It’s pretty obvious recruiting isn’t rocket science, but it might as well be. The goal of talent management, after all, basically involves looking for “stars” and making sure they’re ‘aligned’ with organizational needs, lest they end up in the “black hole” of the hiring process. That’s why it’s time to take a look at the newest weapon in the war for talent: astrology.
If you’re feeling skeptical about the ability of planetary alignment to predict quality of hire, remember that first feeling you had when you learned your Myers-Briggs acronym? They have about the same amount of scientific validity (to true believers, anyway), after all, and both rely almost exclusively on confirmation bias to generate (and validate) their findings.
With the HR technology marketplace seemingly evolving at the speed of a tweet, companies selling into the space are increasingly employing sophisticated techniques to increase both share of mind and, subsequently, share of market. Trends like big data, social media and mobile enablement have become ubiquitous not only in product roadmaps but also in market positioning.
Despite these seismic shifts in product strategy and sales, however, one time tested tactic remains at the center of almost every vendors’ competitive playbook, a critical competency and competitive differentiator for an increasingly competitive (and lucrative) industry: effectively working with third party analysts.
The HR Technology Conference serves, for our industry at least, as the debutante ball for talent technology, the annual ‘coming out’ event for dozens of new systems, solutions and services jockeying for their fair share of recruiting organizations’ annual spend. This year, over 170 vendors issued event related press releases, and I’ve sat through literally 51 briefings before, during and after the conference.
Now that we’re over a week out, and the dust has finally settled on another HR Technology conference, here are some of the tools & technologies that, for me, stand out as among the most intriguing tools and technologies in talent acquisition. As a caveat, not all of these vendors actually exhibited or participated in the conference, but are worth following – and, if you’re a practitioner or decision maker, are worth a look when finalizing 2014 budgets.
One of the most pervasive, and ubiquitous, topics permeating the recruitment and talent acquisition industry agendas is that of candidate experience, a focus reflected throughout the HR Technology Conference’s agenda and ancillary events, including the Third Annual Candidate Experience Awards.
The recipients of these awards, and the companies considered on the cutting edge of candidate experience, are without a doubt helping change perceptions and create best practices around this elusive yet extremely important issue, and these awards provide valuable validation – and recognition – for employers taking the time to get this critical recruiting competency right.
What if I told you that a sketch comedian and a capitalist came together to basically invent an entire category of HR theory? That’s not a joke – that actually happened. Before the term Gen Y was first coined in Ad Age (1993), or Douglas Coupland first strung together the words “Generation X” (1991), William Strauss and Neil Howe got together and captured what probably was not a zeitgeist as much as a good old fashioned tent revival-style bid to part that fool and his money.
Strauss, you see, was at the time a member of the Capitol Steps, which is like the dinner theatre version of that “I’m Just a Bill” Schoolhouse rock video. And Howe? He was an economist for the Blackstone Group, which is to say, the ultimate Wall Street guy, a banker’s banker, credible, sure, profit hungry, well – that’s the entire point of private equity, and its sole agenda.
I’m fully aware what is about to follow is perhaps the most hypocritical thing I could ever write, save a column on healthy weight loss or an op-ed on the flaws of job hopping. But this industry of ours is fundamentally flawed, and the reason is simple: in a world where the barrier to entry is more or less a pulse, an entire category of “thought leaders” has emerged who, really, aren’t thinking about HR at all. Rather, their primary focus seems to be on creating problems which don’t actually exist and making them seem pressing enough to spend money on.
If you really want to tell how good at sourcing someone really is, the first task to assign them should be to find a recent, relevant and comprehensive guide to sourcing-related terms and terminology.
That’s because, well, even in a discipline driven by esoteric buzzwords and omnipresent acronyms, there’s little understanding, or even consensus, as to what, exactly, the sourcing function even entails – and, consequently, how to define what’s often seen as the dark art of talent acquisition.
It’s a widely cited fact, and to me, an unbelievable one: most Americans cite their biggest fear, by a wide margin, as speaking in public. Beyond the incredible insularity and egocentrism of this perspective (because Raiders fans, Bill O’Reilly and clowns do not, apparently, crack the top 10, and I find these infinitely more terrifying). But apparently, this is what gets our collective psyches in a tizzy – the thought of having to stand before a crowd and give a presentation. In a 2012 Gallup poll, the fear of public speaking is apparently at its greatest in a business-related setting, particularly when a superior is present (maybe because people don’t realize that HR is, in fact, spying on their Facebook accounts).
A quick Google search reveals a cottage industry sprung up around overcoming this seemingly insurmountable obstacle of verbal communication, from self-help books to hypnotherapy to ready-to-purchase templates for speeches on every subject imaginable – not to mention SlideShare, the ultimate low-impact source for hitting the decks. Apparently, Valium just doesn’t cut it these days.