7 Things Reviewing HR/Talent Technology has Taught Me

I’m not going to review a specific company today because I’m on Spring Break (like the High School kids, but I can drink, legally!).  I do want to share some overall bullet points of my initial impressions of my T3 series and some of my overall opinions of HR Tech.  Also, HR/Talent Tech vendors, let’s connect, I would love to see what you’ve got cooking!

This might be a bit disjointed, but I’ve got some nuggets that I wanted to get out:

1. Every HR Technology company believes they are now a “Data Analytics” company.  They aren’t. This is marketing.  If one of them changes next year and decides to be a “Cupcake Bakery” and you love it.  All HR Technology companies will become “Cupcake Bakeries”.   This is a function of so many of the HR Technology companies are young, new startups. Marketing is usually an afterthought, and they call some Bro or Chick they knew from school.  Bad marketing just follows the crowd. It’s easy.

2. There are two types of HR Technology companies: 1. Technology companies that saw a problem with something in the HR/Talent space and designed technology to solve it. 2. HR/Talent companies that know of HR/Talent issues and either tried to buy the technology or are fumbling around on their own trying to design technology to fit their solution.  You can tell which is which, very quickly.  I’m not saying one is better than another.  I’ve seen some great Tech, from folks who have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve also seen some great HR/Talent companies that get it 100%, but they have no idea how to make it work on the technology side.  I think there is a place in our industry for an eHarmony type broker of great tech companies and great HR/Talent companies.

3. Great HR Technology does not need to cost a lot.  Many companies are virtually giving away their solution to gain users, and build their brand.  Never in the history of HR and Talent has technology been more affordable.  If you are paying a lot for something you are not happy with, you need to change.

4. Changing HR/Talent technology is not 1990’s painful anymore.  HR and Talent Pros hate changing technology because they believe it’s a nightmare to change.  This is no longer the case for most of the HR vendors in the tech space.  Big, expensive HR technology does not want you to know this.

5. Before signing a contract to buy a HR/Talent solution, talk with those folks running the company.  What you’ll find is some of these companies are run by folks who are so passionate about what they are solving it’s almost unbelievable.  You’ll also find some folks who are trying to solve a problem, but also are try to ‘just’ sell their company. I’m a capitalist, I’m all for you selling your company and making a bucket of money.  But I like to buy technology from someone who is so passionate, they wouldn’t want to sell their business because it’s a part of them.  Either way, you’ll learn a lot by having these conversations. Both parties are super smart, usually.

6. Buying HR/Talent technology is still mostly a relationship based sale.  In the end, Mr. and Mrs. HR and Talent Acquisition need to feel like you truly care about helping them with their problems, and you get their daily struggle.  Some companies completely bomb at this.

7. Many HR/Talent technology companies bomb demos because they don’t truly understand how a ‘normal’ HR or Talent pro will use their product on a daily basis.  Thus, the demo, should demonstrate this experience.  Many times I, someone who loves HR and Talent technology, will leave a demo feeling overwhelmed by what I just saw.  If I’m feeling that way, imagine how Mike and Mary in Fargo are feeling.

The T3 series is teaching so much, I love it.  I hope you are liking it as well, and getting to know some of the great HR and Talent technology that is available to you in the marketplace. I encourage everyone to do demos.  I rarely ever feel pressured to buy anything, especially if you let them know up front you are really just looking for the future.  So many of the vendors do great demos and really teach you things during the process.  In a way, doing demos is great personal development for your career.

T3 – Talent Tech Tuesday – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on T3 – send me a note.

6 thoughts on “7 Things Reviewing HR/Talent Technology has Taught Me

  1. Tim, great post and I agree completely. You need the expertise of an accountant with HR experience in the mix somewhere to keep bringing everything back to the customers’s needs. PARiM doesn’t have a contract and at 2.25 cents (1.5 pence) per shift hour we are very competitively priced. These days companies don’t want significant start up or training costs and expect excellent support to be included. As you’ve highlighted the bar is a lot higher now!

  2. “Before signing a contract to buy a HR/Talent solution, talk with those folks running the company. What you’ll find is some of these companies are run by folks who are so passionate about what they are solving it’s almost unbelievable. ” Could not agree more!! Leadership attitude, passion, vision and frankly, willingness to talk wit you, provides you with a framework of what your long-term client experience will be. Such a crucial and often overlooked part of the process. (Great tips all the way around!!)

  3. You really captured the essence of what’s going on in our market – I hope many will read this and take your advice before making those mistakes. Keep up the fantastic work Tim!

    PS: I’m working on an eHarmony type solution for the industry to help better match up the HR Tech vendors with each other for partnerships and alliances… hopefully some of those partners will end up being development shops from outside our industry to help those who insist on building new tech do it right.

  4. Thanks for this post. As someone who is from outside the HR space and launching an HR tech startup, I found your suggestions to be especially valuable. We at Digimetrik acknowledge the importance of demos, which is why we are participating in the world’s largest crowdfunding festival, OneSpark, going on this week in Jacksonville, FL. Communicating our value and establishing customer relationships will be essential. Your post emphasizes this point even more.

    On a related note, you should make #TalentTechTuesday a regular fixture on twitter! Thanks again for an informative post!

  5. Great post. Love this thought- “I think there is a place in our industry for an eHarmony type broker of great tech companies and great HR/Talent companies.” I have been thinking this for a while and I believe Jessica Merrell created a similar review website but no so much matching- more so like and Angie’s List. Also- I’m incredibly fascinated by how HR Tech companies identify their talent. Given their industry I would expect nothing less than some incredibly passionate consultants leaving me in “awe” after a demo. I am guessing your T3 project is focused on startups but I have a couple of people I would like to introduce you to for a feature/ review.

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