Automation is dead…(long live HR recruiters)

Automation is dead…(long live HR recruiters)
Automation is dead…(long live HR recruiters)

Automation is dead…long live HR recruiters! “Recruitment is dead… automation spells the end of recruitment as we know it… recruiter jobs replaced by chat-bot…  interviews no longer needed – we have a fully automated hiring process…”


Heard any of these lines before? I bet you have (apart from the last one – I made that one up but it doesn’t seem that far-fetched if you believe the news)!


LinkedIn is currently awash with stories telling us that it’s the end of recruitment as we know it, as companies are increasingly pouring money in to direct sourcing and automation – and not HR recruiters.


But here’s the thing, recruitment isn’t dying, far from it. In actual fact, spend on agents has increased and evidence shows that the industry grew rapidly in 2017.


In 2008 during the height of the recession, companies had the power, but this balance is now shifting back into the candidate’s favour, and they are noticing. Wages are on the increase, people are getting multiple offers and buybacks are now becoming more prevalent.


This makes hiring more challenging and will put pressure on retention rates, as people’s confidence and the benefit to move increases. This will ultimately impact time to hire metrics, cost per hire, and more importantly in my mind – business growth.


But how is this?


The problem with automation is that people are variable by nature, and not to mention emotional.


Nothing is going to beat picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone. A good story beats data hands down every time. In a growing economy with talent shortages and unemployment at an all-time low, people will be swayed by the business that has the most compelling story and makes it the easiest for them to join.


When you consider how many companies use technology badly, it’s easy to see why candidates get frustrated whilst applying for jobs.


Let’s put it simply – if you had 2 jobs with the same salary, same role. One had you communicate with a chatbot, and the other with your potential boss… guess which one would be more successful in establishing an emotional connection with a potential employee?


It’s not rocket science, is it? And before you say, yeah but recruiters are crap as well. Some are. But they are also very good at getting people interested and building an emotional connection – I think tech is a little way off on this front.


Still think that recruitment’s dead? I wouldn’t be so sure…To discuss further, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here