Meet the Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem

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EcosystemThe world of talent acquisition technology is a wide one. Applicant tracking systems; candidate relationship management tools; employee referral platforms; psychometric tools: the list of talent acquisition technologies seems ever-lengthening, winding through the industry like the sleek body of a never-ending python.

And the landscape of this wide world is always shifting: new tools arise in existing categories; new pain points are identified, giving rise to new categories of tools (social search platforms, anyone?); existing tools shift focus and merge with others to create broader platforms.

The point is, it’s hard to keep track of everything happening in the talent acquisition tech space. When so many solutions exist for so many problems, how do you know which solution is for you?

Enter the Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem,  an interesting piece of Talent Tech Labs’ quarterly Talent Tech Trends reports.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, executive director of Talent Tech Labs, a think tank focused on talent acquisition technology, describes the ecosystem as a “snapshot” of how the talent acquisition tech world looks at a given moment (i.e., during a particular quarter).

“Ask any of the companies on [the ecosystem] map what they’re solving, and they’ll say, ‘We’re solving hiring!’ They [say] they’re solving everything,” Kestenbaum says. “But many of these companies — and this is really important — are point solutions. [The ecosystem] allows recruiters, talent acquisition managers, CEOs of staffing firms, and heads of recruiting to figure out what technology they should be looking at to solve certain problems.”

A previous version of the Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem

The Creation and Evolution of the Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem

The idea for the ecosystem was born with Joshua Holtzman, one of the founding partners of Talent Tech Labs. Holtzman found that we was hearing pitches from HR tech companies left and right, and with so many pitches to sift through, it became difficult to sort the good from the bad.

“He needed something to clean up the noise,” Kestenbaum says. “The ecosystem was the first step toward that.”

The ecosystem, in its original incarnation, sorted the talent acquisition tech world into three categories: sourcing technology, interview technology, and hiring technology. Additionally, companies in each category were further separated into employer-focused services and candidate-focused services.

Recently, the ecosystem has gone through some changes.  The “interview” category, renamed “engage,” was broadened to include all candidate engagement technologies (e.g., employer brand creation and management platforms, skill assessments, etc.).

Talent tech labs also instituted a new color-coding system, for greater clarity. For example, “pink” means “assessment tools,” “purple” means “individual career management tools,” and so on.

“The market is always changing,” explains Kestenbaum. “New bubbles are becoming exciting spaces. We want to be able to highlight them and give them some space on the map to grow.”

According to Talent Tech Labs’ latest quarterly report, companies are selected for inclusion in the ecosystem based on two criteria:

“[T]he first is innovation, which we have defined as a unique value proposition, a strong and innovative client base, and/or being well-funded. The second criterion is influence. The companies and technologies depicted in our [e]cosystem must be influential. We measure influence based on sustained client traction and market/thought leadership.”

The Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem as an HR/Recruiting Tool

Overall, Talent Tech Labs’ ecosystem offers an easy way to visualize and understand the dynamic world of talent acquisition technology.

“Research drives our decision-making in the investments we make and the companies we decide to incubate,” Kestenbaum says. “[The ecosystem] helps us understand what companies are out there, what’s working, and what’s not.”

But the ecosystem isn’t only useful for investing and incubating. HR departments, recruiting agencies, and anyone else involved in talent acquisition can use the ecosystem to understand what the market looks like and the tools that are available to help them with their specific pain points.

In an ever-shifting and seemingly endless landscape, the ecosystem offers a chance to stop and survey one’s environment — until next quarter’s iteration, that is.

To download the latest Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem, click here.

By Matthew Kosinski