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Are You a Technology Junkie?

by Jun 21, 2011, 5:51 am ET

There’s probably not a week (or maybe even a day) that goes by in which we don’t read about how technology will help you in your business, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, computer, social media, applications, etc. I think many of us have the need to use every type of technology out there without really knowing why or even having a real need for it. I believe it has gotten to the point that if you don’t adopt every new technology and use it in business, people think there’s something wrong with you.

Yes, technology is wonderful — when used effectively. That’s the caveat. Too many people have just jumped on this bandwagon without evaluating how, when, and why they should be using various technologies in business. It has become so pervasive that some of the tried and true methods of doing business have fallen by the wayside. Let’s look at a partial list of some of the technologies used in recruiting:

Applicant Tracking Systems: Companies need these systems to help manage their candidate pool. There are so many out there to choose from. Where do you start? Do you need it to integrate with payroll and HR? Why? Why not? Do you know the right questions to ask so you don’t end up with a product that doesn’t suit your needs or is so complex that your employee compliance is low? There is one very well-known company out there today whose product I’ve yet to hear one positive thing about from any recruiter using it. Remember, just because you recognize the company’s name does not mean it’s a product you should buy or that it will suit your requirements. More bells and whistles are not necessarily a good thing.

Corporate Careers Page: How many of you have considered the pros and cons of requiring applicants to register on your careers page? Are you thinking, “We want them to register so we can have their information.” or “We’d like candidates to feel comfortable coming to our careers page”? The first is about you. The second is about the candidate. I’m going to assert you want them to register so you’ll have them in your database for the times you need to search out candidates who have already applied. Probably the most significant concern for applicants is confidentiality. I know if I was confidentially looking around to see what types of jobs were available I wouldn’t want to register for some company’s website. There’s just no guarantee of confidentiality without knowing who may be looking at my personal information. Call me paranoid, but it’s not something that gives me the warm and fuzzies.

I popped onto a few sites today and one F50 company allows you to search everything they have open globally without registering for their site. Bravo for them. I looked at several postings and there wasn’t one that didn’t have at least one typo. Do you think the CEO would be happy about this? This is a reflection not only on the head of their recruiting organization but on the company as a whole. Are they this sloppy when it comes to building and selling software? This also tells me a lot about their recruitment department.

Twitter: Are you spamming out tweets about open reqs or really thinking about the best way to use 140 characters? How can you capture someone’s attention and have them take notice? How many followers do you have? Are your followers really reading your tweets and potentially forwarding them to their friends? Have you really thought out your Twitter strategy and how you should be using it for it to be most effective?

LinkedIn: Are you using LinkedIn in the same way as Twitter? Are you sending the same messages to LinkedIn and Twitter? Do you connect with people in order to have quality connections, or just for quantity? If you’re one of those people who connects to any Tom, Dick and Harry, I’d assert you don’t have a strategy. More is not neccessarily better. I know some of you will think I’m an idiot for saying it, but LinkedIn is NOT about seeing who has the most connections.

How is your profile? Is it professional? Is it complete? Is there a professional picture? If you have a picture of you with your kids, at a bar, at a sports event, etc., put it on Facebook. Does is look like a resume or is it conversational in nature while showing your strengths, accomplishments, responsibilities, etc? Does it have real content for someone to see what you’ve done and what you’re currently doing? If you were a candidate and read your profile, are you someone you’d want to work with or connect to?

How are you using LinkedIn to source candidates? Are you sending emails to people or picking up the phone? Why? Why not? People are busy. Have you really thought about what to put in an email or voicemail so that there’s a higher probability of a response?

Video Interviewing Applications: There are a growing number of these and it feels like I’ve evaluated all of them. What I can tell you is that there’s only one I like, and this is becasuse it can be customized to suit each client’s needs. Most of the apps out there now have limited abilities or a set of questions they give you to ask in an interview. I know that wouldn’t work for any of my clients. Can a third party be on the call and be invisible? Sometimes it benefits my hiring interviewers to have me on the call and invisible and sometimes they want me to be part of the interview.

Make sure you are clear about your requirements before you spend money on this “now” technology.

Facebook: Are you posting to your company page? Your personal page? Is it the same strategy as Twitter and LinkedIn? Do you have “friends” of the page who are going to see what you’ve posted?

Telephone: You may be thinking that the phone isn’t high tech. You’re right in one respect but sorely lacking in another. I could, and probably should, write a post about the art of the telephone. How are your phone skills? Do you say “um, uh, you know” a lot to fill space? Shame on you if you do. Some people may think I’m a dinosaur, but I firmly believe there is no other technology more important than the phone (your oral skills). The phone is where you get to know people, build relationships, and gain trust. No other technology can do this for you. Not even lots of LinkedIn recommendations.

I’d like you to look at the examples I’ve given and put a percentage of use to each. Are you using some more than others? Why? Is the percentage you spend using one or two far outweighing the others? Is that large percent of time you use a particular technology returning that amount in candidates? In other words, if you’re spending half your time in your ATS, is that generating half your candidates and are they qualified? If not, you need to reevaluate your processes and procedures to align with your company’s strategies.

The big takeaway here is that no technology will fix a process that doesn’t work, is ineffective, and/or lacking quality recruiters to implement it. Technology must be looked at as an adjunct to enhance a quality, well-thought-out process. It is really nothing more than a tool to help you do your job.

I really want to hear your thoughts on this. My request is that you answer any or all of these questions in the comments sections (or you can send me an email directly) and ask any other questions you’d like to see addressed. This way I’ll be able to write a follow up to this post. Thanks in advance for your participation.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Will Smiley

    Actually, I don’t think new technology is as pervasive or overwhelming as the author states. I also don’t believe some of the more traditional methods have fallen away either. Recruiting is specific to every industry and every region. What works on the east coast may not follow in the Bay Area and tools/resources are adopted accordingly. What everyone is using today has more or less been around for the past five years. Nothing radical has been introduced and recruiting leaders should adopt what makes sense for their business needs.

  • Keith Halperin

    IMHO, technical developments in recruiting should be called “advances” only if they take away undesired, boring, low-level work- NOT allowing someone to do more of it….

    Cheers,

    Keith “KISS” Halperin

  • Michael Rosmer

    I loved the premise of the article. At the end of the day people need to realize technology follows business process and business process follows business model. So you need to start by identifying your business model, then building processes to facilitate that model and drive competitive advantage, and then accelerate those processes by implementing technology. Jumping straight to the technology is exactly the wrong model to use.

    Real world recruiting example. If you’re focused on directly hunting hard to find passive candidates then building all kinds of technology and support into a corporate career site is probably not a great use of resources. Instead you’d be better off spending the resources on better talent mapping to identify and pre-screen prospective candidates.

  • Martin Snyder

    but why tease with the ATS vendor who has a big reputation but whose system everyone hates, but not name the name ?

    failing to name names, how about some insight into how such a paradox happens in a marketplace? Id be most interested to know ;-)

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  • http://www.verticalelevation.com Carol Schultz

    @Martin: I don’t like to trash companies publicly, but will give it some thought. Please be more specific as to the paradox you’d like me to address so that I’m responding accurately.

  • Todd Raphael

    I’d be interested in hearing who the video interviewing company is, too. Certainly, if and when you post the company name, its competitors may comment that they, too, customize — but that’s fine.

  • Martin Snyder

    paradox: solution is widely used (i.e. a sales success) but everyone hates it (i.e. that which is thought to be kryptonite to sales success).

  • http://www.verticalelevation.com Carol Schultz

    @Martin: Thanks for the clarification. That’s what I thought you meant.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Martin: “how about some insight into how such a paradox happens in a marketplace?”
    I think expensive, over-engineered, counter-intuitive systems are sold because the people who actually have to deal with the bloated monstrosities are never consulted or given an opportunity to try them out prior to purchase. If you want to solve this problem: find out what those of us who do recruiting really need/want, and not what some VP who hasn’t had to work in the real recruiting world for years (if they ever did) thinks would be good for us.

    Cheers,

    Keith “Show Us Some Basic Consideration” Halperin

  • Martin Snyder

    keith- its not a problem if its resulting in sales- quite the opposite. again, how do things that lots of people hate become best-sellers ?

  • Keith Halperin

    @Martin- In the case of ATS- the buyers aren’t the users. In the case of Windows- marketing savvy/monopolistic power. In the case of Jerry Springer- the fascination with (and the reality of) human perversity?

    -kh