The AI buzz has been one of the unexpected stories of 2023….

….with just about everyone asking “how will this new technology impact me?”  Recruiters, hiring managers and yes, candidates looking for work, are no exception.

The very nature of recruiting is about making predictions – which candidate is going to perform best once hired – so no wonder a technology designed to enhance the predictive process will grab the attention of those of us who live or die by how well we can predict hiring success!

For recruiters the question becomes -will AI improve my ability to hire better employees or, God forbid, will the recruiter’s job suddenly go the way of the dinosaur – no longer relevant?

As you might imagine there are many POV’s about AI’s future role in HR – recruiting and hiring in particular. We see recruiters and hiring managers approaching AI with a healthy dose of distrust – recruiters fearing their all too human “insights” will no longer be needed, hiring manager’s wondering if they will be forced to hire someone they didn’t want to.   Others wondering how job seekers will navigate a hiring process driven more by technology than people. Will AI do more harm than good? 

From our perch we see the evidence suggesting that new generations of AI based technologies will be another staffing/hiring game changer….but in reality it is just one more iteration of all the technologies that have successfully automated components of the hiring and recruiting process for decades.  We’ve seen that with  each advancement in technology, the role of the recruiter has become more, not less, important.  We want to go on record that like in all new technologies, we intend to be early adapters!

Here’s why….

We believe both humans and technologies will continue to have a critical role to play in who ad how we hire!   

AI’s Role in Hiring Isn’t New – It’s Just About Delivering More and Better!

While technology has always helped us minimize the time consuming, tedious, and yes, boring, parts of the hiring process, the unprecedented speed with which today’s AI’s “always learning” technology sifts through new types and sources of candidate information, is mind boggling.

Our team has experienced the impact of technology from early on – when computers were first introduced to the staffing industry in the early 80’s. PACE was one of the early adapters and looked in awe as an IBM System 36 arrived at our doorstep in 1984 – in a box no less. No question, as an early adapter, we introduced ourselves to technology’s role in hiring and staffing the hard way.

In 1985 our competitors and critics told us that our decision to automate the hiring process was going to be disastrous – how could you possibly think that reducing the role of the human being in the recruiting process would be a good thing?   Our actual experience about what happened to the recruiter’s “human touch” was just the opposite!

Yes, we spent the next 2 decades doing the grueling work of getting the right candidate data into the “system”, establishing the right “search” parameters.  But we got the pay off we hoped – the thousands of great matches between jobs and people that were so important to our clients and our business. And to prove the naysayers wrong, our recruiters were able to give our candidates and clients the best kind of personalized service – no longer encumbered by all those tedious components of the recruiting process that had historically burned out even the most gifted recruiters.

Fast forward to today, staffing software has become a staple – and in the world of AI it’s not just about making matches based on fixed data points, but about tapping into AI based technology that analyzes dynamic data, recognizes patterns and trends, and systematizes the intuitive components of the matching process that formerly we thought only humans could do.

At PACE, our current technology does all that plus helps us create  candidate centric “journeys” that interact with “just right” candidates in the “just right” way and in the “just right” time.  AI’s ability to find “matches” and automate key recruiting work flows have created a hiring process that is FASTER, BETTER, EASIER than ever before – for us, for our customers.  

But job to employee matching isn’t the only area where today’s technologies has made a difference!

The typical (some would say necessary) “tech stack” for todays recruiters includes software that will…….

As for the “candidate experience”, once again we are finding that AI actually enhances how a candidates experiences the hiring journey.  We can reach out to candidates faster, make sure their resume never goes into a black hole, and provide them with more/better information about what’s next at critical points in the hiring process – just to name a few of the benefits enjoyed by candidates to today’s recruiting environment.

What about the Recruiter?

Yes, the recruiter’s job has been evolving.  To take full advantage of the efficiencies AI has to offer, today’s recruiter has to be at he top of the heap in terms of technology applications.  Its not just click here, click there, but actually using the technology at a every high level so that you can “teach it” how to make decisions that you once had to do.

Todays recruiters also must have a variety of soft skills that ensures an automated process gets the right results.  Today, our hiring process is an intricate blend of technology and human touches – designed by humans to make sure there is interactions with both humans and technology at the right time in the process and in the right way.  Technology will continue to do those things in the recruiting/hiring process that are repetitive and boring;  recruiters will continue to do those things in the process that only they can do.

Our POV is that both recruiters and technology will continue to have places in the process if they are carefully orchestrated to compliment not compete with each other.  Too much technology, too little human interactions will not sit well with candidates who need to know they are being selected by humans not computers. 

It will always be the recruiter’s job to learn more about the person behind the resume, the stuff about the job and the work environment that is not in the job description. AI can organize the process and simplify the access to data, but its the recruiter who makes the personal connections between the job and the candidate that ultimately leads to hiring success.

Here’s just a few of recruiter “soft skills” that we’ve found are increasingly important in the era of AI….

Getting Ready for AI

Relook at your hiring processes – Identify all those places where the “human” element is either really needed or no longer needed.  In what areas of the process is the work so boring or tedious that its burning out your hiring stakeholders, zapping their energy from points in the process where they are needed the most.   Explore what software are available that can expedite any step in your current process that is time consuming and repetitive.

Look for gaps in your hiring process – places where you’re losing candidates or making hiring mistakes.   For example, if you’re having a hard time getting candidates to fill out an application after their first contact with your organization, you might want to look at the steps in our process – when in the process is the ideal time to ask a candidate to fill out an application?  How much information do you want the candidate to provide in an application?  What are you doing to influence a candidate’s decision to stay engaged each step of the way in your hiring process?

Don’t be afraid to try something new  Stay in touch with the development of AI.  Experiment with new ways to use new software that is designed to allow you to move faster and ore accurately.   Most importantly, if you are already using an AI based software make sure you are actually using it so that its “learnings” are relevant to you.

Will the cost of purchasing and implementing AI based technologies become too costly for small and medium sized businesses?  

Great question.  As you might imagine AI based recruiting and staffing technologies come with healthy price tags – either in terms of monthly subscriptions or up front investments.   For smaller companies, the costs of AI and the challenges of implementing its features, are often too much when they can’t be leveraged over  a large number of hires annually. Small to medium sized companies, in particular, don’t have the time time, money, or focus needed to create and continuously keep up with changes in the recruiting/hiring function, particularly when their core business is also crying out for its own technology investments.

The challenges of navigating a fast changing candidate marketplace, the importance placed on hiring the right employees while complying with growing number of governmental regulations are important business issues that aren’t going away.  As technology becomes more complex as it addresses the growing capabilities and complexities of the recruiting and hiring process, we think we are in a good place to recommend an outsourced solution.  Finding the right partner, with the right AI tools and resources already in place, seems a very smart way to compete for top talent.  

The content of this blog was NOT AI generated!  

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PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years.

A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

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