The Robot-Proof Recruiter Takes On Today’s Talent Market

IRI Podcast episode on talent acquisition trends

In 2019, recruiters felt they were at risk: at risk of replacement by Artificial Intelligence, by robotics, by chatbots – and author Katrina Collier wrote The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals. Her book made the case for keeping human-powered leadership at the heart of the hiring process, while at the same time, leveraging technology to support the candidate journey. Fast-forward a few years, past the pandemic and into The Great Resignation, and recruiters now face what may prove to be some of the toughest talent acquisition trends of their careers. Katrina Collier is today’s guest, and here, she explains:

  • Today's talent acquisition trends;
  • The importance of empathy in recruitment;
  • How The Great Resignation has changed recruitment; and
  • How companies need to pivot their practices in order to succeed

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Humanity and Tech in the Workplace

  • While HR tech vendors can replace some elements of the recruitment process, tech cannot completely take over. 
  • Fear of being replaced by technology in the workplace is not warranted, and Ms. Collier wrote her book The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals to ease these fears, and to remind HR tech vendors that humans are not replaceable.
  • With so much recruiter spam, online job postings, and online noise, we sometimes forget that there are human beings on the other side.
  • The recruiters that are succeeding are the ones who are reaching out to people with tailored messages, are able to hold your attention throughout the acquisition and hiring process, and make the hiring process a great experience. This makes people feel important and breaks through the tech noise


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The Importance of Empathy

  • It is so important that recruiters put themselves in the candidates’ shoes, and treat them the way that they’d want to be treated in the hiring process.
  • The Great Resignation of 2020, as well as the drastic downsizing by companies, has led to the issues with recruitment today.
    • In light of these challenges, it’s hoped that recruiters might step up their game, and improve on negative practices they may have engaged in in the past, such as “ghosting” candidates. 
  • The recruiters who use empathy and compassion are the most successful recruiters

The Great Resignation

  • There has been an incredible shift in the attitudes surrounding work.and talent acquisition trends
  • Prior to The Great Resignation of 2022, the attitude was “be grateful you have a job” and there was immense fear in leaving a job without another one lined up. Now the rhetoric has changed to the companies being grateful to have employees.
  • One thing that companies failed to realize is the power of the internet, and how more people embraced the internet in 2020. People were able to see other job opportunities, job reviews, people talking about how they were treated at certain companies at all levels, and this empowered job-seekers.
  • The pandemic helped some people realize that they can work at home, be just as, if not more, productive, and have a better work-life balance.
  • The Great Resignationhas shown that some companies cannot compete with online companies. People were leaving jobs and industries where they were unhappy for jobs where they can earn more and work less
  • The way that companies can “win” and keep up with the changing talent market and workforce trends is by genuinely caring about people and listening to what people want
  • Ms. Collier believes that The Great Resignation would have happened with or without the pandemic, but the pandemic did speed up this process.
    • Larger companies are now competing with smaller companies that value their employees, have flexibility, and value productivity.
    • This shift is also empowering for female leaders and people who historically did not hold positions of power in the workplace 

Hiring in 2022

  • There have been a lot of changes in talent acquisition trends in 2022.
  • Recruiters are realizing that retention is important, and they need to be looking at talent internally first, before looking elsewhere.
    • Internal recruitment and talent acquisition is new to some companies, and needs a shift in attitude and adjustment, but for the overall good of the company.
  • There is also a lot of “salary shopping” where jobs are now competing with each other as potential employees try to choose the best offer possible. 
    • Some people who have accepted job offers and signed contracts may still be interviewing for positions because interviewing is more accessible in a more virtual world.
  • Many companies are only now realizing how much their businesses truly rely on people. As a result, HR and talent acquisition departments are becoming more valued because these companies understand the vital role of people in their organizations. 
  • Companies also need to bring in technology and resources to bring in and retain the best people and to succeed.
  • Unfortunately, in this difficult market, a lot of recruiters are also on the verge of burnout.
    • Companies can prevent burnout by making sure their HR and recruitment staffing needs are met, to prevent unmanageable case loads. 
    • It’s also important that recruiters and hiring leaders work together, and view their relationship as a partnership, rather than a service.

Recruiting in The Great Resignation

  • Companies may be able to recruit their way out of an employee deficit if they offer flexibility, listen to employees, and strongly focus on talent development
    • It is also important to look at the often overlooked people as potential job candidates, such as ex-offenders, neurodiverse people, people with disabilities, etc, who can bring value to a company with unique and creative thinking.
    • Many companies need to also re-evaluate what they value long-term, because many people do not want to return to working in person, or prefer working non-traditional hours, and that is something that companies need to consider to retain talent moving forward in this new reality.
  • The companies that are succeeding through The Great Resignation are the companies with leadership who understand these changes in talent acquisition trends, and who value the roles of recruiters and HR personnel. 
    • Making talent acquisition a central role at a company is also about employer branding, talent intelligence, and talent sourcing, not just in-house recruiters
  • Many people are realizing that they are worth more than they are being treated or paid, and are realizing their worth.
    • Companies need to also look at their hiring process, and not overwhelm people with an unreasonable amount of interviews, provide candidates with an opportunity for feedback, and make the candidates' time worth it.
  • The Great Resignation is more about leadership than about recruitment. It is so important to listen to and talk with their employees and candidates. 
    • There are companies that are not doing as well as they could be on this, and are not listening to the needs and wants of their employees.
  • It will likely take a few more years for the recruiting and hiring process to return to “normal” post-pandemic and post-Great Resignation. There are a shortage of people across the board, and now recruiters and HR professionals need to act with urgency, as well as making the experience as positive as possible for potential candidates from the initial outreach to the onboarding process.

Candidate Experience

  • The most successful companies in terms of hiring are the ones who make the recruiting and hiring process very positive for potential candidates/
  • Empathy and responsiveness are critical in attracting the right kind of people to a company. 
    • “Ghosting” from potential employers with no feedback policies are unacceptable in 2022 and in a post-Great Resignation world.
    • Even if a candidate does not get a position, offering them feedback is important. Recruiters have the potential to change lives, and giving feedback can help people learn, grow, and do better at their next interview or job experience.

  • Ms. Collier runs design-thinking workshops for talent acquisition departments. While recruiters understand the candidate experience, they also need to understand the collaborative process between recruiters and hiring managers. Ms. Collier’s workshops help recruiters and hiring managers work together to be able to make the hiring process as smooth as possible.
  • Ms. Collier hosts her own podcast, The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) Podcast which interviews people who can “help recruiters create better partnerships” which also helps create a shift in the way recruiters think.
  • More information about Ms. Collier’s work can be found at 

Katrina Collier Background



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