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Could you be hired or fired by a robot in the future?

I’ve witnessed the transformative impact of technology on recruitment and search over the years. LinkedIn started up in 2003 and job boards entered the market a few years earlier. Both digitally disrupted the recruitment sector but it has remained a thriving, growth industry.

There is now understandably plenty of ‘chat’ about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). On a recent London Business School course on Leading Digital Transformation that I completed, I was introduced to Amara’s Law which states that “we overestimate the impact of technology in the short-term and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

That was arguably the case for LinkedIn and job boards and perhaps this could be true for AI’s impact on recruitment?

While AI has undoubtedly streamlined many processes and plays a more significant role in high-volume, lower-level hiring, the human touch remains indispensable in executive-level hiring in my opinion.

🤝 Hiring with Heart: The human touch in recruitment involves understanding nuances, reading between the lines, and gauging cultural fit – elements that AI can’t (yet) replicate. Understanding how individual candidates will fit with others within the organisation is not something that can be determined by a machine – although some assessments and tests can certainly add further reference points to steer decisions.

💡 AI as a Tool: AI can help us identify candidates. LinkedIn is continually evolving with its ‘recommendations’ for example. But it’s human judgment that evaluates qualities like adaptability, leadership potential, and ethics. High-level executive assessment programmes implemented by companies such as NewlandRock also help to provide behavioural science-backed data to support hiring decisions.

📈 Data-Driven Decisions: The fusion of human expertise and AI insights can undoubtedly lead to more informed hiring decisions and better retention strategies.

While AI may automate certain aspects of recruitment and search, the role of an executive search consultant goes beyond algorithms. We’re here to ensure that organisations hire, develop, and retain executives who will shape the company’s future. Much of that assessment also comes down to experience and using my learnings to apply to very different situations.

The future of work may involve collaboration with machines, but the human element will always be at the heart of executive search

Even if there comes a time when computers can measure softer skills such as EQ levels, do we, as humans, want that? That is one for the philosophers and wrapped up in the regulation of AI. I’m also worried about the lack of accountability from a hiring manager towards an underperforming hire if a disproportionate reliance is placed on AI to arrive at a preferred candidate.

Blame the computer! 💻

About BartonRock: BartonRock is the executive search partner for high-growth consumer and retail businesses

We manage the careers of executives whose know-how and commercial acumen steer the strategic direction for companies to thrive.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to operate in dynamic and entrepreneurial environments.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

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