5 Non-AI Time-Saving Microactions for Recruiters

by | Jun 20, 2024

AI buzz 🐝

I get the concerns of recruiters; the buzz around AI is incessant. It seems overwhelming; there is a perceived urgency to get ahead of it, implement it now and make savings fast.

Anything to relieve the pressure; few concerns about the consequences.

Vendors sell AI as a great time-saving, pressure-reducing solution, and with many talent acquisition teams at breaking point, much of its implementation is happening without due diligence. Desperate recruiters trying to ease the day-to-day, implementing AI for sourcing, screening and parsing, naive to the inherent bias within the algorithms.

Yes, before you argue, humans are biased, which is why these algorithms are not the great panacea. Every time I see ‘AI’, ‘recruitment’ and ‘ethical’ in one sentence, I shudder because this means the technology should operate in a way that does not cause harm. When I see companies like Meta disbanding their ‘Responsible AI’ team, I shudder again and wonder how many other companies will copy them, as they did with layoffs.

Thankfully, Hilke Schellmann, an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and journalism professor, has done the research on AI in HR tech for us, and I urge you to read The Algorithm: How AI Can Hijack Your Career and Steal Your Future.As an outsider to our profession, her opinion is grounded in fact and research.

Don’t get me wrong, AI has its place, but you must understand the realities of today’s AI and ensure that long term, it is not damaging talent acquisition or your company. Be curious about it. Ask deeper questions. Take nothing at face value. Implement it only where it saves time, money and hassle and does not cause harm.

Truly concerning for Talent Acquisition

Researching for my new business book, Reboot Hiring: The Key To Managers and Leaders Saving Time, Money and Hassle When Hiring[PRE-ORDERS OPEN!], I found too much evidence that company leaders don’t understand what it really takes to hire and are already looking at ways to replace recruitment with AI.

I’ve been around a while; I witnessed the impact of the internet on hiring when agents lost their secret books of contacts and people appeared online. I lived through the time when we put ‘social’ or ‘mobile’ in front of everything. This time, though, I can see a future where company leaders are (mis)sold the AI dream and lay off talent acquisition teams (again).

Leaders have pressures. Shareholders to appease. Profits to make. Operational costs to cut. They too, are trying to get to grips with AI and could be more inclined to believe a seemingly knowledgable AI “solution” provider.

Anyone in the recruiting profession knows it’s hilarious to think that AI can do our job! But I see trouble ahead unless talent acquisition seriously ups its game, shows its value and proves that it is farcical.

Enter those time-saving microactions!


1. No meeting = no working on the role

Yes, regular readers, I bang on about this all the time because I don’t understand why so little focus is given to the recruitment alignment meeting (AKA intake, job brief, kick-off) when it decides the fate of the entire hiring process. It decides how much time you will invest or waste (and even how competent you appear at your job to leaders!!).

I bang on about it because I still meet recruiters who tell me that managers won’t attend the call or that they are working solely from job descriptions. Or worse, that their TA leaders aren’t supporting their efforts to insist on this meeting!

I bang on about it because AI will not fix a manager’s inability to articulate who they needto hire, and because in this meeting, you can show your value and show you are NOT replaceable! Get this meeting. Ask great questions. Demystify what you do & AI cannot!

Save yourself a bucket load of time.

2. Track time

A successful recruitment alignment meeting saves hours down the line in every aspect of the cycle. Hours, if not days. It also reduces the likelihood of a failed hire and starting over. So create a comparison of managers who partner with you, articulate who they need, answer all your questions, communicate effectively, etc., against those who don’t.

Calculate the time wasted trying to fill the role of the resistant manager. Gather the data. Not vanity metrics like ‘time to hire’ that you cannot control, but actual wasted research, interview, and chasing time.

It doesn’t have to be complicated; you could simply jot it in a notebook, but what you’re doing is gathering ammunition. Then, the next time they refuse the call or say, ‘It’s all on the job description’, you can tell them how much time they spent interviewing unsuitable applicants compared to the managers who invested time at the start.

Show them the time they’re wasting, and you will save yourself time in the future.

3. Sit-up

In Chapter 5 of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, you will learn all you need to be ready for the recruitment alignment meeting: great questions, data to take in and plenty more. However, it also takes confidence.

Think about the people you consider confident; what is it about them? Is it something they radiate or an air about them? Do you picture them standing tall or sitting up straight? Often, the appearance of confidence comes down to posture, and even if they are not feeling it by holding themselves well, they seem confident.

For one quick win when you’re talking to managers, even on video, sit up straight and engage your power centre. For fun, see if they, too sit a little straighter! You will know you are creating rapport if they do start mirroring you, too.

When managers have confidence in you, they will be more inclined to respectfully partner with you… saving you more time!

4. Exercise curiosity

Making someone think is a great way to gain respect; using a great question will do that. Use a follow-up question that shows you listened even more so. ( i.e. avoid sticking so closely to a script that you appear not to be listening!)

Also, ask ‘what’ questions over ‘why’ questions. Questions commencing with what are usually received better. For example, ‘Why do we need all these must-haves?’ could result in ‘We just do!’ Whereas ‘What do you consider the least important here?’ or ‘What if I find you someone with x and not y?’ is gentler. For anyone being vague, include the word specifically in your question. ‘What specifically will they use x for?’ or ‘What specifically are you hoping to see in the interview?’ and so on.

Set yourself the challenge to ask one extra question – one you consider bold or scary – that will help you find the right person faster, and your confidence will grow.

5. Thank your managers

Your managers and leaders are under all manner of pressure, and hiring is their least favourite task, even though we know it’s important and they might deny it! I wonder if they may respond more when they feel appreciated and if this appreciation will evoke better and swifter communication.

Do we say, ‘Thank you for being quick to reply; it means I will be able to secure that interview with the candidate you liked.’ or ‘Thank you for explaining that to me; now I will be able to save you time because I really get it’ etc., often enough?

Humans tend to do more for people they like, so be likeable (but nota people pleaser!!) by appreciating their partnership, and you will save more time.

⏳ Now use all the time you’re saving to ensure everyone in your business knows who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It is essential that they know that AI cannot replace you!


Image of the book Reboot Hiring with its bright yellow cover

Pre-order for your managers and leaders now to receive freebies!