Stop Buying HR Tech Tools

If you've gone to a conference lately or looked at your Linkedin Inbox, you've probably felt it.   It's that feeling of being left behind.   It's that feeling that everyone but you are using chat bots, artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate their hiring process, right?

Well, don't let the hype fool you.   Almost no one is using anything beyond glorified job boards and applicant tracking systems.  

The truth is, while all the bloggers, podcasters and conference speakers might be shouting that the future of recruitment is here -- it's really not.    At least not for most companies. 

But that doesn't mean that the future of recruitment isn't coming.   Nor does it mean that you shouldn't have a strategy to get there.

So how do you do that intelligently when the market is saturated with marketers, futurists and consultants who make you feel like you're the only dope who isn't implementing the latest and greatest tool?

Well, the first step is to ask yourself a few questions about your readiness.  Here are a few good ones:

  1. Where are we now? Take inventory of your existing technology stack. Are they fully utilized? If not, why? Lack of adoption could foreshadow future problems with accepting a new tool.

  2. How tech-savvy is my recruitment team? If your team is not capable or willing to quickly learn how to leverage new tools, your new system will be DOA.

  3. How tech-savvy are my hiring managers? Likewise, if your managers can't handle technology, then you could limit your adoption potential for some tools.

  4. How tech-savvy are the broader employees? Trying to roll out an employee advocate tool at a manufacturing company could be challenging because your plant employees may not have the skills or access required to participate.

  5. How much time can my team devote to enabling and adopting new technology? Buying new technology is easy. But getting people to use it is hard. If you don't have someone driving adoption you're in for an uphill battle.

  6. What can I afford and what ROI am I getting in return? Most new technologies are SaaS platforms. That means the vendor gets to charge you every year or every month for the rest of time.

  7. What is the compelling reason to adopt a new technology? Are you just buying a solution because you feel outdated or do you have a legitimate problem that you need to solve?

If you're being honest with yourself, you're probably not ready to migrate beyond the use of your applicant trackings system.   I was a part of a roundtable discussion with some talent acquisition leaders recently and the vast majority of them just wanted their existing stuff to work right.  They weren't even thinking about advanced tools. 

What I learned from these leaders is that the key to a good tech stack is not buying new tools all the time.  It's fully utilizing the ones you have while keeping a watchful eye on the future to make sure you're not missing out on something that might have true value.   Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Use your existing technology to the fullest. Partner deeply with your ATS provider to fully optimize your solution first. It might solve your problems. Or they might have features that you don't even know exist!

  2. Identify and prioritize parts of your process that are highly manual or represent low-value tasks. Examples: Recruiter phone screen scheduling. Onboarding tasks. Surveys. Autoresponders.

  3. Integrate. Whenever possible, look into the possibility of connecting disparate systems so you can move data more easily.

  4. Experiment. Take demos from those 20 startups that are blowing up your inbox. Listen to their pitch. Talk to their clients. If it sounds like their solution might solve your problem, ask them to run a pilot. Most of them will. The ones who won't probably don't trust their own tech.

If you're feeling like technology is evolving so fast that you just can't keep up with it, you're not alone.   It's a fast-moving space, but I've seen it up close and personal.   In my experience, very few buyers are getting the results promised in the marketing brochure.   Yes, there are a few great new HR tech companies out there but their use cases are still emerging.   

If you're a company who can afford to be a case study, then by all means go for it.    But for most of you, don't feel left out.   

Keep one foot planted on solid ground and spend 20% of your time experimenting.