Recruiters’ Tech Wish List for 2024

Recruiters want a rest from the disappointment that technology serves them on a day-to-day basis.

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Dec 19, 2023

While some people might want a PS5, a tablet, or another new technology for the holidays, recruiters want something different as they look to the new year. I’ve spent a lot of time this year talking to talent acquisition leaders about their technology. They have big hopes and dreams, but more often than not, frustrations and doubts about the technology they are forced to use to get their jobs done.

It’s been a tough year in some industries, and recruiting has taken some major hits. They want a rest from the disappointment that technology serves them on a day-to-day basis. So, Santa or whoever might be doling out gifts this year, I have a list for you from recruiters.

Technology That Actually Does What It Says It Does

In general, more buyers of B2B technology are skeptical of vendor claims. And you know what? They probably have a good reason. None might have a better case for skepticism than recruiters. They’ve been sold a bill of exaggerated capabilities and simplicities for decades.

While finance or HR might foist the latest (or not-so-latest) ERP or HCM system on them, recruiters are expected to continue to get people hired regardless of capabilities. When a salesperson tells the heads of finance and HR that their system actually does everything and they’ll save a lot of money and headaches if they consolidate, recruiters usually pay the price.

It’s not just the big vendors that play fast and loose with the facts. Specialists also promise the moon but deliver much less as well. Overselling integrations and the practicality of new innovations are common, but even some basic functionality, like being able to capably search a database of candidates, is woefully underpowered.

For the holidays, all recruiters want is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

A Better Partnership With Vendors

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a recruiter who said that the best way to get help when their software wasn’t working was to call into an old-fashioned phone queue. Imagine sitting on speakerphone at home, being constantly reminded by a way-too-friendly voice that your call is very important to them as you wonder what happened to the five requisitions you spent all morning setting up.

Online trouble tickets never sounded so appealing.

Whether they are working with a big or small partner, recruiters often feel like they are on an island with minimal support. When things go wrong, good luck fixing it! That’s software-as-a-service for you, right?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Recruiters need vendors that will be there after the sale or renewal and care about long-term success. Recruiting is a small industry. People are going to talk and give their peers the real story about what you’ll do to help them. We know it works because when vendors do create a true partnership with recruiters, the results are often years of renewals, speaking at events on their behalf, being interviewed for case studies, and more.

AI Without Having to Talk to Legal About It

2023 has been a year of AI, both in hype and reality. It could be revolutionary for talent acquisition, though I’d argue the best is still yet to come. But on top of that excitement is well-earned skepticism and concern. There are ethical issues with using AI right now. Possible discrimination and unknown consequences are everywhere. There are also legitimate legal pitfalls as cities like New York and the Biden administration try to rein in AI for hiring.

While recruiters appreciate the excitement of vendors making big strides with generative AI in particular, they also really don’t want to talk to their legal department about it. A recruiter I spoke to said their internal legal counsel won’t consider anything but the most basic, straightforward automation without more clarity from governments on what is allowed.

Right now, that might mean that it can help schedule interviews, tell people their application status, or answer candidate’s questions about the job or company. Outside of that? Recruiters want AI that is ethical, transparent, and practical. Even the early adopters on this one are pressure-testing vendors on how it works and how it could impact organizations.

Meaningful Metrics to Make Hiring Easier and More Productive

Recruiters are in a frantic, constantly changing hiring environment. The last thing any of them need to do is spend time with a people analytics team or vendor trying to figure out how to measure performance and effectiveness as one recruiter told me. Instead of trying to accurately measure things like time-to-fill or cost-per-hire, what recruiters ultimately need are better metrics to make better advertising, assessment, and hiring decisions.

It would also be great to understand where the demand for talent is likely to come from before it shows up on their doorstep in a panic. Being able to start planning early, look at metrics about sourcing channel effectiveness, know what assessments drive higher quality of hire, and what tools our hiring managers need to make the best decision? That’s the dream.

Instead of using metrics as a carrot or a stick for keeping recruitment in line, they could be used to unlock performance gains and eliminate sources of budget and time waste in the hiring process. Those tools go beyond the surface and instead, give them insight into how talent acquisition can make a true impact on the business as a whole.

A Reason for Optimism in 2024

As we look ahead to 2024, recruiters may not have high hopes that there will be massive changes in the way their technology works in the new year. But there is hope that budgets may get righted, staff levels could improve, and recruiting will stabilize in the coming year.

That gives them the opportunity to be proactive about recruiting technology and start making decisions that will benefit their department and organization. With the right tools at their disposal, talent acquisition teams can be a powerful force in a business.

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