The Bee’s Knees of #HRTechConf 2014

It’s hard to believe the 2014 HR Technology Conference has already come and gone. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad it’s over. For all the networking and learning opportunities this conference offers an analyst, it’s always the most demanding week of the year for me. This year was no exception. In three days, I presented key findings from our latest report on high-performance onboarding, moderated a panel on recruitment marketing and employer brand, and met with over 30 solution providers in the HCM vendor landscape. I even managed to attend a party or three.

In the past, I’ve written up my favorite products of the show. This year, the Bee’s Knees of HR Tech will include the technologies and trends that I believe are the future of talent acquisition technology – and HCM technology in general.

Recruitment Marketing is Growing Up
Modern talent acquisition is a game of attraction. For recruiters, this means adopting sophisticated marketing practices (search engine marketing, candidate relationship management, content marketing) to a compelling employer brand in front of qualified candidates.

The problem, of course, is that recruitment marketing has no place in traditional reactionary, post-and-pray recruiting models. How’s that working out for you? If you’re ready to step your game up, I’d recommend you evaluate a few of the leaders in this space. Smashfly, Glassdoor, QUEsocial, SuccessFactors RmK (formerly Jobs2Web) – they’re all coming at this differently, and their clients are seeing real impact.

Less Big Data, More Talent Analytics
One phrase I was glad to do without this year was “Big Data.” Not a single solution provider I spoke with used the term. That’s not to say we didn’t talk data. In fact, some of the most interesting briefings I had featured new use cases for analytics in talent acquisition. From candidate assessments to source channel optimization, there’s a lot of data begging to be used in talent acquisition. My favorites this year were ClearCompany, CultureIQ, HireVue Insights and Hireology.

As an analyst, this excites me. Data-driven decision-making has long been a key differentiator of high-performing organizations, and the idea of widespread use of talent analytics is novel. In practice, though, I’m not sure we’re there yet. Recruiters are still using ATS for two things: To open a req and to close a req. Until we can foster a culture of measurement, all the analytics and reporting capabilities in the world won’t give you a single insight into the performance of your organization’s talent acquisition efforts.

Sourcing is Still Hot, Hot, Hot
Sourcing continues to be a challenge for recruiters, especially in congested and highly competitive markets like high-tech. This year I met with a number of leaders in this space – Entelo, TalentBin (recently acquired by Monster), Talemetry, and Gild – and was impressed with how the stories they’re telling have evolved from last year. Each is coming at sourcing differently. Some are bulking up CRM functionality; others are applying their keyword-based search algorithms to source other talent demographics (including creative and diversity hires).

What’s exciting about this space is that every solution provider I met with is growing their product beyond direct sourcing, and developing a suite of products that enable a more diversified, dynamic sourcing strategy. As I begin research in 2015 on the “talent shortage”(reactionary recruiting’s favorite red herring), I’ll be keeping a close watch on this corner of the market in 2015.

Were you able to make it to Vegas for the 2014 HR Technology Conference? What talent acquisition technologies caught your attention?

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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