Should recruiters be threatened by the rise of AI?

Ask anybody what the next big thing in recruitment will be and you’ll undoubtedly be met with the same answer­– Artificial Intelligence. It’s been a hot topic in recent years in recruitment offices, not just in the UK, but on a global scale too and its helped to streamline some of the more mundane and repetitive tasks that come with being a recruiter.

AI is already being used to automate tasks such as CV screening, candidate sourcing and interview scheduling, to name but a few. Recruitment agencies are already reaping the benefits of using this technology, with many experiencing improvements to their recruiter’s productivity levels, the quality of the candidates they find and their overall candidate experience. Some reports have also found that many recruiters feel that AI removes bias from the equation too.

However, while the appeal and positive impact that AI is having on the industry is undeniable if it continues to become more sophisticated and grow in popularity, should recruiters start to see it as a threat? Well, we think the answer is a big fat no.

AI can do a lot of wonderful things that make recruitment processes faster, more efficient and all round better. But that doesn’t mean it’s a significant threat to recruiters and their careers. It’s got a long way to go and a lot more evolving to do before it even comes close to being able to do what a recruiter can. Not convinced? Here are some great reasons why you should stop seeing AI as a threat right now.

Recruiters can build relationships with candidates and clients.

Even though the recruitment industry is utilising more and more technology, at its core, it is built on human connections. Unsurprisingly, AI is unable to go out into the world and build strong relationships with candidates and clients. It can’t attend networking events with prospective clients, interview candidates or have a catch-up over the phone. Building a rapport with candidates and clients helps to instil confidence and trust, while also being great for business. This integral personal aspect of the recruitment process can only be done by a recruiter, which is why humans will always have a place within the industry- even if AI does continue to progress.

Recruiters can spot more than just credentials

AI is often used within recruitment to sift through high-volumes of data, such as CVs and application forms in search of specific skills, personality traits or credentials. Unfortunately, these constraints mean that it can only do what it’s instructed to do and can’t use its instincts to guide it. So, if you’re looking for candidates with 10 years of experience in a particular industry with a degree, the AI will be able to pinpoint these candidates quite quickly. However, it will be unable to spot candidates who might be great for the role, but who don’t have loads of experience in that sector or want to change careers altogether. Again, only a recruiter can do this.

Recruiters can convince candidates to accept job offers

While AI can suggest roles to candidates that it think they might like, based on their data, it can’t sell an opportunity to a candidate like a recruiter can. A recruiter is able to draw on their relationship and knowledge of the candidates to make the offer sound more appealing- again drawing upon the rapport they’ve already developed. A recruiter can focus on the financial aspects of the role or the career growth opportunities it can offer. They can also use their communication skills to discuss any concerns and use this to anticipate why they might reject an offer- something AI is still unable to do. If recruiters weren’t able to sell jobs and ease the mind of anxious candidates, the recruitment sector would struggle to do any business at all, which should give recruiters confidence.

The solution

However, even those these points highlight that AI shouldn’t be a threat to recruiters, that doesn’t mean that it should be discarded from the recruitment process either. It’s hard to ignore how much AI has helped to transform the recruitment industry and to stop using it altogether would be a major step backwards for many businesses. So what is the solution?

Well, we actually think it’s very easy– Co-existence. In reality, neither can do an effective job without the other. Without AI, recruiters would have to revert back to more traditional means of sourcing candidates and screening CVs which are more time consuming and repetitive. Whereas without any input by recruiters, AI is unable to effectively sort through high volumes of data and know what it is looking for.

This is why recruitment agencies should do whatever they can to encourage their recruiters to embrace AI and see it as an effective tool that aids their work. There’s little chance of it going anywhere anytime soon, so better to embrace it and use it to improve several aspects of the recruitment process, than to fear it and miss out.

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Will Shellard

29th March

Industry Insight