New software may kill off recruitment jobs

The recruitment industry may be headed for a major shakeup thanks to new software designed to automate job functions and make use artificial intelligence-based decision making, which may result in the loss of some recruitment roles.

The software, also referred to as avatar programming, is being developed by Australian firm MyRecruitOnline and is essentially an automated, real-time monitoring system designed for the recruitment industry to help manage databases of clients and talent pools.

According to MyRecruitOnline CIO and founder, Adam Crow, the software uses advanced artificial intelligence to gradually learn and simulate the decision-making of recruiters, cutting down on the time it takes to process hundreds of job applications.

“It is extremely difficult to process all 500, if after 100 you feel that you already got enough candidates which isn’t fair; it’s pragmatic,” Crow said.

“If we condense it down to a simple ‘Has the candidate got this attribute, how many years’ experience with this attribute?’, like a LinkedIn database, we look at just the data and we can compare that data like-with-like.”

Crow said the system can sort through 400 candidates and present a suitable candidate to a prospective employer in about half an hour.

According to Crow, the software, which is targeted to recruitment consultancy owners, could result in the loss of lower-skilled recruitment roles.

“It’s the good recruiters who know they won’t lose their job,” he said. “If you’ve got say 20 recruiters in a firm, if we put 15 out of them out of work, you’re left with an incredibly good core team. You can actually do more.”

However, chief executive of recruitment firm Peoplebank, Peter Acheson, dismissed such claims, saying that recruiters should not be concerned about losing their jobs as software will never replace face-to-face recruiting.

“There are three prongs to recruitment: Quality, cost and time,” he said.

“Platforms that automate the lower-end HR tasks can help cut the costs of recruiting, but it’s extremely difficult for technology to assess the quality of potential candidates, especially in terms of the cultural fit between a candidate and a particular role.”

According to Acheson, between 60 and 70 per cent of a “good” recruiter’s role is in carrying work which cannot be readily automated — interpreting a company’s requirements as a set of job specification, then assessing a candidate’s fit with the company’s technical and cultural environment.

Additionally, the nature of job specifications is changing, Acheson said. Where once the job specifications for a particular role would be largely technical, organisations are now placing a greater emphasis on soft skills #8212; communication, management, and leadership skills #8212; that are essential to successful project delivery.

“They’re the sort of skills that are extraordinarily difficult to automate,” he said. “In addition, it would be difficult for an automated platform to do much about reducing the time associated with a job search.

“These platforms really can only assess applications from active job seekers #8212; and there are fewer of those in a candidate-tight market. Searching among the passive job seekers and people who aren’t really looking takes marketing and other forms of human effort.”

In Acheson’s estimation, just 10 per cent of the average recruiter’s workload consisted of repetitive tasks which could be automated. The balance is typically focused on finding skilled candidates, assessing candidates for the right fit with an organisation, and proposing short-listed candidates to clients and supporting their decision processes.

Rather than put recruiters out of work, technological developments typically aided the industry in performing its role.

“LinkedIn and other developments that have ended up being tools that have helped recruiters find, assess and place the right person for the job,” Acheson said.

Follow Diana Nguyen on Twitter: @diananguyen9

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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