Unless you spent the last few weeks meditating in a cave, you would have come across the Silicon Valley’s most noteworthy debate —Zuckerberg Vs. Musk: What’s the Future of Artificial Intelligence?


This thought-provoking question made me stop and think, “What about me? What about recruitment? Are we all going to be replaced by some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the near future?”.

The truth is, this question has been asked for decades. It’s caught the attention of many industries, and sparked interest amongst many employees. But let’s face it; we won’t answer the question today. However, we have the opportunity to explore current trends in the recruitment industry, and contemplate a present problem: the rise of automation.


Most Recruiters Already Act Like Robots!

Of course, today’s recruiters are still made of flesh and blood. However, if you wander around job searching sites like SEEK or Indeed, you will quickly realise that most job ads are just a replica of one another. They’re cold, technical, and completely soulless. Nothing that an advanced writing software can’t do!

Here I’m focusing on job ads, but unfortunately, same goes for an enormous amount of industries.



Recruiters – The New Taxi-Drivers?

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the many traditional industries that could easily be replaced by AI. We’ve all encountered a service which was so “standardised”, that it (literally) could have been done by a robot.

Yet, until recently, service providers such as taxi drivers or hotel managers believed their careers were safeguarded by sheer human demand. “People can’t live without us!” they’d claim. Spoiler alert… they were wrong.

Interestingly, the recruitment sector is often seen as a tipping point. It’s ready to be disrupted by literally dozens of apps, websites and algorithms that proudly claim to be better, faster or cheaper than your typical recruitment agency. But are they really that brilliant?


Working With The Most Complex Object Ever Known, The Human Brain.

There’s no denying that AI has some incredible abilities. Simply playing a game of GO shows that AI can not only mimic human abilities, but also outsmart it.

However, even the best robots cannot replicate a fraction of what’s going on inside the human brain. Excitement, motivation, doubt, fear, joy, trust, surprise, anticipation, envy, assertiveness… the list goes on!


Emotional intelligence is the key to matching the best candidate with the right company.”


The range of emotions experienced in an everyday recruitment process is incredibly wide, deep and complex. What’s more, emotional intelligence is the key to matching the best candidate with the right company.

Of course, tech-aficionados will argue that when (if?) singularity happens, machines will be able to understand us better than we understand ourselves. I’ll be happy to reconsider the question when that happens. Until then, I remain a fierce believer that you can’t replace the human interaction that (most) recruitment agencies offer.


Fighting Robots By Being More Human.

Any recruiter will tell you, “Automation is a blessing if it’s used well.”

After all, it’s nearly impossible to manually craft an email for every unsuccessful candidate. Today’s systems are offering incredible tools, and refusing to use them would be non-efficient. Nonetheless, there are areas of recruitment which would lose out from being substituted with AI.

Let’s take a look at things from the candidate’s perspective. Let’s suppose that after extensive research, a candidate finds your job ad, and takes the time to apply. They end up going through to the next stage. After responding to a phone interview, they receive an electrically-generated email letting them down. Now, the candidate seeks some feedback on what they could have done better.

I think we would all agree that human-to-human interaction is truly called for here. AI just wouldn’t cut it.


The Ethics Of Recruitment

Unfortunately, the reality of what happens in the recruitment industry isn’t always perfect. Often, a couple of top candidates receive a lot of attention from the recruiter and the client. Meanwhile, the other candidates are often ignored and left without constructive feedback.

With this in mind, there’s little wonder why a majority of candidates are left with a bad taste in their mouth. And let’s not forget that today’s candidate is tomorrow’s client.

So, whilst recruitment has not yet been entirely replaced by AI, the whole industry could certainly do with a reminder on the importance of good human interaction.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a quote from John Trudell that depicts my personal opinion on the matter: “I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.” Hopefully, we can all take a step towards embracing our humanity and making a difference to those around us.


About the Author:

With over 15 years’ experience in advisory and leadership positions, William is an accomplished and pragmatic leader. Having helped countless international businesses grow and expand, William has an innate cross-cultural understanding. Passionate about his work, William loves mentoring and sharing with others.
Read more about William Gaguin.