As bots now enable recruiters to blast out hundreds of messages in a moment – at least one developer has responded by building a bot to respond to recruiter emails. Yes, robots are pre-screening robots to better make decisions about people wanting to talk people. I can’t help but picture Rosie from the The Jetsons answering a recruiting call (more likely an email today) and asking, “are you a robot?”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) specific to staffing, is introducing needed innovation that can broaden and quicken the function of sourcing potential candidates, as well as sort, schedule and communicate with them. Recruiters will love being able to quickly cast and assess a wider net. Candidates will appreciate increased communication albeit impersonal, over the alternative. These advances will have great impact but for purposes of this post we are focusing on the negative impact AI tools are having on the recruitment of specialized talent, the kind capable of building a robot admin.
Just as catching wild fish in bulk requires a commercial boat and net, catching an octopus requires enticement. Following the fishing metaphor, first define what you are trying to catch. If fishing for cod, a net will be helpful, if recruiting volumes of people, AI tools are likely a good answer. If you need something special, like an octopus, AI tools that canvas talent pools may screen out imitators, but when it happens across ‘the one’ you are seeking, it may have an adverse effect and send them looking for a rock to crawl under.
If you were to try and recruit Justin Timberlake to perform at your next company party would you blast email every person with ‘musician’ in their profile and ask if they have any experience working as an iconic pop superstar, or heaven forbid, ask them to call you about their ‘dream job’ (rhetorical). Your recruitment needs are hopefully more forgiving but for many needs there may only be a few qualified people in your city, or region. Take the time to find them, research and devise the right approach. Attracting specialized talent is more than sending them an email asking if they are interested. Special talent is like being young, hot and single – they have options (so I have heard). To get their attention, it helps to first be interesting. While the act of asking is important, ‘how’ you ask is far more important.
The cost of the wrong approach. Specialized talent, much like octopuses are smart and elusive. Fish their habitats with AI ‘nets’ and they will disappear – and take their friends with them. Recruiting specialized talent is a craft. Utilizing a commodity approach will not only fail, it will wreak havoc on the ecosystem. The candidate experience starts with the very first interaction and continues with every follow up thereafter. You don’t need to treat need to treat them like a fragile unicorn but do care for them as you would a close friend. Treat them poor or well, and word will spread.
Now with the goal and approach in mind, engage recruiting accordingly (internal or external). If you utilize internal recruiting, be ready to help your recruiters. For example, a communication from a director or VP to a candidate will have a different impact than one from a recruiter – right or wrong, it will. This is not a recruiting trick, it is about caring and showing that to a candidate. Show them that you are looking for them, not just someone that sort of looks like them.
If you look for outside support, interview firms as you would the talent you seek. Be sure they are employing recruiting tactics that will represent your company well in the market. Larger firms, many publicly traded, are large because they place millions of people each year and they are great at it (ask their shareholders). While they can produce droves marketing material to outline how they can be great at staffing and recruiting both through a ‘unique blend of specialized services’, be sure the approach to be deployed matches your need and will represent you well in the market.
Parting thought; when recruiting talented professionals is furthered by statements such as ‘I am NOT a staffing recruiter’, or soon, ‘I am not a robot’, it is fair to say that over-fishing is having a real impact. AI has a place in staffing, and possibly in recruiting specialized talent. However, when it comes to finding the ‘one’ right person, be purposeful and personalize the approach. ‘People’ are often referenced as a company’s number one asset. If that is even partially true, spend the time to personalize their recruitment.
Have questions about where and how to really find the best, ask us; Info@thinkfreeagents.com
In the 15+ years Robert has worked in talent acquisition and supplier management, he has participated in the successful placement of thousands of people, built delivery teams and talent procurement programs. He has served as co-founder, operations director and program manager utilizing a variety of talent procurement technologies in support of clients in multiple verticals.
Robert holds a bachelor’s degree in Transportation and Logistics from the University of North Florida. He currently lives in Jacksonville, FL, with his wife Kristen, and their two children.