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Why Recruitment Can Not be Automated?

There are lot of discussions and claim around automating recruitment process and reducing the dependency on Recruiter. In my opinion, this is going to be an extremely difficult task and may not become a reality for many years to come.

Job Description – The Culprit

It all starts with a Job Description. Most hiring managers, copy job descriptions from their legacy Job Descriptions or Job Descriptions developed in their headquarters in US/Europe. Add to this, hiring managers try to add a lot of expectations in terms of what do they want in the candidate and the skills/competencies the candidate should carry. As a result, they also try to stuff a lot of keywords (especially for technology recruitment) and they mostly expect one candidate to have skills/background equivalent of 2-3 candidates. That’s why the term ‘hiring managers want Superman’. Based on my experience of talking to over 500 hiring managers, most hiring managers just want one thing and not the list of all the keywords/jargons they mention in their resumes. And, that one thing is probably not just one skill or ability to code, most of the times they look at the candidate’s learnability, attitude and problem-solving skills. As long as a candidate has these attributes, they hire them. I remember a case, wherein I sent an Automation Tester for a Manual Testing job and I told the hiring manager that I know you are looking for Automation Tester and I am sending a Manual Tester but please interview the candidate and then take the call. Outcome, candidate got hired and stayed 3 years for one of the fortune 100 companies. The reason was that candidate had quick learning ability, good attitude, decent problem-solving skill, keenness to work and highly presentable.

Resume- Partner in Crime

Then, comes the problem of Resume. I haven’t come across a single candidate in my over a decade of experience in Recruitment who has written his/her resume from scratch. Most candidates copy the resume from their colleague/friend/associate and some senior folks will get it done from a ‘Resume Writer’. The common characteristic in a resume (especially, the resume of a technology professional) is the focus on Keywords. Most resumes, the key highlight is keyword and most candidates stuff lot of jargons/keywords as they would like their resumes to get screen shortlisted by the recruiter. They forget that ‘Interviewer’ will ask questions based on the keywords and that’s where their true skills/experience evaluation will come into the light and they will get rejected. The most ideal thing for a candidate to do is, not mention or include keywords of technology or tools that they don’t have experience on. The resume needs to be the true reflection of candidates competency, experience and skills and nothing more.

Automation- Matching Wrong Keywords

Automation tools such as Artificial Intelligence, contextual search etc. etc. may not be able to remove the need for a recruiter because the Job Description and Candidate Resume are not the right reflections of need and candidates capability. In most cases, both are overhyped and in the process of automation, we will lose out on hundreds and thousands of candidates or select the wrong set of candidates because they have those set of keywords mentioned in their resume that match with the job description.

Hiring Managers- Don’t hire because of skill/experience/keywords

Also, in my experience, just because candidates have the required skills/experience does not mean that hiring managers will hire them. A lot of times, candidates get rejected because of their appearance, their background, their keenness for the job, their flexibility to work and adapt to the need and definitely the compensation expectation based on the budget.

Automation Failure

I have seen companies invest millions of dollars in trying to automate recruitment and fail. I am not saying that it is impossible but it can become a reality when we are able to educate all the hiring managers across organizations/industry and we are able to educate all the candidates to be candid about their skills/experience and when job descriptions and candidate resumes are real reflection of the job and the candidates actual competency.

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