Is AI changing the recruitment industry?

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are here to stay, but how are they helping the recruitment industry? And for recruiters who embrace technology, do soft skills still have a role to play?

Leading New Zealand recruitment professionals shared their insights with SEEK.

How is technology changing the way recruiters work?

Technology and artificial intelligence have taken over much of the routine administrative work in the recruitment industry, says James Grafas, CEO, Agoge.

“It has made space for us to look at things that were more innovative and more exciting.

“It doesn’t mean we do less, it means that we have the ability to dive deeper in the things that effect greater change, like how do people really fit in a workplace.

“We can change our focus across to things like that that make a tangible difference, rather than spending our time crunching through data and information about qualifications or experience that in reality can be done by a machine.”

Automation has increased efficiency across the industry and reduced the risk of wasting candidates’ time, says Grafas.

Adela May, General Manager, Talent Army, agrees that automation has freed up recruiters to focus less on routine administrative work and more on strategy and negotiation.

Systems that allow recruiters to automate data gathering have increased efficiency, she says.

“Whether that’s pop-up systems on your Chrome where you’re getting details, or the ATS recruitment system that you’re using. I think anything to speed up processes is a great development.”

When is a human touch still needed?

With much of the data and administrative work taken care of by AI, recruiters’ soft skills have come to the fore, says Janna Grant, Client Director, Korn Ferry Futurestep.

“The focus is on telling the story about what the proposition is, convincing someone about the opportunity, and really building a personal relationship with them, so it’s more soft-skill heavy.”

AI will grow in the industry’s future

Jason Walker, Managing Director, Hays, foresees that AI is going to play even more of a role in the recruitment industry in the future.

“Where AI is going to be more prominent in the recruitment field are those roles that are highly repetitive, so when you’re looking for the same background, the same type of person, the same style of person.”

What are the positives for candidates?

“When candidates hear AI, they probably feel like they’re losing that personal touch,” says May.

The key is educating candidates about the value of AI, says May. “If anything, it will improve their experience overall as a candidate.”

Getting more feedback is highly valuable to candidates, even if it is not an individualised phone call, she says.

Rejection templates have enabled recruiters to contact greater numbers of candidates about outcomes, rather than leaving them out in the cold.

“You are getting an answer. That’s something that is a lot more valuable to people than you would realise,” May says.

Georgia Hynes, Senior recruitment consultant, Talent International, agrees.

“I’ve had conversations with candidates recently who have been so pleased with just the simplest things like someone getting back to them.

“Even if it is just an automated response, at least they know where they stand.”

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SEEK Insights & Resources New Zealand

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in New Zealand, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people live...

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