Should HR start looking for another job?

Who hasn’t read the predictions that technological innovations will destroy jobs? These predictions incite fear amongst many, also within HR and that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Within what is called ‘HR Tech’ – the digital side of HR – there is a technological evolution raging at speeds surpassing for example those of the development of the driverless car. With a high probability you can state that the job of a recruiter will change drastically in the following two years and that his daily schedule will be very different in 2019. The same holds for other HR jobs.

Oh my, A.I.

When making this statement, I often get the response that ‘a computer will never be able to autonomously do a job interview’. Such a reply neglects technological developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), machine learning, Big Data and others. Last October I witnessed a showcase of an Israeli startup whose virtual recruiter – with the help of IBM’s A.I. supercomputer Watson – autonomously interviews a candidate and interprets what the candidate says and does.

IBM isn’t the only big player active within HR Tech and working with A.I. According to specialist blogs, Microsoft – after officially acquiring LinkedIn at the end of 2016 – is attracting large numbers of A.I. specialists. There are also many small(er) HR Tech companies working on A.I.

Over the last four years investments in such small(er) HR Tech companies have quadrupled to 2.4 billion dollars. You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to realize this financial leverage will speed up innovations that will soon enter HR and change the job of HR-people. HR Tech will increasingly take over aspects of recruitment, performance reviews, payrolling, etc which are currently performed by humans.

From 95 days to less than a month

Let’s go back to the job of recruiter. On average the hiring process consists of between 6 and 27 steps: from screening numerous CV’s, a first interview with the recruiter (is he what we are looking for?), one or more interviews with the manager/teamlead (will he fit the team? Does he have the competencies?), maybe an assessment or case,… At the end of the day the decision to hire the candidate basically boils down to gut feeling and experience.

For a Belgian or Dutch candidate that gets hired this process takes on average 95 days. This timeframe is an important reason for candidates to lose interest, as a recent survey by recruitment agency Robert Half in Belgium revealed: 65% of the HR managers indicated they lost good candidates because the process takes too long.

When using HR Tech this process can be shortened to under a month. With the HR Tech that is currently available the screening of CV’s, the first interview and at least part of the interview with the manager can be performed in just a few seconds. It provides the recruiter an objective report which indicates whether a candidate matches the job and the company or team.

Spend more time on people

Obviously this frees up a lot of time for the recruiter. Time which can be used to provide feedback to a candidate who wasn’t selected. Too often such a candidate gets no feedback at all or a vague, standardized answer and this frustrates many jobseekers. Thanks to HR Tech the recruiter has the time for a personal answer and with the report he can easily and objectively explain why, thus providing the candidate with information he can work with in his future jobhunt.

HR Tech frees up time in every domain of HR, not only in recruitment. Time which can be used to interact with people – which is after all what HR is all about. This leaves HR people with an important choice: do you embrace the HR Tech evolution or will you fight it? Do you stick to business as usual or do you want to spend more time on people?

It is this choice, not the technological advancements, which will determine whether or not people in HR should start looking for another job.