The End of Your Career is Coming! Or Not.

We keep hearing about the impact of automation on work, including recruitment. There are already tools out there that allow you to automate not just the sourcing process, but also candidate screening and selection. According to some industry experts, this trend will only continue until sourcers and recruiters are completely replaced by robots.

I don’t feel its time to panic though – we still have some time. While we can’t stop or even slow down the development of new technology, we can change our attitude towards it. I particularly like the idea that an expert on the subject, Karen Azulai, presented at this year’s Sourcing Summit in Amsterdam.

She discussed how technology doesn’t necessarily need to be feared because it can allow us to do more and do it better. We just need to harness it by becoming what she calls  “augmented sourcers.” Being an augmented sourcer and/or recruiter involves not only using new technology but constantly learning new things. Here’s how I think we can do this:

Learn from Other Disciplines

This may be easier said than done, but learning new skills outside of your immediate area of expertise will be increasingly important for talent acquisition professionals. In this context, professional growth doesn’t just come from learning about other parts of the recruitment process, it comes from branches that aren’t connected to recruitment at all. Your goal is to become a master in the art of finding and hiring great candidates – and only focusing on traditional skills like interviewing won’t really help you achieve it. Think about some of the obvious areas worth looking into, like recruitment marketing and employer branding, some of those we’ve forgotten a little bit like copywriting, and the newer ones like growth hacking and technology.

Expanding your knowledge and skill set will allow you to still be a go-to person even if the candidates for a specific role can’t be sourced. In fact, you might end up being the best person to decide which approach is best to fill the pipeline with suitable candidates – advertising, events, or maybe something else completely? The more you know the easier it will be for you to find the right approach. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Try partnering up with other teams in the company, marketing, for example, to help you get things done.

Constantly Try New Processes

For years I’ve been hearing poor excuses for why people can’t use new techniques. “My boss would never allow this” or “we will need to wait for approval” and other statements are frequently used to get out of having to take the effort to discover new ways of working. The problem with this approach is that it will leave you constantly falling behind your competitors. Trying new things, on the other hand, will give you opportunity after opportunity to improve how you do your work, make you one of the augmented sourcers Karen was talking about, and give you a leg up on the competition. It’s up to us, sourcers, to keep trying new things, no excuses!

For instance, if you want to set up a company blog, set up a personal blog first just to test it out. If there’s a technique you keep hearing about that you worry you can’t roll out, just do it anyways, measure the results, and present them! Asking forgiveness is usually better than asking permission. Being experimental can seem a bit daunting at first, but it won’t take long for you to get used to testing new ideas. Put a system in place to know which ideas you consider a success and which you’ll abandon. Make a record of what you’ve tried and why it has (or hasn’t) worked and have fun learning from your mistakes. No one knows what the future will bring, but why not be one of the first ones to better understand the present? I can’t think of a better way of creating job security.

Make Friends With HR Tech

There’s so many sourcing and recruiting tools out there that it’s hard to keep track of them! A lot of recruiters are only familiar with those they use themselves. But if you want to make the best out of technology, you’ll need to learn about more tools than just the ones your employer wants to pay for. If you have a chance to test a new tool, even if you know chances of implementing it are slim, go for it! It may surprise you, prove to be more effective than you thought, or it may do the exact opposite and you’ll know you’re not missing much. If your company is willing to invest in new tools so you can try them out, that’s amazing, but if not, try to at least talk to other people who have tried them.

One of the things a lot of the best sourcers and recruiters do is try new tools on their personal computers. They don’t wait for the company to roll it out. They use it, test it, measure results, and then come back to work with a quality business case for why it should be used. Furthermore, understanding the tools available on the market today should give you some indication of what you can expect from them in the future. Even if your day to day responsibilities change because of the technological advances, you’ll be prepared! If you know and understand technology it’s not likely that you’ll be replaced by it.

People keep talking about how recruiters and sourcers will be replaced by machines, that jobs are going away, and that there is nothing we can do about it. I don’t believe this is the case. However, I do believe that jobs are going to change. They always have, and they always will. The trick to making sure you use the change to your advantage is to be an augmented sourcer who is dedicated to learning new things, who tries new techniques, and is constantly testing new tools. Do this and you won’t have to worry about losing your job to a robot.

This is a guest post from Kasia Borowicz. Kasia is one of the sourcing world’s rising stars, and has already spoken on social media, culture, and more at a variety of sourcing and recruiting events. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog