Memo to Recruiters: Don’t Want To Be Replaced By A Robot? Stop Recruiting Like One

Like you I have seen the many articles the past months with statistics that say that X percent of the workforce is one day going to be replaced by a robot. Some of this has leaked into the recruiter and HR field too. “This tool” or this “HR tech software” is going to replace most departments.

Doomsday is around the corner, “they” all say.

I have the perfect anecdote to being replaced by a robot:

Stop recruiting like one.

Stop sending out hundreds of messages, spam, knowing that even with a pathetic reply rate you are going to get a few candidates.

START sending targeted, informed messages that show you have done a little research on the candidate.

Stop treating candidates like you have an endless supply of them, that they are a means to an end.

START creating long term, meaningful relationships with them.

Stop being one of the many, many nameless recruiters targeting a candidate, industry, or location.

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START creating a brand for yourself so when a potential candidate researches you they will want to email, call you back.

And the big one: START attending events and meet, shake hands, and *gasp* talk with people.

A few specific items to consider that I briefly covered in my SourceCon webinar this month, “Sourcing Technical Candidates When You’re Not in Silicon Valley”:

  • If you are recruiting in a niche that has low unemployment, add your name, email, and title to your job descriptions. Be accessible.
  • Find user groups, associations, and professional groups in your niche and volunteer to speak on career, networking, and job search topics. Be a resource.
  • In your email about the “hot job” you are recruiting for and why they are the “rockstar” you have been looking for, include an industry article or blog post they have interest in … provide information.
  • Oh … and don’t use “hot job” or “rockstar” in your email. You’re a professional. Act like one.

You want to have a higher reply rate to your email, more calls returned, and ultimately hire more people, right?

Stop acting like a robot and START acting like a human.

One more action item: check out my SourceCon presentation in Anaheim this fall, “A Blueprint to Build and Maintain a Successful Recruiter Brand.” I’ll walk you through how I created and have grown one of the most recognized recruiter brands in the industry. 

Paul DeBettignies, better known online as Minnesota Headhunter, is a Minnesota Recruiter, Evangelist, and Advisor, who builds teams with startups and tech companies, and creates recruiting strategies for Fortune 500 clients. He’s also the author of Minnesota Headhunter, the longest running regional recruiter blog.

Paul is a frequent local and national speaker, trainer and subject matter expert on recruiter, HR, career, networking and social media topics. Activities include presentations at Twin Cities Startup Week, Google for Entrepreneurs, Michigan Recruiters Conference, MN HR Tech Expo, Social Media Breakfast, University of Minnesota, Target, CHS, MinneBar and ERE and interviews with NPR, WCCO AM (CBS) Radio & TV, KARE TV (NBC), MSP Business Journal, Minneapolis StarTribune and

Paul is involved in the Minneapolis and St Paul technology, marketing, and social media communities as a sponsor, volunteer, and mentor and is the founder of Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp.




4 Comments on “Memo to Recruiters: Don’t Want To Be Replaced By A Robot? Stop Recruiting Like One

  1. I don’t work that way. I have great brand. People work that way because it works. Period. It works. Just like arrogance works for some job hunters and not for others, referring to “looking for a rock star” for a “career opportunity” works with others. I understand it doesn’t work for you, however, concede that it works for some; otherwise people wouldn’t do it. One of the great lessons of recruiting is that everything works . . . just never often enough. Corporations and their employees are forcing recruiters to be transactional with commodity pricing and (for their employees) attitudes like this. Many run around trying to fill jobs with firms that treat them like toe nail fungus . . . like you are. I understand that you want to be spoken to in a personalized manner; that is what I do. Many recruiters work for the equivalent of a bucket shop and many job hunters do little more than spam resumes to recruiters (like the security guard sending me the resume because he heard I was trying to find the head of Cyber for a firm). No matter, everything works in recruiting and everything works in finding work . . . just never often enough or fast enough to suit everyone’s taste.

  2. Paul, honestly my dream is to be replaced by a robot someday. I envision a world where I sleep, eat and fly fish all day…

  3. Great post, Paul! You mentioned one close to my heart – “Stop sending out hundreds of messages, spam, knowing that even with a pathetic reply rate you are going to get a few candidates. START sending targeted, informed messages that show you have done a little research on the candidate.” We are sending out way too many messages that have little variance (i.e. not tailored all all). I had made a plea to recruiters to start sending more targeted emails in a post earlier this year “” and heard from several people that this is all too common for candidates in many fields. I later made another post ( about how Recruiters are shaming their companies by not even looking at the resume or LinkedIn profile prior to emailing them (just going on keyword returns alone). Too many recruiters are too spammy and it is hurting our reputation as a profession. It has to stop.

    1. Eric good point! “done a little research on the candidate” ….. ha ha ha … I can not stop laughing … Everyone is only 1 record in database. They do not check anything. They rely on informations you will send to them. Unless they have access to some more serious databases – I will not put these databases name here to avoid the situation that I am giving them free receipe… 🙂

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