Can technology really replace the human touch?

Posted in Candidates, Employers

Posted by Joanne Caine
Published on 24 July, 2018
“Things are moving and evolving so fast in recruitment right now,” says Jo Caine, Director of Cathedral Appointments. Caine, along with eight of the West Country’s leading recruiters, joined a recent totaljobs roundtable to debate the challenges and opportunities facing the industry in the region during this period of change.

AI vs humans

With 56% of employers saying that they lack access to relevant candidates, the ongoing challenge of volume versus quality remains. In trying to tackle this problem, the rise of virtual recruiters and video interviewing has surfaced. The debate over whether or not Artificial Intelligence can ever truly replace human relationships has gripped the industry, and our panel, ever since.

What’s clear is that there’s more choice and opportunity for recruiters than ever before with increasingly intelligent ways to target candidates. “Jobseekers and recruiters use a variety of search methods which increase in complexity as candidate salaries increase,” says Karen Pollard, Owner & Managing Director, Brite Recruitment.

Relationship matters

Face to face relationships still remain crucial throughout all levels of the recruitment process. “Recruiter relationships with their clients and candidates are imperative. Clients trust you to find the right person for the role based on their experience, and it’s the recruiter’s job to make sure that what the client wants is accurately portrayed across all mediums both on and off line,” says Emma Summers, Owner & Managing Director, Juice Recruitment Ltd. 


Meanwhile Caroline Bendall, Owner of Blake & Blake Recruitmenthighlights perhaps the most important issue for recruiters in 2017 and beyond – technology. “With technological advancements speeding up the pace of recruitment, candidates are more impatient than ever, demanding faster response times.” “The next big thing in recruitment is to find a human, cultural fit through technology,” explains Jessica Sullivan, Product Specialist at Totaljobs Group.

Attracting top talent

It’s clear is that the recruitment market has changed, and continues to do so, but what can employers do to stay ahead of the curve?

Totaljobs Sales Manager, Richard Collins, says, “Understanding what top talent wants is more difficult than ever. The impact of technology on all aspects of the workplace cannot be overstated, while some sectors are feeling the ripples faster than others.” Citing a recent totaljobs survey of 3,000 candidates and 100 recruiters, he states, “53% of candidates said that location is the number one priority when looking for a new job, so when you’re competing in volume something as significant as the inclusion of a postcode in an advert could be the differentiating factor.”

Mark Muscroft, Director, Artis Recruitment and Cogito Talent Ltd, adds to this saying “It’s always important to include a salary or you’re wasting your time advertising.” He continues, “Today there is a need for recruiters to understand their candidates better than ever before, utilising a cross section of on and offline recruitment methods and employing specific targeting. Sifting out unsuitable candidates relies on a heady combination of technological savvy and finely tuned interpersonal skills.”

Brexit uncertainty

This perfect marriage of skills and cultural fit can at times be hard to find, but in a post-Brexit world where nothing is certain, “looking outside your conventional hunting grounds is key,” says Heat Recruitment Managing Director Steve Preston. He continues, “While the techno-effect is surely putting pressure on the recruitment industry to ‘speed up’, the human factor cannot be replaced.”

Future focused

Looking to the future, finding a way to use technology to allow recruiters to-hire based on cultural fit would be a recruitment breakthrough. A conclusion from the roundtable debate is that technology can only take recruitment so far. Cultural fit in any business still remains vital and as Heat Recruitment’s Steve Preston says, “the human factor can only be established face to face.”  Only time will tell what will come next.


Managing Director

I joined Cathedral Appointments in 1998 to cover a maternity leave and never left. I now own the business and love my job. I've a great team of consultants who work with me in ensuring that Cathedral Appointments provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.

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Can technology really replace the human touch?

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