The End of In-House Talent Acquisition?

If you lead talent acquisition, you might be excited by the continual stream of helpful new talent acquisition technologies. There are tools to help with sourcing, selection, administration, and data analysis. 

And not just a few tools, hundreds of tools.

Unfortunately, if you are in a small or mid-sized company, there are more good tools than you can afford. And even if you could afford them, you wouldn’t have time to implement them all. So, what does that imply for in-house talent acquisition for most companies? Can they continue to do a good job of hiring even if they can’t keep up with technology?

One option is to buy an end-to-end solution that gives you most of what you need even if it isn’t state-of-the-art across the board. There are many applicant tracking solutions (such as Jobvite and Workable) that aim to do just that.

Alternatively, a small or mid-sized TA leader could hire an advisory firm (like Talent Tech Labs, Deloitte, or PwC) to suggest a custom mix of software. This won’t solve the problem of not being able to get everything you want, but you’ll have some confidence that you’ve got the best possible TA tech stack given your resources.

However, I wonder if ultimately small and mid-sized organizations will be driven to outsource TA to vendors that can afford to own all the best technology. 

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After all, organizations don’t build their own chairs or air conditioners or PCs. It’s just too costly to do so. They buy these products from firms that have the technology to build them. Is talent acquisition becoming too costly for small or mid-sized firms due to the technology involved?

What makes talent acquisition different from other parts of HR is that it’s a bare-knuckles competition. If your capability is almost, but not quite, as good as a competitor, then you risk consistently getting second-best talent. (Much like only having late draft picks in a professional sports league).

Of course, using an outsourced vendor that has all the best technology leaves open the question as to whether they’ll funnel the very best candidates to you or to one of their other clients. Point is, there are no easy answers in talent acquisition, and with the turmoil created by technology, it’s getting harder all the time.

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.