Are we experiencing “Apocalypse Fatigue”?
Why recruiters and HRs can't deal with "robots taking our jobs"
In the past three months, I delivered three talks on the “Future of Sourcing” and the “Future of Recruiting” (Talked a lot about smart chatbots).
I was very excited about these topics and the technological development and thought everyone else would be too! Oh boy…I didn’t know how far away from the truth I was….What I was not ready for, was the pushback I experienced from some of the leaders in our industry, local (Israel) and the global recruiting arena ( To be precise, there were others who were excited as I was and were happy to concur with most of my messages…).
The way I chose to deliver my messages was by being very straightforward, as I wanted to be loud and clear. “Sourcing is dead” (within the very near future). “Everyone will recruit for themselves” (those who will want can still use recruiters). “One stop shop” platforms/tools I envision, will execute the full recruiting process in one click (and a human at the end, not sure what his/her title will be).
I explain how I reach such conclusions and what I base them on, as I have the privilege of standing right smack in the intersection of Sourcing/recruiting and HRtech. I see the dots, and I connect them.
The huge pushback, though, threw me off a little bit…. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, also wondering if perhaps I was talking complete and total nonsense. Thank god…The research I read soon afterward, assured me, that although this is my interpretation, I am talking a lot of sense.. 😊
So where did I go wrong, if I did at all? My conclusion was that for people to be able to relate to my messages, I would need to sugar-coat them. But that goes against anything and everything I believe in…But on the other hand, I want to be heard….So how do I keep my integrity and authenticity and still deliver a message that people can connect to emotionally?
“Apocalypse Fatigue” is a term I learned from a fascinating TED lecture (delivered by Per Espen). It seems that Global Warming is suffering from the same challenges we do. Due to global warming planet earth is dying and so will we, very soon. We hear this time and time again. It turns into “white noise.” People have become numb and detached to this doomsday message, yours truly as well.
“The biggest obstacle to dealing with climate disruptions lies between your ears,” Says Per Espen “When people hear news about the climate coming straight at them, the first defense come up rapidly – DISTANCE. …It’s far away in the distance…2100…It’s huge and slow moving…gigatons and centuries…it’s not here. In our everyday lives, we prefer to think of nearer things….so many of us are now suffering a kind of “apocalypse fatigue”, “collapse porn.”
“Distance, Doom, Dissonance and Denial kill engagement,” says Per.
Doom – Looming disaster, bring losses, cost, and sacrifice. That makes us fearful.
DISSONANCE – Some of what we consume contributes directly to global warming, so we come up with justifications to make us feel better. And “DENIAL – Not necessarily from lack of knowledge or intelligence, rather choosing to look the other way. Knowing and not knowing.”
I immediately saw the correlation to our industry. “Robots are going to replace us” and my messages on how sourcing is dead etc. I and others are repeating this over and over again – Hoping that we will convince people to embrace our messages, when in fact, all we are doing is DESENSITIZING them to our “doomsday messages.”
So what can we do to change this? Change the way we tell the story.
Instead, let’s talk about how recruiters will be empowered by all this advanced technology. How it will make us all “6 million dollar men and women” – from restricted human beings to cyborgs – humans with enhanced capabilities. How we will recruit faster due to automated processes, smarter thanks to all the data we will have. How we will deliver satisfying candidate experiences thanks to our cheery, smart and loveable chatbots, rejoice and enjoy recruiting culture-fit long-term employees and how we can control and diminish churn with continuous performance reviews and people analytics…..So much happiness and heightened productivity for everyone 😊
As for the fear of losing our jobs – The “Singularity University” was launched to help others leverage rapidly accelerating technologies—including artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, robotics etc. to help address future challenges. Why not just do the same in the recruiting world? Launch an educational institute that will educate, train, prepare and EMPOWER HRs and Recruiters for the next phase? (umm…if you think this is a great idea…and you can execute this idea…I’d like to be on your faculty!! 😉)
I am confident this is a more timely message. Most people can subscribe to it and as a result, jump on board the HRtech scene and start adopting it instead of fighting it!