Recruiters, You will be replaced by AI If You Keep Doing What You’re Doing

It’s a very hot topic in the Recruitment space right now. Weather AI will be a replacement for Recruiters. And this article isn’t meant to be a reassuring message telling you everything’s going to be okay and that’s all just a hype.

But more of a warning advice to those out there grinding & hustling in recruitment not actually considering the possibility of this manifesting into reality. And here it goes.

Let’s cut to the chase, You are going to be replaced by a machine if:

  • You believe you can learn any market on the job without a minimal amount of homework on the client, role and market.
  • All you do is collect CV’s by sending out broadcasts to your CV DB, and come back and tell your hiring manager “Hey, I’m not really familiar with this field, I’m just the person who gets you CV’s “. Which brings me to the next zinger!
  • You blame the hiring manager for bad hires, and you think recruiters have nothing to do with the process. Meaning all your job is literally just to crawl some 20 CV’s online, pre close some candidates and come back to throw them in the laps of the HM.

If you practice any or all of these in your job, then I have some morbidly bad news for you. You will most definitely be replaced by a freaking machine.

Let’s look at things from a HM perspective.

If I am a hiring manager and want to fill a purple squirrel type role. Who would I rather work with?

  1. A recruiter who asks me stupid questions about what my company does and what the role is, which shows they haven’t done any kind of research on this market what so ever, and who comes back to me with 20 CV’s every week and not one of them is relevant enough.
  2. A silent machine which I tell to fetch me 20 profiles off the internet for people who are relevant to the role I am hiring for. And Likely 80% are going to be a damn good fit.

Chances are I’m going with 2.

As a hiring manager I’m hiring a recruiter because I have a problem, and my problem is FILLING THE ROLE! And not just getting CV’s.

Now let’s look at Consultants and why people hire them. There are three reasons why companies hire consultants to achieve something:

  1. Inability to do it on their own.
  2. Wanting to do it faster.
  3. Wanting to follow a proven system and have guidance by someone who’s actually done it before!

Now do any of these points ring a bell and seem kind of similar to the problems hiring companies have?

This certainly means the role of the recruiter is to SOLVE the problem and not to add pain to injury and tell the hiring manager about their shortcomings.

If you think otherwise, then you should probably best update your title to sourcer and downgrade your pay by 20K and cap your commission and I’ll swallow my tongue in return.

Dead are the days when a recruitment consultant is actually a person who is hired to solve a problem.

Now, Let’s look at the definition of a consultant: “a person who provides expert adviceprofessionally.” SIMPLE!

Obviously I will highly stress on the expert advice part, because laughingly enough it isn’t existent in nowadays recruitment engagement.

Which is a shame because 90% of recruiters out there insist on adding the “consultant” word to their LinkedIn profile title.

So again, if the plan is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing in recruitment, chances are we’ll be replaced my machines.

But it’s really time to actually bring back the consultative approach into recruitment, be expert advisors in our field, and be actually invested in solving our client’s staffing problems.

Rather than be frantically obsessed about just making the placement and cashing out, we can advise our clients on the best strategy to hire a good fit for a role, or educate them about this market, what salaries should be offered and how to improve the way they advertising the role etc..

Sadly practitioners of the cashing-out strategy will eventually end up with a sum average of zero billings in the long term because someone else who’s actually an expert in that sector will crush them and dominate that market.

Find out how you can fight the machine by booking a quick chat with me today:

Why My Interest in Recruitment

On many occasions when I initiated conversations with people while doing my research on Recruitment, I sensed a few of them had a bit of an inkling inside and were probably wondering “who on earth is this guy and why is he talking to me about Tech Recruitment?”

So I thought I’d like to dedicate this post as a proper introduction to myself and the things I will be posting about moving forward. Hoping it will clarify my background and motivations to many of those I’ve spoken to already or those I will connect with in the future.

My name is Jawad Sabra (obviously!) and I’ve been working in the field of IT for about 8 years now, over this time i’ve had the fortune to work in plenty of roles across various layers of IT. From working with in-house IT services teams, to SME size Digital Agencies and Corporate Companies owned by Global Tech conglomerates.

To get even more in the gritty details, I’ve worked with Service Desk, Service Delivery, Service Support, Network Infrastructure, Server Infrastructure, Web Support, Web Development, Web Management, and Software Development Delivery teams. So I’d like to think I’ve been able to gather a holistic view and understanding of how things work in the IT world!

The reason why I mention this is to reflect on the fact that i’ve managed to get hands on knowledge from with in the battlefield in sourcing and delivering Software/Web Development projects over the years part which mostly were in the Digital Marketing space as it’s an area I a very keen interest in in the recent years.

Fast forward till now, being a candidate for many development roles over the years, i’ve spoken to many recruiters about many different roles, and me, not being the typical dismissive type candidate who doesn’t want to waste time talking to hundreds of recruiters when they haven’t got anything, I actually took the time to listen and have a conversation with each and everyone of them.

At the beginning I didn’t make anything out of it, I was just too oblivious and too consumed by focussing on finding the right position or the next jump for me that’ll be better than my last role. But at some point I started noticing patterns emerging among these calls i’ve had. I noticed many recruiters I speak to have very little knowledge of the tech and market in which I am looking for a job in, better yet many of them were literally asking me “can you explain to me how this system works?” or “what is X?”, which is the product I specialise in.

This made me think, It must be really tough for these people having to be out there making calls to devs and trying to extract information from them and at the same time trying to sell them on the role, how would that work? I mean as a candidate If I want to talk to a recruiter about a particular job and they have no clue what is the role, what kind of experience do I expect moving down the hiring process? how much confidence do I have in this recruiter and in their ability to place me with this company? I’m not sure if other candidates have the same thought process, but certainly these are things that crossed my mind.

Then I thought, If you’re working in a very niche tech field and you’re looking to learn about this tech from candidates, how many candidates do you have to lose before you actually build enough confidence and credibility so you’re able to sell the next candidate on the role, is there really enough candidates that you can do trial and error with? and just so I was sure about this, I actually went out and started asking these recruiters, “what do you do to learn about this X tech or whether this candidate is good for the role or not?”, and to my surprise it was actually by trial and error, every single tech recruiter I spoke to just uses trial and error with the candidates, as well as with the clients to learn their way in.. Then I thought, surely there must be a better way to do this, surely as a recruiter working in a very small candidate pool I can’t afford to do this. How many clients do I have to lose owing to the fact that I know jack about this tech or that?

There must be a better way to do this!

This is where I started doing a lot of research on recruitment and speaking to many participants in this market. Asking about their challenges, problems, daily frustrations, and I found 90% of the people I spoke to struggle with the fact they can’t get through to candidates, they can’t verify if these candidates have done the thing they’re claiming they did, and third and most importantly (this came with a lot of emotion and pain attached) hiring managers taking ages to give feedback and sometimes not even giving any.

And I thought, maybe there’s something here, maybe I can connect the dots together. But I did actually start seeing that many market participants do admit Recruitment is in a very bad state as an Industry, reputation is completely tarnished an that’s why these poor folks can’t get through to meaningful candidates over the phone, none of them (candidates) want to talk to recruiters anymore.

Also How can you expect to validate someone’s experience or verify it and you don’t even have any knowledge of the field they’re working in? that’s CV Matching 101, but funny enough some recruiters do seek to learn about these tech by starting a coding course on, but that’s not really how learn about the role or tech. Let me tell you now, You don’t need to know code to be a good tech recruiter.

Last point and certainly not least. There must be a reason why hiring managers are slow to give you feedback or just treat you like shit overall. My first inclination is to think they might just be too busy, or just too busy talking to 10 other recruiters they put on their PSL to source for this role and they don’t expect much from you as an individual. Maybe it’s because you didn’t position yourself as the trusted advisor who’s an expert in their field, but rather the generalist CV crawling type of recruiter who normally says: “I don’t know this field I just get you the CV’s and you decide”.

And let me tell you! Clients never know what they want, hiring manages included. Who on earth then is supposed to know who is the right talent to fill this role? if the hiring manager doesn’t, and the recruiter had rid themselves from that responsibility, who’s left to judge if this is the right fit or not? so far this activity has been predominantly based on a strategy called “taking stabs in the dark” for both parties. I can write 10 articles about how this strategy is one of the biggest reasons for failure on many Software Development Projects.

This is why I’ve started working with recruiters to help them build their reputation and be able to make more placements predictably by attracting more suitable candidates and picking up high paying clients. We do this by addressing the three points above using a proven system that I myself have implemented and experienced the results of, and was able to place 4 high salary perm developers in the window of a week without even trying. I will be publishing another article about this in the coming weeks. In the meantime to find out more about this story checkout my website here

The Real Reason Behind Candidate Drop-outs

I am in no way a recruiter, but i briefly wore the hat of one when I placed 2 perm developers in 1 week without even trying, while I saw other recruiters hustle and struggle to make this number over the span of months in particular tech markets. Over the past 5 years working in the IT industry and walking in the shoes of a candidate, i’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the good recruiters out there and a lot of the not so up to par ones as well, and over this time i’ve had many observations about tech recruitment especially recently when I embarked on a thorough research asking questions and trying to find answers.

In the past few months since the end of 2017, I’ve been talking to many recruiters and reading a lot on this craft, and it appeared to me one of the biggest problems tech recruiters face in high demand technology markets is candidates dropping off mid engagement, which is understanbly frustrating especially working with limited candidate pools, and it leaves one confused and unsure what to do in order to avoid this happening again. Your candidate not even picking up your calls or responding to your emails and not sharing any feedback that you could start with, leaves you pondering in your own head as to what has been the reason for them to just cut you off like that.

Coming back to me and from my experience on the candidate side there are a few things I could say about this. I can think of two main reasons why a candidate would cut off their recruiter and never get back to them:

  1. They just found another opportunity or accepted an offer (This you don’t have control over and it’s too late down the hiring process to rectify this)
  2. They didn’t take you seriously and don’t have any confidence in you or your ability to find them the right role (Now this you have control over and i’ll tell you why)

If a candidate finds another job there’s little you can do to keep them interested in what you have to offer, therefore the best you can do here is accept the nature of the job market and move on, because really when companies or recruiters fill a role they have they don’t get back to each candidate and tell them they weren’t successful (only a few do this). The only control you have over this outcome is to focus on the input which came way earlier in the engagement process before reaching this stage and this gets me to the second point.

If your candidates aren’t taking you seriously chances are it’s because you’ve given them a good reason not to. The first impression you build with your candidate is very very important because that will set the tone and premise on which you will continue your hiring engagement. In that first conversation you must be able to show them you know what you’re talking about, you’re confident about your knowledge of the role (the tech involved and the responsibilities), you’re confident in your knowledge of the client’s work environment and requirements.

Once you exhibit the fact that you’re well informed, this leaves your candidate no choice but to take you seriously and listen to what you’ve got to offer, and this has given you edge of 90% of any other recruiter who might approach your candidate with another opportunity and it drops the chances of your candidate cutting you off by 80% as well, because once you’ve built a relationship with them based on confidence and competence, the least they owe you is an explanation as to why they’re not interested in the role you have anymore, and this right here has flipped your failed attempt to fill the role into an opportunity to learn from feedback.

In a nutshell the best way for you to reduce candidate drop offs and improve your ability to close a perfect candidate for your role is to become a better recruiter. Is it really that simple? how do you do that? you might ask. Try to educate yourself better on the tech involved in your roles, do the homework when it comes to your client, their working environment and requirements, and finally give yourself more time to do these tasks by focussing a little more on one area of the market than others and not just be jack of all trades.

If you would like to find out more on how you can achieve this faster and hassle free, check out my website and book a FREE consultation with me today:

Two Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Tech Recruitment Skills

90 percent of recruiters I spoke to seem to think their biggest problem is being able to find candidates or getting through to them. They’re wrong, here’s why.

Everyone has access to Job boards, CV DBs, LinkedIn and most importantly to English language skills which allow them to connect and socialize with potential candidates, but everyone’s acting as if there’s still this hive of candidates hidden somewhere which no one has gotten to yet and the only way to get to it is by using some fancy AI invention or some sort of “The Matrix” inspired automation tool. I know this because just the other day someone actually tried to sell me on hiring them as recruiters because they have access to this “really good new software that can provide high calibre candidates really really quickly”. But let me break it to you. There isn’t such candidate hive.

Nowadays we’re closer tan ever to full penetration of the markets and candidate pools, with all the tools previously mentioned and the different social media channels, 90% of recruiters stand to get access to 90% percent of all potential candidates at any given time. So what is the problem then?

We need to take step back and see what’s happening after we engage these candidates, If I’m a recruiter and I’m able to send 500 outreach attempts (emails or calls) to candidates about a certain role this week, and only 20 of those response and convert into interviews and then 15 of those 20 drop out after arranging interviews, then my problem is certainly not FINDING the candidates, I probably should look at the way i’m approaching this candidate hunt or in fact the whole acquisition process.

Most likely what I’m experiencing right now is the result of something I and many other recruiters have been doing for years. Just grab that role or “urgent requirement” from the client and broadcast it through my CV DB or to any of my LinkedIn connections who match a single keyword from the brief and see what comes out the other end.. This very behaviour and mechanism in sourcing/activating candidates for roles has driven most candidate pools away from wanting to work with recruiters.

There’s also an element of quality vs quantity here, rather than making 200 meaningless outreach messages about the role, maybe I can spend 30 more minutes to identify a few candidates who might actually be a genuine match to the spec. You see right now with this massive shift in the market place, where job markets are becoming more job rich and candidate short, it takes a little more than just broadcasting a JD to a host of emails for recruiters to make a placement, it’s not a numbers game anymore.

This leaves us then with one other option to create a better chance for ourselves as recruiters in being able to fill these roles. To focus more on the quality of our engagements. How do we do that?

  1. Be more tech relevant. Don’t send a PHP role to a Java developer or a Java role to a C# developer who’s done some Java project 10 years ago in uni (obvious single keyword match here)
  2. Be more position relevant. Don’t send an architect role to a mid level developer who has a brilliant potential in being a technical lead but he just needs this next less pressuring role and a bit more experience to fill that position

And how do we achieve being relevant? being informed. Educate yourself, spend time to learn about your markets, your candidates. Completely changing your approach for sourcing a candidate for your next role, it surely sounds like a lot to do and a bit scary to some. But it’s worth trying because doing what you’ve always done will get you more of what you’re getting: More frustration trying to get through to candidates, and more candidates dropping out when you actually do get through to them, and last and not least your hiring managers taking the piss and treating you just like another CV crawling bot.

Powering yourself with all these DB’s, bulk outreach, AI or automation tools and going in for the candidate hunt without the necessary skills is like a deer hunter having the best shotgun of all but zero ability in targeting and the noisiest way of moving about. It doesn’t work.

The best way to get ahead then is to gain this edge over your competition by getting access to knowledge which is the insider insight into the candidates world, what client requirements look like from on the battlefield, and the specifics of building teams and delivering projects in particular tech markets. The best way to get this knowledge is from the very mouth of the beast itself, the mind of a technical candidate who’s there to help.

I’ve put together a free training for recruiters on how they can improve their ability to source, screen, and place candidates in technology jobs in addition to other topics. If you or anyone you know is interested checkout my website and book a free Consultation today:

How to Attract Candidates Without Even Trying

It is true there has been quite a lot of efforts in the recruitment industry around candidate attraction in tech markets. I see podcasts and video conference channels solely dedicated for this topic and people daily dissecting different methods and techniques on how to attract talent. From marketing automation to methods of copywriting and promoting job adverts. I wouldn’t want to make assumptions on how the results have been, but from my experience as a candidate and from the research I have done speaking to fellow developers in various disciplines, I could say a few things.

Historically, or maybe just recently it seems to me the craft of recruitment has been closely aligned with sales, it’s looked at as a numbers game where a “consultant” is a glorified sales rep who’s target is to dial as many numbers on their phone and send as many retargeting emails as they could to be able to reach as many candidates as humanly possible telling them about this “urgent role” their client has got, and the rationale is, “If i send 500 emails, and make 20 calls every day this week, I should surely be able to harvest about 10 good CVs (or at least ones I think are good) and send out 5 of those to my client which will eventually get 2 or 3 people into interviews”. This is more or less the strategy which 80% of recruitment businesses follow and I don’t mean to bash or insult anyone, Only highlighting the impact of the rising demand on particular skills which has pushed recruiters to frantically hop on any new or niche tech market they come across, or any requirements that come in from their clients and try to cast their net as wide as they can thinking that’s the way for them to be most profitable in a time where demand on skilled talent is as high as it gets.

But there’s a small problem with this strategy, It doesn’t work anymore. No one has ever stopped to think, why is this high demand on talent though, it is clear it’s because of shortage of skills, and what does that mean? limited number of candidates and what does a small number of candidates mean? it’s not a numbers game anymore. Because when you rotate once and twice and trice on the same candidate pool with your seemingly attractive sales pitch for the role, chances are you’ve pretty much put yourself in front of the whole candidate pool in the window of days. And what happens if your way of presenting this role is poor because you have minimal knowledge of the client or tech? you’ve pretty much ruined the whole candidate pool for yourself (and your colleagues too!). You might be asking how.

I’ve actually seen this happen first hand being part of a very niche technology market with quite a small candidate pool, where the developers in this technology pretty much have a dedicated Slack channel to call out recruiters on how bad they’re approach is to selling these candidates certain roles, and what do you think will happen when some 3000 developers all see your name and laugh at how bad you are at selling this role? You’ve lost yourself the chance to make any placements in this small yet very profitable niche tech market.

Now that we’ve established it’s not a numbers game anymore (limited quantity) let’s try and focus on the quality. When working with such small candidate pools you are expected to be up to the standard in terms of your knowledge of your client requirements, the market, and have a minimal understanding of the technology involved. No one ever stopped to think to ask candidates what they care about, or what they aspire to, or at least what draws their attention. Most recruiters are out there brainstorming theories and making plans and starting full blown startups which are all based on their personal experience in recruitment and minimal research on the market or candidates side which is the side they claim they are the advocate of in their so called innovative endeavor.

So enough foreplay, tell me why i’m reading this, tell me WHAT DO CANDIDATES WANT?

It’s simple, but not really, let me explain. the recruitment industry has gotten so distorted that candidates in small pools and niche technologies dispise recruiters and want to cut them out of the whole job hunt process once and for all, the good news is they really can’t because there’s always going to be a need for experts in finding talent and activating those passive candidates along with a lot of other headwork recruiters can help with and I don’t really need to go into why recruitment is here to stay, that’s a different conversation. But if we drill a bit further with candidates and look beyond this emotionally impulsive grudge they have against recruiters, we can see that all they want (as a start) is to work with someone who knows what they’re talking about, and that’s where it gets simple.

We have gone and complicated things by trying to think hard and come out with ideas in our own head on how to make things good for the candidates without speaking to candidates, how do we attract them? how do I make this job advert sexy enough? etc.. but really all candidates want to know is am I, as a recruiter, being transparent with them? do I know my client and their work environment or I just skimmed some information off of their website and I’m still to have my first chat with the hiring manager after I get interest from this candidate? Do I really know the role and the tech involved or did I just google some stuff and circled the buzzwords used in this industry or just fished some information from a few candidates who will not pick up my calls now? These tricks might have worked with those candidates fresh out of uni and looking to get their first commercial job, or those who are just desperate and need an immediate placement. But for the remaining 90% of candidates in this niche, they can now look through this, matter of fact it’s gotten so bad they don’t even want any recruiters getting through to them.

How do we solve this? Educate yourself, be informed about the tech field, the client, their requirements, and the candidates. Take the time to focus on particular needs your client has and don’t try to be a glorified body for hire to lift any dirty work they might have. Be a little selective in terms of the markets you want to work in, this will allow you to learn more on the technologies, the different client needs, and most importantly what makes candidates tick in these particular markets. Once you do this you’ll be able to build a reputation that beats any AI or marketing automation tooling out there that’s made for attracting candidate. You will be able to naturally make job adverts, or send out emails which directly appeal to your candidate pool and get them to respond and want to work with you and listen to what you have to offer.

I will expand further on these points in a future article where I will highlight the importance of being specialist rather than being generalist in tech recruitment.

If you’re interested in boosting your ability to attract the best talent and differentiate yourself in Tech recruitment markets, book a Free Strategy Session with me today.