Humans vs. Robots: This Year’s Epic HR Battle

By Yoav Guttman

Share on: 

Everyone talks about trends. Every “HR insider” thinks they know the next best thing. But the truth is, we are all just trying to identify what the next big thing will be so we can ‘told ya so’ when we are right. But if we are wrong, well, there is basically no way to prove that.

And here is where I tell you that I do know the recruiting trends for the next year when it comes to hiring. Why do I know? I’ll tell you. Data…or research. It should be fairly obvious that those two words and concepts are closely linked. In my trend analysis, it is hard to differentiate. That is why I am calling this a battle between humans and robots. Some of these trends indicate a significant shift to the robot takeover. Others suggest human-based work is not going anywhere.

But enough pre-amble. Here are the definite, bet your life on them, “put it all on black” recruiting trends for 2016 and beyond:

1. Technology is a game changer.

Wait, wait, hear me out. It goes without saying this should be incredibly obvious. Technology always changes everything, right? But in HR, new tech aka #HRtech is finally becoming the norm.

Huge HR departments are being downsized or shifted in their focus and smaller, leaner third party tools are becoming the norm. Need payroll? Use this tool. Need a better ATS? Use this. Need further reach for jobs? Here you go. There is even a virtual VP of Diversity now. Literally human resources is becoming less and less human, but far more resourceful.

Robots 1, Humans 0.


2. Matching changes ad spend models.

On that note, matching technology like RealMatch will change the entire structure of how HR finds job seekers – here is why. Up until now, most of the time you needed to pay-to-post. This is so common that ‘post and pray’ is even a common utterance in the industry.

But pay-per-applicant models like AppMatch are changing that completely. It is sort of similar to what happened when digital advertising stopped by CPM and started using CPC models. Instead of paying only to appear, pay for quality – and in this case, qualified results. Since pay-per-applicant models deliver results to humans, humans are back in the human resources department for now.

Robots 1, Humans 1.


3. The recession mentality is officially over.

During the recession, people just wanted jobs. They would take jobs that may not have had the best benefits, perks, flexibility, or any other thing that we humans enjoy. For a while, this gave the employer all the power in its negotiations with new hires.

But now, with job growth continuing up, job seekers have more power than ever. They have the leverage to negotiate anything – days off, working from home, shares, bonuses, programs needed, what computer to use, lunch stipends, and just about anything. Part of this, in my opinion, is the influence of the new Silicon Valley mentality of actually being kind to your employees. Giving them food and games might actually trick them into working more and longer!

But it’s not all so cynical. The truth is that job candidates, backed with the power of the internet and the ability to affect your reputation, have more power than ever before to create the best working environments for themselves. This is definitely a point for the humans…for now.

Robots 1, Humans 2.


4. New metrics.

With big data and big brother snooping around, everything is measureable. If everything is now measurable, it means there are new ways to look at work, productivity, and time management. Again, there are endless tools on the web that claim to manage this aspect of work.

Similarly, there are more distractions than ever right now and there are many tools claiming to have the ability to block those distractions out! (Though whatever happened to plain old self-control!)

Anyway, when recruiters used to think how many new hires did we have and where was the best spend, now you can evaluate this by the new quality of hire metric. Here again, you have a measurement that takes everything you did to get the new hire and measures it against the best matching candidates, how long a candidate might stay, and any number of other factors. The more you use this data, the more informed you will become and stop posting job openings that don’t deliver any qualified candidates on We’ll give this point to the robots. 

Robots 2, Humans 2.


5. Employer brand actually does matter.

This one goes back to the post-recession mentality but is definitely important to stand on its own. While everyone is talking about this, it really matters. People want to work for companies they feel good about. There are reasons that there are jokes about how every company claims to change the world. At the very least, you need a pretty careers website that looks modern and conveys a cool company.

Consider the total rebrand GE did last year so they could attract software people and not just factory workers. There are so many examples here that it is impossible to list any number of them.

But the fact is, your brand needs to be raised. Focus on your niche industry. Win some more generalist awards. Make sure your social media is active and responding to tweets. If you want to survive in 2016 and recruit the best and brightest, you need to be a company that shines and does not hide in the corner of a dark room. Sorry robots, you lose. HUMANS FOR THE WIN!

While the robot takeover might not be happening in 2016, there are a number of trends that are. Do yourself a favor and be the cool kid who knows everything and download this awesome eBook from RealMatch, the recruitment advertising technology.

Recruiting Trends in 2016

Your Social Management Guys

The team at Social Hire never just do social media management.

What the Social Hire gang loves is making a difference for our clients, and we don't want to waste your, or our resources on campaigns that aren't right for your organisation, if it doesn't get your organisation the difference you need - we prefer a better approach. When your business utilises social media management, Social Hire get your brand the exposure it needs and offer your business the lift it needs to improve.

Our group of specialists are an organisation that helps our clients boost their online marketing by offering social media management services on a monthly basis.

You might like these blog posts Starting a Business? How to Get the Ball Rolling When Funds Are Limited, What You Can Expect in Revolutionary 2019 HR Technology, Why Your Idea of Millennial Workers Is All Wrong, and Creating A Successful Internship Program In 6 Easy Steps.

  Back to Recruitment blogs