How to ward off the ‘hodge-podge fix’ and invest in a streamlined solution that will turn your recruiters into hiring heroes.
The talent acquisition game—and particularly the technology behind it—has changed so much in a relatively short amount of time. Remember when filling out an application online or submitting an electronic resume was considered groundbreaking? It’s no shock that today's recruitment marketing technology looks nothing like it did three years ago. Candidate expectations have ultimately flipped traditional approaches upside down which is guiding talent leaders to rethink their recruitment solutions and adjust their approach to best serve these strict demands.
All too often, companies have responded to these intimidating changes by cobbling together talent acquisition software as needed. A quick fix right? Wrong! Whether you are building the bones of your talent strategy or you are investigating a new solution all together—the first step is to understand how to protect your talent strategy from the false attraction that are multiple solutions.
Beware of the Franken-System
Often, companies have responded to these rapid changes by cobbling together talent acquisition software as needed. A survey by the Brandon Hall Group discovered that 41 percent of responding organizations do not have a defined talent acquisition technology strategy—or even any technology, period—in place.1 Companies may be using even the latest point solutions but are doing so for individual tasks, not as part as an overall, complete recruiting experience.
The result of all these point solutions often is a “Franken-system”—disparate technologies sewn together with the hope everything will fit into a seamless talent acquisition plan. Your career website and email marketing might be created by two separate providers; your application software might go through a different vendor; your ATS might be from yet another company; and you may not even have social media software to connect with candidates. If you’re lucky, every point solution somehow can communicate with and complement each other, but that’s a big if.
The Franken-system may challenge your recruiting staff, but it undoubtedly fragments the candidate experience. For example, your career website may dazzle a candidate into applying, but then the online application—from a different vendor—is completely lacking, perhaps insisting the candidate provide information he or she already has provided at another part of the journey. Candidates will lose interest if the experience is complicated, if they are receiving different messages, or if they are left completely out of the loop—but that’s exactly what multiple point solutions often do. A Franken-system can lead to what almost every Frankenstein movie includes: angry villagers with pitchforks …
The Problem with Separate Point Solutions
Granted, there are many point solutions that are solid products and adequately achieve their designated purposes. However, most of these options exist within a silo and don’t always play nice with other solutions. As a result, recruiting departments often don’t receive a full view of what is working and what isn’t with their talent acquisition strategies. Furthermore, establishing 360-degree analytics is almost impossible.
Here’s a look at some specific problems that point solutions present within an organization’s overall talent acquisition plan:
Lack of Integration
Multiple point solutions from multiple vendors may lead to serious integration issues. The data from one piece of software might not be compatible with the rest of your talent acquisition platforms, thus creating more work and cost, especially if data must be manually imported—if it imports at all. In today’s recruiting environment, data is crucial, so if it can’t be cross-examined, decisions won’t be as informed. Also, if you and your staff must bounce between programs just to learn more about one candidate, much less dozens or hundreds, you will be dealing with a fair amount of inefficiency and frustration.
Costly Integration, Custom Coding
If square pegs don’t fit into the round holes, why not just spend money to make it happen? Unfortunately, pouring money into costly integration technology is what will happen if you choose this route … and you aren’t guaranteed the integration won’t go off without a hitch. You can also try custom coding, but again, it’s expensive and imperfect. Furthermore, if you attempt integration among various point solutions, the quality of each may significantly contrast, thus leaving you stuck with a system in which some parts work great and others are severely lacking and not easily replaced without more costly integration measures.
Individual Parts That Don’t Talk to Each Other
If a candidate drops out of the hiring process, say, during the application stage, the other areas of your system should know that occurred. Otherwise, your ATS might keep tracking candidates who are no longer candidates, for example. Point solutions utterly fail to tie each step of the candidate’s journey, which not only creates a negative experience for the candidate, but also prevents you from identifying the best candidates, strategies, and processes.
Wildly Inconsistent Capabilities
Unless you are investing in each best-of-brand option (which likely will be prohibitively expensive), multiple point solutions inevitably will vary in their capabilities. Imagine a dynamic career website that thoroughly impresses candidates, who then click on the link to apply and are taken to a site that looks stuck in 2004. Not only does this inconsistency hamper an efficient hiring process, but it may also turn off candidates enough to click away from your websites and never return.
If a point solution is in need of an upgrade or your talent acquisition system is showing a noticeable gap, scaling or adding to your software configuration may be difficult. Integration becomes even trickier when you introduce new components to your system; there is no guarantee the addition will be compatible with the older solutions. The metaphor of the weakest link in a chain holds true: An upgrade might only perform as well as the most primitive element of your talent acquisition software.
With many disparate solutions, compiling analytics across the whole candidate experience is near impossible. For example, which sourcing channels produce employees who become the best evangelists after hire? That’s two opposite ends of the candidate journey, but quality data can connect both and drive talent acquisition strategy. With multiple point solutions, arriving at that data simply isn’t feasible.
Change is admittedly difficult for many talent acquisition departments. Significant investment might have been sunk into current point solutions, and the status quo is often easier to maintain than taking a different direction. However, at a certain point, the shortcomings of multiple point solutions become too obvious—and costly—to overlook.
1) Talent Acquisition Technology 2016: Top 5 Research Findings; Brandon Hall Group, July 2016, p. 3