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AI Is Replacing Recruiters. Here’s How PhD Job Seekers Should Adapt

“I had a recruiter reach out to me, Isaiah, and after I gave them my resume and answered their questions, they never got back to me. What should I do?” 

I hear this a lot. 

I also hear, “Isaiah, I was on the phone with a recruiter and as soon as they heard that I needed a visa, they hung up” …”or as soon as they heard I had no industry experience, they hung up.” 

Man, I personally hate this. What a waste of time. The recruitment industry is broken. 

The good news is its being devoured by Artificial Intelligence, or AI. 

I’ll give you an example…

I talked to a PhD who had a long phone call with a recruiter and immediately after the call received a message in their LinkedIn inbox that said “Review recording of your call with our AI Recruiter.”

Wait, what? 

This PhD had an entire phone call – really an introductory interview – with a bot without realizing it. 

That game has changed and if you haven’t realized it yet, nearly every recruiter you’re talking to on LinkedIn that cold contacts you is a bot. 

LinkedIn and Microsoft, who owns LinkedIn, are pushing this hard. 

This is good news, in part, because it will eliminate all the recruiting sharks and headhunters that make job searching miserable and leave behind only the quality hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists that treat us PhD-level job seekers as the highly skilled human beings we are. 

PhDs Are Talking To AI Recruiters Without Realizing It

In an era where technology has permeated every facet of our lives, it’s exhilarating to witness AI reinvent the job recruitment industry. 

This is a necessary shake-up in a domain long overdue for innovation. I, for one, am thrilled about this change, especially considering the traditional pitfalls associated with human recruiters. 

Still, there’s a lot of confusion on how much time to invest in these AI recruitment tools. 

Are they a complete waste of time? Are they a fad that will fizzle out? 

A report by Forbes found that AI is here to stay when it comes to recruitment for 2 major reasons. 

The first reason is that AI can sift through millions –  yes millions – of job candidates that a company receives in a given year. 

A recruitment team stated in the article:

“Last year, we got more than 2 million job applications, so it’s helping us identify top talent that we may have missed otherwise.”

The second reason is that AI tools are able to review all past resumes that the employers has hired – as in, they are able to review the internal team for who would be best to promote into a new position. 

Other reports including those by CNBC on training new hires and the Harvard Business Review on talent management found the same thing. 

What does this mean for you as a PhD?

You’ll need to go beyond just uploading resumes online to reaching out to people at the company to build your case for getting hired.

How PhDs Can Take Advantage Of AI-Driven Advances In Efficiency, Objectivity & Fairness

Recruiters, while necessary in the past, have been known to command high salaries, not always justified by their output or the quality of their hiring decisions. 

Moreover, their approach sometimes leans towards favoritism, inadvertently depriving many deserving candidates, especially those of us who spent a long time in academia. This scenario has been a breeding ground for frustration among PhD-level job seekers, who often feel undervalued or overlooked. 

Enter AI, the game-changer in this narrative. AI-driven recruitment tools are revolutionizing the industry by bringing in an unprecedented level of efficiency, objectivity, and fairness. 

These systems analyze vast amounts of data to identify the best candidates for a job, irrespective of their background, gender, or other subjective factors. 

As a PhD, you can take advantage of this by building a resume that matches resumes of past employees that a company has hired. 

How can you find those resumes? 

You can join private groups and associations that share these resumes, or you can find databases of bullet points created by job seekers that were hired.  

This marks a significant departure from traditional methods where personal biases could creep in, even unconsciously. AI’s efficiency is not just about speed but also about cost-effectiveness. 

By automating repetitive tasks like resume screening and initial assessments, AI reduces the need for a large team of recruiters. This automation translates into lower operational costs for companies and potentially lower job application costs for job seekers. It’s a win-win scenario where the savings could be better allocated to employee development and other growth-oriented initiatives. 

I know I talk a lot about how AI is making it harder than ever to get in front of a human being and how this can be frustrating too, but this is only true for those who do not adapt to today’s AI-driven recruitment industry. 

When done correctly, AI brings in a sense of fairness and transparency to the job search process. 

AI-driven platforms provide instant feedback, keep candidates informed about their application status, and offer personalized job recommendations based on their skills and preferences.

For us PhDs, this is highly valuable because it helps us understand where we stand, even if it means finding out about a rejection sooner. 

This level of candidate engagement was almost impossible to achieve with human recruiters juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. 

The integration of AI in recruitment is not just a trend but the future. It promises a more meritocratic job market where opportunities are based on skills and potential rather than networking or biases. The reduction in the influence of human recruiters might seem unsettling to some PhDs, but for those who have faced the brunt of an inefficient system, this shift is a breath of fresh air. As such, while challenges remain, I see AI’s growing role in recruitment not as a threat but as a beacon of hope and fairness in the job market.

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ABOUT ISAIAH HANKEL, PHD

CEO, CHEEKY SCIENTIST & SUCCESS MENTOR TO PHDS

Dr. Isaiah Hankel is the Founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist. His articles, podcasts and trainings are consumed annually by millions of PhDs and other professionals in hundreds of different countries. He has helped PhDs transition into top companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Intel, Dow Chemical, BASF, Merck, Genentech, Home Depot, Nestle, Hilton, SpaceX, Tesla, Syngenta, the CDC, UN and Ford Foundation.

Dr. Hankel has published 3X bestselling books and his latest book, The Power of a PhD, debuted on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list. His methods for getting PhDs hired have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Nature, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and Success Magazine.

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

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