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Thought Leadership

Four Ways Talent Acquisition Technology Will Change this Year

From artificial intelligence to cognitive diversity, there are lots of exciting developments on the horizon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
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Talent acquisition technology continues to make remarkable strides, surprising even those of us intimately entrenched in the industry. Keeping up with all the innovation is difficult, but something our incubator works hard to do. With 2017 just a few months old, we'd like to share what we've been analyzing and the big ideas we see on the horizon. This looks to be a pretty exciting year.

1. Cognitive Diversity Rises to the Top

Diversity has long been an important topic in the world of recruiting and hiring. Studies support the benefits of introducing a more diverse workforce, and today's worker craves the array of ideas it brings to their job. Of course, when we hear diversity, we generally think of it in the traditional sense (known as "legacy diversity," which focuses on demographics and culture). Today, legacy diversity is still an important part of the puzzle, but there's an even deeper consideration of the word.

Diversity of thought and experience is just as important to seeing innovation at its peak. Deloitte touched on this reassessed definition in 2013, when researchers dove deep into harnessing the various personalities and backgrounds of the modern worker. The result was two additional types of diversity in addition to legacy:

Experiential diversity consists of physical and social identities and how those differences impact the individual's past. Thought diversity is an individual's actual internal hardwiring, touching on the biological and neural makeup of the brain and how that affects lived experiences and will affect future decisions.

This is exciting stuff, because it means we are considering each hire at his or her core, which also means we're critically examining the positions within our own organizations. It's no longer about skills and culture, it's about team development and how that synergy will change business results, good or bad.

How's Technology Responding?

As face-value business and hiring decisions are left behind, employers are adopting candidate matching systems that integrate a more 360-degree view of the candidate. This ensures a more systematic and sophisticated look at the skills, experience and personality of an individual. Take a look at Majio's new PlacementFeed candidate matching tool. Another response to this trend is the rise of blind-assessment tools (check out Blendoor), which eliminate names, pictures and other information that often cause bias, allowing a candidate to stand on his or her skills and experience.

2. AI Vendors Will Sink or Swim

Artificial intelligence has been a pretty hot topic with the emergence of IBM's Watson and the overall fascination humans have with mechanical intelligence. This is the base of technology, after all. What the year ahead will unveil is a more direct idea of what qualifies as AI and what qualifies as smart automation. More and more consumers and employers will become keenly aware of the difference, putting the technology provider in the spotlight. Talent-acquisition professionals will join that enlightenment as well. To put it plainly, if your tech doesn't learn from interactions or build actual relationships with the user, then it isn't AI.

What's this Mean for AI Vendors?

Prepare proof for your claim. Tomorrow's users and buyers are more than informed -- they speak the language. If the vendor mentions AI, expect the potential customer to ask how the technology learns and from whom. We can't say that real AI will make an appearance in 2017 -- in fact, some say strong AI won't be here for another few decades. This is mostly due to technology being unable to tackle things like identifying voice inflections (sarcasm), understanding motive or reaching far past the algorithms. Strong AI shouldn't need to be trained, instead, it will learn as a human does: by experiencing interactions throughout its life. Of course, if you happen to have a product or service with competent automation capabilities, the market is looking for it. Heard of Avrio yet? See how Avrio leverages machine intelligence to support recruiters and candidates alike.

3. Inflation of Temporary Labor Marketplace Acquisitions

The temporary labor market is growing like never before. The statistic that 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is contingent, while a little deceiving, is more than a little overwhelming. Technology is at the heart of this boom, with communication at an all-time high and on-demand services introducing a whole new employment model. Of course, with growth of the temporary labor market comes an oversaturation of the market.

The Future of Temporary Marketplaces

Oversaturation is nothing new, which means the pattern of reaction isn't hard to see. The strong vendors will remain and those that are unprepared will either join up with later-stage companies or move out of the market. This isn't all doom and gloom nor is it a death notice. In fact, it's a chance to begin planning your risk-management and sustainability programs.

4. White-Labeling E-Staffing Solutions

Finding talent has always been a top concern for talent-acquisition professionals -- it is their profession, after all. As TA technology matures, new solutions come along, too. E-staffing gives employers the power to use web-based tools for sourcing temporary and permanent workers via staffing agencies.

What's New About E-Staffing?

Again, not a new tool, but the approach to its use will shift. More and more e-staffing vendors will begin white-labeling their solutions to staffing agencies and may even become recruitment-process outsourcers.

Did we miss a critical prediction you see coming around the corner? Let us know on Twitter @TalentTechLabs.


Jonathan Kestenbaum is the executive director of Talent Tech Labs, which engages in investigation, research, validation and acceleration of talent acquisition technology by fostering and connecting early-stage companies with forward thinkers in the industry.

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