In the last few years, the profile of artificial intelligence as a tool has risen across several industries, including staffing and recruiting. Even though chatbots and reverse recruiting seem like they’re the future of recruiting, 95 percent of job seekers say technologies should aid the recruitment experience, not replace it, per a recent study.
As Chief Digital Officer at HR recruiting and staffing company Randstad, Alan Stukalsky aims to find the balance between improving the recruiting process with new technologies like AI, while still keeping the personal touch that prospective candidates need to find the right fit.
Stukalsky has always been involved with technology and “interested in all things digital”. He’s been at the staffing enterprise on-and-off since 2001, most recently as CIO in 2009 before making the transition a year ago into this newly created digital role.
“It’s a fairly new position at Randstad,” says Stukalsky. “My focus is on information technology, marketing, strategy, and real estate. With this role, the Mega Branch is a combination of all of those pieces and bringing it together more from a workplace perspective on how we put people to work, but also how we interact with them when they come in.”
The market dynamics have triggered the addition of the role, says Stukalsky.
“If you look around today, everything is driven by digital marketing. It’s become a part of our everyday lives,” says Stukalsky. “If you look specifically at our space, staffing and recruiting, technology has been a little bit behind. In the last 3-4 years, we’ve focused a lot of investment, both dollars and resources, on innovation. This innovation has reshaped how we run our business — from how we recruit to new business models.”
Stukalsky leads the initiatives inside Randstad’s Human Forward Mega Branch, the company’s new interactive division that combines intelligent machines like AI-powered kiosks with private rooms for candidates to connect with prospective employers and clients.
“We’ve moved into a much more collaborative and open workspace,” says Stukalsky. “What we tried to do is build an open framework with smaller collaboration spaces, technology integrations with video conferencing and interviewing software, opportunities to collaborate in person and virtually, and make prospective employees excited to work here. In the end, blending what we call, ‘tech and touch.”
This ‘tech and touch’ goal goes back to balancing the impersonal job application process on websites while prioritizing efficiency and client-candidate relationships, says Stukalsky.
The AI-powered kiosks carry one of Randstad’s Innovation Fund company’s gamification platform, called Pymetrics. Founded by two Harvard and MIT-trained PhDs, the platform uses neuroscience games to help candidates find the jobs that best match their personality, all without bias, and all in 20 minutes.
“It helps the candidate figure out what they are the best fit for,” says Stukalsky. “They come out of it with an evaluation of their cognitive and emotional traits — and which types of jobs are the best fit for the results. They have the option of being able to understand what traits they have and which ones they need to improve on to guide them and have a more successful career.”
Stukalsky shares that aside from their plunge into AI, big data and social media have also had a heavy impact on the way they approach recruiting — from tools that make crunching data more accessible to using social communities for talent acquisition.
“We had a refocus on big data and the capabilities of new tools to kickstart new initiatives. Not only the tools have evolved, but the skill set required to handle big data isn’t as high anymore,” says Stukalsky.
“Another thing is the influence different social communities are having in finding the best candidates in a very low unemployment workspace. Finding the candidate is becoming more and more difficult every day. The ability to find people through social channels and specialty communities like GitHub and HackerRank is changing the dynamic of how we recruit.”
Stukalsky also sees automation becoming part of the recruiting equation.
“I see technology really helping automating low value processes and making them more efficient,” says Stukalsky. “This will give recruiters, and the candidates as well, time to focus more on high value activities. Recruiters are constantly looking for the best candidate. How can we improve that search? From there, how do we verify they are available, understand their job interests, and compensation followed by jobs that match?”
“If we automate this process, when the recruiter talks to the candidate, we already know all of those facts.”