By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
Since April this year, TAtech has held two digital Congresses, one for Europe and one for North America, and three webinars on new TA technologies. (You can see the conference materials for the Congresses here and for the webinars here.) At each event, we’ve asked our HR, TA and industry attendees, just one question: other than dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, what’s their greatest challenge in recruiting.
The number one response in each of the conference polls was no surprise. Despite record levels of unemployment, a significant majority of the attendees said finding top talent is still a huge battle. But, that wasn’t their only concern. There was another response that hasn’t received as much attention and yet, it appeared among attendees’ top three answers in every poll. Time and time again, respondents said they were worried about “Keeping track of new TA technology capabilities.”
Staying on top of the ever-evolving capabilities of TA technology has always been a challenge for HR and TA teams. To a person, all four of those on a panel of TA leaders at a previous TAtech Congress said they do not take calls from tech company salespeople. They were seen as disruptive to the team’s daily work and more about sales than insights. So, where did these leaders say they got their information on the latest TA technology? From their peers and at conferences.
The information from peers was seen as unbiased but incomplete due to the limited knowledge of those with whom people spoke. The information obtained in the exhibit halls at conferences, on the other hand, was viewed as clearly canted toward each company’s product but much more comprehensive. For that reason, recruitment and to a lesser degree HR conferences were considered their go-to source for staying on top of emerging technology-based capabilities in talent acquisition.
That insight has been especially important in the last several years, as the largest share of private equity and venture fund investments in workforce-related technologies has been for talent acquisition. That’s right, more money has gone into developing products for recruiting than for HR generally. The War for Talent hasn’t diminished one bit, and investors think there’s plenty of upside opportunity in the creation of ever more powerful applications of talent acquisition technology.
So, What’s One to Do?
The problem, of course, is that traditional exhibit halls and HR/TA conferences have all but disappeared. And for those that are still being held, corporate travel restrictions and worries about personal safety make attending a non-starter for many. Which begs the question, how can HR and TA teams stay informed on the advances in TA technology?
One way is to read the reports, newsletters and blogs of those industry analysts who specialize in TA technology. Unlike their colleagues who keep an eye on HR technology generally, these individuals focus exclusivity or almost exclusively on recruiting products, solution providers and lessons learned from applications. Two of my favorites are Sarah Brennan at Accelir Insights and Madeline Laurano at Aptitude Research.
A second and similar way is to listen to the interviews and discussions (and occasional trash talk) from podcasters who focus much of their programming on talent acquisition products and strategies. This is an increasingly crowded field, but two of my favorites are the Chad & Cheese Podcast and the Recruiting Future Podcast.
And, a third way is to attend digital events that focus on TA technology. These have the advantage of not requiring an investment of time and money as is the case to attend an in-person event, while still providing an opportunity for interaction with the speakers through the Q&A function on the digital platform.
• Some of these events are webinars hosted by TA technology companies. While they undoubtedly have a certain point of view, their programs also often provide useful lessons learned from the application of the company’s products by the peers of HR/TA professionals working at employers.
• Other digital events provide insights on a broader range of products through a series or a program with multiple speakers. [Shameless plug alert] TAtech Live, for example, is a professional development webinar series that provides “Remote Learning About Talent Technology for Non-Technologists” and explores a broad range of advanced TA technologies.
It’s definitely being done differently right now, but it is still possible to keep track of new TA technology capabilities, and in doing so, leverage their power for talent acquisition.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can check out his latest books on Amazon or in the TAtech Bookstore.