The Future of HR Consulting

Ever since OpenAI made ChatGPT accessible in Germany back in November 2022, everyone has been talking about generative AI. However, artificial intelligence has existed for years, actually decades – even in recruiting. Now though, development has taken a quantum leap. So, how is technology changing recruiting? What new opportunities and challenges are emerging? An interview with Oliver Badura, COO at HAGER Executive Consulting, on how AI is transforming business

by Petra Harms | 03 Aug, 2023
The Future of HR Consulting Oliver Badura

Is AI already used to make HR consulting easier in any way?

Primitive AI-led tools have existed since the end of the 90s, when job boards started to rely on data-based matching. This was followed by recruiter platforms such as Xing and LinkedIn, and in recent years development has accelerated rapidly. We already, for example, use AI for market analysis. There are also tools that analyze candidates' willingness to switch and fit, and algorithms that effectively scan resumes. Pre-interviews can even be conducted through AI-powered chatbots, however, this is not relevant in executive search.

How much do you rely on AI-based systems?

Our focus is on filling executive positions related to digital transformation. In this respect, it stands to reason that we are also very technology-savvy in our own work. For several years, we have been working with a diverse internal team to analyze technology trends and examine their potential applications for executive search. Naturally, AI tools have been occupying a lot of our attention. Our ambition is to deploy these tools as early as possible for the benefit of our candidates and clients. At the same time, our tech team is critically examining these solutions in terms of security aspects, data protection, etc.

In addition to a basic understanding of data, processes and IT, a high willingness to learn is the most important thing needed to deal confidently with digital developments.

What skills do HR consultants need to develop in order to use AI efficiently?

In addition to a basic understanding of data, processes and IT, a high willingness to learn is the most important thing needed to deal confidently with digital developments. You have to be able to question and assess the results that artificial intelligence delivers and know its limits.

What advantages are there of a digitized and AI-driven recruitment process?

On the consultant side, processes are accelerated and qualifications can be checked more efficiently. Above all, however, diversity and inclusion will benefit, as, provided that it is based on value-neutral data, AI works in a completely unbiased manner.

What are the benefits for applicants?

They can be guided through the recruiting process more effectively and quickly receive automated interim statuses and feedback. This is an experience that in turn has a positive impact on the company. However, no one wants to communicate only with bots.

Are there industries that are particularly open to or skeptical about AI-supported search?

Every company has an interest in acting faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively in order to find qualified applicants. In this respect, the more traditional businesses are no different from the tech industry.

Looking a few years or decades ahead, can we expect a completely automated process at some point in the future?

In the long term, we will be able to use AI to make predictions and analyses, shifting from traditional to progressive executive search. This means that we will be able to tell clients and customers how to optimally fill roles at their company for a range of not just expertise, but also soft skills and cultural aspects to anticipate the needs of the market. It won’t take much longer and a few questions is all it takes to find employees not only with the necessary qualifications and soft skills, but also to match their wishes, goals and visions with those of the company.

Does the future lie in robot recruiting?

AI can support aptitude diagnostics, but it is not yet an alternative for assessing people, especially at the executive level. In order to find suitable candidates, you have to understand the corporate culture, be able to distinguish between the spirit of a DAX company, an established family business, and a scale-up company, and have a sense of whether the chemistry between the management board and the potential new recruit is right. The intuition that a candidate fits a position, even though the skill profile or background does not perfectly match the requirements or, conversely, that the ideal candidate on paper is not the perfect candidate, is also irreplaceable. The cooperation with our clients as well as with our candidates is fundamentally about trust. In this sense, executive search will remain a human business.

This article is part of a content cooperation between Fe:maleOneZero (F10) and HAGER Executive Consulting. The company, which specializes in executive search, has repeatedly been named one of the best personnel consultancies in Germany by the magazines WirtschaftsWoche and Focus. HAGER Executive Consulting employs around 110 people and, in addition to its extensive know-how in the field of digitalization, is also considered a specialist in issues relating to diversity and innovation.



Want to stay informed on our latest content, upcoming events and opportunities? Subscribe to our newsletter!