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"The market is coming back rather slowly" - Interview with Jana Kupkovičová (Korn Ferry)


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What should recruiters focus on in 2024?

While the unemployment rate stays low and talent scarcity is a long-term problem, there is a clear slowdown in terms of hiring activity both globally and locally, so 2024 could be potentially a year when the pressure on recruiters might be temporarily a bit lower, allowing them to upgrade candidates experience journeys and embed technology including AI into the process in a smart way. They should also focus on strengthening the long-term talent pipelines involving students and apprentices as in the long term, the talent situation will stay difficult.

If you could give one piece of advice to the industry, what would it be?

Ring-face the talent that you have and that you cannot afford to lose and offer them opportunities to grow and disrupt.

What is your opinion on AI? Is it taking away from recruiters' jobs? Where can you add value in recruitment selection?

Hopefully, it will take away some work which most recruiters do not enjoy anyway, such as scheduling, answering generic questions, analyze and integrate data, etc. This could leave them with more space for strategy building and they could spend more quality time with candidates and hiring managers. We see AI being used also for writing job descriptions, to build chatbots or to integrate job board platforms which are all good things.

Where I personally see that the recruiters should continue to add value is in the interfaces with hiring managers and candidates. Help discover the current needs; help shape the job roles of future and how they should evolve and advise on how work with the new employees based on information they gathered. Being able to help the manager understand the candidate´s motivators preferences, potential as well as gaps may help prevent turnover especially within the first 6-12 months of tenure. In the interactions with candidates, they will continue to add value through asking spot-on discovery questions helping find candidates who will be able to tackle the job challenges ahead, not just match the job description.

Have you done any automation projects in the last 1 year? What results can you report?

Our organization focused strongly on ensuring that we can minimize bureaucratic processes. We started with automated scheduling of our meetings, which is a great help not only to our consultants but also candidates and business partners and which reduces the number of e-mails which need to be exchanged. We also focused a lot on data analytics. AI can help us translate data into stories which have much more value for us. This is currently work in progress and our associates are undergoing trainings on how to use these analytics in their everyday work.

What ethical issues arise regarding the use of AI either on the candidate or recruiter side?

Last year we could hear some voices saying that AI enhanced CVs will lose on their value. What is happening is the opposite – AI can actually help candidates sell some skills that they were less able to showcase, and it makes it easier for recruiters to notice them. So something which appeared as a problem, may actually become an opportunity. However, I believe we must remember that AI is not perfect and can make mistakes.. Unlike other tech tools which we used in the past which were transactional, and we could rely that line A will match line B, generative AI is different and we should ensure that we understand what can go wrong and what the potential risks are. The critical parts of the hiring process should be, in my opinion, still strongly in our hands, especially because we do not know exactly how AI is making its decisions.

What are some recruitment challenges you would highlight specifically in your country/region?

The situation right now is not easy. The market is coming back rather slowly, and the geo-political situation stays tense. We see that employers take a careful stance and hiring activities are slowing down. There is high demand for experts in area of AI automation, digitalization, or cyber security. AI architects are those who will be needed if organizations are to accelerate AI adoption. We also need to ensure that we create enough opportunities for young talents to learn and acquire new skills because especially those starting and supporting positions could be potentially those that AI might attack the first.

Thank you for the anwers Jana Kupkovičová, Senior Client Partner, Advisory Leader in CEE of Korn Ferry!