If you are involved in recruitment, either as a client or a consultant, you know the massive impact that the internet has had on the recruiting process. Powerful online platforms have sprung up in cyberspace, assaulted our inboxes and newsfeeds and opened up connections between candidates and employers.
But will this wave of technology actually replace the need for the human element of recruitment? Will the future of job seeking simply be a matter of ‘clicking and dragging’ a candidate into a job?
Is the professional recruiter doomed to extinction?
There may be plenty out there who feel that this is an inevitability and that technological refinements and advances will eventually displace the need for personal intervention of a recruiting consultant. But employers who are inclined to believe such a scenario should perhaps ask themselves; do you want a computer algorithm to decide who is the best candidate to take on a role in your organisation? By the same token, do candidates want to rely on an anonymous mechanised procedure to tell them that xyz position is the best fit for their very individual talents, skills, aspirations and career path?
A closer examination of the situation would suggest that it may be a little premature to sound the death knell of the professional recruiter.
Technology is vital, but . . . .
There is no doubt that technology does now play a vital and irreversible role in the recruitment process and it certainly does add value. For example, it can greatly accelerate the scanning, identification and shortlisting process for both recruiters and candidates. What’s more it can provide a much more objective and logical analysis for matching a resume to a vacancy. Ultimately, however, there is a limit to its usefulness.
To illustrate this, let’s look at an example. Say I want to buy a sofa on the internet. I can quite easily shop online, compare features, quality, colours, styles and prices and I can do all this in a fraction of the time it would take me to travel round to all the stores that might stock the item I am after. Once I buy the sofa and have it delivered, it will spend the rest of its life with inanimate indifference to me as a person and as a user of its functions.
When it comes to recruitment, however, the differences could not be starker. You might be able to find a candidate online in the same way you can find a sofa or a refrigerator or a bicycle, but unlike those items that candidate is not a generic commodity. He or she will have questions about whether you suit them. They will be curious about your business goals, culture and performance expectations. They will potentially put a high value on the work atmosphere, physical conditions or advancement prospects.
Conversely, you as an employer need to investigate and test the candidate’s work ethic, attitude or personality. You need to ‘get an up close and personal’ feeling about whether they are a team player, a problem solver, a self-starter or any other number of personal characteristics that are important to your organisation.
Ensuring the right fit at the pointy end of the process
In short, no matter how effective a machine is at candidate/position matching, it will never replace the need for the skill, sensitivity, experience and insight of a recruitment professional, who can take the unique personal, emotional and psychological dynamics into account and ensure the ‘fit’ is right.
There is no doubt that technology can aid the process of identifying, screening and interviewing candidates, but it can’t substitute for the essential human engagement that a recruitment consultant brings to the table. Ultimately, it is this quality control at the pointy end of the process that matters most and can mean the difference between a great match and a disappointing failure.
The bottom line for employers is whether they want to risk the quality of their most important business input – their people – by delegating the recruiting process to limitations of technology alone.