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Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting

QUESTION: What is your opinion on the surge of artificial intelligence in recruiting and sourcing?  Also, Indeed is getting into the business of contingency recruiting with pay-for-hire services, is this going to kill business for smaller agencies like us?– Thomas 

ANSWER: I think right now we are seeing the tip of the iceberg. Here is what I believe in my heart of hearts. It is going to be more of a benefit to us like LinkedIn is to companies because companies mess everything up. A passive candidate is a passive candidate is a passive candidate.  

Our art, what we are paid the big bucks for, is having really great conversations with candidates. Many of them have not really thought seriously about leaving their companies, and based on the quality of the questions we ask and the process we take them through, we heighten their awareness of the fact that they are less happy than they thought they were at the beginning of the call.

Now, we are obviously tickling something that has been percolating within them. We do not manufacture any form of unhappiness or anything like that. We tap into the vein of unhappiness that is there.  

Remember back in the late 1990s, early 2000’s when Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder were big? There were a couple of others and they merged, and everything diced. A lot of those are still out there but look what has happened to those job boards. They are less than factors. You do not really here job board discussion anymore in search platforms. There are not a lot of articles written about them. Yet back when they were emerging is was believed that the job board was going to kill us.

Then go to the emergence of LinkedIn, the next killer app for recruiters. What did it end up doing? It helped recruiters. By the way, job boards help recruiters as a strategic way to source and to find referrals. I used them because they were great for finding talent to be recruiters on my team. 

LinkedIn, I would posit, helps the executive search industry far more than it helps the corporate world. Here is why:  Corporations, internal recruiters, swipe at searches. They do not go deep on searches. They make one attempt, send out one Inmail, but there is very little persistence. It is not because they are lazy. It is because they are overwhelmed. They are given way too many requisitions to fill.  

The other thing, which is one of the things I always preach as a recruiter, is if you target the $10 million to $250 million revenue size, that is one of the most underserved markets in the country, lowest amount of HR people, internal talent management people, they generally need our help more. You will talk to the hiring managers, and in those sizes of organizations, they are not investing a lot of time and money into in-house sourcing. Where if you are dealing with a Fortune 100 corporation, it is a core competency they are going to want to develop.  

I got into the recruiting business in 1989 and trying to call IBM at that time was a real pain in the butt. It is still now, maybe even more so these days. There are not many recruiters I have met that feast on Fortune 500 corporations. I do not see that changing.

I would almost bet that whatever comes out AI, just like it had with LinkedIn, it is going to benefit us more than it benefits them.  

To answer the second part of your question, absolutely not! I can predict that they are going to do a horrible job at it. Here is how I can make that prediction. Remember when Bounty came out about ten years and it was going to kill us. When they scale something as a company, they do not do it the right way. Can I predict with 100% certainty? No. Would I bet a lot of money on it?  Absolutely, that it is going to fail.

Thomas, my main coaching to you would be targeting the smaller companies. Become an invaluable resource that knows the market. Because of these other services, all they are going to do is produce bodies. Producing bodies to interview is different than finding great talent that accepts offers and shows up. Those are some of the value points that recruiters have in the process. Sharpen those skills and make yourself invaluable to your clients.

Great question. Thank you so much.  

Photo by Rock’n Roll Monkey on Unsplash

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