New Research: The State of Sourcing

Aptitude Research conducted a survey in July 2020, during the height of the pandemic, and found that the most critical capability gap in TA involved sourcing candidates. Three years later, sourcing remains the biggest challenge for talent acquisition teams, even with a possible economic downturn. We recently published a new study on the State of Sourcing with relode. Companies need help identifying and attracting the right talent regardless of industry or hiring activity, even with new solutions and opportunities. Sourcing is often reactionary as companies are left scrambling to find and compete for talent in a short period of time.

Companies built out internal expertise, outsourced sourcing activities, or leveraged technology that included job boards, sourcing solutions, talent intelligence, and contingent workforce solutions to fill this capability gap. And, no surprise, with new solutions and the impact of AI, companies turned to technology to help fill the gaps and provide immediate solutions. But, not all sourcing providers are the same.

And the result is that many sourcing strategies fail to deliver results. We found several challenges with sourcing, including:

Dissatisfaction With Sourcing Strategies: Seventy-five percent (75%) of companies are unhappy with their sourcing strategy.

Lack of ROI: Sixty-five percent (65%) of companies don’t measure the ROI of their sourcing investments.

Too Many Sourcing Solutions: One in three companies uses more than five sourcing tools.

Lack of Expertise: Many companies lack the expertise and capabilities to source effectively.

Sourcing Diverse Candidates: Companies rely on the same job board, job aggregators, and sourcing channels to find candidates without thinking more broadly about diversity. Additionally, many companies are not tracking the sources of hire to know where they are finding more diverse candidates.

Difficulty Finding Candidates in the ATS/CRM: Search is frustrating with many ATS and CRM systems. Search is limited to keywords, and many candidates have incomplete or outdated profiles. Aptitude Research found that recruiters spend an average of 10 hours a week looking for candidates in the ATS.

Limited Inhouse Expertise: Companies do not have expertise in sourcing. Some companies building outsourcing functions shuffle recruiters or HR professionals into a sourcing role without considering the expertise needed.

Companies are responding to these challenges by rethinking their approach to sourcing and focusing on building a more effective process. Companies are shifting their view around the following:

Shifts in the Definition of Talent: Companies must think more holistically around talent and include contingent workers in their sourcing strategies.

Shifts in Sourcing Channels: Companies have shifted sourcing channels over the past year, and determining what option works for the future is a key priority in 2023.

Shifts to Quality: Sourcing must balance both efficiency and quality.

Shifts to Data-Driven Approach: Sourcing can no longer be ad hoc. Companies need data to gain insights and drive decision-making around sourcing strategies.

Our latest research report (in partnership with relode) provides some guidance and recommendations for organizations making these shifts.

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Recommendations for Recruiting Remotely

This week I joined Stacey Schmidt at Pegasystems and Andre Boulais at Jobvite to talk about recruiting in a remote world. Companies are rethinking their processes and technology to support virtual recruiting. And, making changes doesn’t require a huge overhaul of your talent acquisition process. In many cases, it requires some small changes and some different tools. Our discussion offered some practical advice for companies looking to support their recruiting teams, hiring managers, and candidates.

Below are some of the highlights we discussed across the full talent acquisition lifecycle:

Recruitment Marketing
• Be genuine: Companies need to be genuine with their messaging and communication. Employers should use social media to be transparent rather than promotional.
• Clean-up Your CRM: Companies can think about organizing their CRM and reengaging talent. They can also think about targeted messaging and reengaging alumni, internal employees, and candidates that did not receive an offer.
• Rethink rejection: Companies need to rethink the rejection process to engage with talent and provide insights to candidates who may not move forward now but could continue to engage as candidates or customers in the future.

Technology: CRM, Social Media, Career Sites

• Look at competitors: If competitors are laying off employees, consider campaigns in your CRM that would reach these candidates.
• Engage talent pipelines: Companies can reach out to talent pipelines via campaigns and refresh old profiles and continue nurturing those relationships.
• Improve employee referrals: Companies can think about the employee referral program to gather leads for prizes and communicate these programs to employees.

Technology: CRM, passive sourcing solutions, employee referral solutions

• Invest in Conversational AI and Text: Companies should consider conversational AI or chatbots to support initial candidate engagement during the process and collect necessary information on a candidate.
• Invest in video screening capabilities: Video can help companies screen candidates early in the process and allow hiring managers and recruiters to prebuild these videos from home.

Technology: Conversational AI, Text, Video Screening

• Consider digital assessments: Companies should consider digital assessments that can provide validity but also improve the candidate experience through a simple process.
• Shorten the assessment: Companies looking to fill positions in a short period of time should consider providers that offer shorter, candidate-friendly assessments.

Technology: Digital assessments, game-based assessments

• Leverage digital interviewing solutions in place of onsite interviews: Digital interviewing offers the ability to schedule, manage, and track interviews. Companies should look at providers
• Videotape your company: Key team members and employees can share what it is like to work at your company. Companies can do this by keeping the message genuine and encouraging employees to talk about their jobs. Employees can do this from their homes and submit their videos.
• Communicate with candidates: Companies should overcommunicate with candidates on the interview process. They should guide virtual interviewing and tips to be successful during the interview.

Technology: Interview scheduling, Conversational AI, Video interviewing

Offer and Onboard
• Automate forms management: Companies should be investing in a provider to support forms management for all new hires.
• Connect new hires with team members and peers before day one: Companies should create an environment where new hires feel connected through virtual meetings and networking with peers.
• Consider online coaching: New hires can feel supported through online coaching and mentoring programs.

Technology: Onboarding system, Learning solutions, Online coaching


The Talent Acquisition Technology Market is Heating Up

According to CB Insights, HR Tech deals reached a record high in 2016 with $1.96B invested across 350 deals from January to October. And, no surprise, most of those deals were in talent acquisition technology. Compare that to 2012 (with only $400M of investment in HR technology) and it becomes clear that this market is not slowing down anytime soon.

In fact, it really began to heat up this month. Every day seems to be marked by a new round of investment for some of the leading startups in this space. Not to mention the other major announcements – CareerBuilder got acquired and all eyes are on Google. It is an exciting time to be in talent acquisition technology.

Below are some of the major announcements this month:

Entelo: Entelo is a leader in the talent acquisition technology market and has become a critical part of any forward-thinking recruitment or sourcing strategy. What makes it standout is not only a stellar product (inbound and outbound recruitment) but also, its approach to employees, partners, and customers. Last week, it announced $20M in Series C funding led by U.S. Venture Partners.
Yello: One of the more impressive companies I have met with this year, Yello has a product suite that includes a CRM, scheduling, video interviewing, events management, campus recruiting, and employee referrals. This week they raised $31M in Series C funding from JMI Equity.
Textio: The augmented writing platform helps companies create more effective job postings. Textio claims to predict the performance of these postings by analyzing the outcomes of 10 million postings each month. This week, it announced $20M in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners.
Workey: This AI recruitment solution is helping companies reduce or replace their cost on third-party recruitment companies. Earlier this month, it announced $8M in Series A funding led by PICO Partners.

What’s driving this focus on talent acquisition technology? Why are investors watching this market so closely and what does it mean for you? A few factors to consider:

Business Pressure: Talent acquisition is elevated to more of a business priority. Companies are making more strategic decisions around where they spend their dollars and what value they are seeing from these solutions.
Importance of the Ecosystem: The modern talent acquisition landscape is comprised of three core systems (recruitment marketing, ATS, and onboarding) and an ecosystem of providers that integrate with those systems. This ecosystem is helping to drive change and improve talent acquisition efforts and this is where most of the investment is happening.
Focus on the Candidate: For over 70% of companies, the candidate experience is the top priority. Traditional recruitment providers are not designed to enhance the candidate experience. Startups and third-party providers are leading in this area.

One important question that customers must ask is “Where does this investment go?” Customers need to consider if these providers are going to develop the product, enhance sales and marketing, or strengthen customer support. Ideally, they would do all three but it can be hard to tell. It is important to ask your providers tough questions about their investments and partner with them as they grow over the next year.


New Research: The Future of Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition leaders face new pressures, new responsibilities, and new technology options. The competition for talent is getting more intense and companies are struggling to plan for the future. We launched our latest research on talent acquisition last month to better understand these priorities, technology investments, and buying behaviors. We are finally reaching a point where companies are thinking more strategically about the way they invest in technology and partner with providers.

Below are some key takeaways from the research:

  1. The Need for Greater Simplicity: The technology landscape in talent acquisition has become complex and confusing. And companies are not always confident if they are seeing any value from their technology decisions. According to our latest research, 50% of companies are investing in three or more ATS systems, over 60% of companies are investment in three or more sourcing solutions, and 70% are investing in three general job boards. That’s a lot. Companies need to make smarter decisions around the technology they are using and challenge providers to work as partners.
  2. The Candidate Experience is About Better Communication: The candidate experience is defining the future of talent acquisition. Yet, few companies understand what they can do to improve the candidate experience. Candidates, above all else, want communication and feedback on the process. Aptitude research shows that what candidates want most is to be notified if they are screened out (52%), information on the company culture (52%), and a single point of contact in the process (50%).
  3. Internal Mobility is a Priority: In order for talent acquisition to be successful, organizations must think about both internal and external talent. According to research Aptitude launched this month, over 70% of companies plan to increase their investment in solutions and strategies to support the process of moving talent from role to role. Internal mobility is a strategic priority for companies that want to improve the quality of hires and at the same time save costs. These companies recognize that in order for talent acquisition to align with business goals, internal talent can’t be ignored.
  4. AI is Still Misunderstood: According to Aptitude’s research, over 60% of companies are confused by AI. Additionally, many solution providers are misrepresenting themselves and their products, adding to the confusion and giving AI a negative reputation. As talent acquisition departments mature in their adoption of technology, the understanding of AI needs to change.
  5. Technology Must Be a Partnership: Companies are looking for partners that can support them post selection. Only 20% of companies are satisfied with their current recruitment providers. Companies are beginning to think about the right cultural fit, customer support and experience when they make technology decisions.

So, hopefully this gives you a glimpse into some of the findings from our latest research. We will be publishing new studies this summer on onboarding, candidate engagement, sourcing and updating our ATS Index report with a few new players.