Man Versus Machine

Laurence Lewis looks at how technology can aid the recruitment process and also how it will never truly replace the real life recruitment consultant.

interview advice YPI CREWI often go to trade fairs where I meet IT developers or get visits from high tech guys trying to sell me their all singing and dancing new online recruitment software and algorithms they have created, claiming the world of recruitment will be uber-ised. I listen to these really clever guys and agree that yes, technology is changing our industry and that the behaviour of crew and client is evolving, but here’s the thing they don’t know and which I don’t tell them: you can identify candidates via the various algorithms but recruiting them? …. this is a completely different matter. Technology will never replace recruitment.

Successful recruiters have of course embraced new technologies and social media to keep in touch with their communities and to share news and data, the interviewing process has been upgraded with the wider use of videos and sophisticated online tools but hiring a crew member is not the same as buying a new tender for your yacht.

The tender can not say “no, I don’t want to go with this yacht”. The tender will not tell you “I want to discuss this job offer with my wife before deciding to accept” and finally the tender will not say “this other buyer is paying more money so I will go there”, the tender is not shopping around for the best offer out there.

More than ever, in a candidate short market, crew have options, expectations and opinions. Candidates have emotions, are often unpredictable, worried about change, even reckless and sabotaging their own interview by ill thought out comments. So much can hinder the recruitment process…

Recruitment will always rely on human skills and whilst identifying candidates will get easier, recruiting and hiring will get harder. Are you familiar with the “Death by CV” syndrome? that’s when I speak with a client who tells me, “I have received 50 CVs” (sometimes even more) and I weep for him, knowing full well there are not 50 candidates suitably qualified / interested / available for that job, so what he is looking at, what is he wasting his time on? Of course, “digital” always delivers plenty of CVs, there is not a lack of profiles, one can spend hours, afternoons and days on LinkedIn for instance looking at people.

At the end of the day, it is the ‘craft of recruitment’ as pinned down by genius recruiter Greg Savage which will make the difference. This is exclusively a human skill like reading between the lines is too.

The value of skilled recruiters lies in the ability to identify talent, sourcing a handful of candidates who do really match what the client is looking for and I am not talking about a CV here, I am talking about the real person behind the CV with his goals, plans and motivations which the recruiter will be able to present, sell and promote to a client.

Only a recruiter can truly champion a candidate and only an experienced recruiter who knows his market inside out will be able to identify ‘passive’ talent not obviously on the market. The value of the recruiter is also in the soft skills of preparing candidates for interviews, listening, advising, negotiating, managing the relationship between the client and the candidate, being the driving force in the placement. These subtle human skills are not downloadable from a website or available via an app. These skills are honed over many years in the competitive area of business. Recruiters must drive the technology and undeniably, the ideal recruitment scenario is a combination of high tech and high touch.

This article was originally published in ONBOARD Magazine. Read the original article here.