By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
The corporate tech stack for talent acquisition has been getting a lot of attention lately. That’s not surprising given the tight talent market and how hard it right now is for employers to fill their open requisitions. Recruiters depend on state-of-the-art tools at such times – at least those they can usefully apply – and according to recent research, that’s a problem. Almost two-thirds of recruiters (60 percent) are dissatisfied with the way technologies have been deployed in their employer’s tech stack. Which begs the question, what is the perfect talent tech stack and how does a company achieve it?
The perfect tech stack for talent acquisition has two essential attributes:
• First, it must provide the recruiting team with the tools necessary to meet all of their employer’s staffing requirements on time and within budget, and
• Second, those tools must interoperate effectively so that each and all of them deliver their intended capabilities and produce their intended outcomes.
As you might imagine, such a tech stack has to begin with a vision. That vision, however, has nothing to do with technology. It isn’t a conception the system’s architecture, its hardware and software. A tech stack can be bursting at the seams with powerful technologies and still fail to serve a recruiting team well. No, the only way to achieve the perfect tech stack is to shape it with a perception of the business – its goals and plans for the current year, the next year and the one after that.
That plan of action and the metrics that will be used to measure its success will, in turn, determine the workforce requirements for the business. Or, they should. Unfortunately, in far too many employers today, there is a yawning disconnect between what a company wants to achieve in the marketplace and the hiring goals it sets for the recruiting team. But, that’s a problem for another day.
Let’s assume, instead, that there is a direct correlation between the company’s business goals and its workforce requirements. That connection is essential because the only way to build a perfect talent tech stack is to link the tools that are selected and included to the business-driven demand for talent. Specifically, the company must know how many people it will need with what skills and when in order to operate effectively. The first iteration of that assessment can assume that it will be able to hold onto its current retention rate. Given the reality of the Great Resignation, however, the second and third iterations of the analysis should examine its needs if attrition goes up by a little or more.
Armed with the knowledge of what they must accomplish in the near and longer term, the recruiting team can then determine what it can reasonably get done with its current hardware and software resources, and what gaps must be filled to achieve a higher probability of meeting those requirements. Using such key performance indicators as time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and new hire quality, they should pinpoint where they are effectively meeting business requirements and where improvements can and should be obtained. The metrics used to identify these potential upgrades can then be adjusted to determine the improvements expected from the acquisition of new tools and the outcomes that are actually realized.
Determining What’s Included in the Stack & How
There are two kinds of insights that the above performance gap analysis can produce:
• It may determine that the existing technologies in the stack are not working as they can or should. That assessment should, in turn, lead to a determination of what’s causing those shortcomings and what must be done to correct them. Executing the corrections, however, is sometimes a challenge. Given the pace of recruiting requirements at the moment, it can be tempting to set the initiatives aside for another day. While understandable, taking that tact would be shortsighted as it could cause the recruiting team to fail to meet the company’s needs and thereby set it up for criticism from hiring managers and others in the chain of command.
• It may also determine the need for additional capabilities to improve the performance of the recruiting team and identify the best technologies for providing those capabilities. That list of technology needs should then be prioritized based on the company’s business plans and any financial constraints it may have. Optimally, it will also be enhanced with a leap analysis that explores whether there are emerging technologies or new products in the market that would enable the team to do more than simply meet requirements – that position it to leap ahead of its competitors in the race for the best talent.
Knowing what the talent tech stack should include – and budgeting for and then acquiring it – is only half the battle, however. The other and equally important half is ensuring that the benefits of owning the technology actually accrue to the team. Said another way, the perfect tech stack actually delivers both the expected improvements in recruiting effectiveness as measured by key performance indicators and as a consequence, the return on investment the company deserves. And, the only way to achieve those outcomes is with the carefully planned and executed implementation of each new product.
As too many employers are now learning, implementing new technologies is not a trivial undertaking. Once introduced, they not only have to work as intended, but they must also benignly interoperate with the other technologies in the stack so that there is no degradation in any tool’s capabilities or output. Achieving those two outcomes involves coordination, communication and the accomplishment of a wide range of critical tasks by a number of stakeholders in the organization – from recruiters themselves and their potential resistance to new procedures to HR which may have to deal with a necessary change in culture related to talent acquisition and the IT department with its prejudices regarding the purpose and priority of the talent tech stack.
For a complete guide to effective implementation, get the TAtech Talent Technology Implementation Management Handbook & Job Aid.
But here’s the rub. Even all of that analysis and all of that activity doesn’t guarantee the perfect talent tech stack. Why? Because the perfect stack is not a static construct. It is a dynamic creation that must constantly evolve to meet the evolving needs of the business. Said another way, the perfect talent tech stack is here today and gone tomorrow, replaced by an even more perfect version.
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 OneStoryforAll.com. And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspiring message.