Kelly Cartwright, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor

Kelly Cartwright, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to experience talent technology as an analyst and evaluator for a consulting provider; as a potential buyer from an RPO; and as someone who must “sell” a technology decision to clients and internal teams.  Today, this variety of perspectives is not unique. Most decision-makers must play all these roles at the same time, particularly as it relates to wearing the “buyer” hat and the “seller” hat.

If you are considering a technology solution or simply keeping an eye on industry trends, it’s good to consider the perspectives of everyone involved.  For great commentary on the latest trends, John Sumser’s recent Five Threads of Technology in HRExaminer, and Josh Bersin’s article, “9 Hottest Trends in Technology” come to mind.  Here’s my take on four recent trends and what they might mean to the roles you have to play.

1.  The rise of big data and related analytics solutions

Advances in analytics, combined with the exponential proliferation of data available in the online universe (the proverbial “big data”), provide detailed insight that can drive everything from discovering great candidates to predicting high performing employees, targeting recruitment advertising and addressing potential retention issues.

These advances offer great promise, but buyers have questions. What specific decisions will companies be able to make?  If an advanced analysis and reporting capability is added to, say… an employee assessment solution … will the results help hiring managers make better talent decisions and will those decisions drive improvements in profitability, cost savings, or some other measure?

Selling the idea is a matter of technical detail and business insight. If a seller can identify the specific questions that an analytics solution or feature can answer for a company—questions that are only being guessed at today—then a case can be made. For the company that “knows what it doesn’t know,” the application of advanced analytics offers great promise.

2.  The advent of the recruitment marketing platform (RMP)

The industry is evolving quickly to develop a strategic approach to interacting with a fragmented universe of social media and traditional web resources. The recruitment marketing platform does just that, combining job board posting, candidate relationship management (CRM), interaction with career sites, and dashboard reporting through one integrated solution..

When considering the RMP idea, a buyer might begin by asking about need and compatibility. “Does it do the things that current providers (ATS, CRM or otherwise) can’t already do with some adjustment or minor additions? If it offers a distinct value, the buyer will need to know that an RMP approach will play well with systems already in place, such as the ATS or HRMS, or at least not require a significant integration or learning curve to deliver results.

The functions of the RMP should be easy to sell to an organization. It focuses on automating much of the redundant work of posting and social media interaction, and it corrals the recruiting activity and associated data into a single system. Once again, the challenge will be to convince others that recruitment marketing isn’t already being done effectively through other means.

3.  The adoption of mobile recruiting

Josh Bersin noted in his Forbes article that “LinkedIn and Prudential told us that more than 50% of their candidates now find jobs through their mobile devices.” He also cited the thoughts of many executives on the topic of mobile technology: “we don’t even see mobile as a new platform any more, it is the platform.”

In his May 2013 HR Examiner piece, 5 Key Questions: Mobile Recruiting, John Sumser noted that mobile as a mature function is “still a few years away.” He also added, “The timing of an investment in mobile technology involves balancing several factors: importance to your specific job hunters, the evolution of concepts and functions in the mobile recruiting toolkit, importance of quantifiable results, and organizational tolerance for ambiguity. The longer you can wait, the clearer it will get.”

So, who’s right?  The answer is, both stories are right, because there is no single type of buyer.  For a large and growing number of organizations, mobile is quickly becoming “table stakes” in the war for talent, but not everyone’s on board yet.  One terrific October, 2013 infographic by GSMI tells and interesting story:

  • 70% of job seekers use mobile (simplyhired)
  • 56% of American adults own a smartphone (Pew)
  • 77% of job seekers use mobile job search apps (
  • 63% of Americans access social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook on mobile devices (Nielson)
  • And here’s the kicker: What percentage of Fortune 500 companies offer a way for people to apply on mobile?  The answer: 3%

Is mobile recruiting capability a must-have?  You decide.

4.  Video as an integral part of recruiting process

Number eight in Josh Bersin’s top nine trends is the presence of video and social media “everywhere.” Social media is a given, and the discussion has turned from the importance of social media (old news) to the tools for putting it to work (see RMP above, for example).  In today’s discussion, however, video deserves special attention. Companies now have specific technologies available to incorporate video into their recruiting processes with significant improvements as a result, yet making the case for investment and change is a real challenge.

In his October HRO Today Article, The Virtues of Video, Russ Banham explores the variety of advantages that companies are starting to realize from the use of video in the recruiting process. He also notes that many organizations are slow to adopt the technology.  That’s because realizing the advantages of video requires investment in a solution.

This leads to the “seller’s” challenge of gaining buy-in. Winning support for video as part of a strategy does not mean touting the features of technology; it means laying out the business case. Video interviewing, for example, can dramatically reduce the screening process, eliminate first level scheduling issues, and drive serious savings in terms of time and cost in the recruiting process.  As with anything new, the idea of video takes time to socialize, more time to select and more time to implement.  If you aren’t already somewhere on this path, you might want to start that journey soon.

One more thing

Whether you are wearing your buyer hat or seller hat, the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the bleeding-edge wait-and-see’s in technology are all demanding attention. When it comes to sorting through the innovations, there will always be a lot of convincing to do, but did I mention one other thing? Oh right… the user.  For all the commentary and coaxing, it is the user that will determine the direction of the technology landscape. It’s a detail that all of us should do well to remember.

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