Back in 2002 we were discussing the entry of the ERP HR vendors into the e-recruitment market and whether they would have a significant impact on the specialist e-recruitment software vendors. 10 years on has anything changed?
The way in which companies recruit has changed dramatically in the past decade, with the Internet enabling corporate websites, suppliers and job seekers to become more sophisticated, interactive and connect 24x7, 365 days a year.
10 years ago HR and recruiting managers had little awareness of the opportunities web based recruitment could offer. Candidates were emailing their CVs but there was little understanding of e-recruitment systems and how they could enable candidate relationship management and reinforce an employer brand.
Now HR managers are more skilled at using technology to fulfil their requirements and have gained a greater understanding of what an e-recruitment system can offer them. Of these organisations that may already have an ERP supplier in place, the easiest, most cost effective and suitable solution might seem to be to implement the e-recruitment module of their ERP supplier. After all, the suite is already integrated with the company’s systems; implementation will be quick and easy and will enable business-wide reporting.
But is this really the best way to solve HR’s problems? With many ERP vendors, their recruitment modules have historically had a perceived lack of importance and have remained underdeveloped for many years. When a large ERP vendor offers multiple products, a smaller module in its suite might not be given the development time it requires. Innovations and upgrades can take months not weeks and deployment maybe dependent on completion of a whole ERP suite upgrade.
In 2012, however, is that all changing with the biggest ERP players in the market realising the growing significance of talent management? Oracle has acquired Taleo, SAP acquired SuccessFactors and now IBM, is acquiring Kenexa.
Alan Whitford managing partner of Abtech partnerships points out: “We are already seeing potential side effects of the Oracle/Taleo deal as Oracle pushes its large company administrative and processes burden onto the smaller company Taleo. In particular, Taleo Business Edition, which was a small, lean and quickly reactive part of Taleo is now becoming mired in big company processes.” Alan also believes that this effect will certainly become evident with IBM/Kenexa over the coming months. “Discussion groups are already buzzing with questions regarding development cycles, upgrade paths and potential of increased pricing models, combined with lower investment in support and sales staff.”
Whilst the large players integrate their latest offerings the specialist e-recruitment vendors continue to offer a best-of-breed solution. Many specialist vendors are a “single product business” which are passionate about producing and delivering a product that is first-class and offers a breadth of functionality that an ERP vendor would not be able to offer. By maintaining continuous development, responding to customer needs and offering a high level of customer service, a specialist vendor can deliver an agile and customised product.
A specialist provider can also be very quick to deploy an e-recruitment system for its customers. The most significant technological change e-recruitment systems have experienced is speed. A provider that uses Software as a Service (SaaS) solution means that literally with a click of a button the customer can start implementing the product.
The Internet now provides a means of transferring information and an e-recruitment system can (and needs to be able to) talk a common language to enable seamless integration with other external systems an organisation uses. The agility of a specialist provider means that integration with, for example, an on-line testing provider can be achieved within just days instead of months or even years. Frequent release upgrade programmes mean that all customers can benefit from new features immediately they have been added to the product. And this is one of the key points: specialist e-recruitment systems can only survive if they "connect" with other internet-based services such as on-line testing, social networks, job boards etc. Every provider of these services provides XML-based interfaces accessible over the internet - the problem for a customer of a slow or inflexible e-recruitment provider may be that they are unable to "connect" their e-recruitment system to such providers - or at least not within both reasonable time and cost constraints.
For today’s graduates who have been brought up with the Internet, their expectations when job seeking is that all the information they require to search and apply is online. Surprisingly many organisations are still not recruiting online and for today’s job seeker an organisation’s online presence will, virtually without exception, set the impressions for the prospective candidates. If a candidate then decides to apply for a vacancy and the recruitment process is poor this may impact on their decision to proceed with a potential employer. With the wealth of applicant tracking system analytical data available customers can see exactly where candidates are "bailing out" of the recruitment process - and this will so often be linked with the ease or otherwise of completing the application process. As a consumer if you suffer a bad online experience you are unlikely to use the organisation again and that is the same for a bad candidate experience. You lose faith in an organisation if they can’t offer a good employment service.
What does the future hold?
For the ERP vendors only time will tell following the major players’ recent acquisitions. For the specialist providers there needs to be constant development and innovation of the product, offering the most flexible, intuitive system to deliver the recruitment needs for organisations today and in the future.
There are many tools available to recruit today and an e-recruitment system is only one part of the overall recruitment process. A recruiting manager needs to ask how will it fit into the company’s overall recruitment strategy and how it will reach the people you want to work for your organisation.
10 years ago social and mobile recruiting did not exist and there are some new players in the e-recruitment market responding to these rapidly growing channels. The majority are offering niche applications and tools to address a specific requirement such as mobile recruiting and there are now some incredibly innovative apps available.
Many job seekers are now using smartphones, iPads and other tablet devices and expect to view a mobile optimised version of a company’s website. Organisations need to adapt their current recruitment campaigns to engage with candidates on multiple platforms - the platforms that candidates are increasingly using through choice. In a recent mobile recruitment survey by Educate, 63% of respondents had searched for a job using a mobile device whilst 48% had actually applied with a whopping 79% stating that they would apply on mobile if they could.
A mobile-optimised careers site allows candidates to easily navigate and search for jobs and today's top e-recruitment systems can deliver to companies an engaging, socially-connected, brand-enhancing and user-friendly mobile recruitment platform. It can also give an organisation the ability to offer its candidates an apply via LinkedIn button, post a live Twitter feed and provide live job listings on Facebook.
The job seeking graduates of today whose expectations are to apply online will become the HR managers of tomorrow and what will they expect from their e-recruitment systems?
Alan added: “What we see today, as we have seen in the past, is that new technologies create a buzz which eventually disappears and become part of the normal fabric of life. The future generation of recruiters and candidates will expect them to just be part of the everyday recruiter tool kit for candidate communications.”
So yes, 10 years on, things have changed dramatically and in ways that few would have foreseen. The one constant is that the ERP HR vendors have made little impression on the market and the number of specialist e-recruitment technology providers has grown considerably - and the market itself has changed shape with the advent of social and mobile - leaving the ERP HR vendors still on the starting blocks.
Jeremy Ovenden, Managing Director, Hireserve
London, 23 October 2012 – Interoute Application Management, an application managed services specialist and progressive cloud services provider, is partnering with Hireserve, to sell Hireserve’s iCams product suite via Interoute’s cloud as part of its Software as a Service (SaaS) Acceleration Programme.
Hireserve has been working with Interoute Application Management for a year now and all existing customers have been transferred across to the new model, ensuring they are experiencing the benefits of the SaaS Acceleration Programme alongside new customers. For Interoute customers using iCams, the new level of service wrap means they have access to a wide range of applications which they can easily and quickly choose from, safe in the knowledge that there will be no integration issues as they are delivered via their usual network.
Jeremy Ovenden, Hireserve’s Managing Director, commented: “During the last year, Interoute has developed a strong understanding of our iCams e-recruitment platform and its strengths in the market which it serves. They have worked with us to support our business objectives and refine the infrastructure to meet the requirements of our specific application. We are delighted to join a mutual partnership with Interoute and look forward to enjoying a successful future together.
Steve Mace, Head of Cloud Services Sales, Interoute Application Management commented: “Our SaaS Transformation Programme serves a dual purpose; to provide ISV partners with the technology and business support to meet their own customer demands for SaaS delivery and to offer our 10,000+ customers a range of top applications seamlessly integrated within their own network. As such, we will only work with top quality applications which we know our customers will be interested in. We are very pleased to be able to offer our customers Hireserve’s iCams product suite as our e-recruitment platform of choice.”
At Chatter we work with our clients to create an engaging candidate experience from initial enquiry, through to application, offer and beyond. A great employer brand has many parts that come together to create that experience. On its own a bottle of coke is just a product, the Nike swoosh is just a logo but when the messages, creative and essence of the brand all come together it creates an affinity and passion for a brand that can be frightening. Just look at the queues of people waiting to buy an iPhone 5, or plug the words "apple logo tattoo" into Google Image Search and you'll see what I mean.
By creating a great employer brand online, you help close the online gap between you and the candidate, build emotional engagement and help them self-select in and out of the process. But that brand needs to run through every touchpoint from the initial recruitment advert through your social media activity, careers site, application process, emails, letters, text messages, interviews, onboarding and of course match up with the experience of successful candidates in their first days and weeks.
We've recently worked with two clients (Global Radio & eircom) to implement iCams and integrate it seamlessly into their wider candidate experience. For many applicants gloss and polish of the candidate experience ends with a bump the moment they start actively searching for an open vacancy or click on apply. The ATS is often implemented with hours of thought into the internal HR process and then the candidate portal is left with it's vanilla, off the shelf look and feel. Thankfully, with iCams that doesn't need to be the case.
With both Global Radio and eircom, our objective was for the candidate to neither know nor care that they'd transferred from the careers site into the ATS system and for the client brand and tone of voice to run all the way through to completed application and beyond. For Global we built a careers site packed with fun interactive features, you can even listen to one of their seven radio stations while you fill out your application. We also ensured that their down to earth tone of voice ran through every part of the process. From the main careers site, through the application form, even the iCams generated emails to candidates, line managers and other users were rewritten to make them reflective of the wider employer brand.
For eircom, we built a careers site alive with content, from day in the life profile videos to an interactive timeline of the company history and the recruitment process. Again, we applied our careers site design to the iCams candidate portal ensuring a seamless experience and spent time looking at the wording and layout of every screen and every button to make the process as simple and accessible as possible. We also made use of the iCams integration with Apply with LinkedIn to allow candidates to apply for a role in just a couple of clicks using their existing LinkedIn profile.
A nice side benefit of integrating the careers site and ATS so closely is that we've been able to integrate Google Analytics throughout the entire application process, allowing us to track where candidates come from, their engagement with the site and the number of applications started and completed. For eircom, we've also been able to separately track the engagement with the Apply with LinkedIn tool which was generating applications from day one.
The results speak for themselves, with a pair of sites that are generating applications day in day out, in eircom's case attracting several times more traffic that the previous site did and gaining positive feedback from candidates.
So, when you're looking at your own icareers site, spare a thought for the candidate experience…the tip of the iceberg is often as important as the 7/8ths below the water!
Jon Davies is a Partner at Chatter, specialists in HR communications. www.welovechatter.com
In May 2012, Hireserve signed an agreement with Unit4 Prosoft Pte Ltd, in which a Singapore data centre is being established and will go live this month, providing services and local hours support. There is huge demand in this region and Hireserve with Unit4 Prosoft Pte Ltd is well-positioned to exploit this.
We are very pleased to be working in partnership with webrecruit, the name behind the UK’s first fixed-fee recruitment model. With over 10 years’ online recruitment expertise, webrecruit is now offering, in partnership with Hireserve, applicant tracking technology.
Ken Burt, webrecruit’s Managing Director, said: “Our new partnership with Hireserve will help to complement and strengthen our resource solutions offering, further enhancing the client experience. Through the use of their technology, we can continue to innovate and help streamline the hiring process, adding value to businesses’ recruitment strategies”.
Jeremy Ovenden, Hireserve’s Managing Director, added “webrecruit is well known for its pioneering approach to affordable recruitment services and I am very pleased that we will be working together. Delivering recruitment technology to clients in this way continues to demonstrate webrecruit’s forward thinking approach to its clients’ needs.”