Every day we hear about hot trends in sourcing technology. Tools evolve continuously, so how do employers make good long-term technology investments when both requirements and technical capabilities constantly change?
Tomorrow’s technology will differ from today’s. New jobs will be created; others will become obsolete and candidates will be evaluated against new criteria. All of this impacts the way we evaluate sourcing technology from an integration, administration and capability standpoint. Ultimately, HR professionals need sourcing technology that connects them to candidates. Rather than making a long-term, point-in-time decision, DIGGER recommends an approach that maximizes existing resources while leaving room to explore new technologies. In other words, the strategy for sourcing technology must be agile to adapt to rapid changes in both the talent marketplace and in recruiting innovations.
Where to start ?
A common pitfall is to buy or license technology because it is marketed well. If you are the technology buyer, ask the following questions before investing:
• What sourcing resources do we already have? Are they fully optimized?
• How do we stay current and buy only the products that add value to our business?
• Does our current sourcing strategy maximize our employer brand? How does the brand impact the sourcing strategy?
• How do we calculate risk and ROI when it comes to new technology?
• What is the right mix of current and new technology?
• What is a good planning cycle for technology innovation? If you think through these questions, you are more likely to make better technology decisions.
A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR SOURCING TECHNOLOGY
In today’s environment, uncertainty is the only certainty. Market volatility makes it difficult to forecast hiring. Rapid response to changing dynamics requires efficient processes. Sourcing technologies that are more attuned to your business can speed response to hiring demands.
There are three key actions in identifying the right sourcing technologies to meet your needs:
1. PLAN FOR SOURCING TECHNOLOGY: ASSESS CURRENT AND DESIRED STATES
Establish objectives | Know what you have | Understand potential impacts on employer brand | Get the right sourcing talent | Budget for a well-rounded effort
Establish objectives Start by identifying your company’s business objectives and assessing the talent required to achieve them. What do you need from a talent sourcing standpoint? Where are the gaps and what needs to change? With these answers you can evaluate new technology against one important question: does the technology help generate the right candidates to meet your talent sourcing objectives?
Understand potential impacts on employer brand How you use technology to advance your sourcing strategy is strongly linked to employer branding. All companies need to make sure that their technology provides the desired brand experience. Some companies are masters at this, but all companies need to pay attention to the link between sourcing talent and employer branding. Your customers and candidates are often one and the same. The key is to ensure that each candidate has a positive experience so that even if they are not hired, they will continue to be loyal customers and have a positive feeling about the brand.
A global food and beverage retailer determined that a loyal consumer spends on average $15,000 on its products over the span of 20 years. If 20 percent of “customer candidates” for every 1,000 of their job openings had a negative experience and were lost as consumers, it would result in an $8.7 million loss in future sales.
The recruiting process is full of opportunities to reinforce a positive client brand and the right sourcing technology can significantly enhance it. But using any technology is a two-way street. Just as companies expect candidates to be familiar with technology, candidates expect potential employers to use certain platforms and technologies. Simply put, if your tools are outdated, your company runs the risk of missing out on qualified candidates.
Get the right sourcing talent The best technology tools are only effective in the hands of recruiters who know how to use them. Companies with highly successful sourcing efforts report the best recruiters are innately curious and passionate about finding great people and matching them to the right positions. Recruiters use technology, but they don’t need to be tech experts. What matters is that they have the skill set and aptitude to embrace new opportunities, think creatively and be early adopters of new technology. No matter the technical comfort level, the good news is that a lot of the learning is at low or no cost (such as free or low-cost webinars, “how-to” blogs or product demonstrations). The key is to find and support recruiters who are passionate about applying new learning to their work. These are the qualities that cannot necessarily be taught.
Budget for a well-rounded effort Some of the most effective sourcing platforms can be inexpensive. The key is to plan for an appropriate mix of technology. Consider conservative approaches—whether they are software-based, subscription models, or any number of offerings—as well as experimental efforts. Some leading employers recommend an 80/20 budget mix of the tried-and-true versus innovative opportunities. This allows HR leaders to have some freedom to try new approaches. As an added bonus, it sends the message that the company is comfortable with experimentation.
2. ENGAGE WITH SOURCING TECHNOLOGY: EMBRACE CHANGE AND THINK DIFFERENTLY
Don’t be afraid to fail | Get creative Stay away from the hype. Challenge your own assumptions
Don’t be afraid to fail When it comes to technology, serial dating may be better than marriage. Technology changes constantly. Some of the best innovations are short lived. Be comfortable with that. The most innovative companies are not afraid to fail. They believe trial and error are part of an effective plan. Willingness to try new things also says something important about company culture. As one recruiter put it, “We won’t be able to attract talent if we’re constantly afraid to try new things.” Some companies love to be early adopters. These employers partner with developers to pilot new kinds of technology. It is a great way to experiment and it enables the recruiters to be the first to learn a new product. These companies are often willing to test out the latest tools, e.g. hosting a new social media platform. They may or may not find candidates. Either way, there is value in the exploration.
Stay away from the hype. Challenge your own assumptions. It is easy to get caught up in the latest trend and assume it will be great for your company. But this may not be true. Whether or not a certain technology is the right fit will depend on the specific job roles and skills required, along with the nature of your business. The key is to consider the potential return carefully, while also opening up the possibility of new ways of operating. First, take a close look at the ROI associated with popular subscription models. Just because “everyone uses them,” does not mean they are right for you. Look at the type of presence your candidates have on a particular platform—e.g., are they more likely to be on LinkedIn or Stack Overflow? What is their gold standard? Consider using technologies that offer free tools which may prove to be sufficient. Some technology considered dated might continue to be effective for your purposes. For example, job boards, which are often mistaken as losing importance, continue to be far more impactful than many people believe. In fact, job boards are responsible for six times as many hires as social media recruiting.
3. EVALUATE SOURCING TECHNOLOGY: MEASURE AND REFINE, THEN REPEAT THE PROCESS
The market is saturated with technologies to support candidate sourcing and it continues to grow. Increasing workforce mobility and scarcity of skills mean the stakes to find the right talent are raised. With technology promising multiple ways to achieve your objectives faster, cheaper and more efficiently, the challenge of choosing the best technology to address your specific needs becomes more daunting. An effective sourcing technology framework takes into account not only the newest technology, but the right technology mix to meet your company’s unique sourcing objectives. In today’s uncertain environment, you must act swiftly and creatively to engage the most sought-after talent. A strategic framework for identifying sourcing technology is a business imperative. When executed effectively, this framework aligns technology with business objectives, enabling organizational agility and, ultimately, the successful targeting of candidates.
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