We all know that recruiting will not look like it does now in just a few years. Artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, will change everything.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was recently interviewed on 60 Minutes (A U.S. television news and information show) and compared the invention of A.I. to the creation of fire, claiming it surpassed even great leaps in technology like electricity.
But how will recruiting change? Will recruiters become obsolete?
Computers will soon speak at a level where humans cannot tell if they are talking to a machine or a human. They will have vastly increased knowledge of human social behavior after time spent analyzing social media and online interaction. They will have analyzed vast amounts of data and be highly skilled in many areas of expertise. With complete memory recall, vast amounts of information, and the ability to integrate and merge disparate data sources, the power of A.I. is almost limitless. This power will be integrated into programs and apps that will guide and inform us. While human judgment will still be valued and necessary, the traditional duties of many professions, including recruiting, will likely be replaced with automated tools.
Scenarios are helpful tools for thinking out of the box, for challenging us to think about what possible things might happen so that we can prepare for any eventuality. Some scenarios are very “out there” and may never be reality. But by thinking of these wild possibilities, we shed light on what elements could happen and what we would do if they did.
The real value of scenarios is helping us make contingency plans and helping us psychologically come to grips with an emerging future.
I have sketched out four scenarios for recruiting in 2028 - just five years from now. What do you think? Which one is most likely to happen? How do you react to these? How would you change your behavior if they came true? Please comment, vote for the most likely one, and leave your ideas for other scenarios.
Scenario 1: The automated function: Computer, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain will have automated recruiting. Hiring managers will not need recruiters, as they will have access to powerful apps that will do everything from creating job requirements to sourcing, screening, to assessing and recommending an appropriate salary. They will also communicate with candidates and, by using personality screening, engage them in ways guaranteed to interest them. With access to corporate data, strategic plans, and other business data, these automated systems would help decide which positions should be permanent, contracted, or part-time.
Candidates will also have access to automated tools that locate potential openings for them and assess their skills for those positions using various sources with their permission. These include their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts and other social media choices. They will also be able to take tests to show their skill level. They will also help match personal and career aspirations to various positions.
These apps will analyze corporate information, news articles, and financial data and provide the candidate with information about the firm and its economic and business direction. It may also indicate what other candidates have said about the firm.
Scenario 2: The augmented function: Much like the automated function described above with many of the same capabilities, the augmented function adds a more human touch.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain will augment recruiting. Hiring managers will be central to the process and first use apps to find and engage with candidates. Recruiters will be available to offer advice and guide the manager. Recruiters will play a more significant part later, engaging candidates, understanding and overcoming objections, and closing on offers. While A.I. will help identify job requirements, screen candidates, and offer advice on selection, the recruiter and hiring manager will still make final decisions. A.I. will be an advisor, helper, and perhaps even a coach to hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates.
With their permission, hiring managers and recruiters will gather in-depth information about candidates by accessing whatever exists about them in the cloud, social media, and apps such as Youtube.
Candidates will use apps to access more in-depth information about the company, its strategic and financial goals, and possible career opportunities. Tools such as Glassdoor will have evolved to predict whether a candidate would be happy in that organization based on their personality and company knowledge.
Scenario 3: The self-service function: Hiring managers will be offered a series of self-help apps that can give them some independence from recruiters. For example, they could use an app to help them create job requirements and advise them on where to advertise the job. Another app might provide candidate assessment and rank candidates for the hiring manager. Other apps could create offers and suggest salaries. But whatever apps they choose, they will still require a recruiter for advice and to do certain things such as interview candidates and close them.
Recruiters might still be available to offer advice, coach the hiring manager, and guide the process. They may also use apps to gather information, chat with a candidate, or assess their skills.
Candidates will have access to self-service apps and use them to locate positions that match their skills, personality, and values. The apps would provide comparisons of similar jobs and pros and cons about each one depending on the company reputation and Glassdoor reviews, the candidate’s values and skills, and, when available, the reputation and personality profile of the hiring manager.
Scenario 4: A new profession arises - Talent Concierges: Work is primarily automated, and the need for workers has dropped dramatically. Most firms have only a handful of employees who tap into a network of consultants, contractors, and other non-permanent workers. Offices and physical workplaces are rare and exist only to manufacture products, provide health care, or service the public, such as restaurants and hotels. Most people work remotely with occasional get-togethers with peers or fellow workers to share ideas and work on projects.
The hiring of manufacturing or service staff is automated. Because volumes are small and the skills required are varied, most professional needs are filled by personal referrals, networks, or on rare occasions, using A.I. tools or a talent concierge.
Recruiter is no longer a job title. A new job has emerged: a Talent Concierge who is an external professional engaged on a case-by-case basis to help fill specific needs with the right person. This is very similar to the older profession of a head hunter or RPO with a twist. The talent concierge has the technical skills to do quality control and troubleshoot automated systems, ensure algorithms are ethical, and prevent fraud. The talent concierge finds and engages potential workers through an extensive network built and maintained using A.I. Firms still use HRIS systems for legal and reporting, but the need for talent systems has dropped because they employ so few people as permanent employees. They no longer invest in large talent systems such as ATSs, sourcing tools, or video interviewing. These tools are now used chiefly by talent concierges who provide legal and other services and help find the skills the firms need. Concierges may also act as coaches and provide external, objective advice to work teams and hiring managers. Concierges are usually senior recruiters who have developed technical and coaching skills and have extensive business knowledge.
None of us can predict the future. It will unfold in ways that we will not anticipate. The models I propose are probably inaccurate, but they are an attempt to think logically about how things might progress given A.I. and the changing demographics and work ecosystems we see emerging. Please take the poll below and let me know which of these scenarios is most likely in five years. What are your thoughts?
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Love this Kevin. While it's challenging to predict with certainty which scenario will prevail, it's evident that artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in transforming the recruiting landscape. As technology advances, automated systems and AI-driven apps will streamline the hiring process, providing powerful tools for sourcing, screening, and assessing candidates. However, it's important to remember that human judgment and decision-making will still be valued, and scenarios like the augmented function and talent concierges suggest a harmonious integration of AI and human involvement. As we both know, the key lies in adapting to these changes, embracing new technologies, and leveraging them alongside our expertise to create more efficient and effective recruiting practices.
Thank you, Kevin. These are very astute observations. At the same time, unless recruiting heads of large organizations are rewarded/promoted for recruiting efficiency as opposed to overseeing large numbers of onsite bodies, there will be a continued tendency to have substantial recruiting staffs, augmented by AI systems approved and purchased by those who aren't likely to have to use them (so they won't be very user-friendly- This is the case with many current ATS and recruiting tools). Based on the trends of the last few years: these recruiting staffers are likely to be young, inexperienced, low-paid, "eager-beaver" types unlikely to challenge the recruiting status quo, because (in my experience) most companies aren't looking for many the type of highly skilled, highly paid, high value-add Talent Concierge you mention.
I also believe that perhaps in a bit longer than 5 years: Scenario #4 is the likeliest, with the additional point that there are likely to be millions of unemployed and largely unemployable Americans to go along with the greatly decreased number of well-paid, FT, benfited positions, which will create fierce competition for those that do exist, along with the creation of a large, fearful, and resentful "precariat" and "grey" and "black" labor markets. Unless something like a massive infrastructure/public/works/ environmental conversion program and/or a universal basic income is implemented, America will have to deal with the prospect of millions/tens of millions of angry young (largely) men who have few if any better prospects, which is not a good thing for any society to have.