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HR Software Helps Overcome New Challenges in Talent Acquisition

  • Why talent acquisition continues to change
  • How HR software simplifies hiring processes in light of change

Acquiring new talent has always been a challenge, but remote recruiting, the "Great Resignation," and changing benefits expectations have further complicated talent acquisition for hiring managers. On top of those concerns, the competition to fill roles is intense, with U.S. job openings hitting a record high of 10.9 million in July of 2021.

To uncover what managers, recruiters, and HR professionals need to meet today’s recruiting and hiring demands, we asked them about their top challenges, as well as how helpful their software has been. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Software can improve candidate engagement
  • Hiring companies find the right fit by using the right tools
  • Technology helps companies fill roles faster

Software can improve candidate engagement

Engaging quality talent can be the difference between hiring a suitable candidate and hiring the best candidate. Paul French, Managing Director at Intrinsic Executive Search, explained that engaging passive candidates is especially difficult for certain executive roles. "With so many recruiters attempting to work this limited candidate pool combined with the labor shortage experienced in the last two years, it can be hard to stand out to qualified passive candidates." French added:

"Among other tools, my software stack consists of an ATS-CRM [or applicant tracking system], which has definitely come in handy in engaging passive candidates by helping with crafting targeted sourcing emails, communicating, and keeping candidates up to date with the hiring process. I definitely attribute our progressive submit-to-interview ratios to our current tech stack."

Paul French, Managing Director, Intrinsic Executive Search

Evelyn McMullen, global technology analyst who works at Nucleus Research, specializes in assessing the ROI of HR software and technologies. McMullen explained how quickly needs have been changing for engaging prospects (among other needs), but that the solutions have remained largely the same:

"HR leaders have been aggressively building out their software stack since the sudden shift to remote work resulting from the pandemic lockdown. However, the prioritization of solutions that tackle certain areas has changed since then. For example, in anticipation of a flood of applicants returning to the workforce upon reopening, organizations focused on vetting and screening tools. Now that there is a talent shortage, organizations are using tools for candidate engagement, employee benefits, and programmatic sourcing to attract quality talent. Many talent acquisition/management vendors offer functionality that covers all of these needs, so the stacks have been sufficient, but the way that they are used has changed."

Evelyn McMullen, global technology analyst, Nucleus Research

Hiring companies find the right fit by using the right tools

Despite a scarcity of talent, hiring companies still face significant hurdles in sifting through applications to find the best applicant.

Joe Coletta, founder and CEO at 180 Engineering, said they’ve received more applications since hybrid and remote work has become more common. "One significant hiring challenge that we’ve faced as a result of the pandemic—and recent changes to workplace dynamics—is having to sift through larger pools of candidates," Coletta said.

Joe Flanagan, Senior Employment Advisor at VelvetJobs, explained that there is a "mismatch between the supply and demand for talent" because there is a low proportion of suitable applications in an “overwhelming” number of applicants.

"[E]mployers and recruiters need better screening solutions, evaluation tools and scheduling software to manage the digital aspect of the new process. This includes smarter tools that can segregate applications based on relevance, AI-enabled video interview solutions that can help evaluate soft skills and fit, and automated communication processes that build a superior candidate experience."

Joe Flanagan, Senior Employment Advisor, VelvetJobs

In addition, Michael Moran, Owner at Green Lion Search Group, explained that today’s job applicants want more say over their schedule, and they want their values and culture to align with their employers’. A recent report showed that 41% of companies have increased voluntary benefits for 2021. As applicant expectations change, hiring professionals want HR software to accommodate these changes.

Technology helps companies fill roles faster

Managers and HR professionals agree they want software that helps find the right talent fit faster. "The long time to hire is not only a problem on the employer side as roles are not being filled quickly enough; it can also make for a poor candidate experience, in an already tight labor market," said Ben Lamarche, General Manager at Lock Search Group. He added:

"We've worked around this [issue] to accelerate the time to hire for virtual interviews by leveraging our ATS's pre-employment testing feature. Pre-employment assessments allow us to test a candidate's skills within one sitting, eliminating the need to administer multiple tests. This way, we can evaluate candidates objectively and move those who are a fit to the next steps much faster. So far, it has been a win-win for our clients and job applicants."

Ben Lamarche, General Manager, Lock Search Group

Software also allows hiring companies and recruiters to filter for specific skills and characteristics more quickly. Coletta explained:

"Luckily, recent technological affordances have allowed us to quickly sift through large stacks of applicants by filtering them in accordance with the criteria of the specific role that we are trying to fill. In this sense, our software stack allows us to greatly reduce the amount of time spent searching for the perfect employee—while still allowing our business to benefit from having a large pool of qualified applicants."

Joe Coletta, Founder & CEO, 180 Engineering

HR software is poised for disruption and consolidation

Even though current HR software solutions have a robust feature set, needs and technologies are evolving quickly. Software vendors that keep a finger on the pulse of hiring trends will have the advantage. Michael Moran shared:

"We’re very proactive in adding to and refining our software to meet our current challenges. This would be my main advice to any other business owners, in fact. Don’t treat the tools you have as static and unchangeable but be willing to adapt in the face of a changing landscape."

Michael Moran, Owner at Green Lion Search Group

If Moran’s personal observations prove true broadly in the hiring space, this space could see significant disruption in the near future as niche players enter to address evolving issues. The entrance of these new players could create pressures for consolidation and accelerate M&A activity.

Modified on Oct 15, 2021