The majority of accountancy tasks can be done on an app – the same is true of a substantial part of legal work. Computer-generated creativity is being adopted in marketing and artificial intelligence is developing at way beyond the rate of mere mortals.

This is music to the ears of many procurement professionals as automation is often more predictable, measurable and comparable than the messy business of humanity.

As a recruitment professional however, there’s an elephant in the room somewhere as to why we pay legal and accountancy partners substantially more than the monthly fee for an app. If annual accounts can genuinely be managed for £4.99 a month, surely a mammoth adjustment is overdue?

But the question is rhetorical when you consider the faith and dependence businesses vest in their professional advisers. Their value beyond mere transactional activities renders the question just silly. 

The skilled professional is one who keeps their skills up to date; brings shrewd ability to see round professional corners; spots opportunities for commercial courage (even audacity);  is effectively networked with others like themselves and can be instrumental in taking client performance to a whole new level.

Finding that person is equally a task requiring complex human abilities yet we are seeing increasing pressure for recruitment at even senior levels, to be a matter of ticking boxes or complying with an algorithm. Worse, this may possibly have been designed generically, by someone with no personal knowledge of the required skillset beyond received wisdom at one particular point in time.

Recruiter whingeing about procurement is nothing new but actually, Aspen People fully supports the trimming of margins and resource savings that digital selection can bring. We’ve fully embraced the fact that it shrinks the world by offering the ability to network, interview and pre-select candidates from a much broader field. What technology is nowhere near being able to do however, is to master the true alchemy of mix within a team.

It’s too common an occurrence now that professionals want to work with recruiters known to be embedded in their sectors, but are compelled by process to pass them to HR or procurement.

At that point, vast resources can be consumed by the further need to demonstrate requirements largely irrelevant to the task. Ironically, this puts the price up and drains resources which might be better used meeting the needs of the team, than the demands of complex process.

This is business and the reality of too-demanding procurement practices can be that, when a job is won, there may be significantly less profit margin left to do the task. For the same overall cost then, recruiters can be forced to drop their own standards and client, candidate and recruiters all ultimately suffer.

The recruitment industry is particularly well placed to spot this frustrating law of unintended consequence, given that we spend our lives probing beyond the CV and obvious achievements, to uncover aspects of personality such as motivation, resilience and charisma.

We rejoice in the fact that emotional intelligence is one of the hardest things to automate and that interpersonal skills are one of the best indicators of success. I’d argue therefore that business has reached a significant tipping point, between successfully digitising information / automating processes and maintaining perspective on the uniqueness of humanity.

If it fits.

If it feels right.

If you’ve done due diligence and your advisers hold your professional respect, - don’t defer to a generic process to make your decision. 

Simply put, too much process can put companies on a path which both costs more and leads to lesser outcomes.

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