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Heard on the [HCM] Hill: Talent Function

When it comes to recruiting technology, there is one expert, one guru, one authority who comes to mind: Elaine Orler. This revered doyen of talent acquisition is behind the scenes of complex recruiting workflows for the world’s leading brands. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also a successful entrepreneur and founder of a leading non-profit that publishes global candidate experience thought leadership.

Elaine, you’ve been instrumental in defining and driving the evolution of the talent acquisition technology category. Years ago, there were several players such as Taleo, BrassRing and Vurv. Now there seems to be an app for every possible aspect of recruiting. Is this better for the buyer?

The market has exploded over the last 10 years to provide solutions for every niche in the recruiting process. This is likely because as we adopted transaction-based systems for applicant tracking, the world also moved to communication, collaboration and engagement based models, leaving the applicant tracking systems to catch up and the market hungry for new solutions to solve for the interactions. Point solutions from resume mining, to social listening, to publication and distribution exploded on the sourcing side of recruiting, while video interviewing, assessments, and verification solutions multiplied to solve for selection and hiring. Is this better for the buyer? Yes and no. With so many options now, it is mind numbing as to which solutions to connect, how to connect them, and how to filter through the “me too,” solution descriptions. The more an organization is willing to invest the time to figure out what problem they are trying to solve, or what goal they want to hit, and align their requirements with those outcomes in mind, the easier it will be for them to tune out the noise of all the options and focus quickly on the ones that best fit those needs.

As founder and CEO of Talent Function, you’ve worked directly with many of the world’s leading brands to transform their recruiting workflows. What’s the one piece of advice that will benefit any company?

I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best organizations in the world, and one thing stands out among those far exceeding business performance and expectations. These organizations don’t plan talent acquisition processes for talent acquisition’s sake. They approach recruiting and talent acquisition as strategic differentiators for the business. When defining their recruiting processes and goals, they are aligned with the business goals and in concert with business expectations. Time to fill and requisition volume are internal measures; quality of hire and business performance impact are their target goals. My advice to other organizations interested in transforming their recruiting process is to step back and ensure that you include all of the stakeholders in the process design, not just recruiting resources. Managers, candidates, executives all have a say/role in the recruiting process. Engaging them in helping to define a new future state recruiting model will ensure you are able to achieve a higher level of success. Lastly, experiment where you can but don’t throw out what is working just for the sake of change. Really assess what is needed and if it is fill gaps, go that route; however, if it is overhaul then consider that route.

You’ve also founded and chaired the very impressive Talent Board, producers of an amazing annual research report and Candidate Experience Awards. Do you think the candidate experience has become more consumer-like or do we still have significant gaps to bridge?

Candidate experience has been a passion of mine for so many years. I remember focusing client success on how candidates were treated with my early consulting engagements in 2000, where we were working on formulas to justify the candidates as consumers/customers and bring that insight to the value position for improving recruiting overall. Initiating the Candidate Experience Awards is one of the highlights of my career. Working with the other founders and the volumes of volunteers that have brought that idea from concept to now the market’s gold-standard is humbling. I think there will always be work to do in improving candidate experience – expectations change and evolve, so the goals will as well. With the goal of awareness, companies now are acting on how to improve the experience and that can only improve the overall experience for all involved.

Learn more from Elaine at her #HRTechConf session titled HR Tech 20/20: The Talent Acquisition Journey Forward on Wednesday, October 11th from 11-12N. You can also meet Elaine on October 2nd in Nashville at Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Symposium & Awards Gala. Follow her on Twitter at @elaineorler.