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Building the future of the recruitment industry

Is it possible to create a new industry standard with AI technology?


The Beginning

This question started with the kernel of an idea based on tracking industry trends, useable technology advances, the awareness of other propositions and products and the desire to make a fundamentally positive difference in an industry that is, in my opinion, completely unaware of the disruption that it will experience between now and 2020.

Recruitment demand

Data available from Companies House in the UK states that almost 3,000 recruitment agencies have set up in the first half of 2016; that’s a 10% increase on the period January to March 2015. The final numbers for 2015, show a total of 5,110 new recruitment agencies launched in the UK, which represents a 144% increase on the 2,092 agencies launched when comparing with 2010. This data further reveals that 2,926 new recruitment agencies launched in the first half of 2016. So is the process of recruitment still ‘in demand’ or will it become ‘on-demand’?

Personalisation or marketplace?

I have referenced in previous posts, propositions currently being developed in the UK and Europe such as Cyra and Job Pal; these aim to provide a more personalised user experience through one-to-one engagement whilst continuing to learn through multiple interactions with individuals that are either hiring or looking for their next career challenge or interim / freelance gig. Both are early stage, however, the potential is quite evident.

The one-to-many proposition where a platform provides a ‘marketplace’ for individual interactions in the buy-and-sell of opportunities and skills/experience for hire; companies such as HIRED, YunoJuno have been established with high degrees of success.

In addition to these, the process of referring an individual has been infused with new offerings such as Boon; an employee referral platform utilising algorithms to enhance the process of introducing and paying to access networks. Is this a one-to-one scenario or one-to-many? More importantly, should it be the former or latter; otherwise, is personalisation lost in pursuit of monetising your network?

Competition or co-opertition?

The establishment of these companies illustrate that there is every potential to innovate for the recruitment industry and for the process of recruiting; the fact that they are targeted at specific segments of the recruitment lifecycle further illustrates the mammoth task that is identifying the ideal individual to join a business or allowing the individual more access to a potential new employer and career opportunity.

What if all these elements were combined into one proposition?

Industry standard

The potential to set a new industry standard through the utilisation of artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms, chatbot technology and a mobile-first proposition can deliver a new industry standard in all segments of the recruitment process; this hypothesis is already starting to be proved.

The question is which segment is the most important one to the individual looking for a new opportunity and the employer with the express aim of hiring a new employee. My answer is, start at the beginning with engagement. This refers to both parties.


An industry standard in terms of every element of engagement from initial contact or expression of interest, through the information exchange from individual to client, to enabling assessment and benchmarking to the end goal of setting up a face-to-face meeting. During this process the shared subjective and objective information should have created a foundation of confidence that the meeting will be worthwhile for both parties.


The other associated benefit of using technology to enable the engagement process is the collection and sharing of data. Typically through a process of ‘screening’ the information collated is then deposited and stored in a number of places with differing levels of access and security; the recruitment consultants brain (semi-secure, however, easily erased), the recruitment agencies database (secure, however, the potential for exact detail is questionable), the MSP or RPO’s database (secure, however, access must be requested) etc; the point being, data is stored in multiple domains with differing degrees of access, accuracy and security.

In a one-to-one proposition, the data is stored personally and shared directly and is easily referenced by both parties for the period of the engagement.

Curation of the conversation

In any conversation, sometime a curator is required to continue to remind and encourage two parties to converse and engage; enter, the chatbot. The potential for a personalised chatbot to curate your conversations and act as a positive advocate for engagement and can replace immediately the standard ‘reminder e-mail’ or spam e-mail in the context of ‘your access will expire in 24-hours’ etc. Additionally, how positive would it be to have ‘someone’ to refer to that can support you in what the next steps would be, how much of a task you have completed and what is left to action; even assist with refining some of your responses by allowing you to reflect on your experience, previous decisions or personal interests.

Accepting the future

As the “Technology Adoption Lifecycle” illustrates, there will always be “Innovators” and “Early Adopters”; the individuals in these market segments will always be looking for new technology products to create significant business impact and drive competitive advantage. If you accept that your people are your business, then technology that enables you to make better and more informed hiring decisions is a worthwhile investment of both time (to trial new propositions and products) and money. Equally, from the perspective of an individual looking to secure a new career opportunity or interim gig; the potential to enhance the engagement and information flow, and thereby increase the accuracy of the search, will surely resonate positively.

Will this be the same for the ‘Early Majority’ market? — essentially the mass market? — at this stage, I can’t answer that question.

💡 References


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