Bots and AI are the current industry buzzwords, but how far can they replace the human touch? Alexandra Cavoulacos (LinkedIn profile), founder and president at The Muse, will give her verdict in her presentation at next week’s RecPlus Conference in Barcelona. The author will also reveal why the differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials have been overhyped.
In your opinion, what are the major challenges facing the recruitment (classified) industry in the next three years?
There are a lot of challenges facing the recruitment industry — with consolidation, increased price competition and the commoditization of jobs — but there is one shift that I don’t think we talk about enough. Work is becoming more human, and in the predominantly transactional recruiting industry, this is a meaningful shift. Legacy products like job boards, that return thousands of indistinguishable results from a single search, are no longer considered sufficient for the next-gen workforce.
Having a purely transactional approach to work, frankly, isn’t working for salaried roles. Professionals have more options and information than ever; which is why it’s becoming harder for companies to attract and retain talent. Job-seekers are aware of this shift in power dynamic and their willingness to leave a company that isn’t a fit has increased, just as the length of time individuals are “supposed” to stay at a company has decreased.
Companies are no longer able to just focus on posting recs and traditional job filling, but instead will need to define and share their authentic employer brand to engage candidates long before they are even thinking about applying. As part of this shift, recruiters are becoming talent marketers as well, which will require a new skill set and strategic approach.
At The Muse, we understand that a job search is more than simply reading reviews or general job listings — which is why we work with hundreds of the world’s top companies to showcase what working there would look like, based on employee testimonials, office tours, and company initiatives. Job-seekers have become more empowered, and services offered need to adjust to accommodate that.
What will most surprise conference attendees in your fireside at RecPlus?
Without giving too much away, I think attendees will be surprised to learn that the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers aren’t as pronounced as they’ve been made out to be. It’s a popular theory to suggest that the two generations are in opposition to each other when really they’re motivated by very similar goals in terms of their career and the companies they work for.
The rest you’ll just have to wait and see!
What unique challenges does your business face in your market?
We’re approaching the job search as company-first, not job-first, and putting a premium on “fit”. I believe that helping companies showcase what kind of people would thrive there (or alternatively wouldn’t thrive there) is the best way to attract candidates who’ll stay longer, perform better and be happier at a company.
And for job-seekers, providing more information from employers — as well as directly from their employees — gives so much more context and color in finding their next role. It’s important to me to break down the information asymmetry to give everyone the inside scoop, not just the people with extensive networks who have been using this as part of their job search for years. The challenge with this sort of approach is that “fit” is a hard thing to quantify, and we have had to find different ways to measure value.
Furthermore, it’s a lot easier to give personalized recommendations based on location and industry than based on a company’s working culture and operational style. That’s why we’ve started by giving individuals more information and better career advice tailored to our unique user demographic. This is so they can not only be better informed in their decisions but can continue to push how else “fit” can be measured and recommendations can be made. It’s a challenge I’m excited to tackle.
Where has the major recent disruption in your sector come from?
I’m seeing a lot of buzz around the use of bots and AI, but am waiting to see if it really takes off and can make the job search experience that much easier. Creating ease of experience for both the company and applicant is a great aim, and I think that there are some clear wins that can be had in areas like scheduling, answering FAQs and collating data — especially when dealing with major scale. I’m still skeptical that bots are going to replace the role of recruiters in building and nurturing relationships with candidates, however. Despite the best technologies currently available, that human touch may be too much of a differentiator.
How is digitalization further going to reshape your business?
As a start-up founded in 2011 to disrupt company research and career advice, The Muse is very much a digital company through and through. I don’t see digitalization reshaping our business so much as it is already a part of our DNA. That being said, many of our clients and partners are going through a digital transformation and part of our work with them is helping navigate this new world.
Making data more accessible and intuitive, giving employers new avenues to engage with digital talent, and providing tools to stay authentic but also create employee stories at scale are all ways in which The Muse is helping employers move into the digital age with greater ease.