When recruitment management systems emerged in the 1990s, many HR professionals thought their prayers had been answered. They could reduce their reliance on recruitment agencies and handle a high volume of applications, and it meant employers could target and channel potential talent much more effectively.
But while these systems have undoubtedly streamlined recruitment processes, many organisations are still failing to exploit their full potential. And with more than 100 recruitment management technology options, choosing and implementing a system is no simple task.
“Employers realise the administrative benefits, but rather like our use of the human brain, many companies only use 5% of their potential,” says James Langley, corporate and solutions marketing director at e-recruitment company StepStone.
Building talent pools
That’s why more and more employers are turning to recruitment outsourcing providers or recruitment agencies that can offer both recruiting and systems implementation know-how. Because they invest in this technology on behalf of a number of clients, they also achieve economies of scale.
Tom Mason, head of workforce solutions at recruitment and HR consultancy Hudson, says that, at a time of skills shortages, organisations are sometimes slow to use the powerful database facilities of such systems, which can help them to access, screen and manage talent. “There is a lot of talk about building talent pools, for instance, but few organisations are using the technology for this,” says Mason. “These systems aren’t just about agency management.”
And what works for one organisation won’t work for all.
Lyndal Payne, service excellence partner at recruitment process outsourcer Capital Consulting, says: “Sometimes clients go for the full recruitment process outsourcing model of process, technology and people, but it does vary. “Sometimes they have the people and process in place, but they need advice on the technology.”
Amey, which provides a wide range of infrastructure and support services, used to spend a lot of money on internal agencies. Capital Consulting carried out a resourcing audit and helped the company put a recruitment management system in place.
Matthew Joint, head of resourcing and organisational development at Amey, says: “We’ve taken a middle ground to outsourcing. We wanted to maintain overall control because recruitment is our lifeblood.”
Amey directs people to its jobs website and is using the software to build a talent database. But this doesn’t end with external candidates. So far, Joint has run 300 existing staff through a one-day assessment centre and created a database of the information gained.
“My brief is to get us ahead of the opposition. Having an e-recruitment system gives us a facility to focus on and analyse talent,” he says. “We are now much more aware of the talent we have and where the gaps are.”
Working with an outsourcer could speed up return on investment too. Payne believes the cost models recruitment outsourcing can offer mean organisations start to see a return “pretty quickly”.
“The technology cost can be spread over the length of the contract so there is no huge upfront cost,” she says. “Many suppliers will work with clients’ existing technology, so legacy investments don’t go to waste.”
But focusing purely on cost could damage your reputation, says Phill Brown, services director of Lansdowne, the recruitment division of Arinso. “Candidate care will actually save you money in the long run,” he says.
With so many products on the market, the argument for outsourcing the management of your recruitment systems is convincing – instant candidate information, speedy response rates and fast recruitment feedback can only enhance your employer brand.