In the year 1789, an English clergyman, named Edmund Cartwrite, invented the power loom. An automated version of the manual loom that existed since the time of the Pharaohs.
The power loom eliminated the jobs of many laborers and ignited violent riots in the UK and across Europe. Eventually, the protest failed, and power looms took over the weaving industry.
It is very natural for people to fear technology and automation in their workplace. When new technologies automate some of the manual work that people do, they tend to think that eventually it would replace them completely. Oftentimes that happens. That’s the truth.
So, when we, at Talenya, built our Talent Sourcing Bots, we put a special emphasis on demonstrating how our bots empower recruiters rather than replace them.
Our bots do automate much of the manual talent sourcing activities. They eliminate the tedious Boolean searching; they reduce the long hours of sifting through candidate profile lists; they automate engagement with potential candidates; and they deliver qualified and interested candidates to an interview with the employer. As programmed from its birth, the AI-powered Talent Sourcing Bot increases the potential size of the talent pool for every job and accelerates the engagement process. So why wouldn’t recruiters welcome Bots to their team?
Typically, recruiters spend at least 50% of their time on sourcing. If they used talent sourcing bots, much of their time could be freed up for other activities such as interviewing. They will also be able to increase the number of concurrent jobs that they are working on. However, if you are purely a talent sourcer, doing only the sourcing, your reaction to bots may be different.
The main reason is psychological. First, if you have been doing sourcing for many years and developed expertise in Boolean search, you definitely take pride in your abilities to select the right keywords to find that needle in the haystack. People who source for a living tend to believe that they can uncover talent that no one else can find and reach them first.
Secondly, Sourcers are unlikely to admit that an AI-powered bot can do a better job than they can. It’s a natural defense mechanism.
And lastly, using search tools, like LinkedIn, gives sourcers a sense of control. They are the ones controlling the search input, results, and their engagement with candidates. Letting go is tough.
The truth is though bots are much better at finding talent and we as humans need to come to terms with this. AI-powered bots create searches with hundreds of keywords, synonyms and permutations that humans cannot possibly create… and they do it in seconds, not minutes, and not hours. Bots intelligently add skills that candidates fail to mention on their profiles and use algorithms to prioritize a candidates’ engagement based on their likelihood of changing jobs when the right offer comes along. They also help sourcers find the perfect balance between talent quality and talent pool size and avoid the hopeless pursuit of candidates that simply do not exist. Some jobs are so difficult to fill that manual human search is unlikely to result in the right talent from the outset. AI can detect this situation and provide the data for recruiters and sourcers to discuss the market realities with Hiring Managers.
So why should sourcers embrace rather than resist Talent Sourcing bots if they are so much better? The reason is that there are in fact many tasks that human sourcers do, they actually do better than bots. Bots can only analyze what is written on digital documents. They are not able validate skills and experience, they cannot evaluate soft skills and a cultural fit, and they cannot facilitate the recruitment process. Bots still have their limitations, weaknesses. The bottom line is humans excel in tasks that bots are poor at and vice-a-versa. The two complement each other.
So 2020 and beyond? Good recruiters and sourcers should embrace talent sourcing bots because they make them better. They increase their targeted talent pool; they accelerate talent engagement and consequently reduce time and cost per hire. With more free time now available to them, sourcers can handle more applicants with greater focus, applicants that either 1) submitted their resumes on the company’s career site or 2) are already in the company’s database. They may find quite a few gems there. They can now dedicate more time on advanced human to human interactions and evaluations, the areas where Bots are weaker.
Talent sourcing bots are here to stay and are quickly becoming strategic weapons for companies. It’s up to you to become a “Bot Champion” – to embrace them, manage them and direct them towards your own benefit, personal and team success.