Recruitment trends in 2017: Robots are coming to take away your dull tasks

1Recruitment in 2017 - Recruitment AI, Chatbots

2016 was a year full of changes in Recruitment:

  • We had some major acquisitions, with Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn being the most predominant one. We will start seeing LinkedIn changing very soon – it will be the “largest redesign since the inception of the website“. Having said that I am certain that there will be more significant changes to LinkedIn than just the layout of the web page – but more on that later.
  • Other trends of 2016 that will continue in 2017 are the increasing importance of video and mobile for recruitment.
  • The trend of Employer Branding will continue. For agency recruiters, Employer Branding is a call to recognise the importance of both the branding of the recruitment agency and the branding of the individual recruiter.
  • Social Media and Recruitment Marketing is a trend that will only continue to become stronger. Candidates approach their job hunt as a consumer would – which is why recruiters need to start thinking like marketers.
  • The rise of RPOs will continue in 2017. Recruiters and RPOs will have to learn how to work together – for the sake of them both. It won’t be possible for RPOs to replace recruiters – as much as it was never possible for internal recruiters to replace agencies.

Click here if you would like to read in more detail about the recruitment trends of 2016 that will continue in 2017.

But now let’s try to have a look into the crystal ball and see what the new developments will be in Recruitment in 2017.

New developments in Recruitment in 2017: Recruitment Automation & AI

AI Recruitment Automation. ChatbotsThere has been a lot of talk about Automation and AI. Some people say that Recruiters will be replaced by AI (those people tend to have never worked in recruitment but are from the very industry that would like to replace recruiters) and others say that AI will change recruitment and that it will automate the repetitive tasks. But how exactly will it change recruitment?

Which parts of recruitment will be automated?

In order to understand a) if and b) which parts of recruitment will be automated we first have to look at the activities that are involved in recruitment.

According to McKinsey, each occupation is made up of seven types of activities. As a next step, McKinsey estimates the percentage of time spent on each of those 7 activities that can be automated – based on technology that is available today. Those 7 activities are predictable physical work (78%), data processing (69%), data collection (64%), unpredictable physical work (25%), stakeholder interactions (20%), applying expertise (18%) and managing others (9%).

Now where does recruitment sit? I would put recruitment activities into the following categories:

Recruitment automation. Chatbots. Recruitment AI

As we can see, the data processing and data collection part of recruitment are prone to be replaced by automation. The good news here is that those are the tasks that a lot of recruiters don’t like. The key part of recruitment, however, is the stakeholder interaction. This is what distinguishes a good from a bad recruiter. You could also say that applying expertise also plays a role in technical recruitment. I would also understand “managing others” as a recruitment activity as recruiters have to manage their candidates and clients.

What does this mean?

Will recruitment be replaced by AI? Some parts of recruitment – data processing and data collection – will, while it would be a lot more difficult to replace the heart of recruitment: stakeholder interactions and management of candidates and clients.

High volume recruitment in job-driven markets vs candidate-driven markets

We should also differentiate in between high volume recruitment in job-driven markets and recruitment of skilled professionals in candidate-driven markets. If you are working in an area where you get 100+ applications for each job ad that you post one big part of your job is to sort through the CVs and filter out the good ones. In those markets speed is key and the human interactions (read: stakeholder management) are less important as candidates can be replaced easily. High volume recruitment in job-driven markets is prone to be replaced by AI. AI will be faster and cheaper in filtering the good CVs out of the 100+ applications. This is also highly relevant for internal Recruiters / HR.

The recruitment of skilled professionals in candidate-driven markets, however, is a very different story. If you post a job ad, you will very likely only get candidates that are not qualified for the job. You have to be proactive, find candidates, approach them and convince them of changing jobs (assuming that it’s a good fit for them and that it adds values to their lives of course). You have to manage the candidates who are often very demanding and the clients, whose expectations often makes you think that they must be living on a different planet. You have to build a relationship with the candidate, consult them to find the best option for their needs, prepare them for the interview and give them feedback that enables them to improve their interviewing skills. You have to consult your clients, manage their expectations and give them feedback on the market situation. It will be very difficult to replace those head hunting skills – at least in the foreseeable future.

But what technology exists already and what recruitment automation will we see in 2017? Let’s have a look at some concrete examples:

Concrete examples of recruitment automation

  • Arya offers automated AI sourcing: it scans the web selecting candidates and arranges interviews. It predicts how likely a candidate is to move and tries to identify if a candidate is the right cultural fit for a company. It of course also engages with candidates.
  • HiringSolved is working on RAI , a “Recruiting Artificial Intelligence”. RAI asks the hiring manager questions to find out who they’re looking to hire. RAI then shows available candidates and goes through the process of refining the search, based on feedback. RAI then finds the candidates and reaches out to them.
  • Job Pal offers a customised Recruitment Chat Bot. It has the ability to pre-screen candidates and HR automation.
  • Mya wants to automate 75% of the recruitment process. Mya gives updates and feedback to the candidates, asks prescreen questions, gives tips to candidates and administers assessments and challenges.
  • Ideal offers screening automation, integrated into the ATS. Next for Ideal are Recruiter Chatbots and digitalised interviews which claim to assess the candidates’ word choices, speech patterns, and facial expressions to assess their fit to the role.
  • Joberate “measures job seeking activities of the global workforce by analysing public Social Media metadata. It is already tracking more than 330M people.” You can then use their own search engine. They claim that the results of this search are 50x more relevant than google. The search results also include the contact information of the candidates.

Recruitment ChatbotsMicrosoft (and Facebook) thinks that Chatbots are the next big thing. In June 2016 Microsoft bought LinkedIn. It doesn’t seem to be that far-fetched to imagine that Microsoft will integrate their Chatbots not only with Office 365 but also with LinkedIn and offer automated recruitment services that are fully integrated into LinkedIn. In August 2016 Microsoft acquired an AI scheduling bot for Office 365 – who says that they won’t use this software to schedule interviews?  Microsoft also has a framework for bots – there is certainly much to come, and Microsoft is definitively not the only player in the area of automation.
Update: LinkedIn will roll out a new desktop version with “Chatbots” in the next couple of months. It won’t be automated recruitment services yet (I am not sure if this would be accepted by the users without getting them more used to Chatbots first) but it certainly is a move in that direction.

But who are the early adopters? One of them is Alexander Mann Solutions: They have seven Robotic Process Automations (RPA) in place in a variety of trials. Those RPAs help with mundane tasks such as CV screening or interview scheduling.  They also use Joberate which we already mentioned above.

Conclusion – is recruitment future proof?

AI isn’t a competitor of recruitment – at least not for the foreseeable future. Instead, recruitment AI will complement recruitment and will make the work of recruiters less tedious. Particularly the increasing shortage of skilled professionals and the demographic changes will make sure that recruitment will stay a vital part of the industry. However, if your job is to screen CVs as you get a high number of applications if you post an ad, then you’re most likely in for a bumpy ride.

Do you disagree or did I forget something? Don’t forget to comment!

About Claudius Reinert

Claudius has 8 years of recruitment experience and placed candidates in Australia, APAC, Europe and the USA. He is the director of Open Sky Recruitment, a recruitment to recruitment agency. His passion is to help recruiters to achieve their goals.

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Great article Claudius, there is so much on this topic at the moment and its all incredibly interesting to see what the future holds