One way to look at talent acquisition is by breaking it down into four main areas: recruiting, recruitment marketing, sourcing and onboarding. Ideally, all of these areas should be connected, but in many large organizations, that is not possible either due to organizational structure or technological challenges (usually stemming from the use of disparate, incompatible systems). That means that much of the process and data that should be shared between those steps is instead misdirected or lost.
As stated, the major complications in connecting the elements of talent acquisition are in pre-existing processes or technology. Processes can be challenges because at many organizations, recruitment and onboarding are treated as two distinct programs. Recruiters find candidates, and then another group, sometimes without the assistance of HR, brings them up to speed on their expectations, available tools and network. This ignores information that could have been carried over from the recruitment progression and often restarts the cultural assimilation process.
Technology is the other challenge and it is often a matter of data from one system not transferring to the next. This is often the case with legacy applicant tracking systems. Again, information such as skills and competencies that had been collected during the initial recruitment phases is recollected, which may lead to discrepancies or other data pollution.
Lacking the ability to connect your TA systems has consequences far beyond not having a unified system of record. The overall effect a disjointed system has on the entire candidate experience cannot be overstated. Potential candidates who are constantly required to re-enter information or restart processes may drop out and could harm your ability to find other candidates because of negative effects on the brand. Having systems that are not integrated creates an overall poorer user experience, as demonstrated by this Brandon Hall Group research studying the most important aspects of talent-acquisition technology.
How Essential Are the Following Competencies When Considering the Purchase of a Talent Acquisition Technology Solution?
The two most critical functionalities (other than user training) are related to the ability for the TA systems and processes to be connected. Although this is specific to technology, the same problems arise when TA processes are also unconnected. If the people and workflows from one part of the candidate journey are not seamless, the candidate will suffer in their ability to be productive, engaged or feel included in the company as a whole.
Every organization places different priorities on the various aspects of recruitment, but that does not mean any part of the TA process should be apart from the others. However, to determine key connection points, organizations must first ask themselves:
• Where are there current problems in the talent-acquisition process, and how can integration help to address those problems?
• Who are the people involved in each step of the TA process and are there challenges in getting them into one overall workflow?
• What constraints in terms of time, budget or other resources are your TA team working within?
• What are the metrics that candidates are evaluated upon and how will changes to TA connections affect those metrics in both negative and positive ways?
• What are the constraints in technological integration within the disparate TA systems at your organization?
The biggest challenges in integrating systems will not come from the technical aspects of the technology but from pushback from existing processes. Most systems that have been in place for a long time are resistant to change. That is why it is imperative for any organization seeking to connect two or more of their TA processes into a more unified whole first conduct a rigorous but necessary exercise of devising a plan and testing it before execution:
• Determine the need for integrated TA systems There is always a chance that the costs outweigh the benefits of integrated TA at your organization. Be sure to consider that possibility before embarking on any major change.
• Identify support levels There is wide variety in the levels of support provided by vendors and internal stakeholders. Implementation support is a part of most vendor offerings, but without the support or technical know-how from the TA and IT groups, that support will not matter.
• Data Even if it is a manual merge of two different TA groups, there is still data to be managed and data integrity is just as much an issue in manual processes as a fully automated one. Audits and oversight should be a part of any integration.
• Manage change Communicate early and often. Your communications plan should begin as soon as the purchase decision is made. Repetition and redundancy are good.
• Prepare for migration Be inclusive. Integration with the talent-acquisition solutions will affect the entire organization, directly or indirectly. Involve key stakeholders and team members.
• Gather regular feedback As soon as the systems or processes are integrated, you should be looking for ways to improve or correct any processes in the new system. An ongoing feedback loop is required.
The goal of any part of the employee experience is to improve the organization’s ability to achieve success. Talent acquisition is only different from other parts of that experience because it is a first impression and, therefore, leaves the biggest impact. Use all of the tools at your disposal to ensure that first impression is one of a smooth, well-oiled machine bringing them closer to their goals from the very first day.
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