out that, even though candidates may
prefer a human touch, technology—
in the form of chatbots that can
pre-screen candidates or interview-scheduling tools that can automate an
other wise time-consuming process,
for example—will render many of
the tasks that traditionally defined
recruiting obsolete. Successful
recruiters, they say, will be the ones
who can not only master the art of
using technology to find the best
people, but who’ve honed the skills
and competencies necessary for
establishing strong connections with
Is “Old School” the New School?
“I see old-school recruiting making
a comeback,” says Jim Stroud, global
head of sourcing and recruiting
strategy at Randstad North America
in Atlanta. While automation makes
it easier than ever to find people, he
explains, the challenge for recruiters
going for ward lies in building
relationships with them.
This could pose an especially
formidable challenge for younger
people just entering the recruiting
profession, he adds.
“Getting passive candidates to talk
to you requires a bit of salesmanship,
which is something many baby
boomers take for granted but does not
appear to come naturally to millennials
and members of Generation Z,” he says.
Young recruiters will need help with
their interpersonal skills, says Stroud,
who writes a blog and produces
podcasts on recruiting.
“This is the generation that sits
side by side on a sofa exchanging texts
rather than engaging in face-to-face
conversations,” he says.
The shortage of talent in areas such
as data analytics presents another
hurdle, says Stroud. “[Experts in these
areas] are being called and hounded by
recruiters like never before, so they’re
going to be dissuaded from posting
their information online. Recruiters are
going to have to be trusted advisers in
order to get access to them,” he says.
Stroud recalls a panel at a
conference a couple of years ago that
featured a group of people working
in data science, gaming development
and other in-demand occupations
explaining their biggest turn-offs about
recruiters. Their No. 1 pet peeve, he
says, was getting calls from recruiters
who clearly didn’t understand the
industry they were recruiting for.
“That simply gives the rest of us a
bad name,” Stroud points out. Many
recruiters will contact people based
on the keywords that show up in their
profiles without necessarily giving a
closer look to see whether the person’s
work history and qualifications
correlate with the position in question.
“You’re wasting their time, and they’ll
resent you for that.”
A much better approach—
particularly for recruiters who are
Gerhard, the director of talent
acquisition and university relations
for chemical giant BASF Corp.—a
German firm with U.S. headquarters
in Florham Park, N.J., that was named
companies to interview with—sees
AI as liberating recruiters from
transactional tasks to take on a more
advisory role to their organizations.
At BASF, Gerhard is helping to
oversee a transformation of BASF’s
recruiting function, in which recruiters
will be taking on a more consultative
role to help business leaders anticipate
and plan for their talent needs. “We’re
segmenting the recruiting function,
with recruiters now serving as talent
advisers,” she says.
Fears of robots taking over jobs
exist in nearly every profession,
and recruiting is no exception.
However, job candidates themselves
are expressing some frustration
with automation, with 82 percent of
respondents to a survey by Randstad
US agreeing they’re often frustrated
“by an overly automated job-search
experience.” Respondents cited “the
degree of personal, human interaction
during the process” and “the recruiter/
hiring manager I worked with” as the
two factors that contribute the most to
a positive impression of an employer.
This may come as good news to
recruiters who fear being automated
out of their jobs. Yet experts point
Technology’s transformation of the recruiting
function presents recruiters with the opportunity
to relearn the art of forging human connections.