The 3 Biggest Misconceptions about Automation in the Staffing Industry

Jun 16, 2017

The impact of automation on jobs is one of the most widely debated topics in the global technology sphere, and the question of how automation will impact the staffing sector is uncertain. One thing is for sure: there will be an impact, but will it be something that staffing professionals dread or embrace?

Many recruiters fear that clients view them as commodities, and that automation will result in their jobs being eliminated. However, there’s good news: that fear is largely misguided.

According to the American Staffing Association, 77 percent of adults who’ve searched for a job in the past five years or who intend to do so soon said they prefer human interaction when job hunting. If candidates, or even clients, couldn’t interact with other humans, how deep would their conversations go? How productive would those conversations even be? And would those conversations yield the same results?

That’s why recruiting will always need the human touch. The skills of effectively building relationships through meaningful conversations and understanding the needs of clients and candidates will continuously be paramount for success. In fact, automation will actually help advance the human workforce by removing lower-level tasks such as cutting and pasting job requirements into databases and mining job boards — responsibilities that can easily be solved by technology and automation.

With automation having dramatic impacts on the day-to-day operations of staffing professionals, there are some worries that technology will replace jobs, but that’s false. Like so many past technological innovations, the introduction of automation will actually result in promotions for recruiters. Essentially, automation will enable them to focus on higher-level tasks such as forming stronger relationships, so they can help grow their businesses.

For firms to understand how automation will help them become even more successful, they must first recognize the biggest misconceptions about it. Here are three myths that I’ve heard from numerous customers and industry practitioners and my reasons for why they’re fiction:

Automation Will Overtake Recruiters’ Work

This is completely inaccurate. While many recruiters have expressed concerns that automation will complete their jobs for them, automation will actually reduce their overall workload and result in a higher level of quality and accuracy. For example, who enjoys manually filling out every data field or remembers to create tasks to follow up with every candidate or client? There are only so many details even the best recruiters can remember. Instead, automation will undertake the trivialities of non-value-adding tasks such as scheduling, screening, following up, and data entry, fundamentally allowing recruiters to progress their careers by building relationships and making more placements.

Automation Will Displace Human Relationships

This could never happen. One of the core abilities of humans is to develop and grow relationships. Humans understand how to personally connect with other humans — they can identify commonalities between each other and use those similarities to advance their relationships. Automation doesn’t have the sensory skills to truly understand a person’s wants, needs, and desires. Only humans have the mastery of the craft of conversation to speak confidently with both clients and candidates to make their hiring needs successful.

Firms Will Need to Rebuild Their IT Systems From the Ground Up to Support Automation

Not even close. Staffing firms should think of automation as incremental progress as opposed to a massive up-front investment. The focus should be on using products and solutions with open platforms that allow for full customization through application programming interfaces and large ecosystems. By buying into a platform that enables innovation and automation, firms can gradually integrate automation capabilities that will help increase their efficiency and drive further engagement.

Automation is propelling the staffing industry forward. The firms that can adopt a shared “human-machine” prosperity are the ones that will have the biggest advantage over their competition.

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