Ten years from now, will machines replace the recruiters? And if recruiters do continue to exist, what will their day-to-day job look like?
Let’s start by looking to the past before we predict the future….
For starters, as you can see above from Google Trends’ last decade of data, people are talking about “hiring” more and more, while mentions of “recruiters” remains stagnant at best.
More tactically, programmatic job advertising, the art of using big data to send your job ads all over the web and get the best return, is gaining traction. Similarly, companies like MightyRecruiter are helping you distribute all of your relevant job ads in a single click – no more time-intensive, manual labor required.
Scheduling of interviews will increasing be done by artificial intelligence (AI) software. There are still many bugs to work out, as you can see in this humorous account of two AIs trying to make a coffee appointment, but there are many players emerging in the AI scheduling space.
Furthermore, matching candidates to jobs by AIs and algorithms is already happening today. Back in 2014, LinkedIn scooped up Bright for $120+ million with the intention of strengthening their search algorithm and better pairing possible hires with possible roles.
In short, the button for the perfect candidate is on people’s minds, and machines are already tackling many of the tasks traditionally carried out by recruiters.
But according to LinkedIn’s former director of engineering for search and nationally renowned data science consultant Daniel Tunkelang, while some of recruiting can be automated, there are still vital functions that give the role staying power:
“Matching resumes to job listings and sourcing resumes from databases are mechanical tasks that we can and should delegate to algorithms, “ said Tunkelang. “But today’s technology can’t look beyond the resume to identify a candidate’s motivations or a company’s culture — key factors that a human recruiter can use to determine whether there’s a fit. And we’re a long way from automating the interview process, so we’d better work on improving our human interviewers; since it’s going to be a long time until AIs can replace them.”
If Daniel’s prediction is correct and most of what the recruiter does today could be automated, that doesn’t mean the elimination of the talent acquisition department – that means the next generation of talent acquisition personnel will not do the work they do today.
In “I’ve Worked with Hundreds of Recruiters – Here’s What I Learned,” First Round Review breaks down a recruiter’s role as it stands in the present into Raw Labor, Skilled Labor, Network / Pipeline Recruiting, and Organizational Acumen.
If automation and artificial intelligence improve… big if, I know… raw labor, like scheduling interviews and moving people through the hiring process, could be reduced or eliminated; skilled labor, which includes leveraging certain recruiting tools to find candidates where others could not, could be reduced; network/pipeline recruiting, including the art of sourcing, could be less labor intensive; and who knows organizational acumen better than machines?
The last question’s (mostly) a joke, but in reality, we’re already automating so many aspects of the job that the recruiter probably didn’t think would be possible 25 years ago, specifically in finding people and reaching out to people. Thanks internet! Thanks email!
In the future, I believe that recruiters’ roles will focus more and more on human interaction, which by definition, requires… (you guessed it!)… humans. At the end of day, people want to talk to people. High-value candidates will continue to have better responses to human outreach.
Job interviews are already being done more by video recordings and code tests, but the need for a human-to-human interview will continue to exist for white-collar jobs. The ‘can you tolerate (and maybe even enjoy) working with this person?’ question cannot be answered by an algorithm.
In 2027, I don’t know if the job title will continue to be ‘recruiter’. But the function of recruitment will evolve. I predict recruitment will increasingly automate candidate outreach, job advertising, and candidate matching; while human interaction and conducting job interviews and screening will continue to be the territory of the recruiter. What do you think the job will look like in 2027?