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I recently had the pleasure to attend presentations by business leaders in Executive Recruiting. They discussed issues on the frontier of staffing and spoke in favor of using artificial intelligence (“AI”) to optimize recruitment. I was, to say the least, a bit skeptical.

AI, in many ways, seems perverse to the mission of recruiting. As recruiters, we get to know people. We speak and grow a relationship with them; we pay attention to their needs and desires as people. A computer can never do this.

This is absolutely true and cannot change. If it does, then our mission to virtuously serve others falls flat. What a computer can do, however, is filter and distribute information without delay. It can quickly redirect in-bound information to a living, breathing recruiter.

The Struggle is Real

Ironically enough, recruitment leaders are showcasing AI integration to amplify human interaction, not diminish it. They claim that AI can filter out the very early stages of recruiting—such as introductions, salary information, or scheduling. This allows recruiters to focus on actually getting to know the candidates.

However, this must be taken with a grain of salt and an even greater pinch of transparency. Most people can tell when they are speaking with AI. Feeling automated might alienate clients. However, if the firm is transparent about this phase being automated, the candidate may feel less alienated (although perhaps less engaged).

These mixed incentives are in an inverse relationship. AI makes people often feel shrugged aside. On the flip side, AI supplies information at such a quick rate that candidates are streamlined into the process seamlessly. Ever have a candidate get lost in the pipelines and loose interest by the time they receive a response? AI to the rescue.

One of the most frequent compliments we receive from candidates is about our ability to communicate and share tough feedback. Many of our competitors are notorious for doing a horrendous job of sharing feedback. Perhaps AI can do a better job with providing feedback during those beginning stages of recruitment. If so, the relationship is kept intact, candidates can learn, and consultants can move on to working directly with the candidates. That would be a great place to be.

So what should we do?

At Spirit Consulting, this is an interesting question. On one hand, we are committed to always being fully present to our candidates and clients. This requires actually listening to them every step of the way. On the other hand, we are equally committed to performing at the cutting edge and driving efficiency—efficiency that leads to better candidates and quicker hires. We are researching ways in which we may expand into AI and understand how we may leverage it. However, we will never let this get in the way of our mission to serve others virtuously. Leading the pack is a difficult imperative which requires flexibility and curiosity. However, this flexibility can never violate our mission and the vitality of our services.


Spirit Consulting is a boutique management consulting firm with clients across multiple industries and regions of the United States. We offer expert consulting in Executive Search, Business Strategy, and Work Psychology. Rooted in our relational, client-tailored approach, these service lines work synergistically to maximize your organization’s potential. Call (630) 621-3411 or email [email protected] for more information on how Spirit Consulting can help create the best version of your business. If you are interested in applying to jobs we are retained on, please visit

Feature Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash