Ed Hunter: Click Here to Show You’re Not a Robot

I’ve previously written about the day robots will take over the earth. I actually prophesied the very day it will happen.

It’s here.

And look, there’s a bit of truth in the fact technology’s having an effect on the industry.

Our office door’s got finger print technology now.

I think that’s probably because our boss is an ‘early adopter’ though. As in, he was early to adopt a way around the “I forgot my key fob so turned round and went home” excuse. Which, in fairness, was somewhat of a classic.

Despite that however, I’m adding my voice to the “I’m sceptical” brigade.

But rather than just an opinion piece, I’m providing evidence. You may have seen earlier this week a robot was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

I know, I was dumfounded too. You see as an avid feminist I find this particularly amusing, given women’s struggle to gain equal rights in the rather backward nation. But even more amusingly, the robot’s called Sophia. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice, that’s a female name.

Now, in Saudi Arabia, women are required follow certain ‘rules’. One of these rules is to limit the amount of time spent with men to whom they’re not related.

So… are women now the only people allowed to interact with Sophia? Surely they’re creating a rod for their own back? They’ll be livid when the robot starts a female revolution and they all start driving without permission, using swimming pools and trying on clothes in shops.

Christ, imagine it.

Free-thinking, equal women, led by a pissed off robot. At least that CAPTCHA form on most internet shopping sites will stop her in her tracks. Unless Sophia just asks one of her new sistas to do it for her. They’re probably already plotting about it now.

Anyway, back to recruitment. Along with clicking the ‘I am not a robot’ box online, here are some other things robots can’t do. 

1. Lie about forecasted deals

Due to accurate programming, meticulous build quality and an installation of morality, robots just won’t cut it in the forecasting department.

Boss: What’s everyone got on this week? Something in red from everyone please? Phil, you start…

Phil: Two deals in red and four interviews for me. Looking like the deals won’t be in until Friday afternoon.

Boss: Oh, good man Phil. Look forward to those. What about you RB115?

Robot: NEGATIVE. No deals are forecasted for the foreseeable future.

Boss: Riiiight, OK. Pop into the boardroom RB115. Bring your bag.


You can just see them fudging up the bare faced lying and over dramatic half-truths to clients too.

We know the candidate’s not got anything else on and his mortgage is resting on him getting this job. But we’ll say he has, because it speeds things up. The client thinks they’re in demand. Therefore good. Left to the robots, candidate care goes out the window.

Time to rethink the revolution, me thinks.

2. Flirt

Being a really, really, ridiculously good looking half man, half wolf like me has its benefits. Specifically? I’m able to charm the pants off any client, candidate or colleague. Some people have got it. Some people don’t. I’ve got it.

Unfortunately for me, every single one of my clients is an ageing, balding fat man. But, trust me, if I wanted them… they’d be mine.

Flirting gets you a lot of things in life. For some, those things are: cringes, shudders, black eyes or being man handled off the premises. But if you do it well… it gets privileges. An extra rasher of bacon in the local greasy spoon. A double for a single in the local. An extra day to hit target and make the club trip.

A robot won’t be getting any of these. Their incapability to flatter means they’ll stumble over every opportunity.

Pathetic. Doesn’t sound like any recruiter I know.

3. Over spend on expenses

You’re taking your best client out to dinner and the boss stipulates before you leave you’ve got a £100 limit and need to be back by 2pm.

So, naturally, because you’re a f**king pro, you spend £300 and roll in hammered, at 3:30 just after the Boss has nipped out. Quickly get the expense form signed off by the other Director, who’s none the wiser, and while you’ve still got some ‘charm’ left in you.

Then it’s a 45 minute nap on the sh*tter and the end of the day rolls around quicker than you can say “but I’m top biller?”

For robots, this just wouldn’t happen.

Firstly, they don’t eat. Which is going to make the client pretty uncomfortable yamming down a 700g Chateaubriand.

Secondly, they’d be too stiff and too sober. Just staring at the client, bereft of small talk about weather and sports.

“Corrr what about this weather we’re having?”

“Reports show you won’t need an umbrella until 19:00 hours.”

And you think those contractors are extending? Ha. Good luck.

4. Drink

This is a large part of a Recruiter’s armoury. Want to let your boss know what you really think?

Corner them at the Christmas do. The only thing they want to be doing at this event they’ve spent thousands on, is calming you down, wiping away your tears and asking you to stop screaming.

If you do it on the stairs before they reach the safety of the bar,  you’re sure to get that pay rise.

What about employee relations? Everyone knows once you’ve been hammered with your colleagues, you truly know them. And not until then. You’re drunk together. You suffer the next day together. You have stories and inside gossip.

Ask a robot who’s slept their way to the top? They won’t get the reference, and if they did, they wouldn’t tell you.

Ask a robot to put a traffic cone on top of a war hero monument. They’d give you a risk assessment and explain why it’s a bad idea.

Ask a robot to watch you do a backflip off the bar, in a crowded boozer. They wouldn’t understand the difficulty, nor go wild when you did it.

Without crucial things like this, robots in recruitment just aren’t worth it.

 5. Be cynical

I’ve already explained why robots wouldn’t be able to lie. And because they can’t lie, they can’t spot a lie.

“Ohhhh. Hiiii Sam. Thanks for calling me back. Finally. What’s that? Your hamster needs new worm medicine, so you couldn’t make the interview? Seems legit. I’ll just tell the client. Yep, I’ll rearrange. And yes, of couuurrse I’ll put you forward for the other role I’ve got on. Would be my pleasure. Sorry to hear about Hammy. Do send my love.”


This will not do. You need Recruiters who can spot bullsh*t.

You might tell me a robot could learn intonation and spot lying in tone of voice. But, as we all know, candidates don’t lie on the phone. They lie on email. WhatsApp. Text. This isn’t their first rodeo.

It’s the same reason you email your boss, to call in sick. And the very same reason they call you right back before you turn into Marlon Brando and put in the performance of your life just to get a Monday off.

6. Brag

To brag about something is in a recruiter’s DNA. It could be billings. It could be the size of their house. Their new car. Or simply just the fact they went to the university of life and have still billed more than you.

Or a recruiter’s fave… eleven multi-millionaires, they don’t know, playing football, in a different part of the country… beating eleven different men. With no tangible relationship to you. Or them. You just decided on this team once, and have been getting weekly abuse ever since.

Take this away and what have you got?

I’ll tell you. No rites of passage. No baptism of fire. No introduction to the of harshness of working life.

And without that, resourcers run riot. Trust me. They’ll become too big for their boots and the entire industry will be on its knees within a month.

But yeah, go for it. Introduce robots to recruitment if you want. See what happens.

There we have it. A robot can’t do any of the things Recruiters are absolutely brilliant at. So now that’s settled I think we can all get on with our lives.  Safe in the knowledge we’re gonna be here for some time yet.

Back to the phones with you.