In June, our Director of Research Samantha Knowles wrote a piece discussing the importance of Authentic Intelligence.
With automation in the recruitment process being a topical issue, we spoke to Angela Floydd, Managing Director Europe, Laurence Simons.
Hi Angela, great to speak to you. In what ways have you noticed the rise of technology in your daily business life?
When I started in legal search over twenty years ago, there was very little technology used across the industry. We used rolodexes instead of databases and faxes were the height of technology! For the uninitiated, a rolodex is a desk top rotating device for business cards which you’re more likely to see in a museum these days rather than an office! Since then the evolution of technology within the search sector has been extraordinary.
CRM (Customer/client Relationship Management) options are extensive and constantly being updated. We can access and manage thousands of contacts internationally and “meet” or interview people in different parts of the world at the touch of a button with reliable, high quality video calls which no longer keep dropping or freezing on unflattering expressions! As an international business with multiple offices, we use GoTo meeting for our regional team meetings so we can see each other and share screens which keeps us connected and collaborative. For those of us who work from home on a regular basis, we just need to make sure we’re always suitably attired for those unexpected video calls!
Where we advertise roles has changed dramatically too - print ads are a rarity now. We can upload online ads on multiple sites, but in parallel with the ease of advertising, comes the ease of applying, which means we have significantly more applicants to screen and filter from far flung places.
Could we reach a point where AI takes over from human recruiters?
Undoubtedly, technology has become essential in what we do, but it is primarily used for supporting our processes and efficiency. We have yet to see any type of technology which can replace personal insight and it is not likely to become available because that type of assessment, beyond a CV, is still uniquely human. Online personality testing is used in some processes but these are still not that common or will only form part of the overall assessment, rather than being the decisive factor.
There are still areas of Artificial Intelligence which can be developed for the recruitment sector to improve the probability of making a successful appointment but ultimately people make decisions about hiring which are highly personal. This might reduce the number of people involved in a process but not replace them. Specifically within the legal sector there is ongoing pressure within companies, across all sectors, to do “more with less”. Every headcount is critical and the wrong hire can be costly on many levels. The key is to have a balance between technology and human expertise to maximise prospects of making quick, successful hires, using “Authentic Intelligence” in hand with “Artificial Intelligence”.
Where do you see the future of AI and automation heading in the legal search world?
Artificial Intelligence is impacting all industries and professions in varying degrees. The legal search sector has benefited from the developments in technology to improve hiring processes and I welcome this continuing to happen. We are investigating technology options for making the interview scheduling process more manageable and ensuring it doesn’t slow down a process. Finding mutually convenient time slots for multiple people in an interview process, who are all under pressure with their “normal” work but are trying to squeeze the recruitment process in with their other responsibilities, can be a challenge. We have practical ways in which we deal with this to ensure that diary clashes do not bring a process to a grinding halt, but this is an example where technology could make a significant difference.
Personality testing is an area for further development and I can see this becoming more popular, with companies choosing to adopt or develop their own bespoke tests as part of a filtering process for their specific culture. We use Lumina Spark, a new generation of psychometric testing which avoids stereotyping and utilises colour combinations, making it much easier to understand and apply than other tests; it’s a brilliant tool for team building too. We have qualified practitioners within Laurence Simons to administer the tests for our clients and interpret the results. We have all undergone Lumina and know each other’s colours, which helps us to work more effectively together. As part of the process you get a colourful, amoeba-like splodge, which is your own personal portrait. Anyone familiar with the tool will be able to tell at a glance someone’s preferred approach or style of working from the portrait. For those who know the colours, I’m predominantly red and if anyone is curious about what that means, drop me a line!
Ultimately, it is about taking the technology that we want and putting it to its highest and best use. What makes someone the right fit for a role cannot be captured in a job description or from a formal interview or a single personality test. It’s based on a combination of these things and a series of interactions, formal and informal, which help give an overall impression of someone. For now, technology can’t replace that human interaction and personal touch - but it can certainly help supplement it!