Where’s the humanity in a world of automation?

Harvey John embarked on a two-day trip to the first-ever London Sourcing Summit (#SOSUUK). The idea behind this was to broaden the spectrum of our technical ability and identify innovations we can utilise.

It was a great event that was by no means disappointing. It gave us all a sense of confidence at Harvey John, as we found that a lot of the best practices showcased were already our routine methods!

There were some great speakers and some astonishing results performed live in front of us! Having said all this, what I felt was a recurring theme, was the perceived need to incorporate automation into every part of a resourcing/recruitment consultant’s job role!


By definition, ‘automation’ means:

“The technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum. a mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions automatically, without continuous input from an operator. act or process of automating.” *

To put this into a recruitment perspective; the use of chatbots and auto-message software would be used as a replacement to human interaction.

Summit Speakers

Two arguments came to mind when looking back on the sourcing summit.

The first:

– Stevie Buckley | Honesty, Transparency & Empathy. The sourcing trifecta

Stevie is clearly in the corner of the human approach. He started with an example of a conversation with a chatbot. Initially normal, but soon deteriorated into an illiterate mess! It was immediately obvious what message Stevie was trying to portray to us all. Stevie argued that automation makes it harder to sympathise with the humans on the other end. From a personal perspective, I know I’d be happier if I could speak to someone online who perceives and evaluates our conversation on a personal level.

The Ying to this yang would have been the final talk on Day 1.

– Karen Azulai | Augmented Sourcing: Next Generation Roadmap

Karen travelled from Israel to talk at the summit and her speciality was significantly situated in automation’s corner. Going with the less informative approach, she steered more towards a showcase of what software is useful.

Karen argued that the traditional sourcer is dead. She believed that if you’re not utilising new automation software then you’ll be left behind! The reaction from the audience was of a mixed variety as some felt passionately that you should not take the human approach out of practice whilst others felt the same as Karen.

What are my thoughts on automation?

Here at Harvey John our first instinct when it comes to our candidate relationship is one of a personal approach. We believe that if you’ve shown your genuine interest, and put the time into researching your candidate’s background the chance of a positive response is greatly improved.

The risks of relying on automation seemed to outweigh the benefits. Several attendees mentioned their experience of being blocked from platforms such as LinkedIn. This isn’t to say that one should rely solely on LinkedIn. However, if you’re using a tool that blocks your social media accounts, then it may be a sign you’re doing something wrong.

There were some useful tools presented and, if used sensibly with the personalisation and humanity aforementioned, then it might just be a successful formula.

This is, of course, a short (but to the point) evaluation of a topic that could go on and on.

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