In this episode of The Staffing Show, we were at the StaffingTec conference, and we sat down with Tim Robbins, VP of Staffing and Recruiting at Monster to talk about the conference, the smart way to adopt new tech, and what’s keeping staffing execs up at night.
StaffingHub: We’re here at the StaffingTec conference in Nashville, and we’ve been here for about two days now, and I’m wondering what you’ve learned, what you’ve been most excited about. What’s your experience at the conference been so far?
Robbins: It’s been great. This is my first time attending the conference and it started out with the blockchain discussion on Tuesday. For me that was an opportunity to really demystify what this blockchain stuff is all about. Again, great content, great speakers, some real thought leaders that were part of many panel discussions. Very interesting. I loved the pace of the conference and the discussions. Again, for me it really helped to demystify some of the things that I was really trying to figure out in terms of impact both now and the future in staffing.
With StaffingTec, I found myself wanting to be in three places at the same time: the discussions, the breakout sessions — great content. People were really enthused. It’s full of thought leaders across the sector that are here to really introduce things that are happening in this space right now, that are less future-state, but now.
These are things that companies can really take back to their businesses and start implementing. It’s a noisy place right now, and I think companies are really using this event to understand the technology in this space to drive efficiency in the industry.
StaffingHub: Yeah. It seems like everything is moving so fast in staffing technology and the now and the future are collapsing into the same moment.
Monster: I would agree.
StaffingHub: I’m wondering, from your perspective on the industry, what should people be paying attention to?
Monster: I think if companies and businesses pause long enough to think about the lifecycle of the candidates that they’re trying to attract and think about the lifecycle in terms of what happens from the time they get an order to the time, again, they reach out to those potential candidates for that particular rec — think about that entire process and the experience.
There are companies in spaces that are really challenged to find the right talent, there are these shortages. So, you’ve got to have a great process. You’ve got to create a great candidate experience.
Then, oh by the way, if you find the right match and are able to place that person, then what happens? And how do you stay engaged with those folks through the lifecycle of that particular placement? All the way to redeployment opportunities to reengage those talents with future opportunities.
I think it’s the companies that really pause to think the process through and identify those gaps as to where they can plug technology in, with the providers that can make that easy and more efficient. I think those are the ones that are really going to win in the short term because.
I think everything that’s here, some of it sounds scary. AI and chatbots and like, what does that mean? How do I use it? Well, there are companies that are using those technologies on their platforms as well as others that are in the market, and using them very successfully.
You’ve got to start with a plan and thought before action.
StaffingHub: That’s great. And it seems also, like you said, it’s important to ground all your tech choices in your candidate experience. So I hear a lot of conversation, a push to adopt a whole lot of new technology and staffing, but it really needs to be grounded in business initiatives.
Robbins: Identify where are those pains.
How can you plug technology in to create efficiency for your employees? I strongly believe that recruiters aren’t going to go the way of the dinosaur. We’re going to make them more efficient, more effective at what they do.
And that’s that final-mile engagement with the best candidates, with the best opportunities. It’s a tremendous opportunity.
StaffingHub: You’ve been in the industry for a while now, so you have a great perspective on how things have changed. How has recruiting, from your point of view, changed?
Robbins: Well I’ll say from the job board, from Monster’s perspective, Monster’s 25 years old this year.
StaffingHub: Happy birthday.
Robbins: So, a lot has changed, but on the other hand, it really hasn’t. When you think about it, Monster was founded to disrupt the newspapers. So, that print ad became this digital ad, and now, there are different players in the space. But, it really is still a digital ad. There’s a lot more of it and maybe some more options, and so we think that the market is right for disruption. Actually, this month we’re launching Monster Studios, just having come off of a Beta, and that’s an opportunity for recruiters to really tell the story with video of their opportunity, about their company, about them as a recruiter, creating their own brand and company’s brand in a way that’s never been done before.
We see incredibly higher engagement with video versus the digital ads. That’s a game-changing opportunity.
The market’s very excited about it. We’ve recorded actually 20 videos with recruiters and owners here at this conference. People are getting comfortable getting in front of a camera and so that’s exciting.
We think this artifact we call a resume is ripe for disruption.
Imagine the day when a recruiter could view a profile that’s been verified — employment background, education — those are things that can and will change in the future.
StaffingHub: With an industry that’s moving so quickly and changing so much, to many candidates I’m sure, a push to video can seem daunting or a big change from what they’re used to if they’re thinking of the resume. How would you advise staffing firms on making that transition for their candidates to bridge the gap between this great connection they want to make, and this that’s really powerful new technology we can use. I mean, it’s not new technology, but this powerful new way of looking at the application process, at looking at recruiting wholesale.
Robbins: For us we think the first step is going to be for the recruiters to get comfortable, to create those videos that tell the story. And I think that becomes a natural bridge to the candidate’s. There are companies that are already there. And others that are maybe talking about it and others that say, no way.
But listen, we’re in a society with a generation that’s now the dominant generation in the workforce that’s very comfortable with their iPhone or their mobile device and taking selfies and doing videos — they do it all day, all the time.
So I think it’s going to be a natural progression, and we’re excited to be at the forefront in our space, to allow our recruiters to begin creating videos to speak directly to those candidates.
StaffingHub: What are some of the biggest challenges you see in the industry right now?
Robbins: At this conference, there are so many companies that have solutions that they’re bringing to market. I think it’s at a point where many companies have been stalled by just: what do I do first? What’s the priority? And so I think that’s a real challenge.
Listen, there are many segments within staffing that have tremendous candidate shortages, and so candidate attraction is a real challenge.
We hear that one of the things that keeps up executives the most at night is their own ability to differentiate.
So there are many challenges, but I think again, I think events like this help the decision-makers really distill and identify priorities and things that can help make a difference in their business.
StaffingHub: Is there anything that has come about in all these panels and discussions at the conference that surprised you or excited you or pushed you in a direction you didn’t expect?
I’m just enthused to see the level of engagement, and I would even say enthusiasm, that exists at this conference and people’s willingness to listen and learn and develop an action plan for when they go back to affect change.
Technology is going to be an even stronger enabler for staffing. But it starts with learning and again identifying those gaps. I’m not so surprised as I am enthused with that level of engagement.
StaffingHub: What’s on the horizon for Monster?
Robbins: Listen, at the end of the day, we’re working with great companies in the space to enable technology. Monster has world-class match technology. But we’re not an ATS. We go through integrations with great companies like Erecruit and Bullhorn, who can deliver that best-in-class technology in the environment where recruiters, where our customers live. With that, matching the rec to the right person literally instantly. There are some other great tools of companies that are here at this event that can really drive candidates and the process deeper into the pipeline, hands-free.
That’s what we’re here for and I think that’s the future and we’re helping to enable those kinds of technologies with great companies, and there’s a lot more on the horizon to come.
StaffingHub: That’s great, well thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Robbins: Thanks, Caitlin. Enjoyed it.
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