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We’re often told that technology is everywhere, blazing a radical trail that’s too strong to deny.

To an extent, that’s true – delivery, private car hire, security and manufacturing businesses have undergone huge changes, for instance, bearing little resemblance to what they were a decade ago.

However, other services still rely on people more than anything. Specialist recruitment is one area in which tech is more of an added benefit than the central value. Executive headhunters can do their job better with technology, but it will not replace them.

Here’s why people come first in the brave new world we’re heading towards.

AI saves time, but can’t substitute the recruitment instinct

Data is often the dominant subject when we’re talking about any profession. How we collect, analyse and organise data is, of course, worth considering for specialist recruitment.

LinkedIn contacts, for example, can be sourced in seconds with artificial intelligence software. It makes filtration easier. A large firm, meanwhile, may use chatbots to answer preliminary queries from those who think they have what it takes for a role. But, ultimately, senior recruitment is about more than numbers and aggregates. Our work boils down to a conversation – we don’t make decisions based solely on history, qualifications, and a candidate’s location.

This is where AI fails: it runs on a few unifying metrics that don’t account for the variety of life. Great leaders can come from anywhere. They don’t need to fit a box, because they’re meant to think outside of it themselves.

So whilst AI can cut time from sourcing candidates in the first place, data groups can be limiting. It takes a real, personable recruiter – the kind with their own networks and professional experiences – to create the most dynamic shortlist. Maybe that’s why only 35% of 9,000 global recruiters listed AI as their chief concern in 2018.

Tech doesn’t always cater for diversity

A role should always be given to the best person, regardless of their race, gender or physical attributes. But in the same breath, we shouldn’t devalue diversity. The wider the opinions and experiences we can bring into play, the better your senior hiring strategy will be.

Unfortunately, data models can work against progressive attitudes. Amazon discovered this at its peril, when automated recruitment software based its next hiring suggestions on what had come before it – mainly receiving CVs that were almost entirely from men. Hardly any women were flagged as worthy or relevant. How can a company break new ground if it’s basing recruitment on outdated information?

Each case should be considered individually

When it comes to recruitment, a case by case approach works. The top executive search firms look at every brief on its own terms, not within the straitjacket of a metrics system. It’s the only reliable way to match companies with individuals.

Client care is more than delivering a service as quickly as possible. Whilst technology is a growing presence in senior recruitment, it’s not going to take over by any means. Machine learning cannot beat the inherent potential of a personal service.

Speak to us and see how we prove that claim. Our clients – in each of our core industries of hospitality, retail, and private equity – come to rely on our in-depth, discerning approach as an executive headhunter.