The Evolution of Recruitment for the Membership Sector in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been transforming various industries and sectors, and recruitment is no exception. With advancements in AI technologies, the landscape of recruitment in the membership sector is undergoing a significant shift, impacting candidates, organisations, and recruiters alike.

Over the next five years, AI is poised to revolutionise the way specialist recruitment is conducted, streamlining processes, improving candidate experiences, and enhancing the overall efficiency of the recruitment ecosystem. In this article, Dennis Howes, Co-founder of Membership Bespoke, the most experienced, specialist recruitment agency for the membership sector, evaluates where AI is expected to make a positive difference and the very human implications.

  1. Candidate Matching

One of the most significant changes that AI will bring to specialist recruitment for membership organisations is the enhancement of candidate matching. Traditional recruitment methods rely heavily on manual screening processes, which can be time-consuming and prone to bias. However, AI-powered algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data from CVs, job descriptions, and candidate profiles to identify the most suitable candidates for specific roles. These algorithms take into account various factors, including skills, experience, qualifications, and cultural fit, to provide more accurate and efficient candidate matches.

For candidates, this means a higher likelihood of being matched with roles that align with their skills and career aspirations. Rather than sifting through countless job postings, candidates can expect more personalised and relevant job recommendations, ultimately leading to a more efficient job search process.

With candidates also having access to generative AI tools, they also have the power to more accurately and quickly match their CV to any given role, making it an uneven playing field for those candidates who choose not to.

As CVs are relied upon as the main tool for job applications, it is going to take exceptional skill on behalf of the recruiter to identify candidates with potential.

Dennis Howes said, “Face-to-face screening calls will become more prevalent as it will become increasingly difficult to eliminate potential candidates on the basis of their CV alone.

“Currently, AI cannot properly assess non-verbal cues the way a trained human interviewer can. Expert interviewers are also needed to validate the veracity of a CV's contents, and it is likely that instead of setting tasks for completion to a deadline, we will see employers undertaking more off-the-cuff creative evaluations in interviews.

“While tech skills will be required by recruiters in the future, human soft skills will be more important than ever.”

  1. Improved Candidate Experiences

AI is also set to improve the candidate experience throughout the recruitment processes undertaken by membership organisations. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can provide real-time support to candidates, answering questions, scheduling interviews, and providing updates on their application status. These AI-driven interfaces offer candidates a seamless and personalised experience, enhancing engagement and reducing the frustration often associated with traditional recruitment processes.

Additionally, AI can facilitate the use of video interviews and assessments, allowing candidates to showcase their skills and personality in a more interactive and convenient manner. This not only saves time for both candidates and recruiters but also provides a more comprehensive evaluation of candidates' suitability for the role.

Dennis agrees, “I expect to see the administrative elements of recruitment and the clarity for candidates throughout the process will become clearer.

As we are already seeing with the success of AI onboarding systems for new employees, the administration is handled with a very light human touch. The availability of information to candidates will be much improved.”

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making

AI enables recruiters and hiring managers to make more informed decisions through data-driven insights. By analysing historical recruitment data, AI algorithms can identify patterns and trends related to successful hires within membership organisations, candidate preferences, and market dynamics. This allows recruiters to optimise their recruitment strategies, target the right candidates more effectively, and anticipate future talent needs.

For membership organisations, this means a more strategic approach to talent acquisition, with a greater focus on long-term workforce planning and talent pipelining. By leveraging AI-driven analytics, organisations can identify potential skill gaps, assess the effectiveness of their recruitment efforts, and make proactive adjustments to their hiring strategies.

“Data becomes key for candidate acquisition” says Dennis, “We currently have a database of over 15,500 membership candidates. We use our intimate knowledge of the sector, our understanding of our client businesses, and culture, to be able to identify potential candidates within our database and to know how to adjust job specifications and our advertising to attract candidates who will be a long-term fit for any given role.

"I expect that AI will identify candidate skills and experiences that will statistically correlate to the long-term requirements of the role and success in a role, providing a greater reliance on the value of transferrable skills.”

  1. Streamlined Screening and Assessment

AI-powered screening and assessment tools can streamline the initial stages of the recruitment process, saving time and resources for both recruiters and candidates. These tools use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to analyse resumes, cover letters, and other candidate documents, automatically identifying relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications.

Furthermore, AI-driven assessment tools can evaluate candidates' cognitive abilities, personality traits, and job-related skills through online tests and simulations. This not only provides recruiters with more objective insights into candidates' capabilities but also reduces the need for manual screening and assessment tasks.

Dennis says, “Where most time is spent in screening is at the application stage, where CV’s are assessed for interview suitability. While we go through the adoption process, we will see a huge disparity in candidate applications, from those at different stages of AI adoption, and this is going to require a high degree of skill to ensure good candidates aren’t discarded.

“The use of AI-powered assessment tools at the interview stage will be very interesting. I expect their prevalence to increase, and skill testing to happen sooner in the recruitment process. However, if candidates come to expect early-stage AI testing, they may apply for fewer advertised roles, placing more emphasis on recruiters to reach out and invite applications from potentially strong candidates.

“Membership organisations are a force for good. This is a key reason that candidates more to the membership sector from other industries, and so organisations may need to consider how the assessment regime they undertake represents a positive first impression of their brand.”

  1. Ethical and Bias Mitigation

While AI offers numerous benefits to specialist recruitment, it also raises concerns about ethical issues and potential biases in the recruitment process. AI algorithms may inadvertently perpetuate biases present in historical data, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes for certain groups of candidates.

"This is a significant concern of mine” says Dennis

“To address these concerns, it is essential for recruiters to review candidates who are unsuccessful, and establish whether there are any discriminatory patterns in the AI decision-making process.”


Over the next five years, artificial intelligence is poised to transform specialist recruitment, reshaping the way candidates are matched with job opportunities, the way membership organisations identify and attract top talent in the membership sector, and the way recruiters conduct screening and assessment processes. By leveraging AI technologies, specialist recruitment can become more efficient, personalised, and data-driven, ultimately leading to better outcomes for candidates, organisations, and recruiters alike. However, stakeholders must remain vigilant about the ethical implications of AI and take proactive steps to mitigate biases and ensure fairness and transparency in the recruitment process.

At Membership Bespoke, we have extensive experience with how membership organisations are structuring their staffing to meet the challenges ahead. Discover more about our expertise.