Bryan Peña admits a robot would have passed him over for a job years ago.
Today, he’s the senior vice president of contingent workforce strategies at Staffing Industry, a global recruitment and workforce research and advisory firm.
But Peña’s career followed an unusual route: once an actor, he moved his way up through the entertainment industry before a dramatic pivot into a senior role at a global manufacturing firm.
En route, he encountered a boss who taught him an important recruiting lesson that's stuck with him to this day: hire the person, not the résumé.
“I did not have any direct experience but I had somebody who believed in me and gave me my first opportunity, that I never would have got,” Peña says.
“If it was today and I submitted my résumé through traditional means, or even if he recommended me, I don't think I would have made it through the interview process.”
By proving himself in that role, Peña ended up where he is today: an expert in workforce strategy and research.
“None of this would have happened if it wasn't somebody who saw my potential and took a risk, and that is my fear – that HR will miss that human experience of believing in another person.”
He’s concerned that robots and algorithms replacing recruiting staff will cost companies great talent down the track.
“With all of this, all of the technological advancements and all the changes in how HR does business and all the reliance on different sorts of technology services, we're going to miss the opportunity of giving someone a change in career, or to be able to find a person who could proceed in a role that's not directly associated,” Peña says.
“There's always going to be a need for a person to give that person a chance, and I think that's going to be missed in the future.”
Although technology can make recruiting cheaper, Peña warns it's creating another issue: finding and hiring the talent before your competition does – using the same systems as you are.
“It's going to be harder to find those candidates, the good candidates, because one of the challenges with technology is that the ability to differentiate is that much less.”
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