Leveraging the Best of AI for Outstanding Hiring Results

Leveraging the Best of AI for Outstanding Hiring Results

Written by Laura Mather, Founder and CEO at Unitive, Inc. (Talent Sonar).

Laura Mather, Founder and CEO at Unitive, Inc. (Talent Sonar)

Every hiring team is asking the same question: is this candidate the right person for the job? This should be a fairly simple question to answer, but after the resume review and the interview are over, it’s become pretty clear that humans don’t always have the best intuition. Although we sometimes do get it right, sometimes just isn’t enough. Bad hires are hugely expensive for any organization of any size. Tony Hsieh, the CEO Zappos has estimated that bad hires cost the company “well over $1 million.” The US Department of Labor has estimated that a bad hire can cost a company at least 30 percent of that employee’s first-year earnings.

While many companies are feeling pressure to scale and expand quickly, no company can afford to absorb these losses, especially when you factor in the time and energy your current employees will expend hiring and training them.

Ineffective hiring techniques hurt your chances of finding great hires in numerous ways. Not only will you miss great applicants, or let qualified candidates get lost in the shuffle, bad hiring techniques can also translate into bad candidate experiences, meaning that you may be losing great candidates to competitors just because your hiring process was tedious or confusing.

LinkedIn Talent Solutions found that a shocking 83 percent of applicants said a negative interview experience changed their opinion about a role or a company they had once thought of positively. Not only can a bad experience influence a candidate but a good experience can have an even stronger reaction: 87 percent of respondents to LinkedIn said that a good interview experience improved their opinion of a company they had previously doubted.

When an unstructured and unreliable hiring process leaves candidates feeling confused, frustrated, or even disappointed, this can damage both our hiring outcomes and your company’s reputation. One study found that 72 percent of candidates who had a poor hiring experience shared that experience publicly on sites like Glassdoor.

So how can you leverage the best in people analytics to create a hiring system that consistently yields great hires while also maintaining a positive candidate experience? The answer lies in the careful calibration of human intuition and machine learning. While our “gut instincts” are often wrong, good HR teams are able to combine those human reactions with great data and software that guide hiring decisions but don’t dictate them.

For companies of any size, in any sector, the key to consistently successful hiring isn’t automation alone: it’s structure throughout the process and alignment at every level of the team from executives to managers and recruiters. Software can help combine these crucial components, ensuring teams are guided by the same principles and priorities so that candidates have uniform, positive experiences. Software can also stitch machine learning and AI tools into every step so they become an intuitive part of the process, instead of a cumbersome addition.

Although AI has mostly been used during resume review, this technology can and should be expanded to rest of the process, guiding how managers draft job descriptions so that they are accurate, communicate the most important aspects of the position, and will appeal to a wide range of candidates, ensuring your applicants represent the full pool of potential talent that can succeed in this role.

AI can also help continually guide HR teams back to the qualities and capacities that matter most to this position. That can mean helping interviewers create questions that are relevant, behavior-based, and consistent with other interviewers so that every candidate has a consistent experience. It can also mean scoring candidates so that HR teams can see, without a doubt, which applicants are qualified and why.

Whether you are a Fortune 100 powerhouse or a nimble and growing startup, whether you are looking for a C-Suite executive or a daring creative, your needs remain the same: find great candidates with proven abilities to succeed and convince them to work for you and not your competitor. While the objectives are clear, the task is herculean. With the structure, support, and guidance of AI hiring technologies, HR professionals are finally fully empowered to create meaningful interviews, build positive relationships with candidates, and make great decisions and find the perfect hire every time.


If you want to share this article the reference to Laura Mather and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

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How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Featured Image

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand?

Written by Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore.

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Main Image

When it comes to demand for IT talent; developers, coders, and programmers have never had it so good. But do those making these key hires always know what they’re buying? As Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore, wonders how long recruiters can stay on the backfoot for.

Peter Cummings, DevScore
Peter Cummings is a highly sought after IT Specialist with expert knowledge in three distinct fields; IT Security, Cloud Computing and Development.

Recruiting for niche IT positions continues to be a problem. It’s not that there’s (necessarily) a shortage of talent, but as demand for connected devices and Internet of Things technology starts to gain traction, organisations that have never before hired software developers and programmers now find themselves in desperate need of them. Yesterday.

Great news for us techies, right? Well, kinda. The thing is we need to make sure that what we’re being hired to do, is exactly what the companies hiring us need us to actually do. That might sound odd, but if (like me) you’ve been in the dev game for a good few years, you’ll appreciate the challenge of being led tentatively towards a role that your skills aren’t the best fit for, or being ushered into an organisation where the need initially identified isn’t quite as urgent as first thought.

With the shoe on the other foot for a moment — it’s hard for those tasked with hiring us to keep track of IT demands. Not just because IT has a pretty steep learning curve; but it’s constantly changing. A lot of HRs and recruiters don’t know what they don’t know. They lack the depth of technical knowledge needed to hire the right coder for the job — because they aren’t coders themselves.

Conventional wisdom just doesn’t apply. Illustrating a developer’s breadth of expertise using just a CV doesn’t work, so recruiters resort to other methods, doing their best to assess skills through coding tests and other time consuming tasks. Which can often be a massive waste of time for all.

Where development’s concerned, for HR types, getting the right person in place matters more than in most other hires — mostly because we coders come at a premium and are often fought over tooth and nail by different companies.

So how can we demonstrate our skills and expertise in the right way?

Well, first we need to emphasise our specific skillsets and explain how experience and expertise supercede formal education. A lot of software developers are completely self-taught (myself included) and few have any formal education (and we’re in good company considering the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg swapped education for entrepreneurship).

The fact is the best person for the job might not be who you’d first expect. This fact requires a bit of a mindset shift from a HR perspective. And while skills are inherently difficult to prove, demonstrating impact is a good alternative to coding tests, in-depth interviews, and awkward discussions.

Overall, it’s crucial that companies hire developers that can hit the ground running — for everyone’s benefit. But getting the right fit for any job means helping HRs and recruiters better understand the value you can bring and guiding them through your specific skills — without dazzling them with technical jargon.

Insight like this will ultimately help recruiters and HR managers minimise hiring errors in an increasingly important and costly area of their businesses.

Plus it’ll make your working life a whole lot easier — so you can concentrate on doing the job you were hired to do, rather than pick your way through Jira tickets and technical documentation until the lead dev gets it together…


If you want to share this article the reference to Peter Cummings and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

5 HR Tech Trends Shaping Your Business | Featured Image

5 HR Tech Trends Shaping Your Business

5 HR Tech Trends Shaping Your Business | Main Image

Technology continues to drive and disrupt today’s talent management strategies. As we move closer to the halfway point of 2017, we take a look at 5 key HR tech trends shaping your business.

Cybersecurity skills challenges

The widely publicised global data breach that affected the NHS last month highlights the very real risks to all businesses. After the talent shortage, PWC notes that cybersecurity is the second highest ranked concern for CEOs, with three quarters (76%) citing this it as a significant challenge in its annual CEO Survey. A UK government report also found that half of all businesses have experienced at least one data breach or cybersecurity attack in the past year, rising to two thirds of medium and large businesses. Your ability to secure your data is an increasing issue and the pressure is on HR to source talent with vital cybersecurity skills. A report from Experis found that demand for cybersecurity professionals is at an all time high, echoing an earlier survey from Robert Half, Technology and Recruitment : The Landscape For 2017 which found that sourcing tech talent with cybersecurity skills was a priority for over half of all hiring managers this year.

The ongoing debate over AI

Predictions of a jobless world have thrown the debate over AI sharply into focus but AI and automation offer a number of benefits for hiring teams. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Satya Ramaswamy describes ‘machine to machine’ transactions as the ‘low hanging fruit’ of AI rather than ‘people displacement’.

Elsewhere, Gartner predicts that by 2022 smart machines and robots could replace highly trained professionals in sectors including tech, medicine, law and financial services, transforming them into ‘high margin’ industries resembling utilities. But it stresses the benefit that AI brings in replacing repetitive, mundane tasks and offering more meaningful work. The key is to create the right blend of AI and human skills, which HR is ideally positioned for. Gartner suggests that a further benefit of AI is the alleviation of skills shortages in talent starved sectors.

A beneficial and immediate use of AI for HR is the automation of mundane and repetitive tasks in the recruitment cycle through HR technology, allow hiring teams to focus on creating the effective candidate and employee experience that their business urgently needs.

Chatbots in hiring

Today chatbots are emerging as an essential tech tool for high volume recruitment, engaging with candidates via messaging apps with the aim of creating a more interactive and engaging hiring process. The AA was one of the first brands to feature this smart technology and this year it is predicted that chatbot Stanley will interview 2.5 million candidates. As the skills shortage continues, the chatbot offers a more direct and effective way of engaging with sought after millennials or graduate talent. Chatbots are also predicted to make HR’s life easier through simple interactions via mobile devices for both candidates and employees.

Dark data

While still in the exploration stage, dark data can offer vital insights into talent sourcing. Up to 80% of the data created is ‘unstructured’ or ‘dark’ data found in, for example, e-mails, text messages, spreadsheets and pds. At present it is not usable in analytics but AI can be leveraged to organise it into a more usable form. Last month it emerged that Apple have acquired a machine learning based company to strengthen its own capabilities in the area of dark data. Deloitte’s Global Talent Trends report for 2017 reports that only 9% of businesses have a good understanding of the talent dimensions that drive performance. Dark data may help to illuminate those dimensions.

Moving to predictive analytics

It’s not a new or emerging HR tech trend but the transition to predictive analytics is one that HR must eventually (reluctantly?) make as the skills gap in the UK widens and the availability of qualified and digitally able candidates continues to fall. Applying people analytics improves hiring outcomes, reduces the level of early departures from your business and enables HR to begin to predict and plan for future hiring needs. The first step towards predictive analytics is for tech-averse hiring teams to relinquish manual recruitment systems in favour of HR technology and begin to understand the key metrics affecting your hiring process.

Advorto’s recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process, offering a dynamic database of candidates and analytics. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, it provides a straightforward first step into AI, HR analytics and big data. Start your 30 day free trial today.


If you want to share this article the reference to Kate Smedley and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices

Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices

Written by Karen McCandless, GetApp.

HR Employee Management

Once upon a time, the HR market was dominated by a few big name players. The likes of ADP, Oracle, or SAP were the main choices available to businesses, large and small. This has all changed, with cloud HR solutions becoming mainstream, and a raft of new entrants shaking up the status quo.

To find out more about exactly what criteria small to medium businesses in different countries are using to select their HR solutions, we turned to data from GetApp users to find out which were the most popular apps.

We found that businesses of 1-50 employees favor cloud-based HR software from startups like themselves, that are new to the market but that promise innovation, and simple pricing plans – often with freemium option.

There is some continuity with businesses of 51-500 employees, with these size of businesses still choosing smaller HR outfits, but ones that have more of a presence in the market, such as Jobvite and Greenhouse.

As businesses grow, it makes sense that they would favor companies that cater towards that end of the market, and that is exactly what we saw with GetApp users of 501-1000 employees. Another interesting trend was this was the first learning management systems featured among the most used apps.

In terms of country HR software usage, British and Canadian users favored apps either based in their own country, or that had a strong presence there.

HR software usage trends

With this in mind, we at GetApp – a startup ourselves with an agile, cloud-based HR system – wanted to find out just whether this would hold true for for our users – whether small businesses in different countries are really choosing these new entrants to the market over the big-name brands.

To test this theory, we used data from the “I Use This” feature on the GetApp website (screenshot below) to find out what is the most popular HR software among our users. (For a detailed methodology on the way that we collected and analyzed this data, see the methodology section at the bottom of the article.)

The approach we took to this was two-pronged: we looked at apps used by different business sizes – varying from solopreneurs to companies of up to 1000 employees – and also at software used in different countries (the U.S., UK, and Canada) to see what insights we could glean.

We grouped together HR apps of all flavors – from talent management, to scheduling, to performance management, and more – to analyze the approach that companies are currently taking towards managing their human resources.

Key Findings:

  • Businesses with 1-50 employees favor newer, more agile HR apps, with lower pricing points
  • Companies with 51 employees and more look for more well-known HR names, combined with innovation
  • Businesses are still adopting point solutions for areas such as recruitment, rather than all-in-one HR apps
  • Adoption of learning management systems is much higher in companies with more than 500 employees
  • Outside of the U.S., companies favor local HR solutions.

Most popular HR software by business size

When splitting HR app usage according to business size, what became apparent was that there is no clear market leader for companies of up-to 1,000 employees. Each size of business had its own preferences, with no runaway leader in any category. This differs from other industries such as accounting, where a few big-name vendors dominate.

There is also no mention of the legacy HR heavyweights that were initially built on premise, such as Oracle, ADP, SuccessFactors (now part of SAP) – or newer cloud-based market leaders such as Workday. Halogen TalentSpace is the only HR app popular among GetApp users to feature in analyst firm Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for HCM or Talent Management, which are focused on the enterprise market. Businesses across the board (up to 1,000 employees) are favoring newer, native cloud software for the HR market.

Where we can see a trend start to emerge is in the type of HR apps used by businesses of less than 50 employees, compared to companies of 51-500, and then again with organizations of 501-1000 employees. We’ll dive into these trends in more depth now.

Businesses of 1-50 employees: startups for startups

When looking at the apps used by businesses of 1-10 employees and 11-50 employees, the most used HR software is consistent, with Zoho Recruit, Breezy HR (formerly Nimble HR), Workable, and Crelate Talent all featuring in the top five for both company sizes.

Delving more deeply to find out why this may be, we noticed that all these HR apps all recent entrants to the market. Breezy HR was founded in 2014, Workable in 2012, Crelate Talent in 2012, and while Zoho as a company was founded in 1996, Zoho Recruit was a more recent addition in November 2009.

All of these apps are natively built for the cloud, cater to small businesses, and market themselves as relatively straightforward and simple software.

Pricing options

Another similarity with the most popular HR software for businesses of 1-10 and 11-50 is pricing. Several solutions offer a free option with limited features, making them useful for startups and small businesses with budget constraints.

In terms of Zoho Recruit pricing, it currently (as of April 2017) offers a free plan for one recruiter with basic ATS functionality, such as scheduling interviews. Even for the most expensive price plan, it’s only $50 per recruiter per month. Zoho can also be seen as a safe pair of hands, with its long company history and large suite of products.

Breezy HR keeps its pricing plans simple, with all of them including unlimited users and candidates. The plans differ according to the number of active jobs. As of April 2017, for one active job, the HR app is free.

While Crelate Talent doesn’t offer free options, its pricing is affordable for small businesses.

Hiring platform Recruitee – one of the most used apps by businesses of 11-50 employees- doesn’t offer a free version, but has competitive pricing options covering the varying needs of different company sizes. It’s still a very new company – set up in mid 2015 – but has already been garnering a lot of positive coverage in publications such as Entreprenuer and Inc.

Workable doesn’t cater solely for this end of the market, but its simple tools, mobile-first approach, and raft of integrations make it an attractive choice for small businesses.

All-in-one HR

Zenefits is the only piece of software on the list (third most popular HR app by businesses of 1-10 employees) that isn’t strictly targeted at simplifying recruiting or talent management. While it originally focused on benefits management, it has since expanded to cover onboarding and employee scheduling. Despite experiencing several scandals and setbacks in 2016, Zenefits emerged as the most well-funded HR tech company in 2016.

Key takeaway: Businesses with less than 50 employees broadly go for the same kind of HR apps that are cloud-based, have affordable pricing plans (often with a free version), and are relatively new to the market.

Businesses of 51-500 employees: innovative new entrants

As the business size grows, the trend swings towards HR software that, while more established than the above startups, is still making waves in the industry due to its innovation and high-profile customers. The most popular HR software for this company size also caters for a wider range of business sizes than the favored apps for businesses of 50 and under.

Jobvite and Greenhouse are two applicant tracking and recruitment apps that are popular with companies of between 51 and 1000 employees.

While Greenhouse is a relatively new entrant to the market (founded in 2012), thanks to a raft of positive media coverage and some high profile customers (Airbnb, Evernote, and Pinterest), it has already made a name for itself in the recruitment industry. Part of Greenhouse’s strategy is based around having an open platform that easily integrates with any other tool you might use for recruitment.

Analytics-driven recruiting platform Jobvite has been around longer (since 2006), and is aimed at both small businesses and enterprises. The app also boasts an impressive client roster, including LinkedIn, Spotify, Etsy, and Verifone. Jobvite’s product offering aims to cover everything from sourcing to hiring to onboarding.

The company continues to innovate by partnering and adding new features, such as integrating with Accurate Background services to allow companies to carry out employment background checks, drug testing and verification services from within Jobvite.

Workable is the one constant across businesses all the way up to 500 employees, as it is another app that caters for a wide range of business sizes.

HR suite adoption

One trend that we see solely with businesses between 51 and 200 employees is a higher adoption of all-in-one HR suites, with BambooHR and Namely both ranking in the top five.

This contrasts with the higher adoption of recruitment and talent management suites among smaller businesses, and a focus on learning management systems in businesses of more than 500 employees (more on that later).

Key takeaway: Businesses of 51-500 look for software that caters for a wide range of business sizes, and that may already have well-known clients. They also put more emphasis on all-in-one HR systems.

Businesses of 501-1000 employees: household names

The trend we see as company size increases is to go for software from more established companies that have been on the market for longer. One example of this is Bullhorn, which is favored by companies of 500 employees and over. Bullhorn originally made a CRM for staffing and recruiting firms, before moving into applicant tracking systems.

Further evidence of this is Halogen TalentSpace, which is the fourth most popular app among companies of 201-500 employees. This software, which came to market in 1996, is regularly named as a visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for talent management. Testament to its success, it was acquired by Saba in early 2017.

Another data-driven recruitment app that is popular with larger businesses is JazzHR (fourth most popular among businesses of 501-1000 employees). Formerly known as The Resumator, it positions itself as a scalable recruitment system, suitable for small businesses but also applicable for growing companies.

Emergence of LMS

Learning management system software makes its first appearance in the most used apps among companies of 501-1000. Mindflash and Accord LMS’s appearance on the list at this points suggests that smaller businesses may be slower in their adoption of LMS.

Key takeaway: Businesses of 501 employees and up tend to favor more well-known and established HR software, and they also start recognizing the importance of learning management systems.

Most used HR software by country

Using data from the U.S., UK, and Canada across all businesses from 1-1000 employees, we found that Breezy HR and Zoho Recruit were particularly popular among GetApp users in all three of these countries.

Zoho Recruit was a favorite in both the U.S. and U.K. (even placing just out of the top three in Canada), while Breezy HR was popular among users from both the U.S. and Canada.

America first

Given the wide range of choices for apps headquartered in the U.S., it was interesting to see India-based Zoho Recruit there in addition to U.S.-based Breezy HR and Crelate Talent.

Canada’s choices

Looking at the choices for Canada, Toronto-based hiring solution Fitzii is popular among businesses in this country, suggesting that there is a preference for local software providers in the HR market, or at least those that have a strong presence there.

Further confirming this, Bullhorn is the second most popular HR software in Canada. While it may not be based in Canada, it has a strong presence in the country, through its partnership with Workopolis, which is Canada’s leading career website. It also already provides applicant tracking functionality to many leading firms based there, and has an office in Vancouver.

UK-based software

In the UK, aside from Zoho Recruit, Workable and Calamari leave management software are the most popular HR software in the country. While neither of these companies are British, both were founded in Europe and have a strong presence in London.

Workable was founded in Athens, but opened an office in London shortly after, before expanding to New York, Boston, and now San Francisco.

However, a plethora of British-based HR software companies such as CakeHR, CIPHR, WeThrive, PARIM, and Findmyshift just missed the top three position, further highlighting the preference for local companies in the market.

Key takeaway: In markets outside of the U.S., countries are showing a strong preference for local software to help manage recruiting and HR needs.

Conclusion

Our findings from analyzing data from GetApp users indicated that the original hypothesis was true: that small to medium businesses in the HR space are opting for new entrants to the market over the more-established brand names, and that they are choosing apps built for the cloud.

Our data also indicated that these companies prefer HR apps based in their own country, or that have a very strong presence there.

If, after reading this report, you’d like to invest in a cloud-based HR app for your business size or from your country, we can help. Here are the next steps.

From our list of HR apps, you can filter by country:

You can also filter by business size:

For a full list of the most popular HR software in these categories, or to reuse any of the charts above, please contact karen@getapp.com.

Methodology

To put together this report, we analyzed data from signed in GetApp users that had selected the “I Use This” option for a particular app on the site. We counted the number of individual users that had selected these apps and segmented according to business size and country. The sample size for each segment differed and we used absolute numbers on our graphs to represent the most used. We then looked into the three most used apps per country, and five most used per business size.


Source: Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices (GetApp report)

Is AI Really A Threat To Jobs?

Artificial Intelligence | The HR Tech Weekly®

Has the future obliteration of jobs by automation been over-exaggerated? At the end of last year Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that up to 50% of UK jobs could be wiped out by automation. A recent report suggests that so far the AI-jobs apocalypse has yet to materialise.

Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) together with CV-Library found that two thirds of businesses had not yet witnessed job losses due to automation. Over a third believed that automation had actually increased the number of jobs available.

This is a view broadly supported by Deloitte. In 2015, it highlighted the benefits of automation and its ability to create better quality jobs by removing tedious and dull work which increases the potential for errors due to boredom and distractions. Its research also noted that as a result of automation:

  • 3.5 million low risk jobs have been created since 2001, compared to 800,000 high risk jobs lost.
  • Each new low-risk job pays a salary £10,000 higher than the high risk job it replaced.

This does not alleviate concerns over automation. The CIPD’s Employee Outlook Survey also notes that nearly a quarter of employees are concerned that their job – or parts of it – may be automated within the next five years. Similarly, PwC’s UK Economic Outlook predicts that 30% jobs in the UK are at risk from automation by the early 2030s. Like Deloitte, however, it notes that the nature of available jobs will change. Sectors at highest risk of job losses through automation include transport, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail. Education and health and social work and education are at the lowest risk of being replaced.

Ongoing resistance to AI

The CIEHF/CV Library survey reports a ‘resistance’ among employees to automation as employers are failing to communicate its benefits effectively and HR remains one of the most reluctant to positively embrace automation within talent management strategies. Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Survey found that progress towards people analytics in the last year remains stubbornly slow. This is perhaps unsurprising as nearly half of recruitment professionals are still not using applicant tracking software in hiring processes.

HR must first acknowledge the advantages of automation in recruitment to communicate its benefits more effectively. In hiring processes, this means the automation of mundane procedures, including personalised e-mails to job applicants, effective, streamlined screening to reduce unconscious bias and insights into key hiring metrics that impact your ability to hire. It also enables hiring teams to create a more effective onboarding processes to improve retention of new hires.

But why is HR so reluctant to embrace technology?

An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that the resistance to AI is twofold. To accept and take advantage of automation, consumers must trust both in the technology and in the business delivering the innovation. In recruitment that means HR must have confidence in the supplier of recruitment software and its ability to deliver benefits to its hiring process.

The article also highlights three key points which are essential to gaining that confidence:

Cognitive compatibility : In other words, make it easy to understand. The more complex the nature of the technology, the less likely consumers are to trust its ability achieve desired goals. For HR, that goal is to streamline hiring processes to ensure not only faster hiring but a better quality of hire.

Trialability : A trial of potential new technology helps to understand the benefits and reduce any reluctance to embrace technology.

Usability : To encourage buy-in among tech-resistant hiring teams, technology, especially HR software, must be easy to use.

Recruitment software aside, as companies continue to invest in technology it is vital to maintain employee buy-in and foster trust by investing in upskilling employees to equip them to use digital skills in the workplace. The UK faces a significant digital skills crisis in addition to a wider talent shortage but employers are failing to invest in the necessary training to equip employees with vital skills. Training and development is essential for businesses that wish to not only retain but to continue to attract talent to their brand. It will also go some way to overcoming ‘resistance’ to technology in the workplace.

Ethical concerns

Overcoming ethical concerns is an issue that HR must consider in the future.

The EU[1] has proposed the creation of a European agency to provide technical, ethical and regulatory advice on robotics and AI, including the consideration of a minimum income to compensate people replaced by robots and a ‘kill switch’ for malfunctioning AI systems. A similar concern was recently expressed by the International Bar Association which warned that AI could ultimately lead to the introduction of legislation for quotas of human workers in the future[2].

While the debate over the benefits of AI at work continues, there is no doubt about the struggle that employers face to hire and retain qualified candidates. HR software is HR’s first step towards embracing the benefits of automation and creating more effective talent management strategies.

[1] MEPs vote on robots' legal status - and if a kill switch is required

[2] Rise of robotics will upend laws and lead to human job quotas, study says

A version of this article first appeared on Advorto’s website.

 

Tools for Recruiters: The Complete List | The HR Tech Weekly®

Tools for Recruiters: The Complete List

Tools for Recruiters: The Complete List

If you want to see the best tools for recruiters in one place, then you’ll love this guide from Talent Hero Media.

There are over 70 free and paid tools designed to simplify your job as a recruiter.

Bonus: Don’t have time to check out all the tools? No worries. Download a free PDF version of this guide right here.

APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS

BreezyHR

ATS
This newer entrant to the ATS market has already earned rave reviews from its loyal user base for its amazing customer support, smooth UI and end-to-end functionality.
BreezyHR

BrightMove Recruiting Software

ATS
One of the few ATS offerings with publicly available pricing, BrightMove is highly touted by its users as responsive to new ideas. In fact, you can suggest new features and vote for them, with the features that get the most upvotes moved into the development queue.
BrightMove Recruiting Software

Bullhorn

ATS | CRM
A staple of the ATS market, Bullhorn has many enterprise customers and large recruitment agencies as customers. It has many fans among those who use it on a daily basis but note that the price point is definitely geared towards larger customers.
Bullhorn

CATS

ATS
Used by both external recruiters and HR agencies, CATS is known for its end-to-end solution that starts with job postings and finishes with analytics on completed campaigns.
CATS

Crelate

ATS | CRM
A combination ATS and CRM, Crelate is lauded for its wide-ranging feature set, modern UI and strong customer support.
Crelate

Greenhouse

ATS
Lauded for its intuitive user interface and beautiful design, Greenhouse receives consistently positive reviews by everyone who adopts it. In addition, they have an iOS and Android app that lets you use it on the go.
Greenhouse

HireHive

ATS | CRM
A low-cost alternative ATS, HireHive excels at automatic job board posting, managing employee referrals and branded career sites.
HireHive

HiringThing

ATS
A full service solution for both external and internal recruiters, HiringThing offers best-in-class customer service and quick turnaround on new features requested by its users.
HiringThing

JobAdder

CRM | ATS
JobAdder is a CRM and ATS in one and is well known for its range of mobile apps that let you access the platform from any device.
JobAdder

Jobscience

ATS | CRM
Marketed as a sales, recruiting and back office system in one, Jobscience receives excellent reviews from the external recruiters who use it.
Jobscience

iCIMS

ATS
Founded in 1999, iCIMS is a tool that is widely used by both recruiting firms and internal recruiters. Given its longevity, it is clearly well liked by many although there are some who complain that it could use a refresh.
iCims

Lever

ATS
Considered one of the top ATS tools, Lever has features such as one-click sourcing, two-way email sync, and @-mentions that you will not find in many of their competitors.
Lever

Loxo

ATS | Sourcing | CRM
The feature that sets this ATS apart from its competitors is Loxo AI, a proprietary intelligent sourcing assistant that helps you find the top talent for your role while you spend your time elsewhere.
Loxo

OpenCATS

ATS
Although it does not have the prettiest user interface, it does have one feature that sets it apart from every other ATS on the market – it’s free. As the only open source ATS currently available, users (at least those with development backgrounds) can have direct input into new features without paying a dime.
OpenCATS

PCRecruiter

ATS | CRM
One of the earlier entrants to the ATS game, PCRecruiter, founded in 1998, receives positive reviews from its dedicated user base for its customer service and willingness to continually update the product.
PCRecruiter

Recruitee

ATS
Known for their incredible customer service (their founder replies to emails on Sundays), Recruitee takes collaborative hiring to the next level: everyone in your team from the least tech-savvy to the most nerdy can work on hiring together with this cloud-based ATS. In addition, Recruitee provides beautiful careers sites for your employer brand as well as candidate-friendly application forms that you can fully tweak.
Recruitee

Workable

ATS | Sourcing
Workable is noted for its full feature set, easy learning curve, top notch customer support and a new sourcing tool called People Search. They also offer a $50 per job per month plan for recruiters who have less burdensome hiring needs.
Workable

CONTACT FINDERS

AmazingHiring

Contact Finders
Geared exclusively towards finding technical talent, AmazingHiring scours Github, Stack Overflow and Kaggle profiles to find potential candidates, including those who do not have a LinkedIn account.
AmazingHiring

ContactOut

Contact Finders
Considered the best by some, ContactOut touts that it can find 2x more emails than the competition and given that it offers 100 free credits per day, there is not much risk to test out their claim.
ContactOut

Hiretual

Contact Finders
A free Chrome extension, Hiretual is raved about by sourcers and recruiters for its ability to consistently cut down on the time required to find talent and their contact information. It is free for 15 contacts per month before increasing to $59 per month (billed annually) for 200 contacts per month.
Hiretual

Hound by Jobjet

Contact Finders
Working only on LinkedIn, Hound will find email addresses and phone numbers but can get expensive for those who search a lot.
Hound by Jobjet

Hunter

Contact Finders
Hunter is a bit different than other email sourcing tools as it can find all available emails on a given domain and also verify emails, in addition to the features you expect from a standard contact finder.
Hunter

Lusha

Contact Finders
Limited to 5 free phone numbers and emails per month, Lusha gets positive reviews by many but you will have to pay to get full use of the product.
Lusha

Nymeria

Contact Finders
Focusing on finding emails associated with LinkedIn and Github profiles, Nymeria has two simple and reasonable pricing options – free for 300 emails per month and $9 per month for unlimited emails.
Nymeria

Prophet

Contact Finders
Prophet is a Chrome extension that allows you to visit the Twitter, Facebook or Google+ page of a person and find emails and phone numbers. It comes with 15 free credits per day and you can get more by sharing data with the community or purchasing them. Note that the company does not have a website.
Prophet

SourceHub by SocialTalent

Contact Finders
SourceHub is a clever tool that helps you construct boolean search queries by combining synonyms for the job title, skills and location you enter.
SourceHub

CANDIDATE RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

SugarCRM

CRM
An open source and developer-friendly CRM, SugarCRM is a great solution for the recruiter who knows they need to keep better track of their contacts but does not want to break the bank.
SugarCRM

Vincere

CRM | ATS
Marketed as a combination CRM and ATS, Vincere allows you to search for and manage candidates, create fully-branded microsite job boards and post your jobs across the Internet.
Vincere

INTERVIEWING

GreenJobInterview

Interviewing
Whether it is face-to-face or one-way interviews, GreenJob offers the solutions you need for your video interviewing needs.
GreenJobInterview

Interview Mocha

Interviewing
Interview Mocha has over 1000 skills tests that you can use early in your interview process to determine which candidates have the required skills.
Interview Mocha

Interview Stream

Interviewing
Interview Stream’s Hire platform allows you to set up screening interviews using a library of questions and pre-populated media, or face-to-face live interviews.
Interview Stream

Odro

Interviewing
Odro is online meeting software for the techphobics of the world. With no downloads or installs, this tool should work well for interviews, especially those that may require screen sharing.
Odro

sparkHire

Interviewing
sparkHire has a full range of video tools to help you optimize your interview process including one-way interviews, interview evaluation, interview scheduling and a mobile app.
sparkHire

RECRUITMENT MARKETING

Beamery

Recruitment Marketing | CRM
Beamery connects to all of your other recruiting systems and gives you one system to manage and engage every candidate that touches your brand – past, present or future. They help companies nurture passive talent and build a pipeline for future roles.
Beamery

Clinch

Recruitment Marketing | CRM | Sourcing
Clinch is a robust platform that combines recruitment marketing, a CRM, employer branding, and sourcing tools in one end-to-end solution. Features include a career site and landing page builder, social and email integration and robust analytics.
Clinch

Jobvite

Recruitment Marketing | ATS
Serving a range of customer sizes from startups to enterprise customers, Jobvite offers tools that go beyond your typical ATS including Jobvite Refer (tool for sharing job openings in your employees’ networks) and Jobvite Video (on-demand video interviewing).
Jobvite

Phenom People

Recruitment Marketing

Offering many features similar to its competitors, Phenom People’s main differentiator is its unique ability to turn visitors to your career site into potential applicants even if they don’t fill out your job application.

Phenom People

SmashFly

Recruitment Marketing | CRM
SmashFly’s Total Recruitment Marketing Platform and Services proactively markets an employer brand and jobs through every recruiting channel using marketing automation technology and modern marketing practices. It empowers companies to attract the right people to their organization using the art and science of fit, enabling companies to generate leads and nurture relationships to hire faster and more cost-effectively. It is ATS-agnostic, integrating with your current system to provide a complete view into the candidate journey, from first source all the way to hire.
SmashFly

SCHEDULING

10to8

Scheduling
The free plan of this tool should be sufficient for many recruiters as it allows for 100 appointments per month and includes SMS notifications, a feature not offered at the free level by any competitors.
10to8

Calendly

Scheduling
Loved by its users for its simplicity and rock-solid integration with all popular calendars, the free version of Calendly will be sufficient for many recruiters who want a simple scheduling tool that reduces back-and-forth emails. The paid version can be integrated with additional tools you might use such as GoToMeeting and many CRMs.
Calendly

ScheduleOnce

Scheduling
This is a tool for the recruiter with more complex scheduling needs. The higher-priced tiers, while slightly expensive compared to the competition, have features such as pooled availability and master booking pages, that are ideal for environments where you will be scheduling more than just one-on-one meetings.
ScheduleOnce

SimplyBook.me

Scheduling
Known for its robust feature set, SimplyBook.me has a free tier that may be suitable for some recruiters.
SimplyBook.me

TimeTrade

Scheduling
TimeTrade invented the online appointment scheduling industry in 1999. The company’s secure, cloud-based solution meets the customer and client engagement needs of large enterprises as well as mid-size and small businesses. Thousands of companies—including 500 of the world’s top brands—rely on TimeTrade’s technology for their scheduling needs.
TimeTrade

Vyte

Scheduling
With almost all features available to free users, Vyte is an excellent option for recruiters with more basic scheduling needs.
Vyte

YouCanBook.me

Scheduling
While the free version of this software is not heavily advertised on their sign up page, it may have enough features to tide you over until you want to pay for more advanced tools such as appointment reminders, padding appointments and Zapier integration.
YouCanBook.me

SCREENING

OnboardIQ

ScreeningATS
Focusing on the hourly workforce, OnboardIQ is an ATS that helps you automate interviews, background checks and document collection.

Outmatch

Screening
Outmatch is designed to predict how candidates will perform and has tools such as job-fit assessments, behavioral interviewing, and online reference checking.
Outmatch

SkillSurvey

ScreeningSourcing
SkillSurvey is a multi-purpose tool designed to assist with referencing checking and sourcing via referrals.
SkillSurvey

Social Intelligence

Screening
Similar to a criminal background check, Social Intelligence uses a combination of technology and trained analysts to screen candidates online records for unlawful or inappropriate behavior.
Social Intelligence

Sterling Talent Solutions

Screening
Founded in 1975, Sterling Talent Solutions is a full service screening and on-boarding solution that offers plans including pre-hire background checks and drug testing and post-hire employee audits.

Weirdly

Screening
Weirdly offers a customisable quiz to rank candidates against your ideal fit. It can act as a stand-alone, light-ATS or be integrated into your current recruitment process.
Weirdly

SOURCING

Broadbean

Sourcing
Broadbean is a straightforward job distribution and sourcing tool that focuses on doing a few tasks really well.

Crystal

Sourcing
Crystal scours the Internet for every piece of information on your candidates and coaches you on how to write emails that are tailored to their communication style. This ensures that the people you find for your client are more likely to respond.
Crystal

Entelo

Sourcing
The Entelo platform uses big data, predictive analytics and social signals to help recruiting organizations find, qualify and engage talent.
Entelo

Headreach

Sourcing
Officially marketed as a LinkedIn-based lead generation tool, Headreach can also be used effectively to find the emails and social profiles of potential candidates.
Headreach

Hello Talent

Sourcing
This sourcing tool allows you to build talent pools collaboratively that can then be sent straight to your ATS. Best of all, it is free for 2 pools.
Hello Talent

HireKeep

Sourcing
Post your job on HireKeep and their algorithm will determine which candidates meet the “affinity threshold” to match with your company. The software will even schedule interviews with those who have matched.
HireKeep

HiringSolved

Sourcing
HiringSolved offers features that are not common in sourcing tools including Diversity Search (a tool to help increase workplace diversity), Scan (automatic updating of outdated records in your ATS and CRM) and Verticals (algorithms designed to find candidates in specific industries).
HiringSolved

Ideal

Sourcing
Typical sourcing tools force recruiters to do tedious, time-consuming tasks such as resume screening and keyword-based searches. Ideal uses artificial intelligence to automate sourcing, resume screening, initial candidate outreach and even interview scheduling.
Ideal

Joblyon

Sourcing | ATS
Joblyon has a strong focus on on creating beautiful job postings that will be readily shared on social media.
Joblyon

Leoforce

Sourcing
Their flagship product, Arya, uses artificial intelligence to identify talent that not only has the right skills but also is aligned with the corporate culture.
Leoforce

Recruit’em

Sourcing
Recruit’em is a powerful free search tool that lets you use Google to search for profiles across various platforms including LinkedIn.
Recruit'em

Simppler

Sourcing
Calling themselves a “data driven employee referral platform”, Simppler helps employees of a company find candidates for open positions within their own networks.
Simppler

Talemetry

Sourcing | CRM
Talemetry integrates with your ATS and allows you to post job ads, source candidates, build talent pipelines and manage candidate relationships in a single platform.
Talemetry

TextRecruit

Sourcing | CRM
TextRecruit lets you manage communications with your candidates over text, increasing interaction rates significantly.
TextRecruit

OTHER

Boomerang

Other
Boomerang allows you to schedule emails to be sent later and reminds you about old emails that you have archived, ensuring that you never forget to respond to a candidate or client.
Boomerang

Data Miner

Other | Sourcing
A data scraping tool like Data Miner can be used in many powerful ways by a recruiter. For example, if you need Javascript developers, you can find a list of conference attendees for a Javascript conference, scrape the data and upload it to your CRM or ATS.
Data Miner

IFTTT

Other
Although not specifically geared towards the recruiting market, IFTTT lets you create “applets” that combine different services together. For example, you can get an e-mail notification when a LinkedIn contact changes jobs.
IFTTT

Populate

Other
Populate keeps headcount data in one place so that managers and stakeholders can review and approve headcount or budget changes and you can review your analytics to help with your comprehensive HR strategy.
Populate

Zapier

Other
Calling themselves “automation for busy people”, Zapier lets you move data between web apps automatically (perhaps a recruitment marketing platform and ATS), saving you time and ensuring data integrity.
Zapier
Bonus: Don’t have time to check out all the tools? No worries. Download a free PDF version of this guide right here.

Source: Tools for Recruiters: The Complete List | Talent Hero Media

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

It’s quite surprising how many company’s HR departments haven’t yet joined the digital revolution. These companies seem to think that how it was done is fine and has worked perfectly well in the past, so why bother updating anything?

The thing is that often the people in HR feel differently, with 70 to 80% of their time spent on low-value administrative tasks. I feel that’s shameful, particularly as a huge amount of that work can be automatized and digitized. This would allow HR to be massively more productive and play a more strategic role in the company by creating new opportunities, learning methods and more for their companies.

If you agree with me, consider embracing these digital solutions.

Peer to peer recognition

Often a big part of the modern HR department is validating the newer employees, who are in many ways far more demanding than previous generations. That can be taxing for both managers and the HR department to do.

A good solution that has recently come out is Tapmyback. The idea here is to allow people to recognize each other’s work, so that people are no longer looking to management alone to validate what they’re doing.

This will make it far more likely that your employees will receive the recognition they need, while freeing up the HR department to concentrate on offering opportunities for staff to grow and excel.

Non-traditional reviews

Many people do not like to be reviews. And that’s not really that strange, is it? For that reason, OrangeHRM is a good go-to product, as it makes reviewing a far more effective and less stressful affair, where people don’t have to sit in front of their manager but can instead read the process online.

It can, in fact, do far more than that including track time off, help with recruitment and offer training suggestions – which are all very useful services to automate. The good news is that there is a 30 day free trail so that your company can see if it’s suitable.

Resume analyzers

One of the biggest tasks you’ve got to do in the HR department is to manage resumes. Fortunately, that’s gotten a lot easier today with the resume parsers. These will go through piles or resumes, looking for keywords and key skills that you need and discarding the huge pile of useless crap that often comes with it.

In fact, they’ve become such a common occurrence that resume writing services are completely ready for them. And so, you won’t actually miss out on any of the good resumes while cutting down on the time that hiring new personal consumes substantially.

Social media recruiting

Here’s a surprising statistic 73% of 18 to 34 year olds have found their job through social media. That means that if you’re not yet trying to recruit though these platforms, you really are missing out on a huge slice of the younger market out there (and though there is something to be said for experience, diversity is useful too).

For that reason, make certain that you start using services like linkedin to get the word out there that you’re looking. Only in that way can you be sure that you’ll find the right person for the position that you’re looking for.

Online educational resources

Another great new technological wave that every HR department should introduce is the one taking place in online education. For example, there are now dozens of online courses that are available for free or only a little money at such places as EdX.

These offer you a great opportunity to both offer your employees a chance to boost their skill set, while cutting down on costs as well as travel time for them to get those skills.

In fact, some companies have taken to offering employees a certain time during their day or week where they can study these courses, all while never leaving the office. In this way, they can get on with learning without forcing their companies to find ways to work around their absence as they’re still there in case of emergencies.

Last words

In truth, it surprises me that companies would ever think HR isn’t ready for the digital age. There are huge gains to be made in the HR department by coming in to the 21st century. And the great thing is that the more effective your HR department functions, the easier it is for them to help the rest of your company get a head and upgrade their skillset.

And that matters. After all, the modern world is changing ever more rapidly and it’s vital for any company that their workers are changing and improving along with it. Otherwise you might just find that your company’s skillset ends up obsolete.

There really is no recovering from that.

Sylvia Giltner, Blogger, Artist, Student

Technology and art are a big part of my life, and I enjoy integrating them into everything I do. — Sylvia Giltner


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4 Ways Technology Is Changing Recruiting

4 Ways Technology Is Changing Recruiting

VR

Interest in HR tech has never been higher. According to CB Insights, there were over 350 deals and approximately $1.96B invested in HR tech startups in 2016 alone.

Today’s workplaces are being transformed by technology. HR tech specifically is automating and streamlining manual HR practices to become more efficient, cost-effective, and high-performing.

Here are four promising applications of technology that are helping to solve the biggest challenges in recruiting and hiring.

AI for recruiting

Industry statistics estimate 75 percent of resumes received for a role are screened out. This adds up to the hundreds of hours a recruiter wastes reading unqualified resumes per year.

As one of recruiting’s biggest bottlenecks, resume screening is in dire need of better tools to help recruiters manage their time more effectively.

This is why AI for recruiting is the biggest topic in HR tech right now. AI and recruiting are a natural fit because AI requires a lot of data to learn and large companies often have millions of resumes in their ATS.

Recruiting software that uses artificial intelligence can automate the screening process by learning the experience, skills, and qualifications required for the job and then shortlisting, ranking, and grading new candidates who match the requirements (e.g., from A to D).

This type of AI recruiting software can also be used to source candidates from external databases such as Indeed and CareerBuilder or find previous candidates in your existing ATS database by applying the same learning ability to match candidates to an open req.

By automating the manual processes of resume screening and candidate matching, companies who use AI recruiting software have reduced their screening costs by 75%.

Automation for candidate scheduling and outreach

According to SHRM, the average time to fill is 41 days. With LinkedIn reporting hiring volume is up 11% this year but only 26% of recruiting teams growing in headcount, interest in recruitment automation is only getting get stronger.

Today more than ever, finding top talent will depend on a recruiter’s ability to intelligently automate their workflow.

Recruitment automation can enhance a human recruiter’s capabilities in multiple ways. Low hanging fruit include automating your candidate outreach with tools that allow you to auto-email and auto-text interview requests to candidates your screening tool identifies as good matches (e.g., all candidates graded as an A).

These outreach automation tools help recruiters reduce their time to fill by integrating with major email and calendar providers and automatically finding time slots when the candidate and the interviewer are all free to meet.

VR for job testing and training

Another technology getting a lot of attention is Virtual reality (VR). VR is a realistic simulation of a three-dimensional environment that you control with your body movements.

A survey by Universum found that while 3% of people use VR currently, about 30% think that it will transform their workplace in the next ten years.

The most promising applications for VR in HR are candidate testing and training. Employers can use VR technology to create more realistic job tests to assess a candidate’s skills and personality. For example, a realistic simulation that tests a candidate’s social skills and problem solving abilities when dealing with an unhappy customer.

A survey by Korn Ferry found that 39% of employers state new hires leave within their first year because the role was not what they expected. VR could be an intriguing tool to help reduce employee turnover by provide candidates with a more realistic preview of what a day on the job would look like and get a better sense of the company culture.

The same technology can be used during new hires’ onboarding and training process. High-stakes environments such as hospital trauma bays are already employing VR technology to train residents.  

Wearable tech for engagement and productivity

According to Deloitte, one of 2017’s biggest HR trends is employee engagement. To help improve engagement and productivity, employers are starting to use wearable tech that tracks employees’ behaviors to learn more about how they communicate and interact at work.

Wearable tech such as digital employee badges are being used by companies such as as Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group to track employees’ physical office movements, who they talk to, and the amount of time they spend talking to others.

These types of wearable tech collects data to provide employers insights to help optimize their physical office spaces, understand their employees’ communication styles, and manage team dynamics. The hope is these insights can help managers identify their employees’ needs and re-organize teams for better collaboration.

In the future, wearable tech may be used in the recruiting process to provide insights into a candidate’s personality and emotions during a pre-screen or interview.

About the Author:

Ji-A Min, Head Data Scientist at Ideal

Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal, software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks and quickly move top candidates through the recruiting funnel.

Ideal’s AI can instantly screen and shortlist new candidates, uncover strong past candidates that are a great fit for a new role, and initiate candidate contact – all within your existing ATS. Learn more at Ideal.com.

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Friendship Together Bonding Unity Youth Culture Concept

The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The move to allowing users to interact where they already are, be that chat, calendars or email is especially relevant to HR applications.

Like project management (Trello, Basecamp) and customer service tools (Intercom, Zendesk), HR tech has been part of the next wave of a hyper focus on user experience to create the next generation of applications.

HR applications have two distinct constituents: primary users like hiring and personnel teams, and the rest of the company’s employees who are generally irregular users. Perhaps when they’re booking leave or participating in an interview for a new team member.

This creates both friction and a training challenge for the second group to get the most out of applications. No matter how intuitive a UI is, a user still must switch mental context and understand the language and mechanics.

Mobile apps were the new revolution in enabling users to interact with applications and services. However, creating another dedicated interface for applications didn’t really solve this context switching problem. User’s just don’t download or use apps for services they user sporadically.

This is why we’re starting to see the next generation of UX innovation happen outside of dedicated applications.

Slack is the most high profile crucible for this kind of innovation in the enterprise world. Slack is an app that employees will install on the phone so they can use it wherever they are. They’re already in Slack both on desktop and mobile so there is minimal context switching. And it supports the kinds of ‘chat and click’ interactions that allow relatively complex features to be access with a guided user experience.

Applications like Lever are expanding the collaboration hiring functionality into Slack. Team members who are already in Slack can easily interact, comment and support the hiring process without switching to another application. GoCo provide absence reporting and management from within Slack.

Calendars are now revealing themselves as the next interface to enterprise applications, especially in HR. So much of HR workflow is schedule based that users can’t avoid taking decisions without referring to their own or their colleagues’ schedules. Use of calendar APIs rather than read-only ICS feeds turn calendars into real-time integration points rather than delayed reporting tools.

Anton Roe, CTO of MHR who have been delivering HR software for over 20 years, said: “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in focus away from HR departments and directly on the employees themselves. The consumerisation of enterprise software and the efficiencies gained from empowering employees to perform personal HR operations requires a new approach to building software.”

With recruitment platforms connected to employees calendars, prospective members of interview panels no longer have to maintain availability in an application. They just keep their calendar up to date and this is automatically reflected to the hiring manager or the candidate when an interview time is selected.

Booking holiday becomes as simple as an employee creating an event in their calendar. That’s where they’re making the decision about when they want to take holiday. Creating the required holiday can trigger the authorization flows so the manager can approve wherever they are, be that email or via a Slack interaction.

Performance management meetings can be automatically tracked, changes responded to and follow ups triggered. All by the HR application automatically monitoring users calendars, not relying on users to keep the application updated.

Roe goes on to say “HR systems today need to have the employee front and centre and must require minimal training. Leveraging chat systems and native interfaces like calendars provide people with natural user experiences that just work wherever they are.”

Chat and calendars represent the next vanguard of application interactions. They are native to computing be that mobile, desktop, car, smart home or otherwise and are already core to users’ workflows. The most successful applications of the next few years will leverage their pervasiveness and commonality to take computing where people are.

About the Author:

Adam Bird, CEO and Founder at Cronofy

Adam Bird is Founder and CEO of Cronofy, the unified calendar API. He’s a highly technical and experienced technology entrepreneur with a passion for continuous improvement that pervades every aspect of his life.

Adam can be shortly described as a technical founder and problem solver with track record of success. Expert post rationaliser.

Entrepreneur and developer with previous success as co-founder of Esendex.

Husband, father & wannabe rock guitarist as time allows. A lover of cycling and craft beer but he never really got on with having a beard for that hipster hat-trick.

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SaaS Economics, Competitive Moats, And Interrogatory Configuration | In Full Bloom

Written by Naomi Bloom | Originally published at In Full Bloom on October 22, 2016.  

[You may also enjoy the Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.]

warren-buffett-castle-and-moat-metaphor-by-ben-bartlett

There’s been a lot of discussion across the enterprise IT and financial analyst community about the long term economic viability of the SaaS business model. And the enterprise IT community continues to debate the merits of the various flavors of SaaS architectural and infrastructural models. These discussions have ranged over the:

  • fundamentals of profitability in enterprise software;
  • reality that many to most so-called SaaS vendors (both faux and “Blooming”) are not yet profitable;
  • landrush by SaaS vendors to grab market share and to grow as rapidly as possible;
  • spending by SaaS vendors of sometimes huge sums on customer acquisition against a revenue recognition requirement that expenses those acquisition costs on the front end but only allows revenue recognition over the life of the contract; and
  • much more.

If the economic viability of your so-called true or faux SaaS vendors matters to you — and well it should — read on.

When you contemplate further the economics, significant future profitability appears to emerge for those vendors which are able to meet the following challenges:

  1. Reduce dramatically the cost of customer acquisition, from marketing to sales to contract signing;
  2. Reduce dramatically each customer’s time to production and, therefore, time to revenue for the vendor;
  3. Reduce dramatically each customer’s ongoing implementation costs and time as they take up innovation delivered by their vendor and revisit existing capabilities as their organizational needs evolve and change;
  4. Maintain very high customer satisfaction rates — see #3;
  5. Maintain very high customer retention rates, which I do believe are related to but are not the equivalent of very high customer satisfaction rates; and
  6. Achieve very low operational costs and error rates.

Doing all of this at the same time produces IMO the secret sauce of true SaaS economics and, in doing so, creates an enormous competitive moat for vendors who can’t achieve this. Enter Interrogatory Configuration, my recommended approach to creating this moat and the really important and related benefits for both vendor and customer.

Interrogatory Configuration (yes, I know that’s lousy branding, but I’ve never claimed to be a clever marketeer) addresses the first three challenges very directly and has a positive impact on the last three. That’s why I’ve been pushing these ideas — some would say harping on them — since long before the beginning of SaaS in HR technology. Frankly, I was pushing these ideas from the late 80’s, long before they were possible to execute as they require very specific architectural foundations which, until recently, did not exist within enterprise HRM software.

So what is interrogatory configuration? Interrogatory configuration is easy to explain but VERY difficult to do, at least for complex HRM software. Basically it’s a piece of software (think TurboTax) which poses questions to the client ‘s business analyst (who could be a 3rd party, including the vendor’s implementation services person or that of a certified partner), provides a context for those questions along with the implications of selecting from among the available answers (e.g. explaining what types of organizational structures use what types of position to job relationships and why), and then, based on the selections made (and all such are of course effective-dated and subject to inheritance where appropriate), it does the configuration of the base application without manual intervention of any kind. Interestingly, Google filed a patent for a VERY limited example of this in 1997, which was awarded in 2001, in which they make clear that you can’t do this unless the underlying architecture, the software to be thus configured, is composed of objects that can be manipulated dynamically.

Highly configurable, metadata-driven, definitionally developed, true HCM SaaS is a wonderful thing. But even in configuration, all of the available choices have to be analyzed, selected, tested and implemented, individually and in combination with other choices. And this must be done with care and a deep knowledge of the downstream implications of various configurations, not only during the initial implementation but also every time business needs change, software upgrades are applied (even when applied as SaaS mostly opt-in updates), regulatory rules appear and/or change, including retroactively, new executives bring new perspectives, etc.

More Talmudic than Socratic, this question/answer dialogue continues, with each exchange doing one set of configurations while setting up the next set, until the customer has implemented fully the set of capabilities/business rules/coding structures/workflows/etc. that will be their implemented software as of the selected effective date. An interrogatory configurator is designed to work prospectively, so that you can see how a partially to fully configured application will look and behave before committing those configurations to take effect. For those configurations that are permitted to be changed retroactively, with the attendant retroactive processing once they are approved for implementation, the interrogatory configurator is also intended to work retroactively.

Without interrogatory configuration, every time those hand-done configurations must be changed, all those choices must be re-evaluated against the needed changes, and then new choices made, tested and implemented. Furthermore, the implications of each configuration change for downstream processes must be analyzed and actions taken to at least inform users of those implications. So, while we may be able to eliminate most of the programming implementation work by having great configuration tools delivered with our HRM software, without interrogatory configuration we have by no means reduced the business analyst time, effort and expertise needed to keep things running properly. And great HRM business analysts are really scarce, perhaps even more so than great HRM software developers.

Now imagine that the interrogatory configurator is an integral part of the marketing to sales cycle, allowing for a high degree of self-provisioning, at least for less complex organizations (notice I didn’t say small or quote headcount). And even for the most complex organizations, imagine how much configuration could be done with data gleaned during the sales cycle so that a usefully configured application could become a sales cycle tool which blends seamlessly into the actual implementation once agreements are signed. To the extent that SaaS vendors proceed down this path, the whole dynamic of the sales to implementation processes, not to mention the role, staffing and economics of the systems integrators (SIs), are changed substantially, to the benefit of both the customer and the SaaS vendor.

Customer satisfaction and retention rates are driven by many factors, from having wonderful and useful product capabilities to having a very sticky user experience, and there’s a lot of room here for unique approaches by different vendors and/or for different market segments. Running a brilliant operating environment means building tools for everything from provisioning to payroll scheduling, tools which cannot be bought “off the shelf” and which are themselves complex applications. So one thing I advise all buyers to consider is how far along their proposed SaaS vendor is in having industrialized every aspect of operations, for much of which you must have the right SaaS architecture in the first place.

When I see cost comparisons between on-prem and true SaaS, it’s almost always done on a TCO basis from an IT cost perspective.  But that doesn’t value not only having new functionality but also having it delivered almost continuously. It doesn’t value how much more effective vendors can be in meeting customer needs by aggregating data on feature usability and usage so as to inform their product roadmaps. And it certainly doesn’t value the ability of true SaaS vendors to aggregate benchmarking data which can then be fed right back into their interrogatory configurator, if they’ve got one, and into the analytics-rich, decision-making capabilities of their applications. So there’s a lot more here to consider than just TCO unless your business is so stagnant that you really don’t want or need agility or innovation from your systems.

There are SaaS vendors in our space that have architectures which can’t scale operationally, SaaS vendors which don’t have great operational tools, SaaS vendors whose agility is more about fixes than innovation, and so on. But I think we have some good to great SaaS vendors which will be quite profitable (or already are) because they’ve approached this new business model with the right stuff. And I would add that prospects/customers should be running for the exits from any SaaS (or so-called SaaS) vendor which isn’t well down the path of being able to meet successfully my six challenges above.

The bottom line. Reducing dramatically the elapsed time, complexity and cost of HRM software sales and implementation, not to mention ongoing configuration, is an important enough response to the six challenges above for HRM SaaS vendors and BPO providers — and creates a big enough competitive moat — to justify building interrogatory configurators. Doing this requires having the right underlying software architecture, one which enables effective-dated configuration without writing any procedural code. It also requires the product’s designers to know and be able to express the patterns of good practice in a whole range of HRM areas, from organizational designs to hiring practices, and the good practice combinations of same. And there’s an enhanced opportunity here for incorporating all manner of exogenous data, from salary surveys and hiring patterns to commentary on which organizational designs are common in specific industries — and why. If your vendors aren’t pretty far along on this, it may be too late for them to get started — or their underlying architectures just won’t support this. And if you’re a prospect for new HR technology, be sure to find out if your short list vendors are far enough down this path to ensure that they will remain viable and that your needs will be met. I’d also you’ll watch my Firing Line with Bill Kutik® episode on this.

About the Author:

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Naomi Bloom is a leading independent voice, business and platform strategic advisor, market influencer, blogger and speaker about enterprise HR technology and outsourcing. After many years acting as a change agent and HRM delivery systems strategist/coach for global corporate clients and as a consultant on business strategy and product/service design to several generations of HRM software vendors and HR outsourcing providers, Ms. Bloom now limits her consulting practice to strategic advisory roles with vendors whose management and products are market movers and as a provider of competitive insight and due diligence to the investment community. Naomi built the only vendor-neutral HRM domain model and application architecture “starter kits.” Licensed across the industry from 1995 through 2013, Naomi’s IP has been considered to be not only the state-of-the-art but also a primary contributor to many of today’s best practices in HRM enterprise software.

Naomi is a formidable advocate for the HRM and HRM delivery system end-user community, focused entirely on achieving breakthroughs in organizational performance outcomes through effective HRM enabled by great HR technology. She is well-published, to include via her blog InFullBloom.us and is a much sought after, compensated speaker/author for her thought leadership, presentation effectiveness, clarity of vision, and humorous delivery. Naomi has been a general session speaker at the annual HR Technology Conference since its inception in 1989, a main stage speaker since its 2nd year at HR Tech World Congress, and is the author of Human Resource Management and Information Technology: Achieving a Strategic Partnership, which was published in 1984. In 1995, Ms. Bloom’s industry contributions were recognized with IHRIM’s Summit Award, and in 2011, Naomi became a Fellow of the Human Resource Policy Institute at Boston University. Ms. Bloom is a member of The Enterprise Irregulars and founder/chairman of The Brazen Hussies of HR tech.

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Source: SaaS Economics, Competitive Moats, And Interrogatory Configuration | In Full Bloom