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Why Is It So Hard to Buy Talent Technology?

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Talent technology is now an essential element of any and every successful business strategy. It’s no surprise, therefore, that according to industry analyst Madeline Laurano, 44 percent of companies bought new technology in 2020 despite the pandemic and one-in-four will actually spend more on technology this year. And, there’s the rub. It’s hard enough figuring out which product to buy, but even harder knowing which solution provider can be relied on to deliver the product as promised. As she puts it, “Trust in the company, product, and roadmap is a critical part of the buyer’s journey and a key differentiator when evaluating solutions.”

The first part of that journey, of course, is knowing what you truly need. Buying technology simply to have the latest and greatest is a sure-fire way to misspend a company’s money. Before investing a dime, euro or bitcoin and even before issuing an RFP, it’s essential that a recruiting team determine exactly what problem it’s trying to solve or what improvement it’s trying to achieve. That goal – as expressed by key performance indicators (KPIs) – should then shape every facet of the acquisition process.

And, according to Madeline, it’s efficiency that’s now top of mind for many employers. Some want to improve their time-to-fill or improve their recruiters' productivity. Others want to decrease the time it takes to schedule and complete interviews or to conduct and evaluate reference checks. The goal basically translates into doing more with less by using technology to remove friction from the process. Companies are applying talent technology not to replace recruiters but to leverage their talent more effectively.

Happily, there are plenty of such products now available. Unfortunately, however, that creates yet another problem. As Madeline puts it, “Today, the market has exploded with hundreds more providers and new ones entering each month.” All of those providers are rapidly pushing their products into the marketplace, creating a tidal wave of options that recruiters have neither the time nor frankly the interest in sorting through. In effect, the challenge for companies acquiring talent technology is now two-fold: how do they find solution providers with both the products and business practices they can count on to help them achieve their recruiting goals?

Solving The Problem

Historically, recruiters in search of guidance on talent technology products and providers have had to rely on very limited resources. It’s either been the hit-or-miss experience of their peers or a year-end or new year blog post on the “best buys” among applicant tracking systems or job boards or candidate relationship management platforms. They’re all helpful, but also an incomplete picture of the talent technology that’s available and out-of-date almost as soon as they’re published.

What’s needed, therefore, is either a permanent or regularly updated guide to good talent technology consumerism. You could, of course, rely on Madeline’s own annual talent acquisition buyer’s guide, which is an excellent publication. Each year, it brings important new insights to the challenges of buying talent technology in a way that advances an employer’s business goals.

And now, you will also be able to check out the free TAtech Talent Technology Buyer’s Guide, which will launch next month. This permanent, continuously refreshed resource is unique in two important ways:

First, it’s comprehensive. The Guide covers all talent technologies and organizes them into 12 categories for ease of searching. There’s conversational AI / chat bots and applicant tracking systems as well as programmatic ad buying platforms and recruitment advertising /marketing agencies; and there’s job boards and job search engines as well as data management and analytic products and career site platforms. It’s all there and all in one place for ease of access.

Second, it’s trustworthy. The Guide includes only TAtech Member organizations, all of which have publicly committed to the Association’s Code of Ethics. That unique pledge signals their allegiance to the highest standards and best practices of business. It means that when employers use the Guide to shop for talent technology, they know they’re getting both state-of-the-art products and business partners they can count on.

Effectively buying technology-based talent acquisition products is both critical to business success and a huge challenge for recruiting teams. There are numerous factors that affect the outcome, but the risk can be minimized and the outcome optimized by using a Buyer’s Guide that curates both the products and the providers it features.

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 check out his latest books on Amazon or in the TAtech Bookstore.