The rapid pace of technological change has altered the recruitment process, providing candidates and end users with myriad choices. The goal is to leverage technologies that enable recruiters and staffing firms to more efficiently find the right talent. Claudette Cunitz, Monster’s vice president and a former ASA board member, looks at how staffing companies can utilize technology to streamline their recruitment process, while maintaining the human touch.

Q: How do you see technology changing staffing? Give us a strategic view.

A: This a really exciting time for the staffing industry; new opportunities abound. And technology is building greater efficiencies into the recruiting process.

At Monster, we live on the cutting edge where technology engages candidates and finds job matches. In fact, we’ve been in this business longer than any other technology player in the market. We’re constantly designing technologies and processes to automate tasks that will improve efficiencies — especially for recruiters — and free them to focus on the human interaction. That engagement ultimately drives differentiation, value, and success in the recruitment industry.

There are also challenges, though, for recruiters, in that technology is distracting to job seekers. These shifts often make it difficult to attract and engage potential candidates. That’s part of the reason Monster works to reach candidates wherever they are — on our site, on publisher sites, on social media, via mobile and desktop, and via Google’s job search feature.

Q: Have the expectations of today’s job seekers raised the bar for recruiters? In what way?

A: Most definitely. As staffing professionals, we can no longer expect people to come to us; we have to go to where the talent is, and they’re spending most of their time on social media. And surprisingly, Millennials are not the biggest social media consumers. According to a 2016 Nielsen social media report, it’s the previous generation of Gen-Xers who spend more time online, almost seven hours a week. Millennials currently use social media six hours a week. Those figures make it imperative for recruiters to get their jobs on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In response, we’ve reinvigorated the job ad at Monster. Our Premium Job Ad, a new product for us, is distributed across all those social platforms, so it’s seen by local candidates as well as candidates across the Web.

Let’s not forget another important factor — the prevalent use of smartphones. According to 2016 data from the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone, including 92% of young adults age 18 to 29. These millennials are poised for interaction. They want an easy application process — one that enables them to apply with a swipe. Monster’s mobile solutions allow them to do just that.

Ultimately, though, successful recruiting is still about finding qualified talent — and for the staffing industry in particular, finding the right talent as efficiently as possible. It’s not about volume. At Monster, we’re using targeted social delivery technology to distribute jobs across social platforms that enable better applies.

As more of daily life becomes digitally enabled, job search and apply will become instant-access, always-on activities. So recruiters need intelligent technologies to help them manage this never-ending flow.

Q: What are some of the challenges introduced by technology that have changed the way people think about the industry?

A: Let’s face it — technology can be a disrupter. It’s changed the amount of recruiting data we need to master. Our goal at Monster is to intelligently harness the always-on activity of today’s job seekers and allow recruiters to comfortably manage that information, find the talent online, and engage them wherever they are.

Q: There’s a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence. What’s your take?

A: AI is enhancing our lives through our smartphones and devices like Amazon’s Alexa. At the same time, AI is already transforming recruitment.

Monster has been tapping AI with the development of natural language search for nearly a decade. Our semantic search technology decodes big data, parsing common terms found on a résumé and at the job ad level, such as a job title, job skills, and the required level of education. This data is then scored and ranked to enable a faster match between the seeker and the job. This technology has been a very helpful resource for recruiters. As we look ahead, AI has the capacity to make sense of complex customer behavior. The power of AI can be applied to predictive analytics, automated chat, speech recognition and machine learning. All have the potential to revolutionize any process-based activity and help simplify daily tasks. AI’s ability to automate tedious, low-productivity tasks makes it a solid bet for optimizing the recruitment process.

Q: Do we run the risk of losing the human element in recruiting? Will machines replace recruiters?

A: There’s always the fear that technology will dehumanize the candidate experience. At its core, recruitment is a human exchange. The gap between technology and humans is growing smaller every day, but jobs that require leadership and innovation will stay with humans. As staffing leaders and innovators, we have an incredible opportunity to harness technology to improve recruiting as never before.

We want to enable recruiters to do what they do best — create a personalized experience. That human factor is so important. The technological advances we’re building into the recruitment process will enable them to find talent more efficiently and build the talent pipeline they need to keep potential candidates at the ready. That’s been our goal and objective all along.

Q: As more firms jump on the bandwagon, barriers to using these technologies lessen. How can staffing firms effectively differentiate themselves for candidates?

A: Three-quarters of candidates on Monster indicate they conduct a company search prior to applying to a job. If they’re looking for a staffing firm, your company’s unique story needs to draw them in. Every staffing company needs a well-executed employer brand to successfully engage the best candidates. It’s what candidates expect. Monster’s employer brand solutions are helping companies stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Q: What lies ahead for the industry given the rapid pace of technological change?

A: I see a bright future ahead. Staffing firms are already tapping technology to find better talent when they need it. At Monster, we look forward to continuing the journey with staffing companies, enabling recruiters to spend more time delivering a stronger ROI and building relationships with candi-dates so they can place more people in the right jobs.