The trick, says human-resources-technology consultant Elaine Orler of Talent Function Group, is building software that can predict a good fit between candidate and employer.
As the Talent Acquisition technology market grows more competitive, it seems that the latest and greatest solutions get pushed at you from all sides, with flashy ad campaigns and slick marketing. When trying to cut through the noise, it can be difficult to see past the big promises and select the right solution to suit your needs. And with so many to choose from, only so many of the promises will come true, leaving some organizations feeling like they’ve been had.
Much like trying to find the way to your final destination with no map to guide you, finding the right Talent Acquisition technology can be tricky, but fortunately there are ways around the entanglement. However, to make it happen, you’ll need to don your detective cap to select the right solution to fit your needs.
Assess the situation. Consider your organization’s current state and future state goals, where your Talent Acquisition is now and where it needs to be 1, 3 or 5 years. Consider what your organization needs to do to attract and engage top talent while offering a positive candidate experience.
Consider the suspects. Candidate experience is a key ingredient in the talent acquisition process. That means you need to account for who you are hiring and how you will be connecting with these candidates. New platforms are being introduced at a rapid rate to help increase productivity for on the go management of talent acquisition efforts. Social, mobile and digital channels are all part of the equation, unlike 5 years ago, and can’t be ignored. Make sure to investigate how each will resonate with your audience and develop a strategy accordingly.
List the evidence. Take stock of what you already have and what you are looking to gain. Which features will be most beneficial to your organization? Have stakeholders from across your organization weigh in. Select 3-5 benefits that are an absolute must have and work through the market from there. This will ensure that your topline goals are met. After that is accomplished, you can move forward knowing that your basic needs will be met.
Go to trial. With a few solutions in mind, complete trials to become familiar with the technologies in action. This will ensure that a given solution works with any existing system, fits your processes and completes your overall Talent Acquisition strategy. If it doesn’t, try again. At this stage, it is important to take your time. Benefits may need to be reconsidered, processes rearranged and developing a change management plan may come into play.
Like any good mystery, selecting the right Talent Acquisition solution requires laying the groundwork and working through the details step by step. When in doubt, plot your path and stop to ask for help before continuing on.
Much like consistent diet and exercise is a process we follow to help us stay fit, so too is the talent acquisition optimization process. When we set out to optimize our talent acquisition technology and process, we must implement consistent procedures to make certain the system and activities function as effectively and efficiently as possible. But how do we know if our talent acquisition needs a dose of “diet and exercise,” and better yet, how do we begin? Maybe it’s obvious that it’s not as healthy and fit as it once was – or perhaps like many of us – it was never actually that fit, but just seemed to have retained “the body it was born with.” In any case, much like our bodies change– often becoming higher maintenance and more injury-prone – over time, our talent acquisition process and systems can become sluggish, less agile, and suffer from years of workarounds.
While implementing a diet and exercise plan is the framework needed to help us get back in shape, the real goal is to take a new approach to eating that will satisfy our daily nutritional requirements at minimum cost and calories and to engage in activities that burn off the calories we consume as quickly and efficiently as possible. In similar fashion, we should create a framework to ensure that our talent acquisition systems take in the minimum amount of data required to satisfy both organizational and compliance requirements and design related processes and activities for minimum cost and effort in order to maintain top performance and provide a pleasant experience.
Here are 3 steps to get your talent acquisition process and systems back in shape:
1) Get on the Scale. Weigh-in and even take a “picture” of your current talent acquisition process and systems and assess what you see. Keep in mind that you should evaluate: where you are, how you got to that point and what worked well (or didn’t). Document your current state processes, workflows, work activities, inputs and outputs, including communications and roles and responsibilities. Gather first-hand insights and input from a diverse and representative group of recruiters and sourcers in order to develop a comprehensive view of the current state.
2) Set Health and Fitness Goals. Identify where you want to go. Leverage the information gained through the assessment to identify your goal “weight” and what you need to do to get there. Consult your team and identify best practices for recruiting process workflows, the technology platforms, key decisions and strategic direction. Develop a detailed future state process focused on the resources, activities, workflows, systems integration, transactional data model and user roles associated with the optimized talent acquisition plan. Identify requirements and conduct fit/gap analysis to build out functional and technical requirements for the technology that will support the optimized future state process.
3) Get in Motion. Once you have defined the optimized end-state talent acquisition process model and identified the technology changes needed to drive greater efficiency and accountability and improve overall experience, it’s time to start your diet and exercise plan. Make the process changes, reconfigure the systems, all the while driving effective change management.
Needless to say, we are all likely to feel healthier overall when we eat right and exercise regularly, but getting started and staying the course is easier said than done. If this seems too challenging, it’s wise to consider hiring a “nutritionist” or “personal trainer,” who has helped a multitude of others reach their fitness goals. The same holds true for renovating your talent acquisition systems and processes. In the end, undertaking an optimization effort can help keep you and your team members stay motivated, and help your organization feel healthier overall.
Over the last several years, CRM systems that support sourcing and talent pipelining have become very popular – and it’s easy to see why. Many companies face the same challenges when it comes to recruiting, but it really all comes down to this: with the sheer volume of people looking for jobs, how do we find the right candidate faster?
Implementing a CRM seems like a small investment if the end result is the ability to organize candidate contacts company wide, allow opt-in segmentation of talent, streamline targeted passive and active communications and access a massive database of rich talent to search when you’re ready to hire quickly. It’s tempting to jump into the implementation of the CRM before the ink is dry on the contract, and too many companies have taken this approach only to find the system didn’t hit the mark. But even with a great system in place, you still have the challenge of user adoption. What happens if you miss the mark, and make the system difficult to use or obsolete out of the gate? You guarantee that the time and money spent will be for nothing because sourcers and recruiters will not use a system that doesn’t make it worth their while.
So, how can you develop a foolproof approach? There are three areas any company should focus on and plan for before they even start the design and implementation of their CRM.
1. Strategy: What is the strategy and its impact on the business?
Often times, defining a sourcing strategy is part of the business case to purchase a CRM. But does it go deep enough? Understanding the objectives up front is critical to designing a system that will meet the needs of the company long term. Do you have a current sourcing team? If so, how will this new system change their roles? Do you have defined and enforceable processes that outline each use case? Well thought out future process documentation that has been reviewed and bought off on by your team is invaluable. Knowing where you want to go and how you can measurably define your success is a critical first step.
2. Data: What’s really important?
We see companies migrating way more data to their CRM then they should. There is a tendency to believe that if they could just search their current Talent Acquisition system more efficiently, then they wouldn’t even need a CRM. In reality, all that data just makes it more difficult to find the diamond in the rough.
Spend time realistically reviewing the candidate data available in current systems as well as on spreadsheets located on recruiter’s desktops. How old is the data? Candidate data stales quickly in the average database. Phone numbers, addresses, current positions, degrees… they change and change regularly. There is nothing more frustrating to a sourcer than finding the perfect candidate but having no way to contact them. By migrating only candidate data that is 2-3 years old, you’ll minimize stale contacts.
Look deeper at that 2-3 years of data and determine what can be left behind. Can criteria be applied to ensure you’re pulling quality candidates to populate your CRM? Examples are candidates that meet minimum qualifications, candidates that passed hiring manager screening, candidates that made it to first round interviews, and “silver medalists” candidates who just missed being hired for another position in the company.
If users can’t trust the quality of the data, it’s worthless. Your sourcer will be much better served with fewer search results, but accurate candidate data within the result.
3. Integration: When and to what existing systems?
When planning your implementation timeline prior to kick off, build in time to complete all critical integrations in phase 1. One of the biggest errors when rolling out a CRM is to not have it integrated to your other recruiting systems (particularly the Talent Acquisition system). We often see clients push back integrations to their other talent acquisition systems until phase 2 (or sometimes not at all). Their thought process is to get the system live and users actively working in it and then decide if you need to integrate to other systems. It’s tempting, but a huge mistake.
The purpose of a CRM is to ensure sourcers can tap into crucial candidate information quickly. If the CRM isn’t able to “speak” to the other systems, it’s basically worthless to a sourcer, and most of them will abandon using the CRM rather than limp by until phase 2 to have data flowing easily between the two systems. If adoption is the key to a successful CRM, then integrate it to other key recruiting systems prior to rollout.
Just like any other system, in the end, the CRM is only as good as the people using it. But following these steps in preparation for an implementation will help set your users up for success.