Companies may have big plans to grow their workforce this year, but there is an ongoing war for top talent, and companies need better tools and strategies to secure the best recruits — especially younger candidates with high expectations for the recruiting experience.
According to CareerBuilder, one-third of employers have plans to add full-time staff this year, which is a 50 percent increase over 2014; and Glassdoor Inc.’s 2015 Recruiting Outlook Survey shows talent shortage is the No. 1 hiring challenge today.
“Recruiting as a business strategy is going to get relevant much quicker than people expect,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc. If companies don’t adapt their recruiting process, they aren’t going to be able to fill these roles, especially as seasoned baby boomers head toward retirement. “If you can’t find the right people, you can’t grow your business,” he said.
Fortunately, recruiting technology vendors are here to help. This segment of the human resources tech sector is full of innovative young companies eager to help customers add speed and efficiency to every aspect of the recruiting process, from marketing jobs via social media and building talent communities to simplifying and streamlining the application, interviewing and onboarding processes.
“All of the HR tech trends around big data, mobile, social and cloud, started with recruiting,” said Derek Beebe, director of HR technology for HR consultancy Towers Watson & Co.
And the biggest innovations are coming from the smallest vendors. “The pace of change in this sector is outpacing the big providers’ ability to keep up,” Beebe said. “The smaller, nimble organizations are the ones on the leading edge.”
Join the Community
One of the most popular areas for innovation in this space is around social media. Beebe points to tools like iCIMS Inc.’s Social Distribution, which helps companies leverage social media sites through employee referral networks and automated job publishing. “ICIMS has nailed the social component of recruiting,” he said.
It appears that iCIMS isn’t alone. Bullhorn Inc., Jobvite Inc. and Newton Software Inc., and other applicant tracking systems vendors are fleshing out their own social media engagement tools to provide customers with more holistic ways to connect with passive candidates online.
They are also beginning to build features that allow customers to create “talent communities,” where recruiters can track and stay engaged with candidates who might one day be a good fit for the company, even if they aren’t looking today. This is part of the larger trend of companies curating their own social networks of candidates, said Ivan Casanova, senior vice president of marketing for Jibe, a cloud-based recruiting software company. “Talent networks will differentiate how well organizations market themselves and build their brand within the talent pool.”
It may also give them a new way to entice passive candidates, who appear to be growing weary of cold calls from recruiters and networking sites — Glassdoor’s survey shows more than half of hiring decision-makers say their passive recruiting efforts have grown less effective in attracting highly qualified candidates, and nearly half say that candidates respond to emails and phone calls at a much lower rate than they did in the past. “The old methods of recruitment and job search just aren’t working well enough,” said Steve Roop, general manager of Glassdoor for Employers, in a news release. “Potential candidates are researching opportunities through new, interactive channels, and hiring decision-makers are planning to invest more in these channels to attract more qualified candidates.”
Going Mobile (But Not There Yet)
This shift in how companies use technology to connect with candidates reflects a broader effort to make the application experience less frustrating, said Kathy Kalstrup, an executive vice president at Aon Hewitt.
For years vendors have focused on how they can make the recruiter’s job easier and more efficient. But as the demand for talent quickly outweighs supply for many critical roles, vendors have shifted their thinking, Kalstrup said. “Today it is all about making the candidate experience as easy and seamless as possible.”
A big part of this transition is occurring through the adoption of mobile recruiting apps and mobile-optimized career pages. The bigger HR tech players, including SuccessFactors, Taleo Corp. and Workday Inc. all offer mobile tools to support recruiters on the go, and Workday even took a “mobile first” approach to building its recruiting software.
Smaller vendors are equally mobile-focused as they strive both to meet the needs of recruiters and to accommodate candidates where they spend most of their time. According to LinkedIn Corp.’s Global Recruiting Trends survey, 28 percent of companies report that candidates applied for positions using mobile devices in 2014 (up from 16 percent in 2013); and 34 percent say their career site was mobile-optimized in 2014. This is also up from just 20 percent the previous year, but still suggests that a large majority of companies are still struggling to adapt to the mobile trend. These companies are looking to industry vendors to help them close this gap.
For example, Sonoco Products Co., the global product packaging company headquartered in Hartsville, South Carolina, is working with a handful of independent recruiting tech vendors to address shortcomings in its recruiting technology. The company, which has 22,000 employees worldwide, relies on Tweetmyjobs to generate traffic and market new opportunities via social media; iMomentous to build out its mobile job application process and to collect data on its talent pipeline; and Async Interview to conduct video interviews of candidates as a way to streamline its screening process. “It’s a piecemeal approach, but we’ve seen solid results,” said Keesha Moore, Sonoco’s talent acquisition specialist. The tools are helping her reach a broader candidate pool and shorten the hiring process, and it gives her a chance to test new recruiting technologies for a relatively low investment.
“Our next step is to find a vendor who can help us with predictive analytics for workforce planning,” she said.
Recruiting Analytics: Just Getting Started
She’s not alone. Workforce analytics continues to be the holy grail for companies that are trying to figure out where the best candidates come from, how much time and money it takes to find them, and how successful their recruiting processes have been. “Companies aren’t just interested in how many people they hire; they want to understand the quality of their hires,” said Amy Wilson, vice president of human capital management product strategy at Workday.
Smarter Recruiting, Smarter Technology
Software that monitors and audits equal employment opportunity and affirmative action data is a must.
In today’s day and age, technology has become part and parcel of the workplace, and what better use of technology than to let it help you manage your workforce and recruit the best talent available in the marketplace. Recruiting software automates the sourcing and hiring process through a stand-alone program that can be incorporated into the company’s pre-existing human resources management software, integrating payroll, talent management and compensation management. Here’s a look at how recruiting software can help you as well as the potential legal pitfalls you should consider.
A More Efficient Hiring Process
The primary function of recruiting software is to provide a searchable database whereby you can track all of the applicants for your company, allowing you to easily identify where an applicant is in the hiring process, manage correspondence with the applicant, update an applicant’s information and status, schedule interviews, process background checks and manage the transition from applicant to employee once hired. Some software may also allow you to create automated procedures for screening out unqualified applicants, route qualified applications to the appropriate recruiter or hiring manager, manage the requisition and acquisition of applicants, generate reports, and track the sources of your best hires.
Legal Considerations of Recruiting Software
As part of equal employment opportunity, or EEO, regulations, a company must follow certain guidelines for collecting, storing and reporting information that is gathered from job applicants. In order to be compliant with EEO laws, you should make sure the recruiting software program that you use requests voluntary EEO information from each applicant, automatically records the reason for rejecting every applicant, automatically records the minimum qualifications for each available job, creates logs of the hiring process for each job and applicant in case of an audit (e.g., data received, name, position, job group, race and sex, veterans status, reason for rejection and date of hire) and can generate reports that show the company captured the vital information for each applicant. (Note that you cannot force an applicant to provide EEO information, and this information must be kept confidential and not be made available to a hiring manager).
Finally, you’ll also want to monitor and regularly audit your EEO and affirmative action data, so make sure to use software that allows you to view this information online and generate custom reports.
—Richard Y. Hu
Fully 64 percent of global talent leaders say they are not doing a great job tracking return on investment on sources of hire, according to LinkedIn’s global recruiting survey. Though again, the vendors are doing everything they can to make that happen.
All of the recruiting technology firms, from the startups to the enterprise giants, are trying to build better, easier and more robust analytics tools to help customers improve and measure their recruiting efforts. But it is still a work in progress, said Jibe’s Casanova. “Using analytics to enable data-driven recruiting is a big trend, but we are only at the very beginning.”
Most vendors offer some version of an analytics dashboard and/or metrics to track where candidates come from and basic measures around quantity of candidates and time to hire, though they are far from delivering on the promise of predictive analytics. Casanova predicts that the real benefit won’t be seen until these tools become a seamless part of the recruiting workflow — like the dashboard in a car. “Until the technology is integrated into the recruiter’s life, there won’t be mass adoption,” he said.
While that vision may be years away, there are some interesting innovations already in the market. Mueller points to Work4 Labs, a social media recruiting vendor that uses analytics to post job openings to social media sites where the most attractive candidates for the job spend most of their time. “It’s a more intelligent way to search,” he said.
Similarly, HireVue Inc.’s new Insights tool provides companies with analytics to analyze their internal hiring processes, including how good interviewers are at making the best hiring decisions. “This is something no one else is doing,” Beebe said.
Forget the Résumé
Vendors are also coming up with more innovative ways for recruiters to assess a candidate’s fit, for both the position and the culture, said Forrester Research analyst Claire Schooley. “We are moving beyond the résumé,” she said.
For example, video interviewing tools from vendors like Async and HireVue allow managers to see applicants in action before scheduling face-to-face meetings; HackerRank lets companies assess the skills of tech professionals by giving them programming challenges to solve; and vendors like BrandAmper and Match-Click help companies market themselves and their corporate environment to candidates who are looking for a place where they will find a good culture fit. “It’s an interesting time in the recruiting space,” Schooley said. “Everyone is focused on building relationships and making sure a candidate is a good fit for the company.”
Prepare for Another M&A Frenzy
Despite all the exciting innovations that are coming from small stand-alone vendors, the big HRMS players still have a powerful value proposition to offer because their recruiting tools tie into the broader talent management systems. Workday’s Wilson noted that one of the biggest things its client advisory board is interested in is the ability to recruit internally. “Recruiters want access to both internal and external candidates, and they want to be able to compare them side by side,” she said. That’s more likely to be accomplished if you are using a single HR management system because it holds the end-to-end data necessary to provide that level of candidate transparency.
And it is likely that most of these stand-alone vendors won’t be independent for long. Analysts across the industry predict that the big firms are going to begin another buying spree as they eye the accomplishments of these independent recruiting tech firms. “Over the next 12 months we will see another wave of acquisitions where the upstart recruiting providers will get swallowed up,” Beebe said.
It isn’t something customers need to worry about, but they should keep it in mind. “You want to choose tools that will solve your problems today, while keeping an eye on the future,” he said. “There is a great wave of innovation going on — but you don’t want to sign any five-year contracts.”