How Can Billions in Recruiting Tech Still Not Help Recruiting?

The Recruiting Daily Advisor was just at the 19th Annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Chicago where we covered a session titled “Two Decades, Four Tech Revolutions and Billions of Dollars Later—Why Is Hiring Still So Hard?”

As the title of the session suggests, a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, tears, and money have not improved the hiring game over the last 20 years. The presenters, an all-star cast, include moderator Kris Dunn, CHRO of Kinetix; Mark Newman, founder and CEO of HireVue; Jon Bischke, CEO of Entelo; Jennifer Seith, VP of CareerBuilder; and Colin Day, president and CEO of iCIMS. The panel aims to educate us on the modern recruiting challenge, how tech has helped, and how to best use that technology to achieve a better hiring solution.
When Kris Dunn asked, “How many think that recruiting tech is harder than it has to be?” there was thunderous applause. He continued:
“We had a vision that things were going to get streamlined because of the Internet. That the friction we saw between the wrong candidate and the hiring manager was going to go away and things were going to get better. It has gotten better, but it’s still incredibly difficult. So, what the hell happened?”
Jennifer Seith
“I think a lot of things happened. If we look at the industry overall, a big shift happened in the candidate focus. We haven’t solved the real problem. The basics are, find the right candidate at the right price and the right time. Sometimes technology overcomplicates things; it’s not magic. We buy it thinking it’s a magic box. It doesn’t work that way. I think that the market is saturated. We as HR people love it, it’s fun, and you see some awesome things. But, recruiters are oversaturated and so are candidates. There are too many tools; we are not focusing on the candidates enough.”
Kris Dunn
“Anyone can start a company. How do you see it?”
Mark Newman
“We started HireVue in 2004, when I was coming out of college. I convinced a professor we should start a company. We got 8 credit hours and graduated. We had an idea of using webcams. People were like ‘What were those?’ We supplied people with them to help it out. Even in 2010 people still didn’t have them. The tech was a little ahead of the adoption curve. And now today we’ll do 2.5–3 million interviews globally. Take a look back through the incarnation of technology in recruiting, from time clocks, to time cards, to computers, and then to the Internet. You keep building systems to address the problems of the previous generation of systems. Until people release themselves from tradition, it will hold them back. And so, you are piling more stuff onto bad stuff onto bad stuff. And you still have a goal and you want a good year. A senator recently asked an expert what the average time to fill was. She said 90 days. He said, ‘Why was it not zero?’”
Kris Dunn
“Colin, you’ve seen a lot of iterations. What do you have to say?”
Colin Day
“We’ve seen a lot over the last 23 years. I think when you talk about the root of why are people still frustrated, I think you hit on it. I think there is another macro level picture you have to look at. There has been a huge amount of revolutions going on in a short amount of time. So many have come and showed promise but then fizzled out or been acquired or somehow lost their ability to finish the work. With a bit of more stability, we’d be further along.”
Kris Dunn
“John, what do you see? Why have we not made more progress?”
Jon Bischke
“I think we see two important trends. We see the movement of people finding jobs to jobs finding people. Think about today—say you are the average software engineer. You don’t have to find a job; it finds you. In the next 5 to 10 years, I think that will be true for the majority of people. What you are seeing built today is something fundamentally different than the past. You see the movement from pull to push. The difference between searching for a song and using Pandora, which finds you songs you love. The difference between pulling data out of systems to data being pushed to you is incredible. This is happening in other areas of business, and it’s happening in HR, and it will happen in recruiting.”
Tomorrow we’ll take another look into this discussion about HR technology and recruiting from the industry leaders themselves.

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