A sizable contingent of the workforce believes robots will replace all of us at the office, push us into unemployment, and build a global defense matrix that eventually becomes self-aware and hunts us down with human-esque robots that strongly resemble a certain former governor of California.
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That's probably not going to happen.
Moreover, here in the recruiting sector, many recruiters actually feel pretty good about automation and artificial intelligence, according to "Recruiter Perspectives on an Automated Future," a new report from recruiting software firm Jobvite. Forty-nine percent of recruiters have a positive attitude when it comes to automation with respect to their own jobs, while 42 percent are indifferent. Only 7 percent of recruiters said automation and AI would make their job worse.
"While talk of automation tends toward apocalyptic predictions, recruiters see a brighter future – one where recruiters work alongside AI to bring in the best talent for their companies," says Matt Singer, vice president of marketing for Jobvite. "Recruiters are looking to see the tedious tasks of their jobs automated so they can focus on those that require a human touch."
When the machines handle interview scheduling and background checks, recruiters can focus on finding, hiring, and onboarding the best candidates, Singer explains.
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AI is not yet sufficiently advanced enough to fully take over a people-facing role like a recruiter's. However, some recruiters do fear it's only a matter of time before that happens. Fifty-five percent of recruiters surveyed by Jobvite said nobody in their company would be displaced due to automation in the next three years, but that number drops to 31 percent when the time frame is shifted to the next 5-10 years. When the time frame is 10-20 years, only 22 percent of recruiters say they believe AI won't phase anyone out.
While it is possible AI may someday replace a human recruiter, it isn't very likely. Most automated solutions in the recruiting sector tend to be geared toward removing menial tasks from a recruiter's workflow rather than replacing human interaction.
"In time, automation will certainly change the daily work of a recruiter, but fears of being replaced by an automated solution are a bit overblown," Singer says. "By streamlining tedious tasks, machine learning will help recruiters work faster, smarter, and more efficiently. With tools such as automated candidate ranking, recruiters are already working alongside AI to make data-informed hiring decisions. As technology progresses, recruiters won't be replaced; they'll just have more time to focus on the work they really care about: finding the best talent to build the best companies."
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No recruiter wants to spend time poring over spreadsheets when they could be meeting with viable candidates. Thanks to technology solutions, much of that tedious work is already being done away with.
"Machine learning is making hiring a more strategic, data-driven endeavor, enabling recruiters to source and evaluate an increasing volume of applicants," Singer says. "Overall, these advances will make their jobs easier, but they'll have to adapt their approaches to hiring if they want to stay at the forefront of the automation revolution."
Singer predicts that the same tools making recruiters' lives easier today will find their way into other industries and functions. This won't cause jobs to disappear, but it will cause job descriptions to change.
"That means companies may need to offer training and development programs to meet the new requirements [of a job], and hiring managers will need to honestly evaluate which positions require a four-year college degree versus a demonstrated skill set," Singer says. "In the future, recruiters will have access to more information about candidates' qualifications than ever before, facilitating this shift to a skills-based approach."
Moving into the future, technology will continue to change the way we work, just as it has already changed the way we work over the past few decades. You can either hide under your desk and wait for a cyborg to break down your office door, or you can embrace technological progress and improve your daily workflow.