CallI love a good comedy. In fact, I even enjoy not-so-good comedies. I find myself quoting my favorite lines on a daily basis in response to what life throws my way. One of my favorites comes from Will Ferrell’s character in the movie Zoolander: “They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

What does this have to do with HR? With staffing? With recruiting? In short, everything! Recruiting and technology are bedfellows — an undeniable fact in the 21st century. Social media, job boards, job aggregators, resume banks, and mobile technology have altered our industry forever, but sometimes, I just want to stand up and say, “It’s the same face, doesn’t anybody notice?”

Then, the Phone Rings

How many times have you been contacted by a savvy salesperson to be told there’s a new “greatest thing” that just hit the market and you need to have it? If you’re like me, sometimes it feels like a constant feedback loop playing in your ears. As a CTO of a leading SaaS provider of human resource and staffing solutions, I could be tarred and feathered for suggesting this, but not every new trend is really new, and sometimes, these trends don’t live up to the hype. Trends in recruiting come and go, and then come back again with slightly new packaging. Fifteen years ago, it was “artificial intelligence”; now, it’s “semantic search.” 

Further, even if the hype is “all that,” you need to ask around before you sign up for anything new. But, who should you ask? Start with your current vendors. Your ATS vendor is a source you should be able to trust. You do trust them, right? If not, perhaps it’s time for a new system — but that’s another conversation.

When a good working relationship exists, your ATS provider should be able to serve as a great resource for information. I can’t count how many times a client has called up to say, “I signed up for this service,” only to hear their disappointment when I remind them they already have that feature available for free. If only they had checked with us first!

Case in point: one client signed up for a very expensive mobile-site development project. He had forgotten our many emails and announcements regarding the no-cost or low-cost mobile options for career centers which he already had, but didn’t use. Worse still, I know a few clients who have purchased products or services that didn’t come anywhere close to delivering on what was promised by the vendor. 

Spread the Love

As a CTO, I have the advantage of talking to thousands of recruiters and hundreds of companies, learning what works and what does not work for each of them. I enjoy sharing what I have learned with anyone who cares. It makes my day when a client calls and asks, “Before I sign up with this new wonder-product, what do you think?” Regardless of whom your vendor is, I’m guessing they will be eager to share their hard-earned knowledge with you.

But human nature being what it is, you need to always make sure you follow the money. If a vendor recommends a product, ask this question: “Do you get a finder’s fee or commission if I sign up with this other company you are recommending?” If they do, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not being truthful about their recommendation — but it is good to know if they benefit from your choice. Being a SaaS company, my organization’s policy is to decline finder’s fees. We only recommend companies and services we believe in.  

So, next time you’re considering purchasing a piece of HR software, I recommend that you ask your vendors for their input before you make the plunge into the “next big thing.” Most people love to share their knowledge, and hopefully you have vendors who treat you more like a partner than a source of income.

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