Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

The traditional technology configuration for recruiting and hiring at the enterprise level is changing from being solely an applicant tracking setup to one with more analytics, automation and marketing tools, said Tim Sackett, HR thought leader and president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich.

“In five years, what we consider to be an ATS [applicant tracking system] now will no longer exist in talent acquisition,” Sackett told attendees at CareerBuilder’s Empower 2017, a conference for recruiting professionals held by the recruiting software company.

“The ATS is just a database, a system of record for talent acquisition, similar to the HRIS [human resource information system] for HR,” he said. “The reality is that TA [talent acquisition] is moving more toward marketing technologies.”

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

Today’s Best-Practice TA Tech Stack

Sackett explained that a best-practice TA tech setup currently relies on the ATS as its core piece. From there, employers add a sourcing and candidate relationship management (CRM) component at the top of the stack and an onboarding tool on the other end, either as a part of the ATS, the HRIS or a stand-alone. In addition, the ATS should be integrated with background screening and assessment components.

“This is where you should be today,” he said. “Many aren’t, but that’s OK, as long as you’re working toward it.”

He pointed out that “some ATS vendors will say they offer sourcing, or CRM, but those are for the most part crap. There’s a couple maybe that do it well, but the reality is that for really good CRM right now, you have to bolt it on.” He added that what ATSs are trying to sell are mass e-mail blasts masquerading as CRM. “That’s not CRM. That’s not how you nurture a candidate.”

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

The Future Best-Practice TA Tech Stack

The future best-practice tech configuration will be front-loaded with a fully functioning CRM that includes a recruitment marketing platform, employer branding technology, a fully optimized careers site and programmatic ad placement. Programmatic advertising helps employers decide how and where to buy ads by targeting specific demographics. Consumer marketing has been using programmatic advertising for over a decade.

“If you have a need for a critical care nurse in Chicago, programmatic ads will keep popping up in front of people who fit that profile based on their online behavior,” Sackett said. “Only 18 percent of organizations are using programmatic for job posting, but in a few years, it will be 90-plus percent. You will have to figure this out.”

Programmatic is less comfortable for HR because the cost varies. “It’s pay-per-applicant, so you don’t know how much it will cost to get 10 applicants, but the reality is that it ends up being 60-75 percent less than what you spend on traditional recruitment marketing,” he said.

Automated sourcing technology, including employee referral automation, should be next in the stack. “Employee referral automation is probably the most underutilized, highest ROI [return on investment] of any TA tech on the market, and still only about 35-40 percent of organizations are even using it,” Sackett said.

“Think about it: What’s your No.1 source of hire?” he asked the audience. “Referrals are usually either first, second or third. What’s your top quality of hire? Employee referrals. If referrals are one of your top sources of hire and the top quality of hire, why aren’t we all in on employee referral automation?”

Screening and interviewing tools using video and text messaging come next. “All recruiters should be texting candidates right now,” Sackett said. “There is some great tech out there that you can bolt on to your ATS that will capture the whole conversation, which is great for when you’re screening through text. There’s also some AI [artificial intelligence] text-screening on the market which can help a recruiter manage several text conversations simultaneously and answer basic FAQs.”

Other segments will contain predictive analytics tools, employee assessments and automated reference checks before funneling into the ATS and onboarding solution.

Owning Your TA Tech Choices

Sackett said that talent acquisition leaders still don’t typically get to pick the technologies they use, but that is changing. “The talent function houses the expertise on TA for the organization. But for the most part, IT still picks the tech. That shouldn’t be happening.”

Talent leaders will have to educate themselves on the changing technology landscape however, before usurping IT’s traditional role. “There are about 27 different verticals of TA tech you could buy,” Sackett said.

Talent acquisition leaders should create a technology road map that will work in tandem with human resources and IT road maps, suggested Nick Mailey, vice president of talent acquisition at financial software company Intuit in San Francisco. “Developing that tech road map is critical,” he said.

“Keeping up with technology is a part of your job in talent acquisition,” said William Tincup, president of in Dallas-Fort Worth. Tincup explained that TA leaders looking to invest in new technologies should consider whether the tools are predictive, easy to access anywhere with Wi-Fi and on any device—a laptop, smartphone or tablet—and whether they will recommend how to clean data.

Recruiters should look for products that will fit their processes. “Processes are always more important than products,” he said.

Being able to analyze and interpret the data from the various platforms will also be important. “One of the biggest hires we’re seeing now in corporate TA is for business intelligence analysts,” Sackett said. “We have so much data and don’t know how to interpret it.”

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How to Succeed at Talent Acquisition in 2016: The Empowered Recruiter [Webinar]

To stay competitive in 2016, your talent acquisition success will depend on a combination of effective recruitment marketing strategies, increased speed, and quality hiring processes.

All of which looks good on paper but can feel overwhelming.

Finding the right candidate is often like searching for a needle in a haystack. Your recruitment marketing strategies deliver new volumes of candidates for open roles, using various channels to attract that sought-after talent. And your optimized career page, social sources and job board listings engage candidates better than ever before.

Now what? Are you essentially creating a bigger “haystack” that those elusive “needles” are buried in? You don’t have time for that.

As recruiters, your fundamental responsibility is to find the best people for any given job as fast as possible—regardless of the complexities you face with sourcing, hiring processes or volume of candidates. You need faster and easier candidate identification. You need tools that make you more productive as a recruiter.

What if you could actually create smaller “haystacks” for each open requisition you have, and be automatically presented with a handful of potential “needles”?

You can. With a next-generation ATS (Applicant Tracking System) – a platform that brings candidate intelligence, analytics, integration, and automation right to your fingertips, strengthening your ability to derive actionable insights from the database.

Become an empowered recruiter and succeed at talent acquisition in 2016! Join PeopleFluent and Meghan M. Biro, on December 10, 2015, at  2PM EST for our webinar: “Talent Acquisition Success in 2016 Part 1: The Empowered Recruiter.”

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

  • The imperatives of robust, dynamic talent pipelines
  • Specific opportunities to simplify complex sourcing requirements
  • How to build and manage recruiting analytics that empower you
  • How mobile capabilities accelerate and amplify some of the most core functions of modern applicant tracking databases

You’ll also learn more about next-generation Applicant Tracking Systems, like PeopleFluent Recruiting, which are purpose-built for enterprise recruiting by simplifying complex recruiting processes, accelerating candidate identification, and engaging candidates, recruiters and hiring managers.

This valuable information will help you find, attract, hire, and align the best candidates in 2016 and will give you a critical edge over your competition. Click here to register today!

photo credit: Cross Processing Experiments via photopin (license)


PeopleFluent is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

Talent Acquisition Technology: Reinvention And Innovation

Last time, in Why We Don’t Need To Reinvent The ATS, I disscussed the common frustrations companies experience with Applicant Tracking Systems. In this installment, we’ll consider if we should now look to reinvent the ATS?

Should We Reinvent the ATS?

There have been a number of new ATS companies sprouting up over the past year or two, and many have received positive reviews from early adopters. But I’d suggest that much of the praise is from small- and medium-sized businesses that require less functionality and in many cases have different needs.

The majority of the large organizations I’ve talked to still require established ATS solutions that have built necessary functionality over the past 10 years, especially due to compliance and legal reasons. So I ask these four questions before answering the big one:

Can We Live Without Many Of The Features Provided By Legacy ATS solutions?

Consider the crucial features and functionality that are needed for large organizations to gain supreme value from these solutions. How quickly can we build this functionality (and other new-age features) into a reinvented ATS?

From talking to the people who have actually worked to build these technologies, it will take a years upon years to match what many solutions have today, and a majority of this functionality is integral to meeting the legal demands the government requires from organizations. It would be great to make this process easier, but if we can’t report and remain compliant to the federal government (one of the major benefits of the ATS) then what’s the point? There’s a give and take around what’s inherently needed and what’s not.

What Would We Be Improving?

Many are looking to reinvent the entire concept of what an ATS is – and that can be a worthy goal. This reinvention is happening mostly on the recruitment marketing, candidate attraction and relationship side of recruiting. How do we better capture candidates as applicants and provide recruiters with ways to better engage these candidates in the ATS?

However, many ATS tools aren’t just for hiring, but flow into talent management with onboarding, training and other modules to facilitate processes downstream in the talent process. Much of the innovation has gone in this direction, and there’s a lot of value to having a system that starts at the application and bridges the gaps to your core HR systems.

So let’s think about what the ATS should truly be and where value is ultimately created. It can’t do everything, but what should it truly do? Where should it fit in our talent acquisition process?

What’s The Opportunity Cost?

By spending time, resources and money reinventing the ATS, what opportunities are we unable to tackle? We can’t do everything, so where can we provide the most value in today’s technology ecosystem? Does the industry need a better mousetrap? Or does it need better bait to ensure the mousetrap works more efficiently and can worry more about disposal vs. attraction?

Where Are We Today?

When I look at the ATS, I see a solution that serves its purpose. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have qualms about the issues inherent in these systems. I just believe that we will never truly be satisfied with the status quo, and we’ll always find ways to try to improve how we do things. But we have to understand the motivations behind this urge.

It’s easy to say, “yes,” of course we should try to reinvent the ATS, given its widespread use and the need for additional solutions in talent acquisition now. But the better question is: “Why do we want to reinvent the ATS?”

Where Else Can We Focus Our Talent Acquisition Technology Innovation?

You’re right, I haven’t provided an alternative to a better ATS … yet. Hopefully, I’ve provided a good cliffhanger as we look to explore where else we can pour our energy and innovation to improve talent acquisition.

In my next TalentCulture post I will tackle how I see the trends in talent acquisition technology and the pros and cons of transforming our thinking on how we use technology to attract, engage, nurture and hire qualified candidates.

Image: Bigstock


Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and has sponsored this post.