Small Companies Have Big Need for Talent Acquisition Technology

As many of you know, Brandon Hall Group launched its first annual Talent Acquisition Benchmark Survey at the start of the year. In the time since, I’ve been slicing and dicing the data – by levels of effectiveness, by industry, and most recently by company size.  Across the board, survey respondents indicated hiring better talent is their highest talent acquisition priority for 2014.

I have a lot of questions bouncing around in my mind, but as I get further and further into analysis of survey responses, I keep coming back to one: How? How do they plan to achieve their goals? How are they adapting talent acquisition strategy to meet changes in the talent market? How are they leveraging technology to support more effective process?

With that in mind, I came across a staggering statistic while working on my forthcoming white paper comparing and contrasting talent acquisition data by company size: 70% of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees are not using an applicant tracking system of any kind to manage their talent acquisition process.

According to our survey, the vast majority of small companies are using their own assortment of tools – a slapdash combination of emails, spreadsheets, and paper files.

Methods for Managing Talent Acquisition Processes

Chart Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2014

It should come as no surprise that small companies are struggling to source and hire qualified candidates. Only 13% rated their talent acquisition process as more than moderately effective – with nearly 1 in 3 rating their process as less than effective. For these companies, time to hire is running rampant, with 54% taking four to eight weeks to hire a new employee from the time an application is received until the day an offer has been accepted.

These days, an organization’s ability to engage candidates and maintain momentum from first touch to offer extension is vital to their ability to hire better talent. That’s because high-quality talent expects high-quality process. For some employers, a candidate’s interest in the job opportunity will make up for the inherent flaws and bottlenecks in their hiring process. For the rest, however, things are only going to get worse.

While top talent may not care what technology you have in place, they are certainly paying attention to whether or not you’ve acknowledged receipt of their resume, how quickly your recruiters respond to their questions, and how many different times you have them come in for a 20-minute interview.

Stepping your technology game up can make a significant difference in talent acquisition performance. I recommended a few power-ups in my blog a few months ago, but at the time didn’t realize just how many small companies are still hiring without an applicant tracking system in place. It would seem we have much more basic needs to address first.

Hiring better talent is no walk in the park. Upgrading your talent acquisition technology is a good start, but it requires more than an applicant tracking system. I have a few ideas, and will cover them in my forthcoming benchmark by company size – as well as another report on the talent acquisition vendor landscape.

For now, I’d recommend that small companies look at solution providers like SmartRecruiters and WePow, which offer free versions of their products. For more detailed advice, stay tuned.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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