Last week I made a promise to share a journey that brought me to be working in a business at the cutting edge of technology and science within the People/Talent sector.
In my previous post I shared some of the thinking of people within my sector. This is what I learned about the hard work during my 13 years working in tech recruitment.
I was 22 years old when I became a recruiter. I was competitive, driven and hungry to succeed. Not only in financial terms, like many other recruiters, but also my professional status and standing. I wanted to be one of the best at my job and to be respected for the work I did.
And I know there are thousands of recruiters out there whose hard work often goes unrecognised by clients, candidates, managers and colleagues alike. I no longer know exactly what it’s like to be a recruiter in 2018 but back in 2005-2010 if you joined one my teams we’d have had conversations that went something like this:
There is no shortcut in recruitment
It requires a lot of hard work and skill with a splash of good luck.
The hard work is the time commitment needed to consistently deliver for your clients and candidates.
You need the skill to learn the difference between C# and C++ and how technologies stack together.
Eventually your business development efforts will combine with good luck when that client answers your call and confirms they are indeed looking to hire someone within your vertical specialism.
You agree terms for the customers key role, you pat yourself on the back and then you go again - back to the hard work because now you've got to find suitable candidates.
Good recruiters already have a network of great candidates - you go to them first, qualify / rule out and you’ve got a shortlist inside an hour or two.
Then, more hard work.
When the other unknown recruiters working at unknown agencies also trying to fill the same role, clock off at 6pm to enjoy their evening plans, you're still in the office.
If you're anything like I was you'll still be in the office until 9pm when the contractors start to get a little irate.
“Sorry for ringing so late in your evening but i'm trying to fill a key role for an important customer.”
Most of them appreciate your hard work and candour. Some even sound impressed with your commitment.
A few get grumpy but them’s the rubs - it's water off a duck’s back for a driven, professional recruiter who wants to do their best for their customer and won’t mind, professionally, ruffling the feathers of a few early-to-beders to ensure they keep on top of their game, delivering great candidates to their clients.
Eventually your hard work pays off and you place the successful candidate (probably after at least one candidate did an interview no-show following the death of a distant relative / hospital appointment / dog vs homework / insert obscure excuse)
That was my early recruitment career. Because I knew there were no shortcuts to success. I needed to graft, sacrifice my evening socialising (don't worry, I made up for it at the weekends!) to ensure I found the best candidates for my clients.
I was a recruiter and I really, really loved my job. I genuinely hope today’s recruiters love their jobs as much as I did but the recruitment world I knew is no longer. And that's because
Not a corner-cutting shortcut. But an evidence-based, efficiency-creating, quicker, faster, more accurate shortcut.
AI can now rapidly identify suitable talent and create a shortlist of candidates for a human recruiter to then engage with.
A shortcut that also helps remove bias from talent workflows.
In fact, it’s such a clever shortcut that it should have its own name. I have a suggestion. Let’s call it....
Because recruitment was still recruitment when ATS providers rolled out filters and keyword identification tools which were quickly gamed by candidates - writing retail on a CV pushed it up the results list but that didn’t make the candidate more knowledgeable in retail.
Recruitment was still recruitment when talent attraction projects were created. Recruitment is still recruitment throughout the modern-day careers day (which I hope has evolved from my experiences back in the early 2000s)!
It’s still recruitment if you bring in video interviews (disclaimer: I hate the idea of video interviews; I think they simply shift bias to a different stage in the recruitment process).
Recruitment will still be recruitment with AI, it’ll just be better for candidates, clients and recruiters alike.
Coming next: did subconscious bias cost these recruiters £3m?
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