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The Real Secret to Recruiters’ Success: Exemplar Skills

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

ChatGPT, large language models in general and other applications of AI have already proven to be powerful tools capable of dramatically enhancing the effectiveness of recruiters. As with all tools, however, they are only as good as the skills of the humans who put them to work. But, unique to AI, those skills involve not one, but two sets of competencies. Recruiters must now be able both to use the tools effectively on-the-job and to rigorously interpret their output in order to preclude the introduction of bias or unintended consequences. That’s a big job in-and-of-itself, and yet, for recruiters, there’s an additional requirement, one that will determine their future relevance and job security.

You’ll find plenty of commentary online and at conferences detailing the skills needed to use AI-based talent acquisition products wisely. I use that last word – wisely – intentionally because despite their reputation, those products are dumb as dirt. At this point, at least, artificial intelligence applications are sophisticated dolts … until they’re trained with (the right) human data and then dolt-like again until their output, no matter how astonishing, is assessed by a human who can judge (and validate) its potential or real shortcomings.

But, there’s another skill set that talent acquisition professionals need to hone, and unfortunately, it’s gotten almost no attention. The primary rationale for the use of ChatGPT or any other technological product is that it “frees up recruiters to do what recruiters do best.” Okay, but what exactly is that? What will recruiters now be able to spend a lot more time doing? And since they haven’t had the time to do much of it before the arrival of these tools, just how practiced and proficient are today’s recruiters in performing those tasks?

To put it another way, what recruiters do best are the “exemplar skills” of talent acquisition – the skills that differentiate them from everyone else working in the enterprise and their “value add” to it – and, in my view, it’s time these skills get the attention they deserve.

Each month, TAtech produces the RecAd Savvy webcast, a show that showcases the best practices in recruitment advertising and marketing. It’s just 30-minutes long, but it taps the wisdom of some of the smartest people in talent acquisition today. May’s episode explores, “Optimizing the Job Posting: Best Practices for Creating an Ad That Works.” Watch the show here.

An Audit of Expectations

What does paying attention to recruiters’ exemplar skills mean for today’s talent acquisition teams? The acquisition and implementation of any technology-based recruiting products, but especially those using AI, must be accompanied by an audit of expectations. In addition to the expected KPIs a product is supposed to deliver, teams should also assess the “value-add” that will come (or should) from their use.

This audit of expectations should address:
• The specific exemplar skills needed by the employer. There are a range of such skills – from building relationships with candidates to selling them on a mission-critical opening – so each company’s needs should be identified;
• The state of those skills among the recruiters on the company’s recruiting team;
• The company’s developmental resources for remediating those skills as necessary (in both the short and longer term); and
• The introduction of an ongoing program of recruiter development in exemplar skills that will refresh their competency and serve as part of the value proposition for recruiting new recruiters down the road.

Technology-based recruiting products, including ChatGPT and other AI based solutions, are most accurately described as “emancipation resources” for recruiters. They free up recruiters to be the best of themselves, so they should do whatever they must to leverage that freedom and enhance the value they add to their employer.

Food for Thought,

If you’d like to know more about talent technology and how best to leverage it to the advantage of both your employer and your own career, join TAtech’s Professional Member Program, which provides a range of educational resources and enables you to attend the Association’s one-of-a-kind conferences with the movers and shakers in talent technology.