If there’s one thing sci-fi movies have taught us (besides the fact that doing kung fu in leather trench coats looks awesome) it’s that humans should have a healthy skepticism of artificial intelligence.
Sure, AI always seems great at first. It makes our lives easier. More efficient. Smarter. And then when we least expect it, it becomes sentient, invents time travel, and… well you know how the story goes.
But those are just movies, right? In reality, AI actually is making our lives easier. And there are more use cases for AI in recruiting, in particular, than ever before. But when you Google “recruiting automation,” one of the top questions that still pops up is:
“Will recruiters be replaced by robots?”
My first thought was that people need to cut back on their James Cameron consumption. My second thought was that with new technology and innovation, there is always resistance or fear or doubts. Think about airplanes. Self-driving cars. The internet. But once it works, it’s not scary, it’s just technology that makes your life easier in some way.
When it comes to recruiting software and assistive intelligence, it’s easier to show you.
So, will recruiters be replaced by robots?
It depends on your perception of robots, and what’s being replaced. Hear me out.
In reality, recruiting automation isn’t replacing recruiters, it’s making them better. It’s assisting them. Conversational virtual assistants eliminate work like screening and scheduling; Olivia, for instance, automates these typically manual processes by asking screening questions via text, then sending available interview times to qualified candidates based on the recruiters’ calendar availability.
If you’re a recruiter who spends several hours a week playing phone tag and navigating a labyrinthian inbox (most recruiters spend about 8 hours a week just on scheduling), you may be wondering how exactly Olivia isn’t replacing you.
Well, think of it this way: She’s replacing some of your tasks. But not you. Recruiters aren’t valuable because they toil away in software — they’re valuable because of unique soft skills that make them experts on people. Recruiting automation is helping “people experts” spend more time with, you know, people — and that’s always a good thing.
So while screening and scheduling might feel like they’re essential parts of being a recruiter, in reality they’re just roadblocks preventing them from doing more impactful work. Recruiting automation software removes those roadblocks, and gives recruiters hours of time back every week.
The paradox of it all is that automation actually does free up time to be more personal.
That’s not scary. It’s just smart.
What can be automated in recruitment?
The short, simple answer: pretty much every task.
The longer answer: as much, or as little, as you want. Recruiting automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every company is different — heck, every recruiter is different. It wouldn’t make sense, then, to force the same solutions on everyone.
If you’re a recruiter who doesn’t have time for screening qualified candidates but still wants to interview them one-on-one, no problem — recruiting automation technology, like a virtual assistant, can handle candidate conversations up until they are ready for an interview. Then you can manually accept or decline candidates, choose times, location, etc.
For franchises doing high-volume hourly hiring without recruiters, like McDonald’s or Regis, it’s actually possible to go from apply to hire without the candidate ever interacting with a human being. I know what you’re thinking — “Aha! So the robots really are taking over!”
Not so fast.
Despite this being nearly a 100% automated experience, these companies aren't replacing anyone’s job — the conversational assistant actually serves as an additional employee that the company never had in the first place.
And the hiring manager is free to focus on employees and customers, not software. Win-win.
How can you speed up the recruitment process?
By doing less. Or nothing.
In some industries, it can take up to 40 days to hire someone. Four. Zero. Why? If we’re being honest, it’s humans. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, really — but humans get tired. They get busy. They lose things in inboxes, misplace notes, miss calls, and are just generally susceptible to this little thing called life.
But recruiting automation software isn’t.
If you can employ a conversational assistant at every point a human might forget, get distracted, or simply not have enough time, all of a sudden those hours of time that slip away over the course of the candidate experience evaporate. Gaps in communication turn into instant replies, phone tag turns into automated scheduling in minutes, and tedious onboarding forms turn into a couple button presses.
And time to hire goes from four weeks to four days. Sometimes less.
So, you’re saying I should trust the robots?
Well, I prefer calling them assistants, but yes. For now at least … (just kidding)
Recruiting automation isn’t a scary boogeyman you should run from; it’s the future — actually, it’s the present — of recruiting and hiring. If you equate automation, or artificial intelligence, to an assistant, it’s easier to understand and digest. It makes for better and faster candidate experiences, and it saves you literally hours of time each week that you can reinvest into making employees and customers happy.
Sure, Hollywood trained us to never trust the machines. But when it looks (and recruits) this good, how can you say no?