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.
Most companies use at least one recruiting technology – and sometimes several – throughout the talent acquisition process. To select and deploy these solutions, companies go through an extensive RFP process and choose vendors based on a defined list of requirements before completing the process design and, ultimately, implementation. However, taking this approach overlooks one very important thing: the resource structure.
To understand the relevance of this factor, let’s think about baking. Making a cake requires the following: gathering ingredients, measuring and mixing things together and then baking. Simple enough, right? Wrong. This overly simplistic approach can easily go astray and here’s why:
Tell someone to gather ingredients and you’ll quickly find out that there’s more than one way to accomplish this task. The person could go to the grocery store and walk the aisles looking for each item, while others may go in search of high end cocoa powder and organic, farm fresh eggs.
These methods represent what each talent acquisition team member may expect of a technology. For some, it’s about just getting the job done, for others, it’s about doing things to the best of their ability. As you draft out that list of requirements, consider how each one will impact the desired outcome. Are there shortcuts you can take or do you need a high performing option to handle the volume of your recruiting efforts?
Measure and mix:
Of course, once you have those ingredients in hand, there’s more than one way to measure and mix everything together. Resources may do so methodically using a hand-powered mixer or perhaps choose a more efficient electric or stand option. They can follow the recipe and sift the dry ingredients together before folding in with the wet ones, or they can dump it all together and see what happens. Here you have to determine how each resource works through the labor-intensive part of the process.
It’s critical that you evaluate your team and identify how resources source candidates – do they go to the fastest, easiest and possibly more expensive firms or websites, or do they leverage other avenues to search out and find the candidates? Knowing your team’s behavior will help determine the technology and/or process design that fits their work style.
And now, with that batter prepared, how do you bake the cake? Going back to the ingredients and recipe, there are always lots of choices – the oven, microwave or even the coffee pot. Each of these options has the capability to heat the ingredients enough to create the cake; however, the time and effort needed for each one will vary dramatically.
Thinking on that list of requirements, some companies aren’t always specific enough to evaluate whether or not a solution will meet expectations. For example, if the requirement is for the technology to heat up, a coffee pot would be a suitable way to bake the cake – even though it might not be the most efficient or effective. However, if your expectation is that you can control the desired temperature and cooking time, than the requirement needs to clearly state so ahead of time.
Understanding how your talent acquisition team operates is imperative when considering updates or implementations. Without a clearly defined roadmap, the technology and process design you choose will not fix any existing resource or skills misalignment. So before trying to bake that cake in the office coffee pot, take the time to see your team in action and get to know how they function. Only then can you bring your cooks to the kitchen.
By Janine Woodworth
As a Recruiting Technology Consultant, I frequently have the opportunity to review new recruiting products. Recently, I was introduced to one such product – a complex, yet simple plug-in that solves for one of the bigger headaches in sourcing – WebClipDrop. Seeking to bridge a gaping hole that recruiting teams have been facing for years, the team behind WebClipDrop has built a way to capture web data and drop it into an existing system, while also creating a quick way to repeat content placement into online communications.
Available as a Google Chrome plug-in, WebClipDrop is an intelligent clipboard – kind of like SnagIt for data. What I found most valuable was the time saved not having to copy and paste one field of information at a time. The product’s initial smart data fields were designed to auto-parse candidate information into traditional recruiting applications. As a user, you have the flexibility to clip information from just about any site, and build your own insert mapping, or request to have them build it for you. The product maps data fields from most major sites used in recruiting. They are also planning for users to quickly map any of their sites in learning mode so that even the most customized web forms can be used. Recruiters can seamlessly click and drop new recruiting contacts in seconds (in bulk or one at a time).
One site that already mapped is LinkedIn. Recruiters can view potential leads in LinkedIn and then utilize the plug-in within Chrome to quickly capture and place contact information into a CRM or ATS. Here’s how that works:
Step 1: Go to web page where content resides; click on WebClipDrop icon
Step 2: Select the requested content to be clipped (Record From Page, Custom Clip, Droplet From Selection (text or html)
Step 3: The number of selected Clips and Droplets will be viewable (you can move any you don’t want to the trash)
Step 4: Clip to any web form
Historically, other products were difficult to integrate with LinkedIn, but in this case, the WebClipDrop plug-in acts much like a human, only faster, thereby saving recruiter time without complex data integrations.
In addition to the LinkedIn example, the product can be used for copying and pasting job descriptions into online posting sites. Recruiters can re-use the data on their clipboard over and over again making it easy to post job descriptions to multiple sites. Recruiters also have the ability to compose and send fully branded marketing message templates for their frequent communication needs. The library of “droplets” will add value to those Recruiters who spend much of their time writing highly repeatable text communications to candidates.
Candidates can also benefit. With the Chrome browser plug-in installed, candidates can easily clip and drop their CV/resume into company career websites and job boards. The candidate’s content parses into the correct career apply fields making the apply process fast and easy.
And while recruiters rarely want to add yet another tool to the gamut of technologies they’re using, I suspect this is one they will hold on to. The beta version is currently available, I encourage you to check it out here: http://www.webclipdrop.io.
So by now you’ve diagnosed the issue and selected three prospective vendors to continue researching in order to find your cure. Since these vendors already demonstrated their ability to meet your requirements based on the RFI document, now you need to take this a step further and have each vendor demo their solution. However, instead of having the vendor conduct a standard presentation, it is best to create scripts that reflect your potential future state scenarios, focusing on the requirements that were deemed as high and medium priorities. Have a core team of SMEs develop the scripts and scoring sheets to appraise each demo. Make sure the scoring sheet includes the summary evaluation question, “Would you select this vendor (please provide details)?”
Once developed, send the script to vendors with a follow up appointment on the calendar for two weeks later. Each demo should be scheduled for at least two hours, but can be longer based on the amount of scripts developed. Key users and stakeholders should join in the vendor demo – however, ensure participants understand your current process and future state goals ahead of time. In addition to the demo, you may want to schedule a separate technology/security session with TA and IT leadership to review security and operational compliance, however this is optional.
Vendor demos can be completed onsite or virtually depending on the location of the participants. While there may be time for questions and answers, the goal is to complete all of the scripts in order. Make certain that vendors follow the script in order to be properly evaluated. Participants should complete their evaluation forms directly following each demo and submit for tabulation of results. If necessary, you can also include weights for scoring. For any remaining open issues, contact the vendor for clarifications, sometimes a follow up may be necessary.
With the demos complete, it’s time to review each, including the answer to that important summary evaluation question: “Would you select this vendor (please provide details)?” This portion of the process can be very analytical, and no two vendors are the same so keep the following in mind:
- Is this someone that will be a strong partner?
- Does this vendor have a stable financial base?
- What is the vendor’s product landscape for the future?
- What is the vendor’s pricing model?
Ultimately, select a vendor that can deliver on your specific business requirements and priorities and cure what ails your organizations. This leads to the fun part, contract negotiations, which may be handled by others. Regardless, it is important to address specific items in the contract. The most obvious being pricing and length of contract though you should also take into consideration your organization’s projected growth and any other HR technology initiatives as well as custom development that may be useful for future clients. In addition, it is critical that the vendor provide a timeline for when developments will be completed plus penalties if these are not delivered on time. Implementation of the product is more than just an estimate of time – it needs to be thoughtful and purposeful.
As part of contract negotiations, a project plan should include tasks to be performed by both vendor and the organization, including names of resources, and a realistic time frame for each. Another critical component will be the SLA (service level agreement), this document will cover information about down times and remedies for potential issues. If you are planning data migrations, be careful to start that work sooner to account for extra time needed during testing. You can include these high level details in the contract and the specifics about ongoing support for once the project is complete. And finally, remember that it may take time for your implementation to address the issues that brought you on this journey. Technology is not the only solution; it must also be incorporated into processes and people – some of these moves faster than others and you may need to adjust your remedies along the way.
There you have it – your treatment plan: completed RFPs, demo scripts and evaluations, and now, a contract. Together this will serve as the prescription a vendor provides to get your Talent Acquisition department healthy and ready for future state, all important parts of your medical record.