Digital transformation has hit HR, and the world of recruitment has rapidly evolved with the growth of mobile apps, big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. As such, candidates now expect a tech-enabled recruitment experience, and building a talent acquisition tech stack has gone from “nice to have” to a critical part of a global recruitment strategy for any enterprise. However, with the influx of new talent acquisition technologies—from foundational platforms like an ATS to point solutions for sourcing, interviewing or recruitment marketing—it can be hard to navigate the recruitment technology ecosystem and know where to invest your budget.
To that end, in this article, we’ll help you make sense of all of the available talent tech and how each recruitment system can benefit your business. You’ll learn important aspects to keep in mind as you build your tech stack, and we’ll provide some details on what features to look for as you evaluate solutions.
One of the biggest value-adds that RPO brings is experience with the latest talent technology innovations. In fact, in 2021, new RPO engagements with technology included increased from 40% to 67% at PeopleScout. In particular, an RPO partner can help you assess talent acquisition software to address all aspects of your recruiting process, from identifying talent to creating a more efficient candidate experience. Your provider can also show you how emerging technologies—like AI, machine learning and predictive analytics—can boost your ability to attract top talent.
In addition to consulting, some RPO providers are also investing in proprietary technology solutions, including application tracking systems (ATS), candidate relationship management (CRM) tools, analytics platforms and automation tools. These can come in the form of a single platform or as a set of integrated systems providing a modular approach that lets you add and remove solutions from your tech stack as your needs change.
Note that any new recruitment tool you consider should integrate with your current talent acquisition and HR systems. In this way, the integration will not only allow you to benefit from existing investments and grow as your needs change, but it will also help you streamline operations by eliminating the need for manual data entry—thereby saving significant time and effort.
So, when evaluating any solution, ask about built-in integrations; if they don’t exist for one of your existing systems, evaluate the vendor’s ability to support you through an application programming interface (API), which is a connection between pieces of software. Open APIs enable you to build a custom solution by connecting your talent acquisition technology systems with each other and your other HR systems to boost the flow of data and improve operational and cost efficiencies.
Now that we’ve covered some important considerations to keep in mind when evaluating software, here are a variety of technology solutions to consider when building your talent acquisition tech stack:
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
An ATS is the foundation of your tech stack and acts as the system of record for your talent acquisition program. As a repository for applicants, it helps you manage the hiring process for all of your requisitions and satisfies compliance requirements for record-keeping. Some ATS systems even let you create branded career sites and landing pages where candidates can learn more about your company, search job openings and even apply for a role.
In particular, look for a platform with a “quick apply” feature that enables candidates to apply in just a few clicks, even via mobile devices—which has been proven to increase application conversion rates. ATS platforms may also support the candidate selection process through AI-powered keyword scanning and other automated features, like approval workflows; candidate and hiring manager notifications; offer letter generation and more—all with the benefit of reducing time-to-fill and streamlining the candidate experience.
AI Sourcing Tool
AI-powered sourcing tools review, sort and rank talent on the open web using sourcing criteria that you specify, such as current or past job titles; companies; diversity attributes; industry experience and more. Next, algorithms crawl résumés, social media profiles and other sources of data to find candidates who match your job requirements. This then increases your potential pool of applicants, while simultaneously speeding up your search and reducing the number of manual, repetitive tasks for recruiters.
Plus, AI sourcing can also help reduce bias as it only looks for what you’ve specified and disregards other factors, like race, gender or age. It can also be applied to internal candidates by screening an organization’s existing employee profiles to find strong matches for current open positions.
When designed correctly, AI can help you create a better candidate experience. However, there are dos and don’ts when it comes to automation. Even so, proper testing at each stage, coupled with human oversight, will go a long way in catching biases or negative hiring experiences so you can pause and reconfigure your strategy.
Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Many analysts believe that 70% to 80% of the recruiting process could be handled by the CRM. So, it’s worth looking into complementing your ATS with a candidate relationship management (CRM) system, which is a recruitment marketing platform that helps recruiters create talent pools based on geographies, level of interest and skills. A CRM can also help differentiate your organization by nurturing these candidates through automated recruitment emails, SMS messages and more—whether to keep them informed during an active application process or warm until a suitable position opens up. Communications can also be personalized to the candidate for a more engaging experience.
Meanwhile, a whopping 89% of candidates think mobile devices play a critical role in the job-hunting process. So, meet your candidates where they are: Look for solutions that are mobile-first and create a consumer-like experience that your employer brand deserves. Other features to consider are custom landing pages and careers sites, as well as event management tools to support specific recruiting goals.
Likewise, consider adding a chatbot to your careers site or investing in an ATS that offers this functionality to modernize your candidate experience. As a conversational interface, chatbots leverage natural language processing to screen candidates, answer questions and schedule interviews. Some even offer candidates the ability to check the status of their application. This then reduces the burden on recruiters and hiring managers by taking on some of the frequently asked questions from candidates, freeing up HR staff to focus on other tasks.
In addition to process efficiencies, chatbots can also be a great way to bring your employer brand to life. We implemented a chatbot for The AA—a UK-based motoring association that offers roadside breakdown assistance—as part of its reimagined careers site. Candidates could ask AAbot questions and were served with information tailored to their interests. Plus, not satisfied with a run-of-the-mill experience, we gave AAbot a big personality to reflect the organization’s playful employer brand. As a result, we boosted career site traffic by 60% year-over-year and applications by 275%. We even used AAbot in recruitment marketing campaigns and social media posts.
Virtual Interview Management System
A Gartner HR Survey revealed that 86% of organizations conducted virtual interviews during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic—a number that isn’t likely to decline as businesses recover. That’s because a dedicated virtual hiring solution can help you quickly hire the essential talent you need, no matter where they live or how the demand for remote working changes.
Plus, modern candidates expect a hiring experience to be personal, quick and convenient. Therefore, rather than just leveraging video meeting tools, look for dedicated virtual interview tools that offer multiple options for virtual interviews, including on-demand phone interviews and text interviews, as well as live and pre-recorded video interviews. Additional features—like self-scheduling tools and automated candidate advancement tools—can also dramatically reduce time-to-hire and enhance the candidate experience.
Virtual Assessment Tool
Another way to speed up the candidate review process is by investing in virtual pre-employment assessment tools. Modern options include AI that can evaluate writing samples; phone and video interviews; and skills test responses. More precisely, digital assessment solutions can examine the candidate’s aptitude, personality, and skills using predictive analytics and machine learning to ensure you hire the highest-quality talent. This tool also has the added benefit of reducing bias, as the AI focuses on the content of the responses, not the candidate or what they look like.
Virtual assessment platforms range from those that provide code evaluations for software development roles to language aptitude tests. For this reason, make sure you review the assessment experience from both the candidate and hiring manager perspective before committing to a specific tool.
With data flowing across your integrated systems, investing in a recruitment analytics platform offers you a single source of truth for understanding your end-to-end recruitment process. Whether you’re hoping to track time-to-fill, DE&I efforts or overall talent acquisition performance, these tools will satisfy your C-suite’s hunger for insights into your recruitment program.
In this area, look for a tool with interactive dashboards that make it easy to visually monitor trends and slice and dice the data to identify areas of opportunity—and, as a result, gain the full value of your recruitment data. Modern analytics tools leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to highlight insights, anomalies and predictions so you have the data you need to drive informed decisions.
Furthermore, advancements in analytics mean cutting-edge tools can now provide the ability to query your data via natural language processing. For example, our Ask Affinix feature (powered by Amazon’s QuickSight Q) lets you ask questions of your data in plain language and receive accurate answers with relevant visualizations in seconds.
As you know, the new employee onboarding process is an essential element in creating a positive employee experience. Not only should it get new hires up to speed on your company and their role, but it also covers crucial paperwork steps for payroll, taxes, benefits and more.
For these reasons, consider implementing an onboarding software solution to automate and support the onboarding process—especially if you’re doing a lot of remote hiring. These programs use checklist features to guide your candidates and hiring managers through the first days on the job so they don’t miss any important steps. At the same time, self-service tools allow new hires to work through all of those initial tasks and training modules at their own pace. Then, they won’t miss any crucial policies or compliance training—and you’ll have a record of when they completed it in the event of an audit.
In particular, look for tools that enable your new hires to upload documents (like signed employment contracts, tax forms and right-to-work documents) to speed up your payroll procedures. Note that it’s also imperative that this integrates with your ATS and HRIS platforms in order to keep your employment records up to date and eliminate any manual steps that are prone to human error.
Internal Mobility Software
It’s no secret how important career pathing and development are in retaining employees and reducing sourcing costs. In fact, a study of LinkedIn users showed that employees who were promoted within three years of being hired had a 70% chance of staying with the company and those who made a lateral move had a 62% chance. Meanwhile, those who didn’t make an internal move had only a 45% chance of staying.
With this in mind, an internal mobility platform allows you to share openings internally first and helps identify existing employees who may have the skills and experience to move laterally or vertically into a new role. When considering this type of software, look for a tool that offers a seamless experience by letting you post to internal and public job boards, as well as view internal and external candidates together in one place, with internal candidates uniquely identified. The system should also include automation—such as automated invitation emails to qualified internal candidates—to speed up time-to-fill and reduce administrative burden.
The recruitment technology landscape is complicated, with new solutions being added all the time. And, although it can be confusing to plan a talent acquisition tech stack, selecting the right tools can boost access to data and help you create both operational and cost efficiencies. As such, employers should work with a talent partner that can help them customize a technology ecosystem that meets their needs now and prepares them for what’s next.
Learn more about how technology is transforming recruitment in our ebook, Six Tech Trends Shaping the Talent Landscape.