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How AI and automation affects HR and recruiters

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna

As Adzuna's recent automation report said, many jobs are already being replaced by robots and other types of automation. But have you ever stopped to think about how automation and AI is changing the recruitment process? Here are the five main points to note and prepare for:

Five ways robots will affect recruitment

  1. There will be more CVs to sift through
  2. Role requirements will need to be redefined
  3. Recruitment jobs aren’t in immediate danger of automation...
  4. ... But recruiters may want to specialise to stand out from the crowd
  5. Finally, be prepared to fight harder for the best candidates

There will be more CVs to sift through

Self checkout machines in supermarkets are a very visible example of automation in the workplace. But moving away from the obvious, automated systems are eradicating much of the manual labour needed in a whole range of roles.

Positions like pharmacy assistants and travel agents are drying up, as just two examples. Across all industries, this adds up to a significant shift in the types of low skilled jobs available.

Of course, any changes that replace manual jobs with automated alternatives have a big impact on local employment, and that will affect your flow of candidates. That’s your first thing to note. The robots will likely change the balance of supply and demand. With fewer lower paid jobs available, you may see more applications coming in for volume recruitment especially, meaning you’ll have to work harder to discern the best and the worst candidates. Our tip: Get those CV sifting shortcuts in place. Hey, maybe you even have a bot that can help!

Role requirements will need to be redefined

Artificial intelligence programmes, or AI, is the second major factor shaking things up, and the effects are being felt by a wide range of industries, not just workers in low-skilled positions. Jobs for full-time translators and writers are fast disappearing, to name just two affected sectors. It’s hardly surprising when you think about it. Google Translate now operates at close to human levels of accuracy – and it’s free. And some media outlets are already using AI to automate reporting on certain subjects like financial results.

This leads to our second point, you’ll need to redefine the boundaries of certain roles. Positions that were once full-time may now only be available on a case-by-case basis. You’ll need to renegotiate terms for hiring freelancers on this basis, and work out whether you will charge a hiring fee per project, or a retained fee per client.

Recruitment jobs aren’t in immediate danger of automation...

Moving beyond your candidates, with all these changes occurring, should you be worried about robo-recruiters stealing your job?

Well the short answer is no. We calculate there is just a 0.55% chance of the role of recruiters becoming automated, so you are probably safe. What’s more, our salary stats show recruitment wages on an upward path, reflecting the need for skilled recruiters who understand the challenges facing employers.

In fact, rather than stealing jobs, the overarching trend is that the robot revolution is creating more, higher value positions, at least in the short-term, which presents another opportunity…

Recruiters may want to specialise to stand out from the crowd

Don’t rest on your laurels. To be the best, you need to stay up to speed on the latest tech trends and the new roles being created. We know that can be hard. One minute everybody wanted candidates with C# skills. Then it was VBA developers. And now it’s big data analysts and cloud engineers!

But it’s worth it. For agency recruiters, carving out a niche in emerging sectors is a great way to differentiate your business. We don’t know what the jobs of the future will be, but think how Social Media Managers and App-developers were almost unheard of 10 years ago. We expect the new jobs being created will be higher value, higher skilled positions, potentially bringing juicier recruitment commissions with them. Specialising in recruiting for these new roles could land you some serious cash.

Not only that, knowing the nitty gritty details of the new sectors will help both in-house and agency recruiters to first recognise, and second hire, the best of the best.

Be prepared to fight harder for the best candidates

Finally, be aware that your relationships will become even more critical. There is already a skills shortage in fast-growth areas like tech, and the new jobs being created by technological advancements will increase the pressure to find tech savvy workers. Maintaining your connections with skilled candidates will be incredibly important, as everybody will be trying to prise them away from you.

While hiring may be harder in the short-term, looking further ahead more students will likely study tech-relevant subjects, meaning there could eventually be more of the right candidates to choose from. Millennials are increasingly growing up surrounded by bots, and coding now features on the curriculum. This means that in the future, more students will probably choose to study these emerging technologies, meaning it will eventually become easier to hire, although there’s no guarantee.

Now you know the five things to watch out for, get prepared for the changes shifts on the horizon. The robots will bring plenty of new opportunities for recruitment, and these opportunities are yours for the taking.

Pictured (left to right): Andrew Hunter  and Doug Monro, the two co-founders of Adzuna

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