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Employers, Don’t Fight Bias Alone: A Partnership Approach to Better Hiring

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Jonathan Kestenbaum

Managing Director, Talent Tech Labs


Our talent acquisition technology advisory practice Talent Tech Labs (TTL) gives startups the resources and space to develop and launch great innovations while giving buyers the wisdom they need to build world-class talent acquisition functions. In my role at TTL, I’ve seen what works for vendors as they develop new capabilities and what buyers want from new technology. What’s evolved from this experience are three common themes that anyone looking to build a technology strategy should consider to make a positive impact on their business.


#1: Know How the Market Works


The current talent technology marketplace is doing what it has always done. Big players and platforms are growing. New classes of innovation are emerging, and multiple niche solutions are entering the market in a race to apply innovations to business problems the big players haven’t yet solved. Eventually, when the market is flooded with many new solutions, consolidation occurs. Some of the startups fall out of the picture while others combine, evolve, or are acquired by the big players. Today, we see consolidation heating up with a high level of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.


This M&A movement draws on recent trends in innovation. We’ve seen big data and analytics spawn a wave of new products, as well as waves of social and mobile technologies. But today, the substantial presence of AI is driving innovations that yield solutions that are smarter and more intuitive, faster, and more impactful than ever before. But that’s close to being just hype. If you are considering how to move forward with your technology strategy, know that innovation will not stand still. Consider how a solution works today, and make sure you have the expert perspective to understand how it is likely to evolve in the future.


#2: Focus on the Business Problems You Can Solve


One of the biggest disconnects in talent technology is the gulf between how technology vendors describe themselves and what buyers really need. When companies turn to us to help craft a strategy or evaluate solutions, the first thing we often do is reset the conversation, from what the technology does to what business problem can be solved.


For example, consider chatbots. The rise of the chatbot has been heralded for its ability to improve the candidate experience. That may be true, but the business challenge is there are too many people at the top of the recruiting funnel and too few resources to address them. That is a problem that takes time, resources, and money to tackle. A chatbot automates the care and screening of prospective talent and can turn a high-quantity talent pool into a high-quality talent pool, hopefully at a fraction of the time and cost of human care. That’s a real business problem being solved by technology, and buyers must be able to see that. It’s the why of their investment, not the what, that matters most.


#3: Avoid the One-Problem, One-Solution Trap


Finally, when considering how solutions evolve, buyers need to understand that talent technology is a market that does not behave the way we always want. It’s messy because there is not a simple lineup of one technology for each problem being solved. Several different areas of innovation address such needs. For example, improving diversity in hiring includes sourcing tools that reach new sources of talent, and it may involve solutions that remove bias triggers from resumes or job descriptions, or screening tools that improve objectivity in the evaluation process.


Likewise, many vendors can offer variations of similar capabilities (e.g., the chatbot), and many offer different angles at addressing a common problem (e.g., diversity in recruiting). An expert partner can help companies secure the right solutions for their specific needs without buying two tools to do one job.


Get the Right People in Your Corner


Companies can turn to organizations like TTL to help them navigate the changing talent technology choices before them, or they can rely on other external partners, whether solutions providers or independent consultants. That type of partnership provides the objective influence to arrive at practical strategies that reflect the changing technology market, focus on business challenges, and avoid the pitfalls of oversimplification.


(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in “Smart Power: A Glance at Evolving Talent Technologies.” The free report from Allegis Group provides an overview of talent management trends with insight on technology solutions influencing the talent acquisition process. Download your free copy today.)


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