A conversation last week with one of the country’s most respected corporate leaders about the changing nature of technology in business, including in recruitment, again highlighted for me the importance of what we refer to as the ‘sensitivity factor’ in connecting executive talent with Australian businesses and vice versa.

The sensitivities involved in making a senior hire, or transitioning from one role to the next in an increasingly connected marketplace for talent are extremely high. There are often zero degrees of separation, which means opportunities are rarely made public and appointments made without leaving a trail.

The sensitivities involved in making a senior hire… are extremely high

With so much at stake both personally and professionally, sensitivity has to be central to every interaction, which is why human engagement, not technology, is still at the heart of every senior appointment.

To be clear though, this is not about being anti-technology in recruitment. At the volume end of the recruitment market in particular, investing in technology that reduces time and cost to hire can provide a significant advantage for business. But at the high value, low volume end of the recruitment market where we operate, roles upwards of $200K, the advantages are considerably less.

…the higher the stakes for an individual or organisation, the more we rely on human interpretation.

In fact, the higher the stakes for an individual or organisation, the more we rely on human interpretation. And in a talent-short market like we’re experiencing in Sydney and Melbourne, human connection and relationships become infinitely more important. Particularly, when the best candidates are rarely ‘active’ and when a growing number of organisations are opting for the ‘wild card’ where cultural fit trumps technical capability.

So while some see innovation in technology as the way forward for recruitment, others see technology as having widened the gap between organisations and talent to a point where there is too much hiding behind scattergun email and InMail, and not nearly enough human contact.

From experience, it is the changing nature of the customer that creates the opportunity for innovation and disruption in the marketplace. And from the frank and honest discussions we have with our clients and candidates, it won’t be until technology can address the ‘sensitivity factor’ so important in senior appointments that we will start to see technology take the lead in recruitment.

How important is the ‘sensitivity factor’ in recruitment to you and your business? Join the conversation on LinkedIn