It’s Robots all the Way Down

“Today’s affirmation is that human beings are essentially just electrified blobs of fatty meat. If, on any particular day, you achieve anything, that’s incredible.”

I am sitting in the back of a dive bar deep in the East of London, about ten doors down from Bistrotheque. One of my best friends is here and she is venting about the state of modern recruitment.

Here are a few key non-identifying facts about her before we proceed:

  • She works in creative and is a creative through and through
  • She has always worked at small agencies
  • It’s time to move on and take on new challenges elsewhere.

She tells me that as she’s started to look for a new role post-pandemic, two things have clearly changed since her last round of job hunting.

Firstly, almost everyone says that it’s now a candidate’s market.

“You can demand remote working, an emotional support alligator and 370 days leave a year and they have to give it to you because if they don’t then ten other companies will,” she tells the waiter when he brings cocktails that are more fruit salad than alcoholic content. I suppose my doctor will approve, but at £16 a go I do wonder about the escalating cost of pineapple chunks in London.

Secondly, the job market is all run by robots now.

CVs, LinkedIn profiles and portfolios represent an enormous dataset that a recruiter, tasked with finding a remote worker anywhere in the country/continent/world simply does not have the time to read through. So let a robot do it. What could possibly go wrong?

Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace

My friend has, of late, disappeared down a conceptual rabbit hole where she’s now convinced that no human ever sees her CV or her profile, only a mysterious cadre of ethereal digital robots.

“They don’t have bodies Mike, they just exist somewhere, in a cloud.”

She stops short of calling them cloud people.

To remedy this perceived problem, she’s paid someone on Fiverr to rewrite her CV and LinkedIn profile.

“The problem is I don’t know any good writers.” Thanks. Appreciate it.

What she means is she doesn’t know anyone that can rewrite her documents to be more robot palatable. Or at least threaded with keywords that cause the robot to flick her profile details on for review by a human.

It has apparently gone quite badly with not only a complete dismissal of her creative achievements, but a fairly significant departure from comprehensible English.

After five minutes of begging she sends me the latest draft.

I (Speak) Robot

It’s glorious.

Much of it reads like disused material from a Voigt-Kampff test, the process by which machine replicants impersonating humans are identified in Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.”

Here are some of its interesting approaches to career conversation.

I extended my learning magnitude to an immense scale and published with stellar content.

I mean, you get what is meant I suppose. I learned more and created better work. But there are so many tripping blocks in that sentence that surely a search robot isn’t looking for and that a human would be significantly bamboozled by.

How many job specs have you looked at in your life that call for you to have a learning magnitude at an immense scale. One so immense that it can be seen far away in space?

How about work, how have you performed for clients?

As I rapidly built my path I helped the company deliver superior outputs for clients.

Ask any client what they love, and they’ll all tell you it’s outputs. Not beautiful artwork, not effective campaigns, not a slogan that concentrates months of work into a single perfect distillation.

No, they all love generic, unspecified outputs. Like content, platforms and users love content.

Technical Question: Should outputs be pluralised here? Are you talking about the singular mass of work created at one company “superior output for clients” or talking about the many discrete forms of output created for the agency’s client base “superior outputs for clients”?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

With this huge opportunity to develop and accelerate my creative aptitude, I have accumulated personal gains, obtained achievements and built a strong reputation.

This is overly specific and niche, is there a way in which you can make it more vague?

I suppose it’s worth letting a potential employer that you’ve accumulated gains rather than losses, but wouldn’t it be nice to hear about what they are?

Oh the Humanity

The robots have their place, helping the humans sift through an increasing volume of data to find what they want, but appealing to that robot isn’t really helpful.

The problem here, if there is only one problem, is that sooner or later the document or profile is going to land in front of a human who is going to wonder if a programmatic AI got loose and started applying for jobs.

No human being talks about themselves in this way.
No human talks to other humans like this.

Ultimately my friend and I decide that this is the essence of what must have happened. The person running the gig on Fiverr has taken the copy from her CV and profile, fed it into a low-grade content-mill style AI and copy-pasted the output into a template and sent it back.

There’s no other explanation, because they were perfectly nice in the app messages, certainly didn’t have a mangled synthetic humanity to them.

Key phrases aren’t enough.

Terms like superior output might be something you want from a hire but without specifics, types of output, what use is it?

When you’re trying to create connections, with an employer, an agency or a broader audience, the human element must be central. It’s convenient to have a robot do things for us, but convenience is not brilliance, it’s not creativity and it’s not human.

If you’re trying to get something in front of an audience, particularly those that search, keywords and search terms are of course important. But simply stuffing in everything robotic without any connective tissue is entirely self-defeating.

Content must be personal, human, real, if it’s going to appeal to humans.


If you’re trying to create connections to grow your business, create awareness of new products or services, Mulberry MC has decades of experience making business to business personal. We can create messaging, collateral and campaigns that speak directly and personally to your audience. If you want to find out more about what we do, and how we do it, get in touch and let’s start a conversation.

Robots need not apply.


Mike McConnell is a Creative Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications. An award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in London, Chicago and Melbourne. He has years of experience creating and directing creative work alongside developing ideas for a diverse range of clients across multiple formats. The digital people who interest him the most are Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, HAL 9000 from 2001, Kryten from Red Dwarf and Bishop from Aliens.