Building a Recruitment Tech Stack That Works for You – SHRM

​Today’s recruiting landscape is characterized by low unemployment, a record level of open jobs and massive churn in the labor market. Recruiting technology can help employers find, attract and ultimately hire the people they need.

“But if you suck at recruiting, having great recruiting technology will only allow you to suck much faster,” said Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, an industry veteran, thought leader and president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich.

Sackett, speaking at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2022 in Denver on April 13, demos over a hundred recruiting technologies each year and works with HR and recruiting leaders to help build recruiting processes and technology systems.

Talent acquisition technology stacks build upon the foundational applicant tracking system (ATS). On top of that, employers can attach sourcing tech, recruitment marketing platforms, assessments, interview systems and onboarding tools.

Sackett said the secret to the ideal tech stack is that there isn’t one. The solution must be customizable to each organization. Be aware that the “overlap in recruiting technology is overwhelming,” he said. “Your ATS has CRM [candidate relationship management] functionality, your conversational AI chatbot does outreach, your sourcing tool does marketing automation and scheduling. These products are starting to blend into each other, which can make it confusing to buyers as to what they really need.”

With all of these choices, Sackett said the most important aspect to consider about implementing recruiting technology is whether your recruiters will use it. Next, find out if it will make the hiring process faster or increase quality of hire.

“We are getting to a point where recruiting technology will take most of the administration work out of recruiting, leaving the recruiter to focus on relationship building,” he said, which is a positive long-term outcome for the profession.  

Choosing an ATS

“What’s your favorite ATS?” is one of the top questions Sackett gets asked. He breaks the market down by saying that the differences between the best-of-breed systems like Jobvite, Greenhouse and iCIMS are very few, and any choice from this category is a good one. At the enterprise level, the choices are typically the legacy systems Oracle and SAP, and more recently, Workday.

“These giant requisition systems don’t have all the features of the best-of-breeds,” he said, “but they can process 100,000 applicants a month, something the better-quality systems can’t do.”

For small and midsize employers, Sackett recommends Breezy HR, JazzHR and Workable.

“One thing you should definitely be doing with any ATS is mining the database for candidates who already told you they want to work for you in the past,” he said. “The value of your own database is probably the most underutilized aspect of your ATS.”

Marketing Automation

Everyone will tell you that you need to have a CRM, Sackett said. “Most companies don’t need a CRM. It’s super-complex, you need a team to run it and it’s mostly for enterprise companies.” What you really want is marketing automation, he said. “That’s a top-of-the-funnel connection that gets you more candidates.”

Marketing automation can also be used to cut down on getting ghosted by applicants. At some organizations, only one-third of applicants with scheduled interviews show up. Employers can use marketing automation to text candidates daily about the upcoming interview up until the interview day. At one of Sackett’s clients, that technique pushed a 30 percent show rate to 90 percent, Sackett said. “Interviewees said that they showed up because they felt the company really wanted them. They didn’t know they were communicating with a bot.”

He added that sending out mass e-mails is not marketing automation, “it’s spam.”

Matching and Conversational AI

Sackett explained that most of what is described as artificial intelligence in recruiting technology is not true AI but more like intelligent automation, which can certainly be a great help to recruiters’ efficiency and effectiveness.  

He said that conversational AI has been especially effective in the high-volume hiring space, where the technology immediately starts communicating with hourly workers who apply for jobs. “These applicants should be instantly contacted by something or someone in your company,” he said.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is an automated method of placing job ads targeted to places on the Internet that candidates visit. “Programmatic tends to be used at the enterprise level,” Sackett said. “Those vendors typically don’t even want to talk to you unless your advertising budget is about $5,000 a month.” He added that employers with less budget could get a programmatic experience at a cheap cost using ZipRecruiter, because it’s built into their system.

“Advertising works,” he said. “Job seekers are suckers for advertising. But no advertising will work where there are no applicants in that market. The best ads in the world can’t produce candidates if there aren’t any.”

Recruiting Intelligence

Data is essential to recruiting. “Whether you have one recruiter or 100 recruiters, the data becomes so important,” Sackett said. When the C-suite asks for a certain number of hires in a certain time, “you can take the data and show them that it’s not possible. You can also show how it could be possible with an upgrade in resources.”

This type of tool also produces interview intelligence based on all the interviews conducted at a company, and data on the capabilities of your recruiting team.

Referral Automation

Sackett has been evangelizing on referral automation technology for a decade, saying that the money spent on referral bonuses would be much better spent on this type of technology.

“Referral automation will leverage the social networks of your employees to help get more candidates interested in your jobs,” he said.  

Sourcing Tech

This area of technology is amazing, but it takes work, Sackett said. “Most recruiting is inbound, posting jobs, waiting for candidates to apply and hiring them,” he said. “Outbound recruiting, which uses sourcing, is time-consuming.”

Sourcing technology is designed for very personalized recruiting. “Because of sourcing tech, it’s never been easier in history to find talent,” he said. “The hard part is getting them to come work for you. That takes building relationships.”