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Over the last year I have led 3 projects to introduce the infrastructure needed to successfully attract talent through social media.

HR Tech Companies Need To Learn To Play Nicely

There are 6 key stages to integrating social in to recruiting:

  • Recruiting technology
  • Social Channels
  • Culture
  • People
  • Analytics

I’m going to be discussing this in more detail in my session on day 2 in Amsterdam. In this post I want to share some of what I’ve learnt from the technology diagnostic stage, and give some ideas to the many technology companies, (whatever they might call themselves) who will be attending or watching the event from afar. I have also drawn some of my thinking from the excellent, and unique, William Tincup, who will be delivering a keynote on day one, on user adoption and support.

I often say that social recruiting is about 10% technology, 40% methodology and 50% psychology. Given that the technology is only 10%, it is usually the area that is fraught with the most problems, and it doesn’t need to be this way. In the social world that we live in, where potential customers can connect and canvass opinions from existing users, it is more important than ever to put the users at the heart of everything. The real users will be distant from the ones who sign the cheques and place the orders; it’s the people who need to use your tech in the recruitment process, whether they are job seekers, HR managers, recruiters and the like. The tech needs to be fit for purpose, and that means that it is supported and developed for the whole life of the contract. Upgrades of the latest version, and training for users to get the best out of the technology should be an integral part of any tech contract. Users should not be restricted by the technology they use; it should enhance the user experience and help, rather than hinder the recruiting process.

Over the last year I’ve seen technology that doesn’t support mobile, and it has been bought in the last 12 months. Mobile functionality in the application process should be built as standard, not offered as an optional extra. Social is mobile, the two go hand in hand, and not to build for mobile is to build recruiting technology that will be out of date before its even bedded in. I’ve seen ATS’s where it has been impossible to conduct basic searches to find out if the candidates in the database might be suitable for roles now or in the future. The solution to this problem was we know this, but our next super version that does that will be out in 12 months. That’s 12 months where the hiring company can do nothing but advertise. Spend more money and give a poor candidate experience because the tech is old, ineffective but under contract.

The other big area that causes problems is collaboration. The best social recruiting technology usually comes from the smaller start up businesses who founded in the last 2 years. They are usually more agile, can adapt much quicker to what customers need and build to order. I have about 7 of these companies I work with on this. The real problem occurs when I’m putting a whole package together and I need the technology providers to work in unison, which means collaboration. This gives me the full solution I need, without being tied to a small business who is only just earning their place. What I need is my established technology companies to play nicely and work collaboratively, embracing my need for integration and an open API. I want one flow, with all the data moving in one direction. Some companies get this and are happy to sit around a table and work it out. It benefits them, but it also benefits me. More importantly it benefits all of the users, whoever they may be. What is proving to be the case more often though is technology providers who just don’t want to play nicely. This needs to change. Social businesses need to be collaborative in outlook. It’s about much more than having a twitter account and hiring a few bloggers. If you’re looking to add social features to keep up to date with the market, you have to be a social business, with all that means.

The problem for businesses now that aren’t collaborative, social or supportive of users is that people talk. They used to talk to a few friends, but now they talk to whoever will listen, on twitter, blogs and lots of other places. You need happy users and happy customers because twitter, LinkedIn or facebook is the first place people go to validate buying decisions. If you don’t play nicely, people will find out.


  • Well said Bill & it’s great there are people out there like you that can “show” clients the opportunities for them to integrate best of breed thro an API environment – most clients think technology is the hard bit – it isn’t and shouldn’t be although I know people who make money from telling people it’s hard….

  • I agree with Lisa, well said. Although i disagree with the “technology is easy” part. After working on employment technology for a while now, i’ve realised our biggest challenge is not the standard technology pieces, but rather the ancillary ones, such as cleaning and sorting the vast volumes of junk data out there (remnants from a broadcast model industry), and the nuances of integrating other people’s platforms. Facebook is particularly difficult, the rules change every week…

    At Jojari.com we build everything as an API, and while it is only available internally now, we want that for the future on purpose (as we’re sitting on a ridiculously big pile of cleaned data), so i’m completely on board with your mindset.