Will executive search survive Artificial Intelligence?

[3 minutes reading time]

Every few years a technology comes along and turns an industry upside down.

The internet completely transformed our executive search industry, as it did many other industries.

Video conferencing/Skype has made international interviews and assessments infinitely more effective, and thereby improved the success of executive search assignments. On-line profiles and databases have dramatically improved our ability to identify the best talent for our clients and has improved the ability to identify good talent across the world.

The next technology shift which looks set to have a transformational effect on our industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Until now technology has improved the effectiveness of the entire process up to the the interview phase, and then human involvement is required, as it was 20 or 30 years ago. AI could change this!

Will artificial intelligence remove humans from the process completely?
Google's DeepMind is now better at reading lips than humans and managed to beat the number 1 Go player in the world in one of the most complex games known to humans. (AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol) Everyday in various industries, computers are acting (and reacting) in ways that make them almost indistinguishable from humans (beating the famous Turing test)

It is not inconceivable that in a future executive search process, desktop research, an initial enticement call, a video/telecon interview or a salary negotiation could all be delivered by a computer. A candidate might not even know whether they are talking to a human or a robot.

How will this affect the candidate and client experience and will there still be a need for humans to be involved in the process? What value a human would add to the process also remains to be seen.

The one thing we need to remember is that after 1000's of years, even humans still don't fully understand humans, let's not expect machines to understand us any time soon.

As our clients strive to continuously identify, assess and attract the best executive talent available, we will continue pushing the envelope with the most technology available to improve the services we offer.

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