outsource to computers.

These tools are evolving fast and it’s the progressive recruiters who will embrace them and spend more time engaging, assessing, and negotiating with candidates and hiring leads; these are the recruiters who become the real talent consultants. Others will die a slow and painful death and leave the recruiting industry… all because they were more comfortable talking to a computer than a human. In fact, it’s those recruiters who should just take their leave.

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