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Yesterday, we talked about the technology adoption curve and the benefits of being on the forward edge of the curve vs. being reactive to adopting more mature technologies. You can read the post here.

For this post, I want to look at the talent acquisition technology space and where many of the technologies we use today, fall on the technology adoption curve.  See below.

Recruiting Technology

So when we look at the curve, where do talent acquisition technologies currently stand?  Here’s my thoughts (starting with established and moving toward innovative emerging technologies):

*Please note I’m not going into analytics below. This is mainly because I believe the only way to get clean actionable analytics is to get them through the technologies you use, not use a dashboard technology that integrates feeds from other systems. A good technology ensures capture and display of analytics in it’s tool, so you can ensure the data is integrated and accurate.  All the tools below have some sort of analytics associated with them.


Applicant Tracking System: If you don’t have an Applicant Tracking System, your company is either very small or you’ve fallen way behind. Nearly every company has an ATS of some kind whether it’s more robust system or a smaller low cost solution.

While a necessity today (especially for compliance) the implementation of an ATS itself does not provide a competitive advantage for your organization and shouldn’t be considered much of a strategic technology initiative for organizations as it’s a tactical solution in nature.

Job Boards: Little has changed in the basic job board posting and while many of the major job boards now offer more innovative solutions along with their core job posting functionality, they still lie in the laggard category. Every organization has access to these job boards and the effectiveness of these job postings have decreased with the increase in postings by other companies.  While they can still yield results, job boards alone don’t provide the advantage they once did.

Late Majority

Talent Management Systems: Like the ATS, this hovers toward the Laggards but most definitely lies in the Late Majority. Organizations are beginning to move there ATS with other downstream systems in the form of a single system that includes onboarding, training and a whole host of other solutions. While there’s still some room to be strategic in how you implement these solutions, again it’s impact lies not in having the technology itself but in how you use it, which has a lot of proof points to work off of from the success of other organizations.

You also have another contingent that are using the Talent Management System functionality of their core HR Systems of record through ERP providers. In many cases this was a IT decision rather than an HR decision and the downside here can be a lack of innovation for the TMS and decrease in discretional R&D spend for the team.

Job Distribution (Late Majority, Early Majority): Here is where I think it gets interesting. Job Distribution technologies have been around for a while and many do the very basic of what needs to be done, posting to the major job boards and provided rudimentary or delayed analytics. Many use these technologies as part of their ATS or as an addition to these tools.

You also have a group of solutions that go beyond just job posting but offer advanced features to help companies distribute to more channels, accurate track inventory and provide real time data on these channels. These more robust solutions I feel are still later in the Early Majority in terms of adoption.

Early Majority

CRM: This solution is picking up steam and is starting to cross the chasm so to speak. Organizations are beginning to realize that communication is key to how they recruit talent and having a means to improve and execute this communication and develop talent outside of the apply flow process is incredibly important. Your ATS cannot do this communication or build Talent Networks in the way that your organization needs and the CRM is a logical addition to the front end of the ATS.  This technology has also been around for a number of years now so the market message is relatively well established.

Career Site / SEO: One thing you are seeing is organizations beginning to take their employer brand more seriously and the most obvious place to begin is the Career Site. Career Site and SEO solutions have been around for several years but their adoption and the needs of consumers have changed recently. Organizations are needed more flexible solutions to control their brands and messaging internally and are looking at solutions to help them do that or are taking the expensive road of developing a solution internally. In either case, we are seeing the traditional Career Site technologies that companies used being innovated on by a new wave of tools.

Early Adopters

Employee Referral Programs: Nearly every organization has an employee referral program but organizations are still figuring out how best to use technology to make these more prominent and fruitful in their recruitment strategy. Companies are increasingly looking for solutions to help them manage the ease of referral for employees, rewards and tracking of these programs.

Social / Mobile: And while a lot of organizations say they have social and/or mobile in their strategy, most likely it’s a very small part of their strategy and not ingrained fully. Social and mobile is much more than a Twitter feed, Facebook Career Site or Mobile Apply and at this point, we are still in the infancy in how we can incorporate them into our strategy. But we do see many joining the fray in terms of creating profiles, building social pages and engaging in social aggregation tools.

True Recruitment Marketing Platform: When we look at all the tools above, they have a focus on supporting the current recruiting model, one focused on filling today’s jobs. And while that can provide some benefit to your bottom line, there’s an emerging breed of technology that is focused on the modern recruiting – recruitment marketing model that is transforming how organizations recruit, one focused on consistently exceeding talent goals. That provides a need for a technology focused on the recruitment marketing strategy that pairs with recruiting technology of your ATS to provide better talent and results. (More to come here.)

Now, there’s a clear distinction here when I talk about Recruitment Marketing Platforms (RMP) as the name gets bandied about much too often. A True Recruitment Marketing Platform brings together everything you execute recruitment marketing including CRM, Job Distribution, Career Sites, Employee Referrals, Social / Mobile (and ensure seamless integration between them all). Many of the technologies that call themselves RMP, usually don’t provide the full set of solutions organically in their Platform often relying on partnerships or acquisitions to offer the bare minimum in certain areas.

Innovative organizations that have been implementing True Recruitment Marketing Platforms are beginning to see great results in having one system to better find, attract and communicate with qualified talent. The other major innovation that exists here is the recruiting analytics that are centrally provided in these systems. As I mentioned above, analytics should be organically captured in by your technologies so that data can be captured and measured in the same way on the same criteria. This gives you trust in the data and the subsequent analytics that can be realized in the given relationships between data sets.


There are a number of technologies that are intriguing at this stage but they are still too young in their development to include here. I fully expect a few categories to reach Early Adopter in the next 6 months and it will be incredibly interesting to see the ones that gain a foothold here.

The Next Big Innovation

While I tend to be biased here, I believe this is where our next big innovation comes. With the Recruitment Marketing Platform category being the next technology to “Cross the Chasm” in the HCM technology space. It’s clear that the recruiting solutions such as the ATS and Talent Management System are focusing their attention downstream rather than providing tools to help on what I believe is the more strategic side of talent acquisition which is actually finding and attracting qualified talent or recruitment marketing.

Awareness for RMP technology is increasingly rapidly and much like ATS and Talent Management Systems, organizations are beginning to realize the need for a single comprehensive Platform on the front end of talent acquisition for recruitment marketing. Not just a bunch of point solutions that don’t talk or work well together (i.e. CRM, Job Distribution, Career Site alone) and are focused on supporting today’s recruiting model, not tomorrow’s.

And just like the ATS and Talent Management System, it’s organizations that take the leap that will yield the greatest benefit before this technology market matures to becoming commonplace in the market, where competitive advantage lies more on your execution than the differentiation in how you approach your recruitment marketing strategy.

You want to be on the front end of the technology adoption curve, that’s where you gain the most competitive advantage.


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