The Uber-isation of Agency Recruitment: Use the Tools, Don’t Lose the Human!

Earlier this week I shared this interesting piece of writing by Mr Greg Savage (@gregsavage)

I agree with this article, but upon reflection, there’s more to be said.

This is not a defence of the Recruiter to be fair. Rather a warning to humans looking for partners, employers and employees.There are masses of rhetoric on new tech in recruiting. Some are doing a good job (think a competitor of mine that markets itself very well to Developers as an example); there’s talk of algorithms, search tools, matching tool; some of the jargon appears world changing. Hell, most of it makes me believe I work too hard.

It actually changes nothing in my mind. Human to human, that’s where our world should be focusing. My concern, then, is not about the tools we use to get a job done. It’s about the loss of the human. History has proven that as the industry tries to automate, standardise and implement procedures, it does not enable flavour, art, uniqueness; it does not enable much beyond profit, in fact eccentricity costs industry money. The industry does want you believing in your ability to make choices beyond the ones laid out for you and the paths rewritten for you.

Individual humans want and need uniqueness (the rise of craft beer, whiskey and gin shows this). Industry and larger society want us docile and consuming. My comment then is about tech’s place in a human world. Tech is a tool to reach an end goal only. Until it can handle the variables that come with human beings, it cannot be the override.

To hiring businesses; any concerted recruitment process will need some form of ATS tracking and management. Understand though, that this tech enables the human element, not replaces it. I’d advise that if you become too reliant on it, you risk losing the very people you want to hire (caveat – I’m speaking to an intellectual business specialising in software development). Don’t lose yourself behind a process designed purely around numbers. You’ll lose the skilled amongst the masses.

To the Developer tracking systems; try to standardise.  You will have to obey rules but don’t allow it to hide your flair. Keep in mind that seemingly mindless algorithms need keywords, buzzwords etc; but it’s a human that should be inviting you for a chat, speak to that person both on your CV and in person. An ATS system can often mask the human behind rules, procedure and workflow. They often try to limit your options – you have multiple variables that affect your decision including that jobs worth to you.

Even in a logic driven world, 80% of the time Software Developers take jobs because of emotion. In a world where marketing wants you obeying their rules, our industry is or should be pursuing the human. When you want a home, you don’t go looking for a warehouse just because it will put a roof over your head.

Maybe I’m just full of it; you decide next time you are looking for your next home or courting your next employee.

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