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Will Algorithms Destroy the Recruitment Industry?

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by Mark Smith

almost 2 years ago

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I wrote this post on the plane back from a very informative RCSA (Recruitment Consulting Services Association) Australia and New Zealand conference that was held in the magnificent surroundings of Hamilton Island, Queensland. Each year, recruitment professionals from all around Australasia congregate to network and discuss the current state of the industry. This year, we were very much preoccupied with the concept of disruption and how taking a fresh approach to old practices can change your world. Uber and Airbnb were often quoted as examples of how the 'middle man' was being removed from services across the planet. The recruitment industry is also an agent and broker of talent by definition, and many of the speakers at our conference were being prophetic about our imminent demise, as we are ripe for disruption...or are we? Our business is called people2people for a reason. We believe that in the recruitment business, people want to do business with people. The decision to change your job, change your career direction or simply consider your options is intensely personal. 

We understand that making that decision is more than the sum of some measurable variables. Intuition, or gut feel, plays a big part. You cannot use mathematics to determine the culture of an organisation or how you will feel working in a new environment. You need a human being to help you with that. 

Can algorithms replace recruiters?

Similarly, when you are making a hiring decision, you cannot hire the best talent for your team, simply based on a CV or testing results. The best talent for your team is a combination of skills, qualifications and culture. 

At people2people, we know that getting the best cultural fit requires a human being to first assess and then match who will work the best for you. 

People are much better at assessing people than an algorithm! The doomsayers would suggest that it is only a matter of time before a platform emerges that will disrupt the recruitment industry. I would like to suggest that we have been here before. First, it was job boards and, more recently, LinkedIn that were going to kill off the recruitment industry. Instead, the biggest customers of both of these are now recruiters. 

Agency versus in-house or outsourced recruitment teams are entirely another discussion, but I feel extremely confident that in the recruitment industry the people out-think algorithms. Somebody may have all the right skills, the right qualifications and even have a psych profile that is consistent with your team, but only a human being will determine the intangible. So if you are considering your career or looking to hire the best talent, I would suggest that you need more than an algorithm to navigate the process. You need a person. You need a recruiter.

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