The idea of AI being a part of the recruiting industry—or even the idea of AI replacing recruiters—is not a new topic. But with experts, pundits, and day-to-day practitioners falling on both sides of the fence, it can be difficult to gain a true understanding of the state of AI in the industry, and what it really means for the future of recruiters.
Recently, Raghav Singh published an article on ERE called “When AI Will Replace Recruiters”, making some interesting points about the capabilities of today’s AI technology and how far it needs to evolve before it becomes a true threat. However, there are three points that the article seems to miss in relation to the candidate experience—and these three points are the reasons AI won’t be able to replace recruiters.
1. AI works in algorithms. Humans don’t.
AI may be able to match resumes or qualifications with job descriptions, but the human element—the intuition a recruiter has, especially after several years in the industry—is vastly different, and ultimately more accurate, when it comes to bringing together a person and a job opportunity.
Besides lacking an intuition, AI cannot effectively make the right decisions. Were job placements based solely on matching qualifications with a job description, the case might be different—but today’s employers want candidates to fit in with the culture of the world environment possess a of soft skills to complement their hard skills. Hard skills can be learned, but personality cannot be, and AI does not have the capability or algorithm to choose the right person for the job based on who they are rather than their skill set.
2. Intelligence does not equal empathy.
Intelligence—whether artificial or human—won’t necessarily create a positive candidate experience. Intelligent machines or people may be able to source niche skill sets well, but what is intelligence in the recruiting world without empathy?
Empathy is what moves a recruiter to communicate openly with candidates throughout the job search and application process. It’s what helps them form and maintain the relationships necessary to look beyond job matching to other candidate needs, like culture fit. Forming this relationship is what helps recruiters care about what happens to the candidates they’re working with.
It’s true that AI is not advanced or “intelligent” enough to replace recruiters, especially for more niche, advanced, or specialized roles. However, this begs another question.
3. The type of job doesn’t matter.
Singh discusses the state of AI in 5 years—that by then the technology will be able to source people for roles “where the qualifications required can be summed up as having a pulse and lacking a felony”. This argument misses yet another point: don’t these candidates also deserve a human experience? Don’t they deserve the human empathy that makes the job search so much easier and less stressful?
Even though the roles Singh referenced—those less technically skilled in industries like retail, food service, and hospitality—may have fewer qualifications, he says that employers’ main challenge is finding candidates. The fact that candidates for these roles are in-demand says that recruiters should treat these candidates with empathy and care just as they would a Java Developer or Embedded Software Engineer.
When should recruiters worry about their jobs?
Unless a recruiter continues to match jobs with resumes much like a machine could do, they need not worry about losing their job to AI. The recruiting industry will evolve with technology—nobody can be expected to recruit without it—but a recruiter’s ability to advise candidates using insight, empathy, and a human experience will set them apart in a way AI can never match.