In this episode, Jane and Katy dive into the complex relationship between AI and human touch in the recruitment industry. With a combined experience of over 40 years, they share their honest opinions on the current state of AI adoption, discussing both the potential benefits and the common pitfalls. They explore strategies for striking the perfect balance between leveraging AI’s efficiency and maintaining the personal touch that sets great recruiters apart.


Episode Highlights:

  • The evolution of recruitment tech from Rolodexes to AI tools like ChatGPT and Zoom AI over the past 24 years.
  • The importance of balancing AI efficiency with human touch in the people-centric recruitment industry.
  • The pitfalls of poorly implemented AI tools leading to suboptimal results and damaged relationships.
  • Focusing on existing clients, service quality, and current relationships before investing in new AI-driven leads.
  • Standing out through personalised outreach like voice notes and videos while strategically using AI tools.

In this episode, Jane and Katy dive into the complex relationship between AI and human touch in the recruitment industry.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from Jane and Katy as they navigate the complexities of AI in recruitment. Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable insights that will help you stay ahead of the curve. Tune in now and discover how to harness the power of AI without sacrificing the human element that makes recruitment a people-centric industry.


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Optimisation of Existing Business Resources

Making the Most of What You Already Have

In the fast-paced world of recruitment, it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of new tools and technologies. However, as Katy points out, many businesses overlook the valuable resources they already have at their disposal. By focusing on optimising existing client relationships and leveraging warm leads, recruitment companies can unlock significant untapped potential.

Jane echoes this sentiment, emphasising the importance of nurturing current connections before diving into AI-driven solutions. She argues that by taking the time to understand and cater to the unique needs of each client, recruiters can build stronger, more fruitful partnerships. This approach not only improves the quality of service provided but also increases the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.

The Power of “Low-Hanging Fruit”

Katy introduces the concept of “low-hanging fruit” – those easily accessible opportunities that often go unnoticed or underutilised. In the context of recruitment, this could refer to existing clients who have the potential to provide more business or candidates who have previously expressed interest in new roles.

By identifying and prioritising these warm leads, recruiters can maximise their chances of success while minimising the time and resources spent on cold outreach. Jane stresses the importance of having a systematic process for following up with these valuable contacts, ensuring that no opportunity falls through the cracks. This targeted approach allows recruitment businesses to achieve faster results and higher conversion rates, ultimately leading to increased profitability.

Consistent Engagement and Conversion Strategies

Jane stresses the importance of maintaining consistent engagement with leads throughout the follow-up process. She suggests that recruiters should aim to provide value at every touchpoint, whether it’s through sharing relevant industry insights, offering personalized recommendations, or simply checking in to build rapport.

Katy highlights the role of conversion strategies in the follow-up process, noting that recruiters should have a clear plan for guiding leads towards a desired outcome, such as scheduling an interview or signing a contract. By implementing proven conversion techniques and tailoring their approach to the unique needs of each lead, recruiters can increase their chances of success and ultimately drive more placements and revenue for their business. Katy also emphasizes the importance of regularly reviewing and refining these strategies based on data and feedback, ensuring that the follow-up process remains effective and adaptable in the face of changing market conditions.

Maximising Customer Experience

Enhancing Client Retention and Conversion

Katy emphasises the importance of focusing on enhancing the customer experience as a means to improve client retention and conversion rates. She argues that by prioritising the needs and satisfaction of existing clients, recruitment businesses can foster long-term relationships and generate more repeat business.

Jane noted that in today’s competitive market, delivering exceptional service is crucial for standing out and building a loyal client base. She suggests that recruiters should take the time to understand each client’s unique requirements and tailor their approach accordingly. By going above and beyond to meet and exceed client expectations, recruitment firms can differentiate themselves and create a strong reputation for quality and reliability.

Optimising Service Offerings

Katy raises the question of whether recruitment businesses should focus on optimising their service offerings instead of solely expanding their client base. She points out that by concentrating on providing a higher level of service to a smaller number of clients, recruiters can achieve better results and generate more value in the long run.

Jane supports this idea, stating that recruitment firms should regularly review and assess their service offerings to ensure they are meeting the evolving needs of their clients. She recommends gathering feedback and insights from clients to identify areas for improvement and potential new services that could be introduced. By continuously refining and enhancing their offerings, recruitment businesses can stay ahead of the curve and provide a more compelling value proposition to their target market.

Strategic Use of Technology

The Importance of Strategic Thinking

Jane stresses the significance of strategic thinking when it comes to deploying technological tools in the recruitment industry. She argues that simply adopting the latest AI or automation software without a clear understanding of how it fits into the overall business strategy can lead to suboptimal results and wasted resources.

Katy echoes this sentiment, emphasising that technology should be viewed as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. She suggests that before investing in any new tools or platforms, recruitment leaders should take the time to define their specific goals and objectives, and then carefully evaluate how each technology can contribute to achieving those aims. By taking a strategic, goal-oriented approach to technology deployment, recruitment firms can ensure that they are making the most effective use of their resources and driving meaningful business outcomes.

The Pitfalls of Blind Automation

Jane warns against the dangers of blind automation, where recruitment processes are handed over to technological tools without clear oversight or human intervention. She argues that while automation can certainly help to streamline certain tasks and improve efficiency, it should never come at the expense of the personal touch and human judgement that are so crucial in the recruitment industry.

Katy agrees, noting that when automation is implemented without clear goals or parameters, it can actually have a detrimental effect on the quality of candidate and client interactions. She cites examples of generic, impersonal email campaigns and poorly targeted social media advertising as instances where blind automation can backfire and damage a recruitment firm’s reputation. To avoid these pitfalls, Katy recommends that recruitment leaders maintain a close eye on their automated processes, regularly reviewing and adjusting them to ensure they are delivering the desired results and aligning with the company’s overall strategy.

AI in Resource Management: The Cleaner Analogy

Jane shares a personal anecdote about her experience with hiring cleaners to illustrate the impact of supporting technology in managing resources. She explains that while she appreciates the convenience and time-saving benefits of having a cleaner, she still needs to provide clear instructions and regularly check their work to ensure it meets her standards.

She draws a parallel between this experience and the use of AI in recruitment, suggesting that just as she needs to manage her cleaner effectively to get the desired results, recruitment leaders must also take an active role in overseeing and guiding their AI tools. She emphasises the importance of setting clear parameters, monitoring performance, and making adjustments as needed to ensure that the technology is delivering the intended outcomes and aligning with the company’s goals and values.

Training and Upskilling for Effective Tool Use

Investing Time in Learning

Jane strongly advocates for the necessity of investing time in learning and effectively using new technologies. She argues that simply adopting a new tool or platform without taking the time to fully understand its capabilities and limitations can lead to suboptimal results and frustration for recruitment professionals.

Katy emphasises that the most successful recruiters are those who continuously invest in their own learning and development. She suggests that recruitment leaders should prioritise training and upskilling initiatives, providing their teams with the resources and support they need to master new technologies and incorporate them effectively into their daily workflows. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, recruitment firms can ensure that they are always staying ahead of the curve and making the most of the tools at their disposal.

Structured Learning Through Jane Pettit’s Recruitment Academy

Jane discusses her own initiative to support training and upskilling in the recruitment industry through her recruitment academy. She explains that the academy offers structured learning programmes designed to help recruitment professionals develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s fast-paced and technology-driven environment.

Through the academy, Jane provides hands-on training and guidance on a range of topics, from sourcing and screening candidates to using AI and automation tools effectively. She emphasises the importance of practical, real-world experience, encouraging participants to apply their learning directly to their day-to-day work. By providing this kind of focused, relevant training, Jane believes that the academy can help recruitment professionals to unlock their full potential and drive better results for their organisations.

AI in Business Communication

Crafting Outreach Messages with AI

Jane discusses the use of AI tools in crafting outreach messages and highlights their importance in helping recruiters stand out in a competitive market. She notes that by leveraging the power of AI, recruiters can create more compelling and effective messages that are tailored to the specific needs and interests of their target audience.

However, Jane also cautions against relying too heavily on AI-generated content, emphasising the need for human oversight and editing to ensure that messages remain authentic and aligned with the recruiter’s unique voice and style. She suggests that the most successful recruiters are those who use AI as a tool to enhance their own creativity and expertise, rather than as a replacement for human judgement and intuition.

Balancing AI and Human Interaction

Katy builds on Jane’s points, discussing the importance of balancing AI capabilities with human interaction to maintain personalisation and effectiveness in communication. She argues that while AI can certainly help recruiters to work more efficiently and reach a wider audience, it should never come at the expense of building genuine, personal connections with candidates and clients.

Katy suggests that recruiters should use AI to streamline certain aspects of their communication, such as initial outreach or follow-up messages, but should always be prepared to engage in one-on-one conversations and provide personalised support when needed. By striking the right balance between automation and human interaction, recruiters can create a communication strategy that is both efficient and effective, delivering the best possible experience for everyone involved.

Trends in Automation and Personal Interaction

Misuse of AI Tools in Recruitment

Jane Pettit shares valuable insights on the misuse of AI tools in the recruitment industry and how the landscape has evolved over time. She notes that while AI has the potential to revolutionise the way recruiters work, many companies are failing to use these tools effectively, resulting in suboptimal outcomes and frustration for both recruiters and candidates.

Jane argues that the key to success with AI lies in understanding its capabilities and limitations, and using it strategically to enhance rather than replace human expertise. She suggests that recruiters who take the time to learn how to use AI effectively and incorporate it seamlessly into their workflows are the ones who will ultimately thrive in today’s fast-paced and technology-driven recruitment environment.

Blending Automation and Personal Touch

Katy and Jane delve into the importance of blending automation and personal touch in communication strategies, particularly in the post-COVID-19 business landscape. They acknowledge that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital tools and remote working practices, making it more challenging for recruiters to build personal connections with candidates and clients.

However, Katy and Jane both emphasise that the human element remains critical to success in recruitment, even in an increasingly automated world. They suggest that recruiters should use automation to streamline repetitive tasks and free up time for more meaningful interactions, such as personalised outreach, one-on-one conversations, and tailored support. By striking the right balance between technology and human touch, recruiters can create a communication strategy that is both efficient and effective, building strong relationships and driving better results in the long run.

Potential Issues with Outsourcing Automation

Delegation to Virtual Assistants

Katy raises concerns about the growing trend of delegating automation tasks to virtual assistants (VAs) and the potential pitfalls that can arise from this practice. She notes that while outsourcing certain tasks to VAs can be a cost-effective way to scale automation efforts, it also comes with certain risks and challenges.

One of the key issues Katy highlights is the potential for miscommunication or misalignment between the recruiter and the VA, particularly when it comes to understanding the specific needs and goals of the automation strategy. She suggests that recruiters who choose to work with VAs must be diligent in providing clear instructions, setting expectations, and establishing regular communication channels to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Maintaining Quality Control and Oversight

Jane emphasises the importance of maintaining quality control and oversight when using external help for automated tasks. She argues that while VAs can be a valuable resource for recruiters looking to scale their automation efforts, it is crucial to have systems in place to monitor and review the work being done.

Jane suggests that recruiters should regularly audit the automated tasks being performed by VAs, checking for accuracy, consistency, and alignment with the overall strategy. She also recommends implementing a feedback loop, where recruiters can provide guidance and correction to VAs as needed, ensuring that the automated tasks are delivering the desired results and contributing to the success of the recruitment process. By maintaining a hands-on approach and keeping a close eye on the work being done by VAs, recruiters can mitigate the risks associated with outsourcing automation and ensure that their efforts are driving positive outcomes for their business.