I have been in the recruiting business for longer than I care to admit. I love what I do and have loved doing it for over two decades. Makes me sound old, I know.
I started headhunting before there was an Internet. Resumes came in and went out on fax machines with handwritten cover sheets. Building relationships by “pounding phone” was the way we hustled to find hidden talent. We survived the boom and bust of the dotcom days and the more recent housing crisis.
Every so often, a new product or service comes out that prompts someone to declare the end of recruiting. Almost as if they believe it enough, it will come true.
Dice followed by Monster.com and Brassring were some of the earliest incarnations of our so-called “doom.” Articles were written outlining the death of third-party recruiting firms because hiring managers were going to have direct access to candidates they previously didn’t have. HR Managers said: “Why would we pay recruiters when we can log in and look at candidates ourselves?” That was the mid-to-late 90’s. We are still here.
Then came LinkedIn opening its professional social network in 2002. Since then, they have clearly changed the talent acquisition game. This time, it was written, “Linkedin is eating the recruiting industry.” Some even predicted that by 2013 search firms will be “left fighting over crumbs” from the then $300 Billion industry. We are still here.
Earlier this year, I read an article titled, “Recruitment industry will DIE in 2018.” The author outlines how big data, artificial intelligence, and text analysis algorithms can pick out skills much faster than humans can.
What many who write these attention-grabbing headlines fail to recognize is that the process of hunting, screening, closing and hiring is an inherently human endeavor.
I see artificial intelligence the same way I viewed the resume boards of 1990s: as a tool.
Saying data and technology will replace recruiters is like saying the hammer will replace the carpenter. As the hammer helped the carpenter, so too can these tools help recruiters.
Data can make finding passive talent easier. They can make identifying skills easier. They can even identify roadblocks in the hiring process. But, data can’t replace the human connection made when a good recruiter takes time to listen to a client to better understand the intangibles on why a candidate will fit into their team. Company culture, passion for a market space, importance of work-life balance, career advancement opportunities, and personality of existing team are just a few examples. These are the reasons successful, long-term hires are made. Not because there was a high level of buzzword matches found in the “skills” section of a resume.
I completely agree that the tools of the past, present and future have changed and will continue to change the recruiting game. However, I disagree that anything will come along to replace the human element of recruiting.
Like it or not, we are here to stay. Call us to discuss your staffing needs. We use real people to find you real talent.
– Ron Harrison, CEO, Jivaro Professional Headhunters