Automation, especially artificial intelligence, and machine learning, has a massive effect on the recruitment industry; the results prove it. In all likelihood, it will completely replace and eradicate recruitment as we know it. Some will moan and mourn, while others will move on and adjust.
In the current narrative, recruitment consultants will be first on the block, while the in-house recruiters sit pretty and continue to fulfill meaningful tasks. I believe it’s the opposite; the in-house recruiters (be they directly employed or via an RPO) are the most vulnerable.
They will be squashed between the hiring manager and the 3rd party recruiter, and this is why: AI and machine intelligence put more control and power into the hiring manager’s hands. The machine learns from their hiring decisions, therefore producing more accurate shortlists and hiring suggestions. This will become even acuter as companies like Elevate Direct become more prevalent, offering platforms that allow for complete talent self-sufficiency.
So, what is the role of the in-house recruiter at this stage? Some say they are the only ones that can do the cultural matching – but this can be done by the machine as well. Others say that they are the ones who show candidates around and give them a feel for a place; this is clutching at straws – as a candidate, I would much rather be shown around by one of my future colleagues. This person can give me the inside track, rather than the spiel of a corporate salesperson.
What then? Instead of recruiting skills, in-house recruiters will require either project management skills – to be able roll out an intelligent matching system and ensure hiring managers know both how to use it, and how to interview (as this will becomes less important in the future), or creativity; to develop and implement people brands that engage the target market.
In other words, the role of the traditional in-house recruiter will become obsolete.
The agency recruiter will survive if they adjust to being candidate advocates and agents, similar to those in the sports and art world.
The 3rd party recruiter/recruitment consultant will move towards an increased candidate focus. They can give choice (more than one opportunity) and representation (negotiations) to the candidates.
While this seems like a small step, it actually requires a significant shift in the behaviors of consultants, from advertising-led to engagement-focused.
The business model also needs adjusting: instead of being rewarded by placement, the individual recruiter will be rewarded by candidate satisfaction. The entire model might shift by moving towards taking a percentage of the candidate’s total package and therefore managing the entire career.
Whatever happens, it will require a learn fast approach. As a wise man once said: “If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.”
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