As the labor market is getting more complex, so is recruiting. While searching and matching candidates and jobs used to be easy human work, today it has become the playing field of artificial intelligence, semantic ontologies and more high end technology helping human recruiters. Yet, there is more to do than just be fast and efficient thanks to technology. The question is: why do we need Artificial Intelligence in searching and matching? Filip De Geijter, CEO at Actonomy, explains about the core reasons behind.

Over the last few decades, the world of work has evolved drastically. People change jobs, move to different places, switch between employment and self-employment, and – above all – want to combine their work with their private lives. And in the current economy, there are more jobs than candidates: welcome to the war for talent. All this has lead to nothing less than a revolution in the way we recruit people. 

Organizations now understand that speed and accuracy are quintessential in finding the best suited candidates for their job postings. Evidently, technology has taken its firm grip on this recruitment revolution. Artificial intelligence and deep understanding of meanings, automatic skills recognition, and many more high-end technologies now have a huge say on what is on the recruitment agenda.

In need for speed

Yet, technology is but a means to get better searching and matching. It never is a purpose in itself. For more than 15 years already, Filip De Geijter, founder and CEO of Actonomy, specialist in smart searching and matching solutions for the HR-world, is deeply convinced of the reasons why we must embrace technology to stay ahead, both as an organization and as a candidate. ‘Our current world is in a constant need for qualified people. People have become a scarce ‘commodity’ that can make your company excel in what it is doing. Needless to say, he or she who is the first to attract the best candidate, will win the war. Speed has become one of the most important drivers in the development of recruitment technology.’ Years ago, recruiters had many options: there were more candidates than jobs. De Geijter: ‘Today, we live in a different world. Candidates are at the helm of the process. For the recruiters to get the best pick, they need speed. And that is exactly what they get when getting help from technology in their recruitment process.’

There is another reason why we cannot move recruitment forward without hightech. And that is mobility. No longer do people start a job at one particular employer, to make it a life long career. Today, they switch functions, companies and even countries and languages at a high pace. As a consequence, employees make much more career steps than before. Hence, more vacancies and more hirings have to be done. Too much work for humans without help from technology.

Hidden skill sets

Yet, the ultimate reason behind the use of technology in future-oriented recruitment, has to do with the most fundamental value people have to offer: their skills. Years ago, companies were recruiting – say – a ‘sales manager’. They looked for sales managers who already did the job, found them and offered them a new job, likely with some better package attached. But in present society, job functions are no longer the same as the underlying skill sets.

De Geijter:

We constantly see new functions popping up, such as SEO-specialist or digital architect, … When looking for the best candidates, we therefore have to concentrate on the skill sets of people. A blue-collar worker in a car assembly station can do more than just assembling cars. He might be good at welding, or at planning and controlling.

Thanks to technologies such as semantic analysis, we can now look at the skills DNA-set of all candidates. Job postings can be analyzed as sets of skills as well. The advantage is obvious, as employers will no longer look for job titles (such as ‘project manager’) but rather for people with particular skills (such as coordination, people management, budget control, …). By unraveling the skills-DNA of both job seekers en vacancies, we can find the ultimate best matches.

Needless to say, humans have too little time to analyse the genome of human skills in thousands and thousands of candidate résumés. But smart computers have. Thanks to artificial intelligence, new technology is capable of analyzing millions of skills and automatically detect patterns between them. Some of these patterns might not even be mentioned in résumés. Think of a software developer who is good at forecasting. Whereas jobs and job titles may vary, the skill sets of people do so to a far less and slower extent.

Now, does technology make human recruiters redundant? Far from! Technology certainly will help human recruiters by performing tedious, time-consuming, complex tasks. And by doing so, the human recruiter gets time available to add real human value to the recruitment debate: content and contacts. They create the needed time to really understand the ideal match, and have personal contacts with providers and seekers. Thanks to recruitment technology, the human recruiter becomes more relevant than ever before!

Winning the future war

As the world of work has changed rapidly, so has the technology to match jobs and candidates. Thanks to hightech, we can now stay ahead of the war for talent. But let us look forward: we may be ahead, but will we eventually win the war? To do so, we must look at the future of recruitment technology. De Geijter: ‘The effects of speed, mobility and skills will only become more pronounced than they already are. Young people will discover the potential of renting some of their skills rather than looking for a fixed appointment. They might want to quickly hop from one job gig to another. We might even be confronted with the economic need to import people from other parts of the world to have particular jobs done. Demography will certainly add to the need for technology to stay ahead of the constant war for talent.’

De Geijter: ‘We firmly believe that intelligent ways to search and match jobs and people will contribute to a prosperous future of work. But as we deal with humans, their skills and their professional lifes, we must keep in mind that this technology is nothing more than a tool, a means to give this prosperous future of work to real humans. And a tool to give back to the recruiters their real added human value. Let us develop technology with this humble vision in mind. And constantly understand the ‘why’ behind recruitment technology.’