To say the subject of Tech eradicating human recruiters, has had a fair amount of air time recently is like saying Bill Gates is ‘well off’.
If you could delve back through the history of LinkedIn, it feels like this topic comes and goes like the changing of the tide. And each time it does, there are swathes of armies on each side fighting to the death. Or the LinkedIn equivalent, which I suppose is a 24 hour shadow ban.
Those on the side of Tech? Anyone who’s fallen afoul of recruiters at some point in their past. Which is seemingly most of the general public.
Those on the side of recruiters? Well, recruiters mainly.
But I have to say I was recently swayed quite heavily toward the former. That’s not to say I’m against recruiters in any way. I was one.
But I remember my first week working for SourceBreaker. I sat down for a demo with head honcho Steve and was sort of blown away.
Having already seen a product demo, admittedly about 7 years ago, I already knew the general premise.
But what he’d built then, presumably from a dark bedroom in his family home – as most founders seem proud to tell you – was naturally a little more unpolished than the snaring Tech beast he unleashed upon me.
Wait, don’t leave, this isn’t a plug
Honestly, I’m not trying to sell you anything.
But when he showed me the capability of the product he and the SourceBreaker team have built, I sat back and smiled.
I genuinely believe a trained monkey could not only use this tech, but actually make money as a recruiter when wielding it.
In fact, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to train the monkey too much, lest is lose some of its original charm, but I digress.
A rebranded watchdog
What you and I would call a watchdog, are now called bots.
Whether that’s a trendy re-brand, or simply the recruitment world moving with the times, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s simply calling a spade ‘an automatic earth remobilisation tool.’
Either way, watchdogs have evolved. You can now find the very best candidates, and even link them to the very best jobs, at the same time, with a click.
They’re scraped from every corner of the internet, and in this case at least, have a team full of people scouting them, to make sure the info’s up to date and useful.
So, say you’re a transactional recruiter.
You know the type… I’m obviously not talking about you, more your lazy desk neighbour.
The one you scorn at as they accidentally land on another deal from a hopeful spec-in. They’ve got the dexterity of a blind hippo, but generally seem to do “OK” months, 6 times out of 12.
Those recruiters are at risk.
And it might not happen overnight, but I genuinely believe there’s so much tech evolving in recruitment, it’s a matter of time before the world catches on. Whether you take SourceBreaker as an example, or the accumulative increased capability technology’s now affording us.
A case for the defence
Now, unlike some of the detractors before me I should use a caveat in this robots Vs recruiters review.
And I’m going to use the very one Steve gave me as I said “Christ, you’re going to eradicate recruiters entirely!”
I have a feeling I actually swore a little more than that, but I’m keeping it professional today.
Anyway here’s the caveat…
“We’ve got someone working for us here who’s an absolute superstar. But they initially failed one of the pre-requisites in our interview process, so we turned them down.” Steve Beckitt
Apparently the person in question, who I shan’t name, slipped up slightly on one small element of the assessment. And given the strict interview parameters SourceBreaker have, like many others, the decision was to sadly reject.
Then the recruiter called… and here’s the lesson for you…
He said “You absolutely cannot turn this guy down, he’s perfect for you. If he failed that one small thing in your process, your process is wrong. And I’m willing to stake anything on the fact he’d be your best hire, bar none.”
“You can take a longer rebate, a free replacement, frankly anything you want to get this over the line, but he’s a star, and you’ll realise that in no time at all.” Anonymous, great recruiter.
He was right.
And Steve now smiles at the decision to initially refuse his application.
So what won him over?
It wasn’t the matching capability that made this placement happen. It wasn’t anything related to Tech. Or AI. Or bots.
It was the relationship the recruiter had with both candidate and client (in this case SourceBreaker).
And Steve now looks back thankfully, believing the recruiter’s persistence paved the way for this great hire to change his business for the better.
And to put this into perspective, the person who gave me this opinion is someone actively involved in building technology to eradicate some parts of recruitment.
But the part he’s trying to eradicate is the boring part.
The scraping of the internet.
The transactional piece.
The part you scoff at as your lazy neighbour bangs in another random £10K deal from nowhere.
How to guard against the future
So, from the horse’s mouth, the part of the process that’s important to your clients is the rapport.
The human elements.
Now some recruiters struggle with that part. And if that’s you, it’s probably not good news for the longevity of your career.
Unless of course you see the future coming over the horizon, and decide to do something about it now. Learn your market inside out. Get to know the people in it, not just the niche, or subject.
The secret here is, that’s the best part. And you can achieve it.
Become a partner. Someone with an opinion. And someone who’ll stake their reputation on the outcome of the deals deemed worth it. Not all are mind, and that is worth mentioning.
But for those that are, not only will your clients thank you for your candour but you’ll be safeguarding your future at the same time.
Regardless of the tech that comes along.