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Lelia Lim

Why We Still Need The Human Touch in Executive Recruitment

The recruitment of senior leadership talent is critical for organisational success. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution causing massive technological shifts, AI has become a game-changer in boosting executive recruitment efforts to build and nurture talent. However, with HR known to be very human and personal, it’s essential that the adoption of technology not only attracts and keeps top talent but does not overshadow the essential human touch.

Talent acquisition experts are increasingly using technology to alleviate administrative burdens and help recruit and engage the best leadership talent. AI is recognised to provide better analysis, predictions, and information diagnoses; it offers simplified processes for scheduling interviews, screening resumes and assessing and identifying talented leaders. It leads to saving time and effort from investing in lousy leadership hires, enabling the focus of recruitment efforts in the right place.

Technology allows talent acquisition specialists to become more efficient and able to conduct a broader range of searches and further develop leadership relationships. With more time spent working closely with high-potential candidates, they provide more opportunities to identify the best talent for an organisation. The result is a talent pipeline more in sync with the company’s needs and identifying the best-fitting leaders.

Also, it is also extremely tough for recruitment experts to acquire leaders with the right future-ready traits, in-depth industry knowledge, years of professional experience, and high salary demands. So, digital technology that helps with this challenge can only be beneficial and invaluable in proving and quantifying the impact of bringing innovative and experienced senior leaders on board.

However, although AI tools are quick to sift through massive data sets and easily evaluate applicants for senior leadership and managerial roles, we must bear in mind that candidates are not solely chosen based on qualifications, experiences, and keywords. There is also their personal branding on digital platforms, referral networks and LinkedIn recommendations, and more importantly, their personal and soft skills.

Therefore despite technology being a powerful tool, it cannot assess these personal branding issues and the all-important soft skills required of leaders that drive innovation, such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. AI cannot manage how people manage and lead others. And for executive recruiters, AI does not stand a chance in areas such as face-to-face interviewing, assessing for cultural fit, headhunting from competitors, building talent pools, gathering candidate feedback, delivering constructive criticism, building relationships and conveying culture about the employer’s brand!

The fact is, recruitment technology is fantastic, but it must work with the human touch to be successful. In talent acquisition, you can’t eliminate people from the people industry. Sensitivity, sound judgement, reasoning, empathy, intuitiveness, persuasion and negotiation skills – are all crucial human skills in the executive recruitment equation that cannot be assessed digitally and only though human touch!  

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