Bot-Proof Your Career (Part 1)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these days, you’ve likely heard the news: the robots are coming. And these robots are coming to every aspect of business – from the back office to the front, from the medical industry to financial. A great deal has already been written about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, and there are dozens of companies working on perfecting their AI/robotics right now. The bots being developed are poised to take over many of the tasks that we humans perform each and every day in our jobs. This includes tasks in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. And these bots will be able to perform the tasks better, faster and smarter than humans.

Many of these tasks may even be a large part of your job, in fact. So you might be wondering: Is it time to panic yet? Will I be obsolete by 2020? Do I need to change careers? The answer to these questions is probably not, but it really depends on how you roll with the changes. Disruption offers us all an opportunity to reflect on what we do that works – and what doesn’t. There are things you can (and should) do to manage your career effectively during this disruption that will set you apart from your competition, whether they’re a human or a bot.

I offer you three things that you can start doing TODAY to bot-proof your career:

Article Continues Below

  1. Embrace Change. Change makes a lot of people uncomfortable and for good reason – change is hard. But if you’re not always changing and evolving, you’re stale. It’s really that simple. I can’t think of a single career or job in which being stale is the ideal state. Can you? Therefore, even when it scares you, embrace the changes happening around you. Don’t dismiss something just because it’s new or because it’s not proven yet. In fact, I encourage you to face your fears and become an early adopter of new technologies and tools whenever you have the opportunity. Early adopters are incredibly valuable to organizations because they help pave the way for progress. The more something scares you, the more meaningful the change will be for you.
  2. Add Value. Okay, so artificial intelligence may, in fact, be smarter than you, but there are parts of all of our jobs that are more bot-friendly than others. AI cannot ever replace everything we humans do. We must focus on the things we do that a bot cannot and do them very, very well. Truly understanding our hiring managers is just one example of many. Bot-proof recruiters and sourcers understand they need to learn their business to earn their business. We need to get inside their heads a bit and feel their pain so we can truly help them. Look for opportunities to have a positive impact beyond putting great candidates in front of them. We have to ask ourselves: what have I done for this hiring manager that is truly noteworthy and helped him/her to be more successful?  If you have a hard time answering that question, that’s okay—but now is the time to do something about it.
  3. Be Creative. To set ourselves apart in the Bot Era, we will need to be creative. Creativity enables us to harness the power of a tool to help do our jobs better and more efficiently. Bots can’t work without human creativity leading the way. I recommend starting with reading everything you can about AI and look to other industries for inspiration – the most creative ideas will not be born in the HR space. Some of the best recruiters and sourcers I know are what I call “tinkerers;” they don’t wait for executives to roll out the next big technology. Instead, they regularly find small, inexpensive (or even free) ways to innovate. I would start with asking yourself, “How can I leverage bots to do the things that are bogging me down?”

My goal for all of us is to not only survive this change but to thrive during it. There’s a saying I heard quite often when I was a recruiter in the startup space: what got you here, won’t get you there.  I think that is true for many things in life. If we focus on embracing change, adding value and being creative, we will evolve as people and an industry. And that is a great goal to have – whether the robots are here or not.