The Rise of the Machines: The Re-Humanization of Recruiting


In this video, Gild’s SVP of Marketing Robert Carroll discusses how technology is actually helping to humanize the hiring process, and at the same time making the role of recruiters more important, strategic, and fun.

Watch this on-demand webinar now to learn:

  • The role of technology in raising the profile and budgets of recruiting departments through increased productivity, quality-of-hire, and cost savings
  • How new developments in machine learning and data science are creating time for recruiters to focus on human tasks such as building rapport with candidates and development their employer brands
  • The emergence of the discipline of Hiring Success Management (HSM) for maximizing the hiring process, and what that means for modern recruiters

Webinar Transcript:

Scot: We’re pleased to welcome Robert Carroll, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Gild.

Robert: Thanks, Scot. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to speak here today. First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for joining me. I want to talk about something that may be a little uncomfortable for folks, but I think it’s something that’s really important to talk about and that is the rise of machines in hiring. Now, many of you may think that’s a really ominous thing to talk about, kind of very Terminatoresque, but I actually believe this is a fundamental change — making recruiting and hiring better and it’s actually humanizing it. And I’m going to build my case based on some of those assumptions.

First of all, a little bit about me. I’m Robert Carroll. I’m the SVP of Marketing at Gild. Gild was founded in 2011 and we have an end-to-end smart hiring platform for all phases of the hiring process and work with a lot of forward-looking companies, companies like Amazon, companies like TripAdvisor, companies like Facebook that are really focused in and have a rapid dedication to automating, to automation, to machine learning, to data science, to really drive their hiring processes and make hiring the best candidates faster, better, and to do that even more cost effectively. So my Twitter handle is @robcarroll and @gild is the Twitter handle for my company, so feel free to tweet about this discussion and I’d be more than happy to respond as I can.

So getting back to that titles, The Rise of the Machines, I have kind of an ominous picture of me. Terminator’s coming out this summer. But I think the rise of the machines is actually very much more human prospect that’s going to happen to us in the future, and as you saw yesterday, the lead story on was about the future of recruiters and about how technology’s actually going to replace the job of recruiters. Now I don’t really believe that at all. In fact, I think it’s going to make the role of the recruiter that much more important, that much more strategic and that much more fun and enjoyable over time. I do encourage you to go read that story. I found it really important.

And if you look at the world of before the machines, you look at the world of recruiting before that, it was kind of what you see right here. It was a lot of wasted time on very manual tasks, very repetitive tasks. The time to hire’s actually been increasing. Quality of hires has kind of stayed on par. And the cost of hiring, obviously, as I’m sure many of you have experienced, especially you talent leaders who have to manage budgets, has actually gone through the roof. And the perceived value, unfortunately, of recruiters in a company can be very kind of wonky. It’s not seen as all that strategic. You may get platitudes from CEO’s who’re saying the most important thing that I can do is drive hiring at a company, but at the end of the day, do you see your budgets increasing? I think those are questions that you need to ask yourself. I do believe machines are going to actually help drive the ascendency of recruiting over the coming years.

But what happened in the past? Why in the world before machines, the world before automation and machine learning, data science, data modeling, what happened before all of that? Well, unfortunately, a lot of people have been locked into a lot of tools and a broken ATS. In fact, the average company has about 16 different tools that they’re using for the hiring process, and the real bummer about all of that is none of those tools talk to each other and all of the collaboration happens over email. Now email is a great tool used appropriately, but it can also be a pain in the you know what because none of that data is saved. None of that communication trail is saved. It can’t be acted upon in many ways, and it can’t be backed and used as a resource for when you go back and try to find subsequent hires. So that’s a big, big challenge for folks and it’s really kept, I believe, recruiters down.

ATS’s are basically a 1990’s technology. Some of them have been improved, some of them are a little more consumerish and consumerish friendly and have easier workflows. But fundamentally, nothing really has changed. In fact, they’re kind of solving for the wrong problem. So data science, machine learning, new platforms that are emerging are trying to move past that world of the ATS or past that world of candidate relationship management systems as I said are a paradigm that goes back to the 1990s.

So if you look at the world of a recruiter today and the hiring pain pre-machine, it would kind of look like this. And what you have here is a hiring funnel on the left and all the activities that you have to do in that funnel, from creating and posting job reqs to finding and nurturing candidates, and then the actual collaborating and hiring across hiring teams, driving down to that hiring of that single candidate. Because the systems that we use traditionally, like a broken ATS, like these disparate point solutions for sourcing and interviewing etc., all those systems were broken. They weren’t linked together and they’re all based upon disparate database systems that didn’t really talk to each other. They didn’t share information. They didn’t auto-update information. So can you imagine going to your ATS to start sourcing recruits? You wouldn’t go because the information in there is old. It’s out of date. It’s not smart. Those things need to change.

And also, for the role of the recruiter and the talent leader in the organization, most of your time, 80% of your time, is at the top of the funnel tasks: creating job reqs, going out and posting stuff, really wonky sourcing requirements that’ll make you go out and cut and paste links and email them to a hiring manager. Things like that which really don’t scale are hugely time consuming and really keep the recruiter at a level that is very, very tactical, very, very supporting as opposed to being very, very strategic or really focusing on those things that only humans can do.

This is where I think machines and the rise of the machines are actually quite beneficial to recruiters and talent leaders, because they’re allowing you the time and allowing you the effort to really focus on those things that only humans can do: building rapport with candidates, building employer brands, things of that nature. It is physically and humanly impossible to source more than maybe 80 candidates or go through 80 resumes in a day to find and cherry pick ones that you may think should enter your hiring funnel. Those are the things that a machine should do for you. A machine can literally go through millions of resumes in a single day and cherry pick based on your requirements the candidates that would work well within your company. That’s a very, very different paradigm. Until that shifts, recruiters will be seen in those low status, kind of wonky positions that need to change.

So consequently, what you’re seeing out there is in this world before machines, you’re seeing that 70% of companies will lose prospective candidates because they simply can’t move fast enough. In fact, here in San Francisco, the market’s so hot right now, you have to know a candidate’s going to be on the market before the candidate’s on the market. You need to be able to go out and through machine learning and data modeling, predict when you think that person’s going to enter the market, even before they know it. That predictive hiring is a must, because by the time they are in market, they’re going to get snapped up in a matter of days. You just don’t have time to do it. Consequently, there’s this extended 70% of companies that are just simply moving too slowly.

And then turn-over from bad hires because I haven’t had the time to spend the human elements of myself, the non-machine learning, to really vet people, to really build rapport, to really determine if they’re going to be of value to my company, I haven’t had the time to do that, because there is no time because I’m doing all this other wonky stuff. And obviously, the three-X impact of the salary of a bad hire has huge potential of really working against your company and consequently, you’re not getting products to market, you’re not getting big ideas out of the new hires that you have because you’re just not making the right hire. Add to this the low status that was saying that we’re going to actually replace your job with machines, you can see where this shift has to happen, but it also requires a change in kind of the psychic environment, the psychic way of thinking, of the psyche of the recruiter moving towards a new paradigm.

So what if none of this stuff had to be like that? What if hiring could change? And fundamentally, I believe hiring is in a process of change. In fact, it’s a very, very big change called hiring success management. Now hiring success management is an emerging category based on data science, based on machine learning, based on predictive analytics that is emerging right now to really drive a change within recruiting. So what does that mean? It means moving away from a focus on simply workflow and tracking applicants with a lot of data that stays very old and stale and non-updated to moving to making better decisions, decisions that really allow you to hire the right people for the right roles faster and more effectively.

In fact, HSM really emphasizes data analytics and predictive analytics so that over time, you’re making even better decisions. The more you use an HSM solution, the more it learns form you and learns from your company, the more it understands who are the candidates that are successful to your company and who are the people that really, once they get in, really do a stellar job? What have you learned about them? What have you learned about their attributes and their behaviors, etc.? And then bring that back to the front of the funnel so that you start hiring people that will map to success at your company. It’s a whole other shift.

Now, I don’t want you to take my word for it. Aberdeen Research has put out a report about HSM, talking about how powerful and efficient and effective it is. And I would urge you to send me an email at and I’d be happy to send you this free report, Hiring Success Management: Moving Beyond the ATS. Once again, Aberdeen has done some really pioneering work on looking at hiring success management and how that’s really shifting this paradigm within hiring and recruiting in general.

Now, this kind of transition from an ATS or a system of multiple, multiple technologies to one of hiring success management is not a new paradigm shift. I mean, this happened very similarly with contact management evolving into CRM, in this case, customer relationship management and not candidate relationship management. This transition has happened before. Sales tends to be very early adopters of new technologies. HR, historically, they’re not the earliest of adopters. So I think this transition is happening now for HR in general.

Back with CRM, if you looked at content management, and many of you remember these, they were basically just an electronic Rolodex of dumb information. Data in, data out. And they were really focused on making you more productive as an individual, basically, a standalone system. That evolved to CRM, which was a much more holistic view, 360-degree view, of the customer, and it really focused on teams. So as opposed to that single point individual, how can I leverage an entire sales team around a specific customer to drive a sale? Then it integrated with other systems and had a lot of touch points, that sort of thing.

Similarly, if you were to look at HSM, and the shift that’s happening from hiring with an ATS to hiring with an HSM technology, it’s very, very similar to that CRM model. For example, ATS’s have traditionally been static resume repositories. You put a resume in, come back two years later, you pull out the same resume. There’s nothing different about it. In an HSM-type system, you would put in that information, put in that data, and then it would continue to evolve. It would continue to grow. It would continue to change as that person changes. So I come back in two years, I immediately know where that person lives. I know their contact information. I know how their skill set has grown over time. I have the most current, up to date information on that person. What a concept. Seems pretty basic, but we don’t have it. It’s not happening in the ATS world.

It’s also very recruiter-centric as opposed to using and leveraging an entire collaborative team, not only the recruiter, but the hiring team, basically everyone in the company. The more people that use an HSM solution, the more it learns, the better it gets, the more it learns specifically about your company and how you hire and who are going to be the best candidates for success at your company. There’s also the manual workflow I talked about in a traditional ATS system. All of those onerous tasks, like sourcing, like scheduling interviews, what if all of that stuff was automated into a very, very simple process? Really accelerating and expediting your workflow from traditional methods of communicating across teams which are really onerous and tough right now.

So I wanted to get that concept across. This isn’t the first time there’s been a shift like this, but I really feel like it’s happening in hiring right now, moving from the ATS to these HSM solutions and consequently that’s having a huge impact with HSM, with the rise of the machines, there is this paradigm happening and shifting. You look at the best in class customers out there, best in class companies, and this is data that’s from Aberdeen Research once again and you can see the numbers here. You can see the huge improvements that happened with companies that embraced hiring success management. Those best of class companies are really looking for those types of technologies right now and really leveraging them.

There are two access, likely, as all others, to show sources of where those hires come from and how specific sources link to employee performance. So this is where it gets interesting, because it doesn’t stop with the hiring of a candidate. It doesn’t stop with the onboarding of a candidate. It continues on, so I’d look at all that performance data of an employee in a company, and then map that back to hiring and map to the data models and performance models and things like that, and it starts to auto suggest those candidates that will be great in my company. It’s a really big paradigm shift and that’s all happening through automation. That’s all happening through machine learning. A human being cannot do that. We’re not capable of doing that.

So what is the anatomy of an HSM platform? What are the technologies that are really required in order to move these things forward? So think about it this way, and I’m not going to go into every specific feature and functionality necessary in an HSM platform, but think about it this way. Recruiting a new job, HSM technology should be able to mine millions of job postings, so can you imagine a world where you’re typing a job req, and based upon data science and machine learning, it will actually start to source candidates for you as you write a job req in real time? So I don’t need to write a job req, send it out to a bunch of job boards, and then wait for candidates to come in. What if I just start writing a job req and candidates are sourced for me automatically and presented to me automatically so I can start working? What a concept. It saves hours and hours, maybe even days of time.

And then the thing that’s really interesting is the technology is starting to learn the types of candidates who have successfully been hired into your companies. So try to look at that data model. How do I apply that to new candidates that are coming in so I can start mapping them to success?

Lastly, and I said this before, that concept of keeping your data fresh and updated in real time, all the time. What a concept. Can you imagine going back to an ATS and trying to source from it? It just doesn’t happen. And you’re spending so much time out spanning webs, cutting and pasting links, sending those to a hiring manager through email. It’s really an ineffective process.

So once again, HSM is that integrating data mining, workflow, predictive analytics to make those really, really smart recommendations at every step in the hiring process. Really once again a fundamental shift. So, because of HSM, all of your metrics are going to shift. Those ones that I showed earlier or the ones about saving time, now that’s just simply automation. Can you imagine all the pressure you’re getting today to build out your employer brand, to do more events, to do those sorts of things? Where are you going to get the time to do that? Unless you find time by automating all of that stuff that you’re doing, those manual tasks, you’re sunk. How are you going to move faster? I mean, that’s just so important these days.

How do you automate systems to move faster? How do you leverage the machines to make you more intelligent, to do your bidding, to do your work so that you can focus on those things that only humans can do and the things that really make you special and strategic? Obviously, this leads to better hires and it reduces the cost of hiring, let alone all the frustration that you’re going to experience with existing systems.

So here’s how the world changes. I’m going back to the funnel, the hiring funnel, and you can see how this has shifted here in a few different ways. Fundamentally, over to the right, if you bring all those disparate systems and replace them with an end-to-end platform, with systems that talk to each other, that run off of the same database, shared data and shared living data that’s constantly changing and constantly updating, it changes the game for you. It really allows you to focus your time and effort on those high value strategic and differentiated tasks that make you great. So if you look at the funnel now, it’s flipped. Instead of spending 80% at the top of your funnel, where you can apply the machines, you’re spending 80% at the bottom of the funnel, those things that really require you to develop rapport, that really require you to get in front of and build your employer brand, the things that only you can do, that only humans can do. Changes the game in your perception within the company. You become much, much more strategic. You become much more high touch. You become much more valuable.

Where would you like to be? At the top of the funnel or at the bottom of the funnel in terms of focusing your time? It becomes really, really important. I think this is where machines are actually not going to displace recruiters. I think they’re actually going to uplift and raise the role of recruiters in companies, because they’re not doing those wonky, low status behaviors anymore. They’re focusing on things that really change companies, fundamentally change companies. Big, big deal. So, once again, I would really encourage you to send me a tweet. We’ll look at stuff. We can communicate that way. Take a moment, really explore HSM. I think it would really be helpful. I’m putting up the Aberdeen Report again. Please feel free to send me an email and I’ll send you that report so you can really start to get a handle around hiring success management, really learn how HSM can change and improve your company, and how it really uplifts your role within your organization. And we can all embrace this, not only the rise of the machines, but the ascendency and rise of recruiters and talent leaders across the industry.

Thank you.