What is the future of recruiting as a profession?

Attention recruiters—are you feeling a bit of existential despair when it comes to your profession? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us go through inflection periods at various points in our careers and begin to wonder if we’re stuck in a dead-end profession, merely punching a clock and wasting time that would be better spent doing something—anything—else.

These moments of professional introspection can be scary but they can also be really beneficial—they can help you take stock of your current levels of career happiness and fulfillment, and possibly plan for a change if needed. Or, they can help you think through a potentially incomplete way of thinking and make you reappreciate your current field or position. Both of these can be positive and beneficial steps, despite the fact that they can feel overwhelming or scary in the moment.

If you’re a recruiter and are starting to feel as if you’re in a dead end job, first acknowledge that it’s a question many of us ask about our careers these days, as technology and innovation rapidly change and reshape the ways in which we think, work, and live our lives in fundamental ways. In addition, the more time we spend doing a specific set of tasks, the more likely it is that fatigue will set in—which is perfectly normal. This fatigue might make it temporarily feel as if you’re in a dead-end job, or it might be an indication that you’re ready to consider the possibility of a career change. Before you make up your mind about whether or not being a recruiter is truly a “road to nowhere,” let’s dig a little deeper.

How the role of recruiters is changing—and what it means

Perhaps you’ve reached the conclusion that being a recruiter is a dead-end job because of all the ways in which new technological advances are changing the industry, and are starting to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before human recruiters are no longer even needed. The following key aspects of the human recruitment process can indeed be replaced by automation including:

  • Resume screening: Software is being utilized (and becoming more sophisticated) that can capably “learn” the requirements and skills needed for a particular job and identify qualified candidates accordingly. Increasingly sophisticated software is able to analyze historical performance data to determine those candidates who are most likely to be successful employees, using such information as experience, background, skills, and other qualifications to grade and rank potential candidates.
  • Prequalification tasks: Automated processes can now streamline the “job candidate experience.” Everything from keeping candidates updated on the status of a position to answering questions, providing feedback, and offering helpful suggestions can help make potential candidates feel more connected during the job application process, a key benefit to attract top talent in today’s candidate-driven job market.
  • Interviewing: AI and automated interviewing tools can make the interview process easier and more effective. Interviewing software is becoming so sophisticated that it can analyze a myriad of key factors—from facial expressions to speech patterns and word choices among others, alongside such metrics as job requirements and company culture—to determine potential quality of hire.

Bottom line: Although technology is making certain facets of the recruitment process easier than ever before, rest assured that human recruiting is not dead! In fact, according to Digitalist Magazine, innovation will serve as tools to improve the performance of human recruiters, not eradicate it: “By streamlining some aspects of the recruiting workflow, experts predict recruitment automation will enhance a human recruiter’s capabilities… Industry experts predict that by reducing time to fill and improving quality of hire, technology will enable recruiters to become more strategic by spending more time on proactive hiring and workplace planning.” So, if your fears about recruitment being a dead end were rooted in the thought that human recruiters were on their way towards becoming as extinct as dinosaurs, think again.

Why recruiters are vital

It’s no secret in the professional world—regardless of industry—that securing top talent is a primary concern and key ingredient for a company’s success. According to Auren Offman, SafeGraph, CEO and former LiveRamp CEO, “The best companies are obsessed with recruiting over almost everything else. That means the CEO and the other leaders of the best companies are constantly thinking about recruiting all the time. Usually it is because it is a real problem area. Rarely have I ever heard a company say ‘we are meeting all our recruiting goals.’… Because recruiting is so important, it gets the attention of the senior leaders of the company. And if you are a star, you will quickly get noticed.”

Kristina Martic, Head of Marketing and Employer Branding at TalentLyft, echoes the positive industry sentiments of Auren Offman: “… recruiting is NOT a dead-end job! Recruiting and Talent Acquisition related positions are becoming the most important and most valuable positions in every firm. This is because talent has become so scarce and the “War for talent” is getting more and more intense. Talented people have so many options to choose from, and if your firm is not able to attract them, you won’t be able to beat your competitors and survive. Talent is the biggest driver of every company’s success, and that makes recruiting one of the most important positions company can have.”

A bridge to somewhere

One of the great parts about working as a recruiter is that it doesn’t have to be the final stop on your career path. In addition to the wealth of valuable transferrable skills that recruiters typically acquire during their tenures (management skills, organizational skills, people skills—the list is endless), there are options for next steps—if and when you’re ready to move on. Some options include moving from recruitment to HR, or moving from an agency to a position as an in-house recruiter for a specific company. You can also look to segue into management—as a recruiter you have picked up the traits necessary to lead a variety of personality types. Think outside the box, and use the skills you’ve gained so far in your career!

Is recruiting a dead-end job? Ultimately, the answer to this question will be up to you, but clearly there are several folks in the know who feel strongly that this is not the case. As companies across industries increasingly recognize the importance of having the best candidates possible on their teams, the more valued recruiters will be.

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