Dee Townend of Waddington Brown: Could recruiters be replaced by robots?

PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 05 June 2018

Dee Townend, senior consultant at Waddington Brown. Picture: Waddington Brown.

Dee Townend, senior consultant at Waddington Brown. Picture: Waddington Brown.


Recruiters and HR departments have the monumental responsibility of sourcing the right people to ensure companies continue to meet their goals.

However, in the past few years, artificial intelligence has been suggested as a solution to finding the best candidates.

Many organisations are now using a machine in the first instance, to aid the recruitment process, slicing and dicing qualifications and data.

If the machine learning algorithms don’t recognise a candidate’s applicability or the suitability to the organisation, then the artificial intelligence rejects the candidate. Of course, if they meet the criteria, they are passed on to the recruiter or HR manager. In some instances, candidates may actually be hired without meeting their employer.

Although you are potentially saving time, are you getting access to the right candidates?

Relying on technology alone is surely inadequate. Like humans, robots are not fully objective in their judgements, and have 
been known to exhibit the prejudice of those who programmed them.

Analysing historical data, machines can be oblivious to social developments and crucial shifts in thinking. It will make predictions because it has been coded to do so, but it cannot explain the rationale behind it.

The trend is towards mundane HR tasks being taken over by AI from HR professionals.

This gives them more time to refocus efforts to those much more strategic, value-added HR activities that are currently at risk of being neglected in favour of more administrative tasks.

But I strongly believe that the recruitment and hiring aspect of the job still needs the hands-on, personal approach.

A great recruiter looks beyond a candidate’s qualification. They look for passion, assess their attitude to synchronising with existing teams, and they gauge a candidate’s personality in line with company culture.

Recruiters are people-centric personalities who serve as catalysts in building efficient work teams. Humans hire humans to work with humans and, to an extent, getting it right is an art, not a science.

As long as there are humans in the workforce, the demand for great HR recruiters will remain intact.

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