Good, Fast, Cheap: With Recruiting Tech, You Should Be Getting All Three

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Jul 5, 2022
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

There’s a well-known adage about things being good, fast, and cheap. You can choose something that is good and fast, but it won’t be cheap. You can choose something that is fast and cheap, but it won’t be good. Or, you can choose something that is good and cheap, but it won’t be fast.

The idea, of course, is that having all three at the same time is impossible. When it comes to service providers, where the value being delivered is driven by someone’s expertise, it makes sense. People are a finite resource. If I want a plumber to come to my house to fix something and need a baseline of quality, I can either wait for someone whose schedule is packed because they have lower costs or pay out the nose for someone who can come out on nights, weekends, or holidays. 

With technology, though, we should have different expectations. Good, fast, and cheap should be the baseline expectation. Let’s break it down.

What Is Good? 

No, this isn’t a philosophical question. Instead, regardless of whether your current processes are driven by technology today, the question is: Will a new piece of technology improve the experience for recruiters, candidates, and hiring teams? 

When I am talking to talent acquisition leaders about their technology strategy, this is the consideration that they talk about the most while also having fewer measurements than the other two. 

In any hiring environment (but certainly this particular one), not going backward and delivering a worse experience to recruiters, candidates, and hiring teams should be table stakes. Given the pain associated with technology purchases and implementations, every time you sign on the dotted line should bring a measurable improvement in quality across all three. 

Those measures can include user surveys and candidate quality ratings — all of that assuming that better technology will ultimately deliver the thing that everyone wants: better candidates.

What Is Fast?

Everyone has a need for speed, but we all know that hiring processes can be sped up for the right candidate. When it comes to speed and recruiting technology, there should be the expectation that speed can be achieved with scale and consistency. 

Technology should help organizations automate certain functions with minimal direction. For example, assigning an assessment or procuring a background check are two things that can be set up once, and then scaled to all of your hiring processes. That gives your organization measurably faster results across the board. 

But your technology should also be delivering automation in a consistent, predictable fashion. While some might say that’s more about quality, I’d argue that knowing what will happen and when it will happen is the whole point of having a system that accelerates a great hiring process. When you doubt it, automations get bypassed by recruiters and things slow way down. 

As far as measurement is concerned, fast is probably the easiest to parse. Does technology help you deliver hires on time or better? Are you improving the timing during key moments when candidates might drop out of your hiring process if they feel like it’s going too slow?

What Is Cheap?

Cheap is deceptively complex when it comes to recruiting technology. In my experience, talent acquisition leaders can tell the budget story pretty well. But justifying cost is only one component of what it means to be cheap. 

Instead, cheap in the context of recruiting technology is about bringing together good and fast in a way that’s cost-prohibitive to do any other way. Take candidate relationship management for instance. Can you hire enough recruiters to deliver a CRM-like experience without buying the software? Of course. 

But hiring that many recruiters was never on the table to begin with. Any talent acquisition leader must be adept at talking about the value of not just reduced staffing costs but also delivering a better experience at speed and scale. It’s too easy to tie a big tech purchase to reducing headcount — either current or future state. Setting the expectation that every technology purchase will pay for itself on the budget line is a dangerous precedent as well. 

The best talent acquisition leaders end up focusing on the competitive landscape and current vs. future state. An organization that is more agile and responsive while delivering results consistently makes the right technology purchase cheap. Telling the opportunity cost story without feeling like you have to tie it to some voodoo numbers is key to bringing in technology that feels like a no-brainer across on the purchasing side. 

It’s Hard Making Things This Easy

Technology companies have come a long way but most are only great at telling one or two parts of the good, fast, cheap story. When going into a technology evaluation, organizations need to spend time upfront setting expectations about all three of these. Every technology provider needs to be able to navigate these three expectations for your organization.

Good partners will get on your level quickly, making the rest of the evaluation, purchase, and implementation process much easier. Good, fast, and cheap should be the expectation of every technology partner for long-term success. 

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.