An Oldie But Goodie Guest Article by Jan Tegze: Recruitment Industry is Dying. Really?

Working as a recruiter is a job without any future prospects. The recruitment industry has an uncertain future because recruitment will die… soon. Recruiters will be replaced by Artificial intelligence (AI), clever algorithms will pair the right candidates with open roles and after interviews with AI, their profile will be sent by AI to the hiring manager. So the “middle man” (recruiter) will not be necessary any more. Hiring managers will open the new positions and AI will find the candidate, do the prescreening and invite them for the interview. The new sourcing tools, together with AI and algorithms, are going to make sourcers obsolete and together with recruiters, they will need to start looking for new jobs because the end of recruitment is near! Recruitment will die in 2018! And if not, then “Recruitment will die in 2019”…. And if not, 2020…. etc.
Oh wait, when did I hear a similar message before? Oh yes, in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012….
Every year, some so-called experts that never worked in recruitment (as recruiters) or understand the recruitment industry are trying to bury recruitment and recruiters. These predictions are mostly written because they will get the author the attention they are looking for. Recruiters try to respond, because they believe it is a nonsense and candidates who hate recruiters will start posting supporting messages with something like “It’s about time”, but 99% of the articles I read during the years are not built on any relevant data or expertise. They are just based on wild guesses any amateur could make.
We don’t know the future at all, we can only make guesses. Those guesses might be educated guesses, but they are still guesses.
Predictions
Around year 2010, many predictions stated that job boards were dead or will be dead within two or three years and yet, they are still here and some of them turn into job aggregators adding new futures etc. They are adapting. And people in various industries are still using them to apply for jobs. Monster or Indeed are still here and they will be used for many more years.
Predicting the future is difficult, like weather forecasting. It hasn’t improved even though we have satellites, fast computers and enough data. Predictions may be good for a couple of days, but we are not able to predict the weather for next two months and be right about every day.
Many experts predicted Hillary Clinton will be the new president of the United States and that Brexit would never happen, that the UK will stay in the EU… etc. And guess what, they were wrong.
It’s the same as many predictions about “Recruitment will die in X” (replace X with any year you want.) Most of these articles are just clickbaits by people who don’t have deep knowledge about the recruitment industry. Yes, these articles are going to get your attention and they will try to force you to react, especially if you are a recruiter.
These predictions are the same predictions that anybody can give. Right now, my prediction is that we will discover life on planet KIC 8462852 in 2019. If I am wrong, you won’t remember it and will forget about this prediction, but if I am right I will post an article with title “I told you so”. But this prediction will just be a random guess supported by nothing specific.
All these predictions are almost the same as the predictions about the end of the world. Yes, it will make a catchy title “End of the world in 2018” but still nothing is going to happen. And if you are right in this prediction, well nobody will tell be able to tell you that you were right because nobody will be alive.
Recruitment is Not Going to Die
Recruitment is not going to die in 2018 or in any near future; it’s going to evolve. It’s still evolving almost every year and recruiters are adapting. Our industry is influenced by new technologies, like other industries. New technology improves our jobs, makes them easier and also brings new challenges. New sourcing tools help us to find contact details for candidates faster than before, but they don’t turn these candidates into new employees with one click.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will change our industry for sure, but we will adapt as always. Recruiter jobs scope will evolve and sourcers could change into data miners.
AI will have algorithms but they won’t be able to give a chance people to try at an interview because their algorithm will evaluate that that person will not have a chance. People hire people and many of us will get a chance to get a position that maybe we were not ready for yet or our resume doesn’t have the right keywords, but the recruiter, hiring manager etc. gives us the chance because they see something in us. They see that we don’t have the all the skills that are mentioned in the job description, but yet they see our potential and our willingness to learn.
In the end, people want to speak with people and not Al. Yes AIs will automate some tasks, but if everybody uses the same AI, they will only get some candidates and the person who is trying to find other ways and sources will have bigger advantage. Google indexes only 5% of the Internet, so where do you get the assurance that AI will index more?
You also need to consider the candidate’s experience. Yes, bad recruiters could ruin it too, but tell me: If you have two companies offering the same role to you and one offers you an interview with some AI and the second one with a live person what interview you will chose and which one will be more comfortable for you?
Recruitment is also about relationships and recruiters make great relationships with candidates and with hiring managers. If there is trust between the candidate and recruiter, the candidate will share his concerns about his current job and mention that he could be open to another interesting role. Good recruiters will try to keep this in mind and contact the candidate with a new role. If you replace recruiters with AI, are you sure that candidates will share the same thing also with AIs, “Hey, I am open to the role, but it’s confidential.” I am curious how effectively the AI will act with confidentiality, but I hope they will be better than Yahoo is at protecting their e-mail service against hackers.
Conclusion
The recruitment industry will not die in 2018 or any near future. Humans love connecting to other humans; they always have and most of them want to speak with live people. They want to share their story and explain their career choices, fill the gaps and share why they are the right people for the role. They want to get attention from recruiters if they are applying for a new job.
Our job is not only to find the candidate, but we also trying to convince the managers to give some candidates a shot and invite them for an onsite interview, even if the hiring manager doesn’t see the potential in the resume. We already spent time with candidates and understand their needs and wants, and we saw something else than just raw data on a resume. And we listen.
And if you are an author of these articles, instead of killing recruitment every year, try to learn more about it. It is often said there are two types of predictions… lucky or wrong. So if you are betting that the recruitment industry will die in 2018, you are betting on the wrong horse. The recruitment industry will be still here after 2018. Maybe it will slightly change every year, but it’s not going to die.
And if you are planning to kill the recruitment industry again in any of your future article, the years 2021–2025 are still available and nobody has used them yet.
If you believe data more than predictions, let’s take a look at the results of a quick search I did (January 23rd, 2017) on Indeed Worldwide Search. There could be an error in the search, but if there isn’t, it doesn’t look like recruiters are going to be without work any time soon.

If you are a recruiter who believes in these predictions and you are afraid of the future, I have good news for you. In some companies, recruitment is still stuck back in the year 2000. So even if the recruitment industry died in 2018, these companies would find out about it only in 2036, and so you still have enough time to get a job in one of those companies.