Using technology in sourcing talent

Software can reduce costs and hire time, while increasing the quality of hire

Attracting and retaining qualified employees is a problem facing almost every organization. As the talent shortage becomes more acute, successful HR executives in diverse industries are turning to more comprehensive recruiting technology.

Recruitment advertising was once the primary way to find talent and the resumé was the tool of choice for jobseekers. However, new technology and the Internet have increasingly replaced these methods.

Many organizations are now implementing new and innovative practices, particularly in the integration of front-end careers websites with back-end data and talent management systems. Most corporations are recruiting through the corporate website, which can act as a front-end user interface for a back-end recruitment automation system. The website is able to pull the right data from all candidates and give the data the structure necessary to make back-end processing more efficient.

Current technology can handle very large numbers of resumés, making candidate tracking more manageable than ever before. These technologies not only simplify the entire recruiting process, but also sharply trim hiring cycle time and improve the quality of hire. Staffing management software, including applicant tracking systems (ATS) and talent management systems, are focused on reducing cost per hire, data entry, processing service fees and resumé management costs by centralizing the recruitment process and providing strategic insight into the potential candidate pool.

Applicant tracking systems draw on the powerful functionality of robust databases to catalog information on candidates. Resumés are stored, correspondence is noted, interviews are documented and recruiters’ notes are filed. Additional data elements, such as candidate sources, may be included, connecting candidates to specific requisitions, recruiters or hiring managers.

An increasingly popular option for HR managers seeking talent management systems are web-based solutions hosted by the software providers. A number of HR technology providers offer hiring, applicant tracking and talent management solutions that are accessible via the web. Instead of conducting manual applicant tracking or installing staffing management software on site, employers can leverage this technology to build and host their careers site, find candidates through a number of sources and build an online database of potential employees organized by their skills. This creates an easy-to-use, automated process for matching available talent with current job opportunities to fill positions quickly and efficiently. With the ability to mine their existing proprietary candidate pool, organizations can streamline the overall hiring process, build relationships with candidates and hire without the need to post the position, resulting in dramatic savings in both time and money.

One technology solution that’s especially useful for large organizations is workflow automation. It pushes a job application along by prompting corporate recruiters and hiring managers to move the candidate from one stage to another. It cuts cycle-time and enhances the probability of hiring an available and interested candidate.

Some HR technology vendors also offer to configure employers’ recruiting software through the extensive use of switches built into the system. Configurable software will, for example, allow the company to tailor its careers section interface using different fonts, colors and layouts. However, requests by a customer for enhancement or additions of new functionality have to have broad appeal and applicability in the vendor’s overall customer base.

With effective recruiting technology in place, businesses can more finely tune workforce management and make decisions about potential candidates strategically, rather than reactively. By using these systems, organizations can automate and strengthen their overall talent management practices, improve productivity and focus their attention on the most critical business function.

Alice Snell is vice-president of Taleo Research, a specialty research practice analyzing the best practices and economics of talent management. Taleo Research is a division of Taleo, a San Francisco-headquartered provider of talent management solutions. She can be reached at [email protected] or visit for more information.

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