What’s on Second: Recruiting Technology and Project Management

Last time around, I wrote about taking the recruiting technology plunge by building the right infrastructure to carry through the vendor selection process. Once that framework is in place, it’s time to prepare for project creep.

By definition, project creep is when initial project goals (something like replacing an existing ATS) turns into something larger, like finding a talent management platform that can solve for recruiting now as well as performance and succession later. This type of scope creeps slowly across your project plan, changing the analysis program and requiring a review of who is in what role, prior to taking on new objectives. This is scary stuff, I assure you.

Once a team is identified and roles are determined, market research efforts should start. However, far too often, companies are quick to invite vendors to demo products before having solidified requirements for the future solution. Don’t do this.

The first step in any selection process should be to identify the criteria — independent of what the market has to offer or what current systems can or cannot do. This is sometimes called a “blue sky exercise” or a “future state design workshop.” Its purpose is to ensure that everyone is thinking about what problem they are trying to solve. From here, it’s a matter of adjusting that thinking to a strategy of running to the future vs. running from the past. The difference in thinking can be as simple as listening to verbal cues. For example: “I’ll take anything that is better than X” is an indicator of running from the current, while “In the future, I would like to be able to perform Y task within three clicks” will move things forward. Always define the requirement and goals vs. stating the obvious, yet hypothetical, “anything is better.”

When documented, function requirements can seem lengthy and, in some instances, contradictory. Despite this, it is wise to have these requirements clearly spelled out. The functional requirements outline the system framework and integrations as well as what HRIS/IT defines as the architecture based on company policies and technical objectives. These conversations will typically include business decisions around on premise (solutions purchased and implemented internally that are fully managed by IT) or SaaS, or software as a service, solutions, that are hosted by a vendor and accessed through a browser. SaaS solutions come with a different level of security and make up the majority of recruiting technology solutions on the market today.

Sketch things out in full and capture all the details before moving forward. In the end, these efforts can take companies anywhere from two weeks to six months to complete.

Once this internal work is done, then it’s time to analyze the market, identify and review the solutions that are the closest fit to your organization’s needs. Taking this on too early in the process can create bias toward products and lead to division in the project team. Everyone involved should help research offerings and weigh in on the long list of potential vendors. When in doubt, there are third-party consulting firms that offer advisement on vendor solutions as well as reports covering each market sector. Keep the team together and focused on the task at hand, and your plan will remain intact and safe from the dreaded project creep.

Coming soon: The final installment in this series will take a look at the sourcing stage of the selection process, including how to handle making and reviewing the request for information.