slide image

The 3 Golden Rules of Buying Talent Technology

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

According to one industry analyst, better than six-out-of-ten employers increased their spending on talent technology during the pandemic. We’re undoubtedly seeing even higher levels of investment now, as recruiters find themselves dealing with a Great Candidate Freeze and the resulting hyper-competitive labor market. Making those investments payoff, however, is no trivial feat. Success depends on an employer’s recognition of and commitment to the 3 Golden Rules of buying talent technology.

The objective of any investment in talent technology is the same for every employer, regardless of its industry, location, size or brand stature. That objective has two constituent targets:
• Seeing a sustained improvement in recruiting outcomes as measured by specific key performance indicators; and
• Achieving the expected return on the organization’s investment as measured by the accomplishment of specific business plans.

That macro-level objective, however, can only be accomplished by executing a set of steps that together develop a consensus understanding of the purpose for the purchase – i.e., one that is accepted by recruiters, hiring managers, IT and other stakeholders as well as the chain of command. Moreover, those steps – or what I call the 3 Golden Rules – develop outcomes that are idiosyncratic to each organization. They tailor the purpose of the purchase to the financial, cultural, leadership and competitive realities within a specific employer.

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 Pew Research on “Gender Disparities in the Workforce During the Pandemic.”

Now, to be clear, there are other steps besides the Golden Rules that must be taken to complete any technology acquisition project successfully, but these three have earned their hue by the critical role they play in getting a project started on the right foot. Do these three tasks correctly, and the probability increases significantly that your organization will hit both of the constituent targets in its objective.

Golden Rule 1: Determine where improvements are needed in your talent acquisition process and practices.

As the time-tested axiom notes, it’s “Ready, Aim, Fire” not Ready, Fire, Aim.” The foundation of any successful technology investment is a universally accepted understanding of what the organization is trying to do. It is an explicit and clearly stated goal. Which specific upgrade or upgrades or which new capability or capabilities does the organization intend to pursue and in what order will it pursue them in order to improve its talent acquisition results? The goal or set of goals should be measurable and embraced by all stakeholders. For example, it’s not sufficient to say that the goal is to “improve the candidate experience.” Rather, this step should conclude by specifying that improvement AND how progress towards its accomplishment will be measured with metrics that are acceptable to all involved.

Golden Rule 2: Determine where technology might be able to provide those improvements or at least help in achieving them.

As the time-tested axiom notes, “Don’t buy technology for technology’s sake.” There are always new and shiny products in the market, but successful investment is only accomplished with a laser-like focus on the goal determined by Rule 1. While executing this step may require some outside assistance from analysts, consultants or other subject matter experts, it can also be executed with well informed internal resources. (See TAtech’s Professional Membership if you’d like to become a Subject Matter Expert in talent technology.) As with any consumer action, it’s important to cast a wide net to identify as many options as possible before drilling down to evaluate specific products and suppliers. Selection should then be based on both the capability of the former and the trustworthiness of the latter.

Golden Rule 3: Determine the requirements and constraints that will impact the acquisition and implementation of the selected technology.

As the time-tested axiom notes, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Making an investment in talent technology (or any technology, for that matter) is more than simply signing a contract. It also involves what happens after the ink has dried on the signature – or what is typically called product implementation. For talent technology, that involves both the organization’s tech stack and its culture. An investment is doomed if there’s not appropriate consideration of and planning for the time, budget, staffing and priority necessary to manage any challenges a new product may present in ensuring its interoperability with already installed products as well as any changes it may introduce to the recruiting team’s required skills and/or its practices and procedures.

A fulsome and up-to-date portfolio of talent technology is table stakes in today’s competition for top talent. Building that portfolio is a complicated undertaking that requires getting off to a good start. That’s what the 3 Golden Rules are all about – providing a foundation on which a superstructure of smart talent technology consumerism can be erected.

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