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The Robots Are Coming…Slowly

By September 13, 2018No Comments

When it comes to clickbait blog topics, “HR Tech” and “the future of work” are the LinkedIn equivalents of “naked singles in your area”. Most of these articles tell us of a brave new world. A world where AI is harnessed to decide which tie you are to wear, your route to work, and who the new superstar employee sitting next to you will be. Before getting carried away with the hoopla of a post-Cyberdyne Systems-inspired apocalypse, where only John Connor can save us, it’s worth bearing in mind research like this recently published (and therefore funded) by Manpower Group.

To summarise in true Whiteboard fashion, candidates in the most part, aren’t really digging Recruitment Tech. They’ll apply to a job posted via social media, but that’s where engagement trails off, with only 9% of Australians having completed a video interview. Even the number of Aussies applying to “social media job ads” (whatever that actually means), is 8% less than the global average. It could be argued that this lack of adoption is due to a lack of availability. Perhaps those brutish Australian hiring managers are too ham-fisted to set up a video interviewing platform? Evidence would suggest however, that this lack of tech engagement is more driven by candidate behaviour and choice;

“When asked what technology they preferred to use during the candidate experience, even Australia’s Early HR Tech Adopters – those most likely to use new technology for a job search – selected high-touch, in-person interviews as their number one preference (27 per cent), with video interviews coming in at only 4 percent.”

Manpower’s research also highlights that Australians have high-adoption of electronic applications, but this seems to be where the tech-love affair ends. They’ll flick off a CV, but would then rather deal with a actual Recruiter (of all people!) than record themselves with a clip-on tie.


This desire to avoid a self-service approach reminded me of one of the many banes of my life; self-service supermarket checkouts. Should John Connor actually be sent back in time to destroy a leather-jacketed Arnold Schwarzenegger , I’d suggest he take a detour into my local Countdown to take on these soulless, job-stealing, cash-thieving, droids first. I won’t bore you with the full extent and rationale of my hatred, but let’s be clear, MY ITEM IS IN THE F*CKING BAGGING AREA.

Alas, I am in the minority. A semi-recent survey revealed that 66 percent of shoppers preferred self-service and self-checkout. Unlike shopping for a job, we have seen a tide shift in the desire to have personal interactions when buying wafer-thin ham and tampons. We want our grocery shopping to be as transactional as possible it would seem. Supermarket bosses must be rubbing their hands together at a customer base who want to do their employees work for them, whilst hiring managers are still chained to their desk, their metronomic telephone arm banging out after-hours phone screens like it’s going out of fashion.

Two obvious reasons for this spring to mind; firstly we shop for food more than we shop for jobs. We’ve therefore had more chance to become comfortable with mindlessly scanning bar codes and pressing the call button because of the stupid bagging area, or perhaps just maybe as a grown man I wanted to buy a goddam bottle of wine to have with my steak which apparently has no weight according to the damn bagging area. Or just maybe, buying ready meals for one at 9pm represents a very different proposition than talking about our achievements, aspirations, failings, and desires to a living, breathing recruitment professional.

Currently, I think it’s the latter.