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ASA Staffing World 2018: Balancing Human Touch and Technology

Our biggest takeaways from the event

Last month I attended Staffing World, one of the most influential conferences in the staffing industry. It’s hosted by the American Staffing Association, which has been a longtime authority in the space and helps its impressive number of members keep a pulse on all things staffing.

Now more than ever, conferences like Staffing World are critical to staying competitive in our industry. First, they serve as an opportunity to come together with peer and partners to understand the broader business environment and staffing challenges. Second, they allow us to uncover ideas and innovations that help make recruiters more efficient and, ultimately, our clients and consultants happier and more successful.

The biggest takeaway from Staffing World for me? Balance. Finding the right balance between the personal touch that makes recruiters great and the tools that can make them even better.

There’s no question that the environment in staffing right now is one of change—and a little bit of chaos. The unemployment rate has never been lower, making the job of the recruiter quite difficult in many industries with unprecedented skills shortages. It’s not uncommon for a recruiter to interview 15-20 candidates a day, and still leave positions unfilled. As a result, recruiter burnout is very real. When retention becomes a problem, it amplifies the stress of a tough hiring market.

So, how can recruiters win? Attending Staffing World made it clear that technology has a permanent place in the recruiting process, most notably in ways that can reduce the administrative burden on recruiters. Investing in the right technology frees up recruiters to focus on what makes them so valuable in the first place: their interpersonal and communication skills, or the softer side of staffing.

For this reason, the best part of the conference for me was Staffing World’s Tech Park. Held in the main expo hall, Tech Park featured 10-minute Shark Tank-like presentations from up and coming technology providers to the staffing industry.

Two providers who caught my attention were TimeSaved, an app that allows staffing firms to communicate with, rate and even track the location of workers, and Sense, a talent engagement and communication platform. Both companies are examples of technology that can enhance how a recruiter communicates with candidates and consultants on assignment.

It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the latest innovations. But the technologies that show the most promise to me are those that allow recruiters to better understand client needs and get to know our candidate pool. That interaction is what allows us to make the right talent matches that result in happier clients and consultants.

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