We have for long known that technology, robotics, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the world big time. Now we have one more parameter in this equation – COVID-19. This and “the COVID-19s of the future”, will force the world to develop new ways and methods to minimise the impact of these viruses.

Our behaviour and values will change as a result of COVID-19, creating a demand for all kinds of new services and products, most yet unknown to us. This again creates opportunities for new business ideas. The business world all over, also the recruiting industry, is thinking about what these new services and products could be.

The job market, how you search for a new job and how people are recruited in the future, will change. It may not be enough to pay attention to only your “next job”. Maybe you need to look further into the future already now before you land a job. Because that “next job” may not be there anymore after five years.  

The Executive Search Industry is not immune to changes. Virtual meetings and interviewing candidates virtually will likely increase, also in the Search Industry. It is not always easy for a person to take a 3-4-hour break from work to visit a Head Hunter, so to start the process with a one hour “get to know” virtual interview with the Head Hunter might not be such a bad idea. Of course, person to person interview is, in my mind, a must-have, if we continue in the recruiting process.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is also likely to enter more strongly now. The benefits are indisputable. By 1) doing talent sourcing 2) locating, processing, and analysing information faster 3) providing better business intelligence 4) screening and assessing candidates, AI increases efficiency and reduces time to hire.

Already today, CV:s are screened by robots, and you can be dropped from the recruiting process without a human ever seeing your job application. Already today you might get to an interview, only to realise that you are interviewed by a robot and also dropped by the robot, without ever talking to a human being. This is increasing. I find this scary. I feel we should draw a line somewhere, both for ethical and professional reasons.

Our ethical, moral concepts, motivation, behaviour, feelings, ambitions are based on, e.g., our characteristics, culture, political views, religion, race, gender, life values, desires, education type/level, sexual orientation. Can AI truly understand this dimension of the human mindset?

Then the professional dimension. I like to think that the hiring Client wants a Business Partner with outstanding business acumen. A real-world live Search Consultant, who interacts with Top Executives, learns who they are, learns to know them, learns from them and continuously so – instead of a robot, an algorithm.

I also believe any hiring Client or Candidate prefer having a top-level Search Consultant deciding who is to become a finalist Candidate in a search process, rather than a robot doing it. While databases, Internet, LinkedIn, and AI can take you a long way, they will, in my mind, never replace an experienced professional Search Consultant in Senior Executive Management Executive Search. I like to end by quoting myself.

“Who would you choose? An experienced Search Consultant with excellent business acumen – with whom you have developed a good, trustworthy personal relationship over the years – with whom you can talk about anything, also personal matters, discuss business world gossip – with whom you can go golfing, or even share a pint of beer? Or, would you choose a robot, that you know may know a lot of things, but really could not care less about you – and can’t even golf.” 

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