min read

Autonomous Recruiting: 2024 and beyond

Recruitment hasn't changed for over two decades. But in the coming years it will change at lightning speed.

November 5, 2021
Yuma Heymans
May 9, 2024

Recruitment hasn't changed for over two decades. The introduction of LinkedIn changed recruitment at scale and with huge impact. 

But during LinkedIn’s reign, in the past 20 years not much has changed.

Recruiters are still very dependent on LinkedIn, source primarily manually and are mostly badly equipped to use the technology that should help them with their job.

Not the recruiter’s fault, but it’s like the entire recruitment industry has been stuck and there wasn’t enough competition and differentiation to do something about it.

But now we enter an entirely new era for recruitment,

With the arrival of generative AI driven by language models, the recruitment industry is set to transform.

Generative AI platforms like ChatGPT (from OpenAI) can analyze big data sets intelligently and create new information from minimal input.  

You can for example ask ChatGPT to analyze the information on a LinkedIn profile from candidate, ask it to match that information with your own job description and on top of that generate a highly personalized message. That’s basically recruitment in a nutshell. 

And there are many other use cases of this new technology for now still manual recruitment related tasks.

Technologies like ChatGPT are basically language models, algorithmic models that predict which text should come next after a certain word or string of words.

Recruitment is eminently positioned to be transformed by this language technology because language is the primary driver for recruitment decisions. 

Across the entire recruitment cycle language is leading, take a look at for instance:

  • Job descriptions: act as the written instruction manual for recruiters to start sourcing
  • Candidate profiles: are full of written contextual information and keywords about skills, interests and personality indicators
  • Outreach: the effectiveness of outreach is defined by how well a recruiter translates the candidate’s characteristics to the available job
  • Employer brand: is typically articulated in written form (next to visuals)
  • Internal communication: is driven by back and forth communication, typically in written form as in emails, chat messages and candidate status updates

With today’s technology, all this language can be interpreted, summarized and even generated on complete autopilot.

Language models and other AI tools do not only make sense out of all this data but also make it actionable.

Have a look at this list of all the steps of the recruitment cycle which are today still primarily manually performed by recruiters.

  • Identify hiring needs
  • Create job description
  • Define target candidate profile
  • Research recruitment channels
  • Select channels
  • Build search
  • Execute search on different channels
  • Screen resumes
  • Rank profiles
  • Cross reference profiles with other online accounts
  • Find contact details
  • Verify contact details 
  • Write outreach message
  • Personalize message
  • Send message
  • Send follow up
  • Review replies
  • Communicate next steps
  • Administer outreach effectiveness (like reply and open rates)
  • Schedule interviews

It’s a miracle that recruiters find the time to do this for so many different candidates. Especially if you look at certain niche roles that require the recruiter to reach out 500 times to get to a successful hire. 

Most of these actions are still entirely manual; job descriptions are written manually, searches are created with manual boolean strings, outreach messages created manually, sending messages manually…

Looking at the current state of recruitment, the remarkable thing is that literally every single step in the list can be almost completely automated with today’s technology.

That makes recruitment one of the most well positioned professions to be fully autonomous.

The future: Autonomous recruitment

Let’s paint the picture of what recruitment will look like soon.

Language models will interpret your employer brand based on your company’s website and career page, of course completely automated. This will give a good idea about who will be a good fit for the company. The job description is automatically created by Generative AI (GAI) based on one or two sentences on what you’re looking for. Based on the analysis by AI of the employer brand and the job description, a search will be automatically created. The AI solution will automatically perform that search on multiple platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow and others. The AI finds the best matching candidates and ranks them based on their matching score. Based on the matching score the profiles are put into automated message sequences with automatically generated personalized messages and follow ups. The contact details are automatically found and verified. Candidates receive messages on complete autopilot. Replies and open rates are tracked. Replies from candidates are analyzed, categorized and automatically followed up to and next steps are communicated, all by the AI. Interviews are automatically planned based on availability of the recruiter or hiring manager.

To get there, we’re talking years, not decades.

Recruiter: from ‘Administrator’ to ‘Gatekeeper’

The future of recruitment, autonomous recruitment, will give way to a new role for the profession that we, for now at least, call recruiter.

The many administrative tasks like copying and pasting data, switching between screens and apps and importing and exporting data is something no recruiter really enjoys.

The painted picture of the future of recruitment will allow recruiters to become gatekeepers. They will be in the position of decision making rather than being click zombies. The focus on the conversation with the candidate and human connection will increase, the data crunching and processing on the other hand will be outsourced to AI.

Being a gatekeeper means that your human abilities will be the differentiating factor. Making decisions, empathy and deep contextual understanding will make you a successful recruiter instead of your tooling knowhow and click speed.

Why the change is different this time

Recruitment didn’t really move for 20 years, so why would things change now?

Almost all of us have experienced the power of AI by now. If you have played around with ChatGPT for instance you have seen how quick it is to make sense out of information and even generate it.

The models behind these AI’s will improve at a massive speed. The analytical ability of language models already surpassed that of people in many cases. It makes sense to apply this technology in your work and even if it doesn’t yet, the speed at which it’s developing will inevitably cause your work to change. AI outcompetes and will increasingly outcompete certain tasks that are now done by hand.

As a recruiter or recruitment company you will have to adapt quickly to this or others who do will outcompete you.

But isn’t that the fun in it? We get more and more enabled by technology, gain new experience, collectively be more successful and can focus on the fun things in our work.

Let’s buckle up and stay AI positive.

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