Recruiting in the Cloud - A Strategic Imperative

Recruiting in the Cloud - A Strategic ImperativeAnalysts and pundits tell us that the reason recruiting is more challenging today than it was thirty years ago is that Millennials are different. We disagree. Baby boomers wanted a better candidate experience then, but it wasn’t possible. Everyone had a tedious, bureaucratic process, and the standard response then was “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Technology, with its instant communication, has changed expectations. Today, job seekers can go online to find an opportunity and apply in a few minutes. When they do, they want an immediate response. If you do not contact them quickly, they will assume you are not interested.

HR has gone digital, and recruiting has gone mobile. Speed and the candidate experience have become the recruiter’s competitive advantage. The customer experience is emerging as the primary differentiator in consumer markets, and in the same way, the candidate experience has become the differentiator in recruiting.

There are three strategic moves you need to make if you are to remain competitive:

  • use data to drive decision-making,
  • go mobile, and
  • focus on the candidate experience.

Recruiting with Data

Recruiting is becoming more data-dependent, and the pace of technology adoption is speeding up. We now have evidence that at least for some positions, machines make better hiring decisions than people. We knew this fifteen years ago when we used assessments in a large call center and reduced annual turnover among customer service representatives by over 60%. What is different now is that we can apply sophisticated algorithms early in the process to reduce recruiter workload and make better decisions. Instead of wading through stacks of resumes, recruiters can concentrate on wooing the people most likely to succeed.

Mobile Recruiting

People are melded to their mobile phones and tablets. Even when they have desktop or laptop computers handy, they will use their mobiles to shop and do their banking.  Ninety percent of job seekers use mobile devices in their searches. They want to find a job, apply, and upload a resume or link to their online profiles anytime and anywhere.

Why? It’s the mobile experience – simple, uncluttered, and available 24/7. As a result, mobile users have become very discerning. If your application process is not mobile-optimized, talented people will pass you by.

Candidate Experience

Candidates are judging you by the recruiting experience. If the application process is tedious, bureaucratic, or creates a negative impression of the candidate experience, candidates assume your workplace to be the same.

If you still require applicants to fill out long applications detailing their entire job history, your hiring process needs an update. Your application process should allow candidates to connect to their online profiles instead of completing a long form. Modern technology enables you to gather information about a candidate from a variety of online sources.

The candidate experience has a significant impact on your company’s brand and reputation, and it will affect your ability to attract and retain talented people.

To put all of this together – data, mobile recruiting, and candidate experience, your optimum path to success will be through the cloud.

Why You Need to Be In The Cloud

Antiquated applicant tracking systems can’t keep pace with the demands of modern recruiting. Today, talent is a seller’s market, and you need more than applicant tracking to be competitive. Your recruiting platform needs to be scalable, flexible, and well connected.

Today’s cloud platforms offer many advantages your ATS cannot deliver.

  • Lower Total Cost Of Ownership: Cloud recruiting platforms are much less expensive than the clunky oSumtotal_in_the_cloud_Guide-5n-premises software you used in the past. You do not need infrastructure or IT support.  You pay a small implementation cost (or none) up front and a subscription fee to log in and use the software.
  • Freedom from Obsolescence: The hundreds of online recruiting software providers update their products frequently to stay competitive. You will receive free updates several times a year, and bug fixes get immediate attention. The software will adapt to changing technology and market demands with forcing you to pay for expensive upgrades. 
  • Connectivity: Software providers build cloud platforms connect to other applications. Using open standards-based APIs (application program interface), they connect to every type of service you could possibly need during the hiring and onboarding process. You can integrate with online job boards, recruiting agencies, assessment vendors, background investigations, pre-employment testing, or any other service.
  • Online presence: Vendors are building their platforms to connect with online social networking sites so you can create a presence wherever you need it.
  • Recruiting is a collaborative process:Recruiting is a collaborative process. Cloud recruiting platforms from ICIMS, UltiPro, Workday, and other top providers bring hiring managers, interviewers, assessors, and onboarding staff directly into the process.


If you are using software designed over three years ago, you may be losing out on good prospects. That does not mean you need to rip out your entire HR system today and start over (although 40% of companies are). On the other hand, you do need to update your online presence to be mobile friendly, and your candidate experience must reflect the best your organization offers.

Is It Time to Tune Up Your Recruiting Software?

Is It Time to Tune Up Your Recruiting SoftwareThe pressure is on in recruiting. Finding skilled talent is now the top priority for 83% of companies,[1] and recruiting is where business leaders look first to fill the gap.

Many factors drive the skills gap, including advancing technology, demographics, and economics. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells a part of the story.

Bureau of statistics.jpg

Although we have seen growth in available jobs, companies have not been hiring to fill positions because the right talent is not available. Our graph also shows that a rise in the number of quits, indicating that employees are more willing to leave employers if they are not satisfied.

Recruiters are on the front line of the competition for talent. Successful talent acquisition professionals have moved beyond “post and pray” to advanced sourcing, networking, and relationship management to engage the talent they need.

Welcome to the new world of technology-enabled recruiting. If you are facing recruiting challenges, it may be time to update or replace your recruiting technology.

Beyond Talent Management

Human resources software is reinventing itself, and we are in the midst of a new wave of innovation.[2] Software is moving beyond tools for HR process management to employee-centered technology. The management functions still exist, but the role of HR has changed from talent management to talent enablement. Just as Marketing developed a relentless focus on the customer experience, companies and the software they use focus on the personal experience of each member of the organization.

As Josh Bersin explains, HR software has moved beyond automation and past talent management, and is now moving through employee engagement to an age of employee empowerment. New startups are building on new ideas to create integrated interaction between machines and people. Mobile applications are becoming an integral part of almost every employee’s work day.

What does this mean for recruiting?

Every part of the candidate experience is undergoing a change. New demand for recruiting tools have created a new array of applications. This doesn’t mean the functions in your ATS aren’t valuable. They are the foundation of compliance in hiring practices, but innovators are leading the way ahead with new technology:

  1. Sourcing management software: Helps recruiters evaluate the effectiveness and cost of candidate sources to maximize the efficiency of recruiting spend. Software solutions offer direct connections to hundreds of sources. These tools answer the biggest question of all: where are the top candidates?
  2. Social recruiting tools: To help recruiters build the company brand, create a following, and interact with both active and passive candidates. Sixty percent of companies are already using social media in their hiring.[3]
  3. Internal and external candidate sourcing: Internal job posting have been around for a long time, but organizations are now making better use of employee profiles, development history, and performance data to locate the talent within their companies.
  4. Referral management: Recruiters reported in the LinkedIn survey that employee referral is their best source of quality hires. Today’s tools help you manage the programs and pay referral bonuses.
  5. Talent relationship management (TRM):Built on the practices of customer relationship management (CRM), these applications enable recruiters to build talent pools and engage people who were strong candidates but were not selected for a role. Candidates no longer need to start from zero for the next opportunity, and recruiters can reach out to them when they have a match.
  6. Collaborative interviewing: Modern recruiting platforms provide communication tools for interviewers to work together as they move toward a decision.
  7. Video interviewing and analysis: Live remote interviews are becoming more widely used, and vendors are moving beyond just connecting the people to providing scientific analysis of the interviews.
  8. Mobile career portals: Many recruiting platforms now provide the means for candidates to apply using their phones. Vendors realize no one wants to type an application on a phone, so portals can grab an applicant’s professional social media profile. We can expect that applicants will soon expect allapplication processes to be as simple as that.
  9. Robust analytics: Modern recruiting requires the ability to make predictions, and an analytics solution is necessary to make sense of the vast torrent of data created in the recruiting and onboarding processes.

Does this mean you need to junk your ATS and find a new solution?

We approach this question carefully. Your recruiting needs are based on your business goals. You may need allthis functionality or none of it. For example, you may need to do some social recruiting, but it may be enough to join in Marketing branding efforts. If you are recruiting primarily construction workers, you probably don’t need much video interviewing.

Conduct a thorough analysis of your recruiting strategy and future needs before you consider the leap into sophisticated software. Recognize, too, that each additional technology tool can complicate the job for a recruiter if you have a small staff. Productivity software should make your people more productive.

Talent Suite or Best of Breed?

Single-focus vendors can innovate faster than vendors of talent suites. If you need leading-edge capability, you may wish to consider a top specialist like Jobvite or iCIMS. If you have a talent suite and can use the recruiting module in it, you can easily integrate other vendors to provide ancillary services, and the best vendors will provide API connectors.

Your digital strategy will determine the path you take, but if your recruiters are to be competitive, they will need the right tools.


1. “Global Recruiting Trends 2017.” LinkedIn Talent Solutions. October 27, 2016. 

2. Bersin, Josh. “The HR Software Market Reinvents Itself.” Forbes. July 18, 2016. 

3“Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates Has Increased 500 Percent over the Last Decade.” CareerBuilder. October 28, 2016. 

Is Your Recruiting Ready for Machine Learning?

Is Your Recruiting Ready for Machine LearningAfter years of lagging, recruiting professionals are catching on to modern marketing techniques. Analytics, machine learning, and neuroscience are defining new ways of sourcing, screening and selecting candidates. Recruiters who learn to leverage these innovations will become better at their work. New methods promise to improve organizational performance and productivity.

Despite alarmist warnings, artificial intelligence is not about to replace recruiters because it does not yet exist. Depending on how you define it, may never become a reality. No machine achieves intuitive human thinking. They can learn faster than humans, but only within specifically programmed parameters. What will define the future of recruiting will be the partnership between recruiters and their machines.

Machine learning and biometrics (a subset of neuroscience) are impacting how recruiters operate. The transformation has already begun in sourcing, screening, and selection.

Improve Sourcing with Marketing Tools

Marketing has been using data to refine its messaging for decades. Analytics and biometrics have enabled marketers to fine-tune messages to the needs of individuals and to know who is likely to respond, where, and when. If you apply the same principles to recruiting, you can radically change the way you source candidates.

The standard practice is to broadcast job openings to the entire world and sift through hundreds of resumes to find a few suitable candidates. By adopting analytical tools developed in Marketing, you can identify likely candidates and use analysis of their online behavior to predict when they might make a move. You can then target those individuals and gain a much higher response rate than with mass marketing.

Targeted recruiting shows promise in attracting people who are strong candidates. Coupled with job descriptions that focus on objectives rather than lists of requirements, you can start with a much better slate of possibilities.


Analytics Improves Psychometrics in Recruiting

Psychometric assessments have proved their value over the past several decades, but machine learning in recruiting promises to take applicant screening to a new level. Algorithms can use a wide variety of information sources to determine the suitability of candidates without the inherent biases of human screening. Machine learning can identify predictors of success, and can help companies eliminate the artificial barriers of “creeping credentials.” As the industry gathers data, we find that education and experience are much less valuable than other attributes. Machine learning promises to make that information more accessible to recruiters.

Improved Candidate Selection Lowers Your Risks

Machine learning can help companies make better selections and avoid many of the discrimination pitfalls in selection. In a world where one in five interviewers asks an illegal question, unbiased selection tools can improve your diversity initiatives and reduce your exposure.

Video interviews enable analysts to evaluate facial expressions, vocabulary, tone of voice, and many other indicators that a live interviewer will miss. It allows us to create a quantifiable picture of each candidate. As the amount of data grows, the predictions will become much more accurate, enabling recruiters to eliminate many of the natural biases in the selection process.

Human Judgement and the Personal Touch in Recruiting

Predictive analytics are not a panacea. Algorithms can inherit the biases of their creators, and machines cannot replace human judgement.

Machine learning in recruiting requires massive amounts of data, and making defensible employment decisions requires accuracy and validation. Smaller companies who do not have sufficient numbers of people to support accurate analysis would do well to engage a consulting firm with enough cases to support their validations.

Biometrics and machine learning can help recruiters make better decisions and manage their workload, but they cannot replace human conversation. Some analysts tout chatbots and human-like talking computers to handle routine communications with candidates. History may prove us wrong, but we believe nothing can replace a recruiter’s personal touch.

Implement Big Data Analytics in Recruiting for an Easy Win

Implement Big Data Analytics in Recruiting for an Easy Win2After years of promotion, publicity, and discussion, the exponential growth we have expected in big data analytics in HR has begun. The percentage of companies capable of predictive people analytics doubled from 2015 to 2016 to eight percent. Seventy-seven percent of respondents to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 survey now see people analytics as important to their businesses.

Part of the reason things are changing is that the software needed to gather and analyze data become universally available. Analytical capabilities are now built into human capital management technology or are available off the shelf. Most companies have upgraded their technology in the past few years, and analytics is a standard feature of modern people management platforms.

Why You Should Start with Recruiting

If you are just now contemplating getting into people analytics in your organization, we recommend you start with recruiting There are two reasons for our recommendation.

You Already Have the Data

One is that you have using automated recruiting for any length of time, you have a wealth of data about the people you hired. You have information about their education and work history. You have detailed information you gathered in assessments. You also have information about how they handled interview questions. Josh Bersin noted in a recent podcast how a company found that people who exaggerated their work experience had a high tendency to become toxic employees.

An Easy Win

The other reason is that recruiting, as Bersin says, is “an easy win.” A small change in how you select people can have a significant impact on organizational performance. A large call center we worked with impacted turnover by showing its recruiters how introverts stayed longer and performed better than their extroverted colleagues.

We have long known that managers tend to hire people like themselves. Part of it is personal biases. Some of it is the belief that their experience and background is the best model for success. Having data on which employees stay longer and perform better will help those managers overcome their misconceptions.

Things to Consider

We do not recommend you rush out and invest in a company-wide analytics project to measure everything you can. As in our other recommendations about organizational change and alignment, we recommend you start with a small, high-impact project that will show the bottom-line value of statistical analysis.

  • Start small. A good place to begin would be high turnover in a well-defined employee group or performance in a sales team or customer service function.
  • Do not turn your decisions over to machines. Predictive models can help you make decisions, but they do not possess the power of good judgment. Data doesn’t make better decisions. People with data do.
  • Measure and report business outcomes, not processes. HR measures make business leaders’ eyes blur. We know quick time to fill results in better hires, but what matters is their performance.
  • Hire good data analysts. Computation ability is only a part of the data analyst’s skill set. You need people who know how to ask the right questions and how to deal with ambiguous and imperfect data. Nobody has clean data, and yours will not be an exception.
  • Understand that patterns can indicate a problem that may not exist.
  • Be transparent about what you are doing. Let people know what data you are collecting and how you are using it. Tell them how you are protecting their personal information and what safeguards are in place. Make sure your data analyses do not include personally identifiable information, and put a privacy policy in place and enforce it.

Start Now

People analytics will soon become a foundational strategy of successful organizations. If you have not already done so, we urge you to get started right away. Your company’s bottom line will thank you.


Bersin, Josh, Laurence Collins, David Mallon, Jeff Moir, and Robert Straub. “People Analytics: Gaining Speed.” Global Human Capital Trends 2016. Deloitte University Press. 2016

Weisenfeld, David B. "Podcast: HR Analytics on the Rise - Moneyball Meets the Workplace." EXPertHR.

Why You Need Social Media Tools in Your Recruiting Platform

Why You Need Social Media Tools in Your Recruiting PlatformIt seems like just a blink of time ago we were excited because we could review résumés online instead of shuffling stacks of paper. Today we are recruiting in a multi-channel media and communications environment, using social media, and reviewing online profiles instead of résumés. Recruiting technology is growing up and leading the way to a candidate experience much different from the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” of a few years ago.

However, according to the Aberdeen Group, 60% of companies are in reactionary mode. They recruit only when there is an opening, and are not developing talent pipelines that lead to sourcing the best candidates. One of the reasons is reactionary thinking, but much of it is because they are using outdated technology that doesn’t give them the tools they need to operate in a social media world.

Talent technology vendors are responding to the demand in a big way. We now have the capability of providing a seamless experience where applicant tracking systems (ATS) are merging with candidate relationship management solutions (TRM) to make recruiting an all-encompassing social experience. We have reviewed the offerings of the top providers and recommendations from the Forrester Research Talent Aquisition Vendors report of September 2015 and identified what we believe are essential tools you should consider in your talent acquisition technology selection.

Here are the top ten new features we want you to have in your recruiting platform.

  1. An engaging candidate experience. Begin with a well-designed career website. Branding is important, and the website must deliver a compelling message about the company and its work environment. Include not only static content but video presentations by employees about working at the company. Include news about new benefits and employee programs.
  2. Mobile technology. According to Pew Research, 53% of 18-29-year-olds and 40% of all job seekers use their smartphones to search and apply for jobs, and the trend is rising rapidly. Standard website design resized for mobile will not give candidates the experience they seek. Mobile websites must be designed for small screens and the mobile touch-screen interface.
  3. Integrated social media tools. Maintaining a presence on many social media websites is a big job that can quickly overwhelm a recruiting staff. Leading vendors now provide the ability to post job announcements and marketing content directly to social media from their recruiting platforms.
  4. Online community management. In today’s environment of passive job seekers, top performing companies are creating online talent communities where recruiters can nurture potential candidates over the long term to develop a robust pipeline. They can be a powerful tool to keep people engaged who are ready but cannot make the move just yet or those who were not an exact fit for a position but have the qualities your company needs.
  5. A single platform for all your recruiting needs. Applicant tracking and candidate relationships, for the most part, are still separate technologies. Forrester reports that ATS and TRM on the same platform is emerging now, but the software should also include an easy transition to onboarding.
  6. Content marketing. Marketing tools for recruiting have arrived, using the same principles as content marketing for products and services. Email campaigns and social media marketing are helping recruiters build their communities, and these tools should be available in your recruiting platform.
  7. Predictive analytics. With the growth of big data analytics, tools are now available for you to be able to predict where you will find the best candidates for specific positions, but be cautious. Just as in product and services, traffic does not necessarily equate to candidates. Include quality of hire in your analysis.
  8. Flexible workflow. The conversation between recruiter and candidate can take any number of paths, and your workflow must be flexible enough to accommodate a change in direction.
  9. Pre-application assessments. One of the greatest recent developments for busy recruiters is the ability to screen out unqualified applicants before they apply. Validated assessments for skills and cultural fit up front can save a mountain of unnecessary work.
  10. Collaboration tools. For everyone involved in the process, visibility into candidate profiles, status, and selection is a must. Hiring managers should be involved from the very start, including the design of upfront skills assessments.

We hope this helps you get the most from your recruiting platform investment. If yours does not have all these features, we recommend you discuss them with your vendor to find out when they will be available. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, it may be time to move on.


"Forrester Report: The Forrester Wave™: Talent Acquisition Vendors, Q3 2015." September 8, 2015. Accessed January 4, 2016. 

Lahey, Zach. "Talent Acquisition technology: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond" Aberdeen Group. May 1, 2015. Accessed January 4, 2016.

Smith, Aaron. "Searching for Work in the Digital Era." Pew Research Center. November 19, 2015. Accessed January 5, 2016. 

7 Decisive Essentials To Social Media Recruiting

7 Decisive Essentials To Social Media RecruitingSocial Media Continues to Grow and Influence Behavior

Social Media took the Internet by storm in the early 2000s when Facebook showed up on the scene.  A quick study of the phenomenal growth of the once exclusive online community, and you will discover the simplicity of the concept.

Fast forward just over a decade and the number of users on social media grows every day. Marketers have long since tapped into the world of social media to build relationships, advertise and promote their brands. With social media at their fingertips, recruiters now have access to a larger pool of talent than at any other time in history of the profession.

In fact, 92% of recruiters are already using social media as a part of their process. Over 85% are taking advantage of Linkedin’s professional network, 55% use Facebook and 47% regularly use Twitter.

Social media also helps with the brand awareness challenge most recruiters face.

The number one quality of top recruiters is building and managing relationships. Recruiters can develop relationships that could last a lifetime. With social media those connections become mutually beneficial because people change jobs an average of 12 times and stay at one company for less than five years.

The 7 key elements to social media recruiting are:
  • Understand the legal guidelines: At one time background screening was novel idea which required legal boundaries, using social media also requires common sense. Candidate researches must remain legal. Treat bad social media information with caution, and regardless anything found on social media should not be used to make the final decision. We suggest to wait until after the interview and view social media as an extension of their personality.
  • Decide where to start: Instead of jumping in and following the crowd, you need to determine where your target audience hangs out online. It may not be effective to post job listings for engineers on sites that normally attract graphic designers. With the right approach, you should see an increase of 30 to 50% in job applications by posting on social media. Although it may start with job openings, it is important to use social media to build a full employment experience. Automation is an excellent way to schedule your posts to social media. The best times to post for the highest engagement on Linkedin is between 7 to 9am or 5 to 6pm. For maximum exposure on Facebook set your posts to publish between 1 and 4pm, and Twitter between 1 and 3pm
  • Explore various paths of engagement: Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are the best recruiting options, we recommend you look beyond them. Top IT talent, for instance, can also be found on Stackoverflow and GitHub. You may also want to check out sites that brings together information from people’s online profiles into one place. Each channel has its own culture, so you should tailor your message and engagement practices to get desired results.
  • Bring your mission to life through strong relationships: If you are only using social media to publicize job openings, you are missing out. One of the biggest advantages to social media is the ability to cultivate a two-way relationship with potential candidates. This is also the prime opportunity to promote the company without being irruptive.
  • Use Social Media to influence the hiring process: You gain a competitive advantage by using the Internet to recruit talent. Your results are compounded exponentially with social media strategies. Many recruiters have showed their creativity by publishing a job-specific blog. WordPress and other content management systems are user friendly while making it easy to provide a strong job description without word and space limits, which allows you to cast a wider net.
  • Be certain your posts are easy to share: Everyone loves to share good news and relevant content. How much more for helping one of their connections land that perfect role with an outstanding company? Provide several options for sharing and make the share buttons easy to find.
  • Monitor effectiveness: Monitor All inbound traffic. It may be simple to track a straightforward campaign that uses a few channels with a clear aim. However, complexity increases when listings are being pushed out through multiple channels. Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) will provide the functionality, however some do not, be sure to clarify with your ATS vendor before you finalize.

Some of the biggest reasons to use social media in your recruiting strategy include:

  • Faster access to quality candidates
  • Social media is a low-cost option with high ROI
  • Reach candidates who aren’t actively looking
  • Increased productivity
  • An engaging client experience
  • Improved communication

The bottom line: available positions get filled faster, because of social media’s high usage and instant response time. This allows you to multiply your efforts and increase your placement rate.

It’s Time to Measure What Matters in Recruiting

It’s Time to Measure What Matters in Recruiting

When we discussed quality of hire last January, we noted that the metrics used to evaluate recruiting didn’t pass the credibility test. We based our concerns on the top recruiting metrics reported in the Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report from LinkedIn.

Only 33% of recruiters in the survey believed they had effective measures. The number one metric in that report was new hire performance evaluations, and our conclusion was that the low confidence in evaluations rendered that metric invalid. Now, with the worldwide trend away from performance evaluations, it has dropped off the list. Table 1 shows how the measures changed year over year.


The report for 2017 shows the new top three measures: length of time new employees stay with the company, 
time to hire, and hiring manager satisfaction. That is an improvement, but we question the credibility of the retention as a measure of quality of hire.

Is Retention a Credible Recruiting Metric?

Recruiting has a significant impact on quality of hire until the day the employee starts in the new role. The transition from candidate to employee depends on the quality of recruiting and onboarding. However, recruiting no longer controls the ongoing quality of the relationship. The forces that influence the employee experience most are working relationships, growth and development, and company culture.

Time to Hire

We support time to hire as a measure because it affects the employee experience. If you are slower than your competitors, you can lose out on top talent. We recommend using it as a factor in measuring the candidate experience as well.

Hiring Manager Satisfaction

The relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager is four times as influential as any other performance driver.[1] Research by Robin Erickson, Ph.D., of Bersin by Deloitte shows us that recruiters with better working relationships outperform others. Organizations in which better relationships between recruiter and hiring manager exist outperform their competitors.


If this number one indicator drives organizational performance, it pays to assess and grow recruiters’ ability to form those relationships. For some managers it is not easy, but relationship management is a skill that can be improved with training. We look forward to seeing results of improvements and hope to see it on next year’s list of metrics.


1. Erickson, Robin. “Surprising #1 Predictor of Talent Acquisition Performance.” Bersin by Deloitte. August 17, 2016

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.