With the recruitment world now powered by software, the search for solutions that actually do what they claim to do has become ever more complicated. From recruitment databases and applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to phones and document storage, recruiters have to navigate a buzzword barrage that can distract them from the main goal: finding IT systems that help a team be more productive and generate more revenue.
The issue is that tech providers often use buzzwords like “cloud,” “mobile,” “social,” “scalable” and “robust” indiscriminately. In some cases, salespeople honestly don’t know what those words mean, but they are told to use them. In other cases, software vendors use them somewhat deceptively—and they know it.
If you’re shopping for recruitment software and hardware, I would recommend keeping an eye out for three buzzwords that notoriously confuse, deceive and ultimately frustrate firms:
With the advent of the smartphone, suddenly every single piece of software became ‘mobile.’ We have mobile apps, mobile access, mobile-friendly and plenty of other binary mobile buzzwords. But if you dig deeper into software that is supposedly mobile, you’ll often find three things:
1. Only some of the desktop functions are actually available on a smartphone or tablet. You think you can add candidates to your recruitment database on the go, only to find that you can just view candidates.
2. Instead of using responsive web design that enables easy viewing and use on any mobile device, a lot of “mobile” sites will force you to constantly pinch and pull your smartphone screen to see the full interface.
3. “Mobile access” could imply that you can use your software on any smartphone or tablet—in other cases, you might have access on either an iOS device or Android device only.
Because buzzword definitions are so malleable, you have to figure out what you’re actually getting when you see the word “mobile.”
“Cloud” probably gets misappropriated more than any other tech buzzword. Cloud service, cloud apps, cloud infrastructure and just about any other word now gets attached to “cloud” by vendors. Unfortunately, some of them picked the wrong word.
Some software vendors say they’re “cloud-based”, but they actually offer software that is designed to be used on-premises. Because they know you don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands or even millions on IT infrastructure, the vendor now “hosts” the software for you on their own servers. This could mean there’s one building with one server room.
On the other hand, cloud solutions have multiple server environments and multiple datacenters to back your software. That means if one datacenter goes down or loses data, multiple others will keep you running and have redundant copies of your data. Instead of experiencing downtime and losing placements, your firm continues working without the slightest interruption.
“Scalable” is one of those buzzwords that always comes after a few others, like “We offer a high performance, robust and scalable solution.” Scalability can be highly misleading and it’s extremely important.
“Scalability” is a technology’s ability to handle a major increase in users, data or activity without suffering performance issues. The buzzword is supposed to communicate that the software can grow with your company. A lot of cloud solutions are also scalable because if suddenly you triple your data and user base, the chain of datacenters can accommodate the extra demand.
Most solutions can’t scale dramatically because they don’t have the infrastructure to support growth. Make sure you investigate the datacenter(s) that your vendors are using behind the scenes.
So How Do You Navigate the Buzzwords?
If you’re buying software for a recruitment firm, enter the search process armed and dangerous. Know what things like cloud, mobile and scalable mean so that you can effectively question vendors and quickly determine what their solution does.
Also, enter the process knowing what you want. Salespeople are trained to convince you that you need what they offer, and often times you don’t. You may discover some features you didn’t know about and like, but at least have a baseline so you don’t get talked into the wrong solution.
Remember, when you shop for software, you’re not just shopping for technology—you’re looking for a company that has the industry knowledge and problem-solving skill to make that software optimal for your business. You want a partner that is committed to seeing your company grow and thrive. So know your buzzwords and shop features—but at the end of the day, shop the people behind them.