Modern talent acquisition, brought to you by technology, has grown rapidly and continues to transform. But who are the little fish in this big pond making waves? HR is a burgeoning space ripe for technological innovation that has led to the rise of many small niche HR tech solution companies. The advertising slogan (now trademarked by Apple) “There’s an App for That” TM applies to nearly all aspects of talent acquisition. But chances are when it comes to any step of the hiring process, there isn’t just an app for that—there’s probably a whole company for that.
HR has always had many layers. Now, it has many different tech solutions—which is why we see talent acquisition teams thinking about their “tech stack,” and essentially layering and diversifying new technologies to cover the various aspects of HR from recruitment marketing to performance reviews. Ideally, these HR tech solutions need to communicate with each other to avoid data silos and be truly effective. To fully leverage your data and your tech, the HR tech stack needs to cooperate. The answer to this technological conundrum thus far has been that tech companies offer compatibility capabilities to their software. But now, tech companies seem to be taking a bigger step towards the major solution: consolidation.
The Race To Consolidate
Small tech companies with a focus on a single aspect of HR are the drivers of innovation. It’s no surprise that companies want to team up to expand their recruitment services.
We’ve seen several consolidations recently. For example, iCIMS (the cloud-based talent acquisition tech) acquired Jibe, a software subscription service geared toward sourcing and recruitment marketing that employs machine learning for processes like targeting passive candidates. Other recent acquisitions also show the movement towards programmatic advertising—and more companies recognizing the vital role programmatic job ad platforms will continue to play. The job board StepStone bought Appcast; the job search engine Indeed acquired ClickIQ, and the recruitment marketing software platform TPM Worldwide acquired Perengo. All three of these companies (Appcast, ClickIQ, and Perengo) offer programmatic advertising platforms that use machine learning and AI software to make job advertising more efficient and cost-effective. Soon, tech companies won’t just worry about offering compatibility capabilities—the trend seems to be they will just acquire the companies whose tech might pair well with theirs to offer a pre-packaged tech stack.
The Rise Of The Job Tech Giant
We can see where these consolidations are going: a suite of services housed in one comprehensive recruitment platform. In fact, this past February, Jobvite made the bold move (with the help of K1 Investment Management) to acquire not just one but three companies that are tech pillars in HR: Talemetry, which handles recruitment marketing, RolePoint, which deals with employee referrals, and Canvas, a text messaging app designed for recruiting. Coupled with Jobvite’s applicant tracking software, these acquisitions expand the company’s capabilities and will allow them to offer an extended suite of services—which really ups their game as a recruitment platform. Will they be the next Google, Apple, or Microsoft of talent acquisition tech? This is a trend to keep an eye on as more tech companies consolidate.
Not All Tech Giants Are Alike
On the other hand, former giant Google seems to be pulling back from the hiring arena. While Google for Jobs, with its job-specific search engine capabilities where recruiters can post and candidates can search, remains intact and very much in line with the company’s primary identity (as a search engine), Google Hire is being phased out in September 2020. Google designed Hire as an ATS (applicant tracking system), used mainly by smaller and mid-size companies to keep track of their hiring data. If you’re one of those companies, the phase-out will mean some time-consuming data transfer to a new system. But for the business of talent acquisition, it means smaller ATS companies will be rushing in to fill the void left by Google. And the bigger implication seems to be that the next giant of job tech may be a company you’ve never heard of before (unless of course it is later acquired by Google).
Larger Landscape And Tech Flexibility
With all this consolidation, you’ll probably get a bundled tech package that you don’t necessarily need. Still, flexibility and diversity in tech for any talent acquisition team is probably a good thing. The major thing to keep an eye out for is if these larger consolidated companies will be able to keep up and continue to innovate as they grow larger and adjust to the changes in the hiring landscape.
Most importantly, the technological advances we are currently witnessing in talent acquisition don’t just change how the hiring process works—the nature of work itself also changes with tech innovation. The rise of the “gig” economy, for example, has some recruiters rethinking talent acquisition. With the ability of employees to access their work remotely through technology, the traditional office, and the traditional 9-5 job is less of a norm. This means that talent acquisition teams who want to retain talent (rather than continually train new hires) will need to invest in innovative employee engagement measures (and tech strategies that keep remote employees engaged in particular). Keep an eye on employee engagement tech tools as another next big area of growth in the talent acquisition tech field.