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The Future of Recruitment with James Osborne

Welcome to Day 16 of our advent calendar, where we are delighted to welcome James Osborne, Chairman of The Recruitment Network – the ultimate support club for business leaders. We caught up with James to ask him his thoughts on the future of recruitment, including what skills recruiters will need to thrive in the future.

It is 5.30pm on a rather drab December afternoon and I am on the 4th floor of a rather non-descript looking building in north London.  In total contrast to the weather outside, I find myself sipping a latte in a bright, Californian-esq, 1950’s retro café, surrounded by very casual looking 20 somethings, trying to translate the last 4 hours’ meeting onto my MacBook (I only brought it with me today to try and fit in and look cool!).

I’m in a tech incubator, having spent the afternoon with some of the most captivating and forward thinking (and yet unknown) thought leaders in recruitment.  People who are on a mission to design and develop what can only be described as tomorrow’s technology to change the landscape of the recruitment industry as we know it… it is fascinating.

Central to all of these technical wizards who joined me this afternoon seems to be a very common theme – how can technology, and in particular AI, automate recruitment productivity?

So, how will recruiters be able to future-proof their roles in the future with AI looming?

One thing is clear, this is not about robots taking over the industry, but instead enhancing and improving how the industry works, how recruiters work to enable us to be faster, more agile, more objective and work with greater efficiency.

If recruiters embrace AI technology and wrap it in personalised, deeply human consultancy skills, then they will have a very secure and fruitful future.  If we fight against what is clearly evolving at a breakneck pace, then we will be left behind.  It stands to reason.

… and what trends should recruiters be keeping an eye on for 2018?

To be honest, it is hard to keep up!  We just spent a good chunk of the afternoon talking Jobo, qDroid, Beamer, Param, Mya, SniperAI, Entelo, Retarget, Skillate, Yodas, Fama, Koru and a whole load of others, many of which I hadn’t heard of before (and in some cases, don’t even exist yet!).  All predominantly AI themed tech and all very much on the radar of a number of heavyweight investors, based on the levels of funding they were getting.

AI is big news in the recruitment world, and the growth doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon.  Adding Voice Recognition (“Alexa, can you find me a contract Python developer please”), Chatbots and other bolt-on tech and the way we source talent starts to look ever so slightly different.

What skills will recruiters need to thrive in the future

If emerging trends like AI can help reduce the amount of time spent doing a number of the higher volume, more repetitive tasks that recruiters currently have to do (think keeping in touch with candidates, scraping job boards, arranging interviews, prioritising candidate role suitability etc. etc.), then recruiters should use that time saved to augment both the quality and volume of the key human activities that will set them apart and ahead of technology, those being consulting, advising, persuading, negotiating, influencing and so on…

The future of work is hard to predict, as it continues to evolve a such an unprecedented rate, but the key for recruiters is to be acutely aware of the emerging trends, embrace them and adapt how they work accordingly… not to ignore the trends and hope they go away.

In the meantime, I’m off to order another latte, via an app, on my Mac (that I am still not sure how to use), paid for with my phone and made by a machine…!

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