The Evolving Role of Technology in Talent: Insights from Industry Leaders, Part I of IV

By Chris Hoyt (he/him) posted 02-06-2024 04:11 PM


Welcome to the first installment of a four-part blog series aimed at exploring the evolving landscape of talent acquisition (TA) technology. This series, a precursor to a comprehensive research paper, brings together insights from approximately 50 talent acquisition leaders, practitioners, and industry experts under the umbrella of ‘tech vs touch,’ a topic of growing concern in the current landscape of HR and TA technology. As we delve into the current trends and drivers shaping talent acquisition today, I’m moderating these rich discussions, with co-facilitators and CXR Solutions community members, @Elaine Orler (She/Her), SVP, Consulting at Cielo and Eric Holwell, VP, Strategy at AppCast.

Transforming Talent Acquisition Through Technology

The role of technology in talent acquisition is more critical than ever, revolutionizing how organizations attract, source, and hire talent across various industries. Our panel of experts, including seasoned professionals from industries ranging from healthcare to logistics, are discussing how advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are at the forefront of this transformation.

John Higgins, Vice President of Talent Management at Essentia Health, highlighted their use of AI & ML for tasks ranging from programmatic advertising to chatbots and self-scheduling interviews. These are common uses of AI & ML among the panelists, including @Ryan Cook, Head of Talent Acquisition at E. & J. Gallo who notes they are using AI to streamline TA processes including generating search strings, creating candidate lists, composing engaging emails, matching job descriptions with resumes and more. As noted by Stephanie Scher, Business Technology Program Manager, for Vanguard, “AI & ML have become more accessible to the recruiting function, improving job descriptions and scheduling. Understanding the technology stack is crucial for capturing impacts and making implementation worthwhile.”

Beyond Efficiency: A Global Perspective

Our discussions have gone beyond mere efficiency to uncover how technology is expanding the horizons of talent acquisition. Kevin Wheeler, founder of the Future of Talent Institute, pointedly shared how technological advancements are not just streamlining processes but also opening doors to a world of opportunities. According to Wheeler, the advent of video conferencing and online platforms has been a game-changer, breaking down geographic barriers and enabling organizations to access global talent pools. This accessibility to a wider, more diverse range of candidates is revolutionizing how we meet our talent needs, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the quest for the best.

Wheeler also emphasized the shift towards more objective, data-driven hiring decisions facilitated by tools like AI, analytics, and skills assessments. This evolution in the selection process is making strides in improving diversity by focusing on skills and capabilities rather than conventional biases. It's a leap towards a more equitable and inclusive hiring landscape.

Knowing the Tech (old and new)

Despite the enthusiasm for technology's potential, our panelists have candidly shared the hurdles in its adoption. Resistance to change, integration complexities, and concerns over data privacy and security were frequently mentioned. As one example that stood out in our conversations, @Todd Phillips, Vice President of Recruiting at Total Quality Logistics pointed out the challenges of integrating tech tools and shifting mindsets, emphasizing the need to address foundational systems first while fully recognizing that today’s tech is essential for finding, connecting, and communicating quickly and effectively with candidates.

Following the observations shared by our panelists, we dove deeper into the collective experiences of our community to understand the core challenges of implementing new technology in talent acquisition. A survey received by hundreds of CXR members revealed that the biggest hurdle, cited by 43.9% of respondents, is the integration of new technologies with existing HR systems and processes. This challenge underscores the complexity of weaving innovative tools into the fabric of established practices. Additionally, 12.2% highlighted the need for training and upskilling HR staff, pointing to the gap between emerging technologies and current capabilities. Ensuring fairness and transparency in AI-driven decisions was a concern for 19.5%, reflecting the growing awareness around ethical considerations in automated processes. Resistance to change from traditional recruitment methods was noted by 17.1%, illustrating the cultural and behavioral barriers to adoption. Lastly, data privacy and security concerns were flagged by only 7.3%, emphasizing the critical importance of safeguarding candidate information but showing where this issue rates among panelists and practitioners when considering training, change management, ai-decision making, and systems integrations.

Looking Ahead

This collaborative effort, supported by the expertise of CXR Community members Cielo and AppCast, aims not only to explore current trends but also to pave the way for future advancements. It is worth noting that conversations like these are also ongoing within the CXR Community - a group of nearly 5,000 leaders, practitioners, and experts within the recruiting industry.

Stay tuned for more insights in the coming weeks as well as the comprehensive research document that will be made freely available to the industry. 


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