In considering the question of the future of recruiting, it all comes down to the classic conflict of Man vs. Machine. We’ve seen it before, books and movies depicting future societies that become overly dependent on advanced technology, resulting in the threat of extinction to mankind. “Battlestar Gallactica,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, “Blade Runner,” “ Terminator,” etc. All of these books and movies tell the story of the tragic aftermath of humans building and evolving machines to their detriment, as well as exploring what it means to be human.

Recruiters have been called many things - connectors, headhunters, even matchmakers. In this web 2.0 generation of emerging technology, our role will change even more. We will be Bounty Hunters - Blade Runners- tasked with finding a way to understand, befriend, and also to overcome the technology that we have adopted to make our efforts more productive, and our jobs easier.

In all of the films and books mentioned above, man creates machine to simplify human tasks through automation. Machine then evolves threatening man’s existence. We, as recruiters have also seen technology evolve and engaged it to assist us in our tasks. Recruiting has evolved from print ads and faxes, to emails and phone calls, to texting, Twitter and Facebook. We can source multiple resources with centralized tools, spam out contact form letters to reach hundreds of targeted candidates, tweet and status update our every move, all helpful items to add to our menu of recruiting fundamentals – but also all methods which could rise up and contribute to our extinction were we to lose sight of our core values as Recruiters. Recruiters become from this point forward, conflicted by the dichotomy of engaging in the very tools that could contribute to their extinction.

But like The Terminator (“I’ll be back!”) Web 2.0, social networking and new technology in recruiting is not going anywhere, and to stay competitive is to stay ahead of the curve. Like any recruiter looking into the future, I will continue to heavily rely on new technology to push my efforts forward. However, I will keep a balance – leveraging technology in order to help drive my process of recruiting fundamentals which is based on hard work, building relationships, and connecting with people. These are the abilities that separate us from our machine counterparts and competitors. We can’t look at the machines, or technology as our enemy. We can’t lose control of our fundamentals to the point where cyborg assassination is our only hope of survival. Instead, our future depends on learning the perfect balance, using these machines for what they have been created to do, while staying ahead of them by doing the one thing they can’t do – build relationships.

So as for where I see the future me? I’ll be one of the Blade Runners, but not the kind that seeks to destroy the machines. Rather the kind that seeks to understand, and then befriend, while staying true to my own human-recruiter values.

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Comment by Brian Meeks on November 18, 2009 at 5:27pm
Good article. Great Title! I have been familiar with Philip K. Dick's book for some time, and your title reminded me that I need to move it up my reading list. I think I may go to Amazon now.


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