Building a Blueprint: How to Create a Recruiting Tech Strategy

Posted July 1st, 2024

In today's competitive job market, candidates expect a streamlined, personalized journey. Personal connections are essential to engaging with candidates and successfully placing them in jobs they’ll love.

But, as recruiters are asked to do more with less, they may be hard-pressed to provide those meaningful experiences consistently and on a large scale.

Lots of tools are available to automate busy work and make it easier for recruiters to provide great candidate experiences—but if you don’t implement them correctly, use them efficiently or encourage adoption, how much are they really helping your team?

We recently sat down with some technology leaders to discuss how you can build a successful technology strategy to power up your recruiting teams. We’ll cover:

  • How to select new tech tools
  • Why implementation matters
  • Tips for a successful tech strategy
  • Embracing failure
  • What you need to know when building your tech strategy 

How to select new tech tools 

The selection process is the first step of an effective tech strategy.

It’s important to actively involve key stakeholders up front – consulting those stakeholders to gather feedback on gaps in your current workflows, take questions from your team and address any issues with vendors during the selection process.

By gathering this information up front, it’s easier to communicate and ensure you get buy-in from all impacted teams. This approach can set the stage for adoption, and prime the end users on what will be possible with the new tool.

It’s also vital to ensure you approach the selection process with intention. Take automation tools, for example: there are endless solutions that promise time savings at scale through automation (or enhanced data quality and integrity for recruiters, specifically). But, automation relies heavily on data and underlying processes. If there’s a misstep during selection (say for example, not checking compatibility with essential workflows or other tools), it can negatively impact effectiveness, ROI and adoption in the long run. 

Why implementation matters

During the selection process, it's crucial to address any issues that might arise during implementation to prevent them from escalating. It's important to involve stakeholders from the selection process in the implementation phase so that any problems can be identified and addressed promptly.

It's also essential to ensure that the setup during implementation is correct to avoid future issues. Recruiting databases are valuable assets. So, the tools used by recruiting teams must be able to efficiently leverage those databases to provide meaningful ROI. Poor implementation can mean that tools don’t work properly with databases—which can mean even more of a headache for your end users, poor ROI and low adoption rates. It’s not an ideal outcome—especially if you’ve already spent considerable time and effort on selecting the tools. 

Tips for a successful tech strategy

A good tech strategy includes steps for successful implementation. Here are a few ways recruiting organizations can help implementation go smoothly:

Keep key stakeholders involved

Stakeholder input shouldn’t end at the selection process. Some of them may have reservations about using new technology due to their established routines or demanding workloads. Make sure you hear their concerns and address them properly.

Manage the change new technology brings 

Maintaining support and careful planning around introducing new tools can help avoid both technical issues that might arise when integrating a new product and cultural issues, such as teams writing off a tool as not helpful before they even get a chance to use it.

Make your team aware of the tool and prepare them to make the most of it or ask questions about its capabilities, so that when the change comes, they feel prepared.

“Change is the hardest thing for end users to get to,” says Richard Steel, CTO at Tradewind. “If you get the introduction wrong at the start, you’re going to fail at the end. It’s about trying to smooth the path, and get successful tech out there to your team. The worst thing you can do is push the platform change on people—you need to bring everyone along on the journey.”

Richard Steel also points out that salespeople and recruiters can be particularly resistant to change, due to the nature of their day-to-day work.

“They’re stressed, they’ve got lots going on all the time, they’re used to their current tools and have their own rhythms,” he says. “If you turn around and say ‘Stop doing that - this tech is going to make your day amazing and brilliant,’ your team will look at it and just say ‘I don’t like it.’ Adoption becomes a massive uphill challenge from there.”

To help prepare those team members, it’s important to plan, establish a process for introducing the tool, and measure how it’s working—both during and after initial deployment. 

Prioritize training in key capabilities

When deploying new tech, prioritize training in areas where end users will spend most of their time. For example, when training people to use a new CRM, this could include tasks like creating records or making lists for targeting—activities that constitute a daily workflow. 

Rather than overwhelming users with comprehensive training from the start, consider advocating for a modular approach.  This means breaking down the training into manageable, focused sessions that address the specific needs of the users.

This may mean teams need to go beyond off-the-shelf training provided by vendors. Instead, they should look at any specific needs their team may have, and tailor training to the workflows of each group.

You may also find that in-person training allows for better engagement and understanding among participants. The opportunity to gauge comprehension and address issues in real-time can make a big difference. 

And it doesn’t stop there—post-training adoption is crucial. Be sure to monitor user engagement so that you can quickly address gaps to ensure ongoing usage—and maximize the benefits of deploying new tech.

Be realistic about target adoption 

It may sound unbelievable, but 100% adoption shouldn’t necessarily be the goal when deploying new tools.

“When I have deployed tech, I have looked at a bell curve,” says Richard Steel. “You’ve got users at the bottom, who may be lower performers who need to prioritize their performance rather than their use of tech. Then, there are 10% at the top—high performers who are excelling in their roles without the tech. But in the middle, you’ve got 80% of your team. Those employees are showing promise, and are a great target for initial adoption.”

By focusing on team members in the middle of the bell curve, leadership can get a more accurate read on whether or not a tool will actually make a difference.

Use examples to illustrate how new tech adds value 

Asserting that a new tech tool is revolutionary isn’t enough to drive adoption. You need to show tangible proof of value.

Within company cultures, especially in smaller organizations, word-of-mouth can heavily influence adoption rates. Positive testimonials from users who have seen success with the technology are crucial in swaying skeptics.

Similarly, negative experiences—even if they’re isolated incidents—can be detrimental.

This underscores the importance of thorough preparation when introducing a new tool. Preparing concrete examples of ROI and success stories and training your team can go a long way toward ensuring better adoption. 

Link KPIs to tech use

Best practices for setting KPIs tied to technology usage varies depending on the specific tool and how essential it is to job performance.

For instance, making phone calls might be a fundamental part of a customer service representative's job. If they’re not using call software effectively, it directly impacts their productivity.

Or, for tools like Daxtra Capture (which automates candidate record creation), KPIs might focus on ensuring resumes are automatically loaded through Daxtra Capture, rather than being loaded manually to the CRM—and tracking manual versus automated record creation to demonstrate efficiency gains.

By measuring the KPIs relevant to tech use, leadership can provide additional incentives for using new tech tools, as well as gain valuable insights into what kind of ROI those tools are providing. 

Embracing failure 

There are many ways that new tech deployment can go wrong. Through it all, it’s important to assess the process, discover issues quickly, address these issues when they appear, and re-engage your team after solving the issue to foster communication and trust.

It may sound harsh, but embracing failure—whether that’s a low adoption rate or an incompatibility of your tech with existing tools—is a necessary part of any tech strategy.

Failure is an opportunity to learn, and is therefore essential to overcoming obstacles in deployment and implementation.

“Something I’ve done previously is to stop the bus and tell them that I see it’s failing quickly, so I’m going to put the brakes on,” says Deeps Badhan, Senior IT Director at Impellam Group. “Then, it’s very much more about reselling it to the team by saying ‘I hear that you hate it right now—I’m going to pull it back, put some bells and whistles on it, and when it’s reintroduced, make sure you’re well informed about how it can make you more successful in day-to-day work.” 

This process can sometimes take multiple attempts. In those cases, it’s important for leaders to look at the strategic reasons behind adding a tool.

Richard Steel, CTO at Tradewind, recommends asking:

  • Is this going to make a difference in what we do?
  • How will it affect end users?
  • What are the outcomes we’re expecting, and how will we achieve that with this tool? 

“It’s about preparing all of that from the start and measuring that throughout the process,” he points out. 

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” - Richard Steel, Tradewind

What you need to know when building your tech strategy

Building a robust tech strategy requires a clear understanding of your organization’s current needs. 
Before you begin selecting tools, analyze your existing processes. For example, you may want to consider how you’re utilizing job boards or your usual percentage of internal placements. Look at how your budget is being spent, what systems you currently have in place, and what your workflows actually look like on a daily basis.

“It’s one thing to talk about the processes, but another thing to talk to people and see what they’re doing,” says Richard Steel. “I have sat with employees at their desks, and seen that, for example, the database was open for them to search it, but they had a second screen with social networks and everything else, and they were not really using the first screen.”

Before you introduce your tech strategy, it’s also important to be aware of things like:

  • Data cleanliness: it’s essential to prioritize this, as any new tech—especially automation—will rely on your data hygiene to function effectively.
  • Behavior that might affect metrics: for instance, recruiters may hold onto a candidate until they have a match, which can skew reporting. In cases like these, it’s best to take a constructive approach to education and share why accurate reporting is essential to the business.
  • Failure as part of innovation: the best-laid plans can go awry, and failure provides meaningful information going forward. Tech strategies can involve lots of trial and error, and in those cases it helps if you can “fail fast and cheap,” Deeps Badhan at Impellam advises. But, by planning carefully and keeping tabs on any deployed tech, you can help ensure that any failures you experience are also learning opportunities. 

Successfully implementing new recruitment technology is crucial in today’s competitive job market. It’s essential to select the right tools, ensure smooth implementation and foster adoption among your team. By involving stakeholders, managing change, prioritizing training, and embracing trial-and-error, organizations can build effective tech strategies to better power their business.

To learn more about tech implementation, take a look at our article on successfully onboarding new software.

Tags: DaXtra Blog, Recruitment technology, ATS integration, CRM integration, recruitment tools