Artificial Intelligence might represent the biggest change in executive staffing since the online job board. Does that mean that corporate recruiting can be whittled down to a clerk at a computer? Or that there is no longer a need for skilled executive search professionals?

The impact of AI on talent placement is only beginning to be felt. At this point, there is a delicate balance between the unbridled embrace of technology in talent placement or the old-school desire to ignore it as much as possible. As AI becomes more prominent in staffing, those who don’t use the tech tools available for finding talent will almost certainly fall behind. They will produce results more slowly and with less information (leading to less-qualitative placements). Those who rely on technology too heavily could find candidates that might look good on paper but are unsuited to the job. This, of course, can lead to disastrous placements that could have been avoided. Is Artificial Intelligence the greatest tool ever for recruiters, is it the juggernaut that will crush the profession, or is the truth somewhere in between?

The recruiters at Parker Blake use AI every day. It is a tool, but only one tool in our complete box of resources. There are some great advantages to using AI, but there are also things that AI cannot do.

How Artificial Intelligence Helps in Talent Placement


What can AI do to help in recruiting?

  1. AI saves time. Imagine reviewing 300 resumes to find 10 candidates with best-match qualifications. Now imagine an AI application that scans those same resumes, finds the 10 best skill matches, and presents those to the recruiter for evaluation. Which would you choose?
  2. AI speeds the hiring process. By completing low-level tasks that don’t require a professional recruiter’s involvement, AI expedites the entire engagement. Not only can AI review resumes according to your specifications, chatbots can often answer candidates’ basic questions and set up appointments.
  3. AI can search for specific skills and experience. Looking for a CIO who also has hands-on experience with SQL, or a CMO who has worked in the toy industry and is an accomplished speaker? You choose the parameters, and AI can deliver the best matches from its deep internet search.
  4. AI can eliminate human bias. Each of us has subconscious biases that we might not even recognize. When AI completes the initial resume assessment, it isn’t affected by ethnicity, race, gender, age, or any other demographic statistic. In a business environment that values diversity, that’s a clear advantage.
  5. AI frees up the professional recruiter’s time. An expert at executive staffing should be using her time to create a recruiting strategy for each job opening. Building a relationship with finalists for a position is a better use of time for the recruiter than sorting through hundreds of submitted resumes. When it comes down to it, each staffing professional has limited hours in which to function at her highest level. She can best spend that time strategically, rather than completing as much low-level work as possible.
  6. AI can help fill commoditized, less-autonomous positions. If your search is all about finding individuals with specific core competencies but without significant discretionary responsibilities, AI is a great asset. Need temporary Enrolled Agents in your tax practice during income tax season? AI can find them in your area or specialty. If you’re searching for back-end website developers, AI can suggest many professionals. If you need to fill a position where leadership and executive skills rank above technical competencies or specific skill sets, AI can only be helpful to a limited extent.


What are some examples of Artificial Intelligence in the executive staffing industry?


AI permeates our world. Netflix’s movie recommendations, Google’s search engine, facial recognition software, and self-driving cars all function on artificial intelligence. In the recruiting arena, AI is used in ways you might not have considered. If you’re active in business, Crystal Knows likely has a detailed profile of you. Crystal Knows gathers data from your public Facebook or blog posts, tweets, and other databases or online sources of information. The software offers an estimate of your DISC profile, and an assessment of your innate tendencies or behaviors and motivators (and de-motivators). It suggests strategies for others to use to communicate with you, convince you, and cooperate with you. Individuals can complete an online quiz to help complete the profile, but it’s not required.


If you’ve been in business for long, you’ve probably been approached by a recruiter who said they found your LinkedIn profile and would like you to consider a job opportunity. You don’t have to be very active on LinkedIn to receive this attention. LinkedIn Recruiter is a paid service that uses at least five different algorithms/recommendation engines to suggest individuals who might be appropriate matches for a recruiter’s search. This can be a helpful way for recruiters to find passive talent (those who are not actively looking for a new position.)


Again, both Crystal Knows and LinkedIn Recruiter are simply tools used by executive staffing firms, much as recruiters of the past have used their Rolodexes and phones. For all the help that AI provides, there are things that artificial intelligence applications can’t do.


What AI can’t do in the search for talent


  1. AI offers assistance, but not easy answers, in executive staffing. If you want to find six CPAs with experience in manufacturing, AI can find great candidates. If you want to find a new CEO for the manufacturing company, AI is just a place to start. C-suite positions are rarely about quantifiable competencies, which AI is skilled at revealing. The executive search focuses on soft skills, leadership style, emotional intelligence, and cultural fit – qualities that an experienced executive staffing expert can evaluate in depth.
  2. AI cannot understand the complexity and context of a position. While the words on a LinkedIn or corporate profile might match the search terms, it takes a seasoned, intuitive human professional to understand the unspoken nuances of a role. Evaluating a candidate for that kind of fit is a skill that AI is not likely to develop in the foreseeable future.
  3. AI cannot develop relationships with candidates or hiring companies. The most successful partnerships between an executive staffing firm and its clients happen because there is a long-term alliance. The recruiters understand the ethos of the firm, appreciate its culture and needs, and begin to intuitively understand the type of person who will succeed there. In a similar way, the recruiter builds a relationship with each candidate to understand the intangibles that go beyond specific qualifications. AI can’t offer help in understanding how a candidate’s family priorities can fit with a position’s requirements, why he is passionate about marketing optical products, or how his long-term goals can be fostered in a new location.
  4. AI cannot increase engagement with passive candidates. Sometimes the best person for an open position isn’t even looking for a new opportunity. They are focused on their current challenges and aren’t paying attention to anything else. A skilled human recruiter can get to know that passive candidate and can present new opportunities in attractive ways that AI cannot. Most recruiters have long-term, trusted relationships with hundreds of outstanding professionals and can approach them to determine interest or ask for recommendations.


The team at Parker Blake, along with executive staffing firms in general, is watching the development of Artificial Intelligence carefully. We take advantage of every tool that can help us achieve the perfect marriage of talent and opportunity, but we don’t delegate the intricacies of talent placement to non-discerning technology. Artificial Intelligence is one of the tools that maximizes our effectiveness, rather than a force that will eliminate the need for the art and science of executive staffing.


Parker Blake is an executive search firm located in Atlanta, Georgia, and providing staffing and recruiting solutions for clients nationwide. As a boutique staffing firm, Parker Blake offers highly individualized services, including executive, interim, and RPO staffing.