HR tech is a wild space these days. There’s easily over 100+ ATS options on the market, and a roughly-equivalent number of sourcing and talent acquisition tools. How do you figure out which one you should be using?
To be perfectly blunt, there are thousands of articles on the Internet about this and most of them are going to tell you roughly the same thing, and/or promote their own sourcing tool at the end of the article. (That’s called “content marketing” to some.) We won’t do that here, but instead we want to make a few higher-order points about the acquisition of people aggregators and other sourcing tools for your team.
First: make sure you use a tool that works with your workflow
Have you ever heard the term “shelf-ware?” That refers to software you buy and then never use, so essentially you just wasted money on buying it. The No. 1 reason that software becomes “shelf-ware” is because it doesn’t make logical sense within the workflow of how things are at your business. Fast Company has even called this whole sequence “your team’s most annoying tech problem,” noting:
While there may be many tools that each department can manage for their direct use, there will always be systems that everyone in the organization needs to access and use. And many of those systems are only as good as their level of adoption. In my organization’s research on how nonprofits use technology, for example, staff consistently say that they have the tools they need but don’t know how to use them to be most effective.
And therein lies the second issue: teams often buy tools, but don’t know how to use them to be the most effective.
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Second: make sure you know how to be effective with the tools you use
- Discussion among the team
- Use a “mob programming” approach where everyone learns together so that the sourcers and recruiters who “get it” faster can help teach the others
- Video training
- Looking around social media and asking people who already use the tool what they’ve learned/discovered within it
The caveat: Maybe you should have stayed away
This needs to happen at the beginning of the research process/tool vetting, but consider that sometimes, it’s actually best to stay away from a sourcing tool / people aggregator. Steps 1, 2, and 3 here are all somewhat concurrent — see, anyone that sells tools to recruiters and sourcers is going to claim their tool is the best, easiest to use, and most intuitive. They have to claim that. It’s their job. But again, this whole “software to shelf-ware” ecosystem comes about because an organization buys a tool or a program that doesn’t work within their pre-existing workflows. Change is not fun for most people. If they’ve been working a specific way for years, getting them to uproot all that and work on different platforms and processes is hard.
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The broader underlying lesson here: only buy tools and tech if you’ve done the research, kicked the tires, interacted with current users, interacted with your current employees, etc. In fact, the same Fast Company article recommends this:
Invite staff into the whole process. Regardless of their team affiliation or experience, a diverse group of employees from across your organization can often evaluate your current systems and choose new ones more effectively than a room full of IT managers. This way your decisions about technology actually reflect realities of the organization—and the needs of the people who’ll use it. By the time the tool is rolled out, you’ll already have a team of advocates ready to champion it and show others the ropes.
But what if you desperately need new leads? Wouldn’t an aggregation tool make sense?
Again, maybe. It depends on how your work is structured currently. But a desperate search for new leads on an open req is actually less about technology and those tools than we think. If you really need new leads, here’s what you should be focusing on:
- Building a recruitment marketing strategy
- Attending events
- Talking to former colleagues
- Targeting passive candidates
- Looking for referrals from existing employees
- Proactively building a pipeline
Always remember: digital is great and got to scale rapidly, but face-to-face communication is, by some measure, 34x more effective. Work leads in person and through those you already trust. The tech should help, but may not be a catch-all for everything you need to accomplish.
Have you used a sourcing aggregation tool? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comments!
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