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Make Sure You Get a Fair Rap

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

A solution provider‘s reputation is (or should be) a central component of its business success, especially these days. Historically, face-to-face interactions, especially on-site meetings and conference briefings, have been the best way for talent tech companies to build standing with employers. Now, however, those meetings are significantly limited by the work from home movement and ongoing corporate travel restrictions. In the void, employers are increasingly reliant on industry analysts to identify what providers and products they should consider for their tech stack. Therefore, the key to establishing a strong reputation – and the optimum business outcomes it helps to produce – is knowing how best to deal with those analysts.

Every solution provider does its level best to avoid a bad rap in the market. Merriam-Webster defines such a black eye as “a bad or underserved reputation.” In the talent technology business, a bad rap can be the result of any of several factors, including a product’s poor performance, the misrepresentation of its capabilities or simply a lack of information for prospective buyers. The first two of those factors can be resolved with improved product design and support and better oversight. Addressing that last factor, however – making sure a company gets a fair rap – requires the development and execution of a robust analyst strategy.

The facts! In a talent market that is more competitive and less understood than at any other time in history, it’s the facts that matter most. And TAtech’s biweekly podcast Start Smart focuses on the facts. Join me and my cohost, Shelia Gray, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Quadient, as we examine the findings from the latest talent acquisition research and explore their implications for recruiters and job seekers. This week’s show looks at a report by McKinsey & Company on “The Top Trends in Tech.”

TAtech’s recent industry congress – TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum – hosted a panel of some of the most influential analysts in the talent technology space. They were Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory; Erin Spencer, Research Analyst & Senior Consultant at Deloitte; and Sarah White, Founder & CEO of Aspect43. Stacey Harris, Chief Research Officer at Sapient Insights, was also invited, but unable to attend due to illness. Their dialogue on the panel provided some important insights on an analyst’s role and work and on the best practices for dealing with them.

Those best practices are summarized below:

The first step in any analyst relations strategy is an introductory briefing. This is free, and it's a chance to share a bit about your company and its product. Just reach out for a 30-minute discussion. Every analyst firm has an intake process for this.

The purpose of the briefing is to have a dialogue with someone who is steeped in the industry, so put together some basic informational slides and be prepared to talk about your product.

Do leave time for a demo and questions. We’ll definitely share our opinions on your offerings and the space.

Do bring along a brief case study that highlights a typical client experience. This helps to elaborate on the value provided to clients and also brings critical context to the conversation.

Don’t try to sell us your product; we aren’t buyers, we’re analysts.

Don’t spend too much of the limited briefing time talking about why hiring/recruiting is important right now (we already know that).

Don’t let a PR firm/partner run this process (they don't own your story, you do).

Don’t claim to be the best/first/only company to solve a problem (that's very rare), but do tell us what specific problem you’re trying to solve.

Industry analysts are not the sole keeper of a solution provider’s reputation, of course, but they do play an important role in how a company is perceived in the market. A proactive and well-conceived analyst strategy is the best way to ensure your company gets a fair rap instead of a bad one.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.