Charlie Milne: Is AI the future of recruiting?


I have long been a passionate advocate for using technology to simplify talent acquisition and solve a variety of business woes.  Historically, my roles have seen me craft solutions from a wide range of technologies to solve challenges from data driven attraction strategies to headcount and cost reductions, admin automation and even uplifting candidate experience.


The future though, is not founded on piecemeal combinations of a technical patchwork but something far more comprehensive.


Recruiting professionals today are facing into a very different future with the exponential growth of technology throwing the future of talent acquisition into question.  Many forward-thinking organisations are considering how they should look to leverage these developments to support business growth and productivity.


Earlier this year, noted futurist Kevin Wheeler released an article proposing 4 potential scenarios for the decade ahead.  His vision was that by 2029, automation, augmentation, self-service and talent concierge driven models will be common; all of which are underpinned by a heavy reliance on technical transformation.


These concepts are far from “pie in the sky” aspirational end states.  Robotic technologies like Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere already have the capacity to replace a broad spectrum of business processes with digital workers.  In fact, the question is not whether Artificial Intelligence will play a major part in Talent Acquisition but when and how quickly will we as leaders come up to speed and how will it impact our traditional recruiter lead models?


Why use AI?


Old school preferences for offshoring to achieve efficiencies and savings are quickly being replaced by automated services. The potential is huge, and it should fill us with excitement rather than dread.  Technology offers us the ability to shape day to day task management, allowing TA professionals to divest of repetitive mundane tasks and reimagine their roles as the architects of hiring, where time benefits can be redirected into more value-add activities.


Talent Acquisition experts should be dancing in the aisles at this news, there is certainly still a requirement for their skills, but the footprint of the function will change considerably, as the tedious repetitive work is reduced so is the potential headcount requirement.


What will change?


In the model of the future, relationships, brand and data will be king and recruiters will find their roles evolve as rapidly as the technology that supports them. The role of “Recruiter” as we currently know it is likely to fragment, there will still be a need for “Search Consultants” to pipeline expert talent into key roles, internally these will be very specialised roles and likely supplemented by external niche agencies.  In these positions, in depth sector and skills knowledge paired with candidate relationships will be vital to success as will influence within the business to ensure opportunities are aligned with talent as it is engaged.


For less specialised roles there will be a requirement for candidate care consultants to ensure advocacy remains high whilst the technology runs the process.  Talent Acquisition is already fuelled by data, but this requirement will become more pronounced and it is likely that at least for the medium term an Insights Analyst will be key to informing the efficiency and productivity of the function.  Likewise Branding will continue to grow as roles encompass employee advocacy as well as the external voice and content.


How do we lead?


So, what does this mean for Talent Acquisition leaders?  Our roles will become conductors, uniting the systems, processes and people, utilising the insights and outputs to inform business decisions and direct the technology to deliver business results.  To successfully drive such significant change in a short horizon, we need to be tech savvy, data driven advocates of an AI enabled model.  If we plan to drive the change to support ongoing business success, we will need to come armed with an intimate knowledge of the detailed processes and metrics that underpin our function, much like the insight required to conduct successful outsourcing.


So really the question is not whether AI is the future of recruiting but rather how ready are you to embrace it?


By Charlie Milne


About the author


My name is Charlie Milne and I have spent my career investigating how to source, engage and keep the best talent. I have helped organisations from start-ups to behemoths to design, build and fix their talent attraction and retention strategies to maximise business success.


I am the Founder and Director of 6it Pty Ltd a consultancy that helps organisations reimagine their talent solutions.  You can find out more at

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