Now Offering 
Careers Advice

The electronic hammer – Why the human touch remains important in recruitment

When you are a recruiter, you deal with people. I don’t have an issue with technology at all, in fact, I am a bit of a gadget geek. Give me something with flashing lights and some buttons, and I will play around with it as much as the next person. However, I like to think I am very aware of the limits of technology and indeed how it can affect our working life.

Like every other recruitment business, we have a website, and we use technology to keep in touch with our clients and candidates. I have a very healthy respect for what IT can do for us, and we try to keep up with the latest developments. You can follow us on the main social media platforms, and of course, we have a newsletter. All of these things are great and have their role to play in a modern business.

Technology doesn’t always cut the mustard

However, there is a point where technology is simply not going to cut the mustard, and that is when you need to speak to a person. For all it can do, and for all it will do, I think we are still a long way from it replacing a face to face meeting or a timely telephone call. Somebody said to me once that when you want to put up a picture, you will need a hammer for the nail, and technology is a tool in the same way, it is an electronic hammer to do a job. Word processing may well allow us to produce a great CV, but we still do the interviews. We can put together an excellent multi-presentation, but it still needs the presenter.

As I said at the start, recruiters deal with people; the technology simply facilitates it.

We like to know who people are

When we are working with a candidate or a client, we take the time to get to know not just what they are looking for in relation to a job role, but also who they are. Candidates we see are not just looking for a job to pay the bills; they are looking for a career that will enhance their life.

That said, maybe while we are on the subject of life long careers, we should pause for a little reality check. The truth is that AI and other developments in technology have, and will continue to affect the way that we work. In some cases, perhaps more than we can predict right now. That may sound somewhat ominous, but we do need to accept that the march of technological advancement is relentless. With changes in technology, there will inevitably be changes in the roles people perform in the workplace. In truth that will probably mean a scale of disruption from new methods of work through to the obsolescence of some job roles entirely. If you look down any list of jobs, ours included, you will almost certainly see some that would not have existed in the recent past. This isn’t new, but the pace at which it is happening faster than ever before in history.

Are we destined for the scrap heap?

Is that it then for some of us? Are we destined for the scrap heap along with the Amstrad computer and the 8-track? Well, in some ways yes. If you are in an occupation that is going to gradually be replaced with a machine or A.I. option, then it is going to happen whether you like it or not.

The answer to this problem is not to try to fight the inevitable but to go back to the thing I said in the beginning; it is about people, because people adapt.

When a client trusts us to find the right person for a particular role they are not just asking us to shuffle CVs around until the right skill set drops out. They are looking for us to find someone who will be a flexible part of their team. Someone who shares their values and will commit to growing their career within the business. What that may well mean is that they are looking for someone who can adapt to changing technologies and become the employee they need long term, regardless of what that job entails.