What Will the Talent Acquisition Platform of the Future Look Like?

Tim Sackett ATS, Smashfly, Tim Sackett

This summer I’ve had a number of great conversations with some really bright people in talent acquisition about talent acquisition technology and the future of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Josh Bersin, who tends to be one of the guys really on top of this space, said at HireVue’s Digital Disruption that he feels the ATS as we know it will no longer be around in five years.

Rob Kelly, from Ongig, delivers an awesome Annual ATS report each year and I spoke to him for our next episode of SmashUp’s video podcast on Fistful, so check that out when it comes out later this month. Rob also believes the ATS is changing. Maybe not as much as Josh, but we see this evolution of what TA leaders are expecting out of their ATSs.

Traditionally, our ATS was just this big dumb database of applicants who applied to our jobs that were listed on our career site. We needed our ATS to post jobs to the career site, allow applicants to apply for the job, allow us to see those applicants and then make a decision on if we wanted to pass them on to a hiring manager or not, and that was really about it. Most ATSs today are still built on the basic process framework.

Modern day ATSs have been evolving and adding in pieces that their customers have been requesting. So, we now see ATSs that have some light CRM, recruitment marketing capability, sourcing capability, assessment and ranking science, job posting distribution, video interviewing, etc. The list goes on and on.

What’s becoming of the ATS is less of a system of record for talent acquisition, and more of an end to end talent attraction and acquisition platform. The question is, can we have all of these great technologies under one roof? Will someone find a way to get it there, or is it safe to say we’ll have to run multiple tech stacks with TA and HR for the foreseeable future?

At the HR Technology Conference this fall I’m leading a panel where we’ll discuss ‘what are the components of the perfect TA Tech Stack?’ I have an awesome panel of three great TA leaders from Marriott, Intel, and Success Academies. My friend, Jessica Lee, from Marriott, will be on this panel and she feels her team probably uses more than 15 pieces of TA tech in their stack right now!

When I break down the TA tech stack right now I see roughly 22 different verticals of talent acquisition technologies.  Things like CRM, interviewing tools, communication tools, assessments, programmatic, job distribution, sourcing, etc. If you put all of these along your process from the first step of attracting a candidate to the moment they show up for their first day of work, you begin to see all the technologies it takes to hire someone.

I think the TA platform of the future probably can’t be done under one roof. I do think we’ll see some dynamic systems come out that can take on huge parts of this and if we’re lucky we could be down to 3-4 platforms. Platform one is Talent Attraction and Sourcing—that includes referral automation, programmatic, CRM, distribution, college sourcing, etc. Platform 2 is your system of record, job description technology, assessments, background checks, reference checking tech, applicant communication, etc. Platform 3 is your contingent workforce hiring platform. Platform 4 brings all the data together from the other three.

Want to play along? Join the conversation. If you could build your perfect system for TA what would it look like? It’s harder than you think!

FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask SmashFly to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to recruitment marketing and how it helps organizations find, attract, engage, nurture and convert talent. Learn how you can proactively protect your organization from the talent crunch by building pipelines of engaged talent in our Talent Pipelines Solution Guide.