What Makes Technology Great?

In 1989, Nintendo introduced U-Force, an accessory with sensors that let players use their hands to control movements (instead of a joystick). It promised to be “the most amazing accessory in video game history - and the challenge of the future.” So, naturally, U-Force become something I absolutely could not live without. But the problem with U-Force was it never really worked and it was ultimately rated one of the worst controllers in Nintendo history. I used it twice. That’s the problem with technology. We don’t find out if something is great (or not great) until it is too late.

I have been thinking a lot about what makes technology great in talent acquisition. And it is becoming clear that it is not the solution itself but often, how easy it is for recruiters and candidates to use. Talent acquisition technology has become incredibly complex. Today, the market has grown and thousands of providers have entered with new products announced each month. Additionally, the lines have been blurred. Many of these providers offer several solutions in talent acquisition or have created new categories of technology- making the buyer’s decision much more complicated. According to CB Insights, investment in 2012 was $400 million and in 2016, it skyrocketed to nearly $2 billion. Companies need to navigate the changing landscape and be strategic about what solutions will help them achieve their goals.

So, how can companies make better decisions around technology? How can they figure out what technology will help them be successful? In our research [Aptitude Research Partners], we found that great technology is not always the most innovative or disruptive technology. Sometimes great technology just helps us do our jobs better. We have identified four major pillars for great technology in talent acquisition:

Experience: Recruiters have one problem. They need an easy way to attract, recruit, and hire talent. If a technology provider is not solving that problem, they do not have a viable solution. According to Aptitude’s 2016 Hire, Engage, and Retain survey, only 3% of companies are using the full functionality of their ATS systems. Companies either don’t know the functionality is there or they don’t understand how to use it. Again, many of these solutions are too complicated. If you want to give recruiters and candidates what they need, technology providers need to make it simple and addresses the challenges they are facing.

Expertise: Solution providers are building expertise into their solutions. This could come in the form of AI, guiding companies to make better decisions but it can also be found in a provider’s commitment to talent acquisition. Some providers are demonstrating their deep domain expertise by helping companies improve initiatives like veteran hiring – allowing an individual to apply using a military profile and translating their skills to the current job. Some providers are also helping companies improve diversity and inclusion offering organizations capabilities such as anonymous screening, job description checkers, and bias detection initiatives.

Adoption: Only 43% of companies view their provider as a partner once a solution has been implemented. Companies need to look at not only how their provider will partner with them during implementation but also how they will make that relationship stick after year 1, year 2, and ongoing. Adoption is a true test of a provider’s impact on talent acquisition efforts.

Integration: How does this technology fit into your current technology stack? Great technology will integrate seamless with your existing technology and provide a more consistent experience. Providers must consider more than just open APIs. They must look at how to create strong partnerships with leading providers in this space.

It is easy to become preoccupied with innovation and disruption and often lose sight of the basics. Organizations need to be judicious when evaluating technology, and providers are keeping up with a market that seems to change at the speed of light.

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Madeline Laurano

Madeline’s primary focus over the last 12+ years has been on the talent management market, specializing in talent acquisition. Her work helps companies both validate and reevaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience, and efficiency. Before Aptitude Research Partners, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is a co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

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What Makes Technology Great?

by Madeline Laurano time to read: 3 min