Can someone please tell me why an organization would invest real money in any new, cutting edge, or industry-leading HR technology?  How are value propositions assessed?  Are purchasers identifying problems that need to be solved first, or are they being exposed to technologies and then building an argument for why the technology has value?

I think very few new technologies offer actual, realized value to the early adopters.  One area of recent growth and expansion of technology offerings is in the job/candidate matching arena.  In my experience, you can boil the focus of recruiting down to two major areas - Individual Contributors and Managers, and each of these requires different processes for sourcing and selection…and I’m not sold on the fact that newer technologies provide substantive value.

When recruiting for individual contributors, there are, in my opinion, two sub-sections that exist: specialized and non-specialized. If you’re looking to fill specialized individual contributor roles, keyword matching is a very basic and effective process for identifying good candidates. A resume either has the terms SAP, PLM, CAD, and Engineering Change Management (ECM), or it doesn’t. If it does, it’s worth following up with.  Of course, I do understand that multiple iterations of a term can provide some minor complexity to the search process, but it’s steal very easily managed with the most basic of services.

When recruiting for non-specialized individual contributors, there’s often a little more of the herding mentality, with a major focus on decreasing turnover. For these types of roles, work history (length of service with previous employer) is a critical data point, and one that is easily viewable. Again, a this is another very basic and effective way to screen candidates which does not require highly specialize resources.

As we look deeper into recruiting for manager roles (and I use this term broadly to cover supervisors, managers, directors, etc- anyone who oversees other staff or areas of business), we find more vagueness and variation in sourcing processes. However, at this level, I have to fall back to the Jim Collins-coined mantra of “first WHO, then WHAT” or, more precisely “FIRST who, THEN what”.

That is, when looking to bring in leaders at any level of an organization, it’s necessary to make sure you’re getting the right fit into your management culture. Everyone here knows the number one reason why good people leave your organization is a bad manager.  I would go so far as to offer that it’s more important for these positions that you keep your requirements broad and more generalized.  The next great leader of your organization may not have a specific software competency (which can be learned), or appropriate industry experience. Unfortunately, defining “fit” into a job description is nearly impossible…almost as impossible as defining personality and morals and vision within a resume.  The process of sourcing candidates for management and leadership roles requires strong referrals and some level of insider knowledge of an individual’s style and previous experience. These are characteristics that cannot be mapped between job postings and online resumes or applications.

While I love new technologies, I’ve never been an early-adopter, and routinely chosen to see which resources truly prove value before buying in. As I consider these types of services, I just can’t quite understand where the “substantial” value proposition is, or how they “significantly” enhance current recruiting practices. I am not averse to technology, but tend not to be an early adopter, as I wait to see if the assumed validity turns into realized validity, and therefore realized value. As such, I am open to changing my opinions based on new information.

I would be very interested and appreciative of your thoughts on this purchasing environment and/or on two other quick thoughts. First, what do you think of when you read/hear “industry-leading technology”, a term that seems to be used as ubiquitously in technology forums as “inventory clearance sale” is used by car dealers. How do you define or interpret “industry leading”?

Second, when you’ve considered purchasing new technologies, were you informed of the value of the technology, then see how it could benefit you; or did you start by identifying a specific problem, and then find a solution that met your needs?

(originally posted on my blog at jasonblais.com)

Views: 11

Tags: recruiting, technology

Comment by Paul Basile on January 25, 2011 at 12:04pm

Jason, I will be interested in answers that you receive. Personally, I don't think it's "technology" that makes the biggest difference. Knowing what really matters in jobs does: performance predictors - not my or your or anyone's notions of what "makes sense". Using known, proven factors that predict performance will, over a sufficiently large group, beat other approaches every time, by definition. That's not in doubt, any more than doubt about whether medical science will, over a sufficiently large group - outperform your or my opinion on what to do. It will.

 

Job-person matching isn't new technology, although like almost everything these days it's technology-enabled. It is simply using what we know - not what I or a few of my colleagues know, but what research and science and data analytics collectively know. We would be foolish not to use that and foolish to keep doing suboptimal things when this is available. It's not so much early adoption as finally adoption.

Comment by Travis@nexusITgroup.com on January 25, 2011 at 12:13pm

First, what do you think of when you read/hear “industry-leading technology”, a term that seems to be used as ubiquitously in technology forums as “inventory clearance sale” is used by car dealers. How do you define or interpret “industry leading”?

I do believe in the concept of industry-leading technology, but I’m going to call you out on it. These are strong words so you better have a good pitch on why it’s different from your competitors. Some things that I look for and would consider industry leading are:

  • User-friendly interface (i.e. moving away from folder style and excel style searches and storage of candidates.
  • LinkedIn integration
  • Mass mobile text messaging alerts
  • Collaboration capabilities
  • New and improved metrics/reporting
  • Integration of CRM and applicant tracking systems that work simultaneously together
  • I’ve been looking for a long time for a system that will recognize when my VOIP rings my CRM or ATS pulls up that persons file (assuming they are in your system).
  • These are just a few thoughts but have many more

Second, when you’ve considered purchasing new technologies, were you informed of the value of the technology, then see how it could benefit you; or did you start by identifying a specific problem, and then find a solution that met your needs?

  • My personal opinion that drives a need is to identify a specific problem or future initiativge then identify a solution that meets your needs/expectations.

Hope this helps!

 

Travis

nexus IT group, Inc.

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