Once again, as in previous HR Technology® Conferences, the union of recruiting and technology — and what it’s going to look like going forward — was the juggernaut for consensus and debate on the 15th annual conference’s final day.
Led by moderators Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder of CareerXroads, and Sarah White, principal and founder of SW & Associates, this year’s panel of four staffing leaders from Lockheed Martin, Key Bank, PepsiCo and Deloitte took up the still-evolving, often-troubling topic in Wednesday’s session, “What’s Next? What Talent Acquisition Challenges are Seeking Technology Solutions?”
All agreed that, despite great strides in social recruiting, and recruiting technology in general, even their organizations — leaders in this new frontier — have a long way to go.
“I would challenge any one of us to say we are fully prepared and where we need to be,” said panelist Frank Wittenauer, associate director of global talent solutions for Deloitte. “Recruiting is still the last thing that gets defined. When the economy is good, it’s, ‘Let’s go, let’s get the butts in seats, let’s do the background checks after they’re hired.’
“When it’s slow,” he said, “it’s, ‘Let’s do six interviews, six times, and then six more, divide the results by pi … ‘ ” you get the idea. So did the standing-only roomful of chuckling attendees.
The panelists were mixed on whether leveraging new recruiting-technology tools should be a local activity for global companies or a global one. Should companies be allowing their smaller, more remote recruiting teams to innovate and move forward within their own domains and unique sets of circumstances or should they all be aligning under one global-recruitment umbrella?
“It’s OK to let your recruiters have blinders on when it comes to recruiting technology,” said Mike Grennier, senior vice president of talent acquisition for Key Bank.
Crispin cautioned, though, that “there should be some way for that global alignment to take place. They all have the tools to reach across global boundaries,” he said, “but who in your organization is showing them the reach beyond their own domain? We have all that recruiting data, but is anybody really communicating about it?”
Still emerging and highly imperfect, panelists agreed, is the effectiveness of workforce planning as a pre-emptive, proactive social-recruiting tool. At the very least, at PepsiCo, “we ask HR to identify jobs or profiles that are hard to find and then keep [candidates] in store there — in waiting — so there, we’re pre-emptive,” said Sheila Stygar, PepsiCo’s senior director of talent acquisition.
Also fledgling and inadequate, they agreed, are the processes in place for dealing with the plethora and proliferation of new, often smaller, vendors with specific solutions to particular problems, or, as Crispin described them, “small pieces to add to the entire [social-recruiting] function.”
“Where do you have in your organization someone who filters through all the solutions out there?” he asked.
Grennier suggested companies trying to find that “solution-filterer” look for someone with “a real passion” for the social-recruiting function” and technology in general.
Panelists also agreed that, as social recruiting continues to “find itself” as a defined function within companies, recruiters learn to treat it professionally and network with what Wittenauer described as “those go-to people” in the vendor community — people they can bounce all these new offerings and suggestions off of.
“If you don’t have those networks,” Crispin concurred, “you’re not going to be learning in real time.”