AI in Tech Recruiting Is a Battle of the Bots. Can a Personal Approach Turn the Tables?

Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
Brian Trout
Executive Vice President, Sales
19 April 2024

In the United States and Canada, the average time to fill an IT or development/engineering role is 56 days, according to Workable. And as any HR leader, recruiter, hiring manager, or candidate will tell you, the intervening months can be challenging for everyone involved. Hiring managers must sort through hundreds of resumes and go through countless interview cycles. It’s a massive lift that often leaves candidates in the dark.

The IT recruiting industry isn’t helping matters. Most recruiters submit mass quantities of resumes, hoping one sticks. This is especially true if the open job req is for highly specialized expertise—an SAP S/4HANA digital transformation, for example. If a recruiter doesn’t have a solid understanding of the technology at hand, how can they evaluate an applicant's qualifications beyond simple keyword matching?

AI in Tech Recruiting—It’s Complicated 

According to a Harvard Business School report, 99% of Fortune 500s and 75% of large employers now use AI-enabled applicant tracking and/or recruitment management systems to screen or rank job applicants. Applicants, in turn, are employing a variety of tactics to clear these hurdles and get noticed. These range from the industrious, manually tailoring a cover letter and resume to align with a req, to the nefarious, stuffing a resume with keywords in a white font. 

With generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canva’s Magic Write, and Grammarly’s AI Resume Skills Generator proliferating, writing and reviewing resumes has become a battle of the bots. AI-generated reqs, AI-generated resumes, and AI-enabled screening tools don’t make for a very human experience, and it’s humans that will determine the success of your digital transformation. This depersonalization is at the root of the candidate ghosting epidemic—78% of job seekers say they have ghosted an employer, according to Indeed.

When every resume is optimized for every job requisition, it sows distrust. Ultimately, this increases the burden on the hiring manager to screen and interview more candidates, extending the already lengthy time to fill, frustrating applicants, and exacerbating ghosting. 

It’s a vicious cycle, and to put a stop to it, maximizing the use of AI and other technologies while finding the right places for human involvement will be essential.

Lightening the Load with Personalization, Precision, and Partnership

The IT recruiting industry, hiring managers, and candidates aren’t going to walk away from technology—and they shouldn’t. In fact, 90% of hiring managers find it acceptable for candidates to use generative AI in application materials, according to Canva. And truly, if we rolled back the clock to an all manual process, a lengthy, frustrating undertaking would only become more so.

Everyone has a part to play in bringing humanity back to IT recruiting. Hiring managers that use generative AI to create job reqs would benefit from thinking through what skills and experience are essential and where they can be flexible. Applicants that use AI to polish their resume need to lend a critical eye to ensure that it continues to represent their true experience and skills.

A large part of the responsibility falls to the recruiter, and at Baer, we are focusing our approach on three key areas: personalization, precision, and partnership.

  • Personalization - Technology has wired people to have diminished sensitivity, and the ghosting epidemic is merely a symptom of this. The only way forward is to return to building personal relationships. Recruiters need to take the time to get to know candidates, their interests, level of commitment, and motivating factors—and they need to keep them well-informed throughout the process.

    By humanizing the experience, they will be better able to make a match in technical skills and other criteria, ensuring a long-term fit. Candidates who are treated respectfully and kept informed throughout the process by something more than an auto-generated email are more likely to stay engaged and less likely to ghost.

  • Precision - It’s time for recruiters to stop sending mass emails to thousands of potential applicants and passing along hundreds of resumes to hiring managers, hoping something sticks. By slowing down, thoroughly pre-screening applicants, and presenting a select few qualified candidates, they create a more meaningful service experience. This precision approach is central to minimizing interview cycles and significantly speeds time to hire.

    To truly match candidates with precision, especially for roles that require highly specialized expertise, as an S4HANA or other digital transformation does, the recruiter must have a solid understanding of the technology at hand. If you are hiring technical expertise to create a technical solution, and your recruiter doesn’t understand the technology, things are going to fall through the cracks.

  • Partnership - Recruiting companies need to build long-term partnerships with both employers and candidates. Digital transformations are measured in years, and over the course of that time, an organization’s needs will evolve. What would it mean to have a long-term strategic partner that understands the strategic imperative of your initiative, the industry and emerging trends, and the technology you’re staffing for? It would save time, reduce interview cycles, ensure better matches, and result in less risk to your program.

    From a candidate standpoint, any recruiting agency that builds long-term partnerships with proven expertise—people they have placed many times over—can speak more accurately to their skills and commitment. And in a competitive labor market like the one currently developing, it means more ready access to top-tier talent, which their clients ultimately benefit from.

A People-First Approach to Technology

While generative AI and other advanced technologies are becoming increasingly common in IT recruiting, we would all do well to remember that people are at the core of this process, and a people-first approach serves us all in the long run. If a people-first approach sounds like a big lift, it is. But the status quo is a big lift, too. And it’s not very effective. 

Many traditional IT staffing companies will struggle to make the recruiting process more human—their business models simply don’t support it, and their recruiters are not technologists. But an enterprise performance partner like Baer can. While we are technologists by trade—many of our recruiters have worked in the types of roles we hire for—we’re also focused on building long-term partnerships with our clients and talent. 

It's time to end the battle of the bots and bring the human touch back to technology recruiting. Balancing technology with a people-first approach is the smart way forward.

About Baer

Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise digital transformation and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.

To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, at, or John Wilson, Vice president of Strategic Accounts, at

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