The Conspiracy Theory on Recruiting Tools

Finding the perfect candidate is completely exhausting. People who don’t recruit don’t understand the steps it takes a recruiter to find a perfect candidate and turn them into a perfect hire. It’s mind numbing,

Not only does the recruiter have to find the candidate, but we also screen them, sell the candidate to the manager, coordinate the interview (while keeping the candidate engaged). If we are ever so lucky on the first try, we get to offer the candidate a job, and as a recruiter, if we did our job correctly, we get the candidate to accept.

I’m exhausted thinking about the process and time it takes. Just think, this is when the process goes perfectly. Those who’ve recruited, know there’s no perfect process.

Why? because there are:

  • no perfect processes,
  • and no perfect tools!

Recruiting and sourcing tools have evolved over the years. The over-arching claim is that tools make your life easier.

In a perfect world, “yes,” they can make it easier to organize and plan your day to day activities as a recruiter.

The repertoire of tools ranges from, resume databases, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Sourcing Tools, email search tools, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital interviewing, Chrome extensions, etc.

All claim to be the solution that will save us. In reality, they don’t.


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I love technology! Ask anyone who knows me; I am the advocate.

It’s amazes me what people can do when they put their minds to it. Using technology to help us:

  • Find candidates.
  • Find emails and phone numbers.
  • Track candidates through the process.
  • Screen candidates.
  • Organize candidates.
  • Process candidates for hiring.
  • Market opportunities.

But please can they stop messing with us recruiters?

First, let’s just say we are fortunate to only have four tools that can manage the various processes (in our dreams I know). As a recruiter, we are moving back and forth between tools managing our process of sourced candidates, active candidates and pipelined candidates. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do all of this in one tool or even have all the tools interface with each other, creating a seamless process? It’s a dream for most of us corporate recruiter.

Then add another wrinkle; we get these tools and there are eight functionalities one tool can do but It’s missing two we would really like to have. So we search out other tools to see if they have the solution and we find they have the two missing components we need but they are missing three of the components our current tool has.


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We can’t win. Honestly, I sometimes think all the vendors sit together at a conference while we are listening to speakers and say, “Hey, we will do this good, and you will do that good. This way we all get customers and drive the recruiters crazy!”

It’s a CONSPIRACY. I tell you.

We then go from vendor to vendor and make recommendations and requests.

First response is typically, well we are in the process of making some enhancements to the tool which they feel we will love and these new additions will be released in a few months. It’s like a teaser.

Okay, but what about my request to add the functions we need?

Well by this time we all know the answer that’s about to be given.

Yes. You know what is coming, brace yourself! Those infamous words make EVERY recruiter cringe.

“It’s… on… the … roadmap.” ugh… (did you fall over too?)

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These words make me want to scream, and I know you want to scream too. Why? Because the roadmap is a long windy mountain road that endlessly goes nowhere with no end in sight.

That is how vendors keep us on the hook. It’s coming, and it will be available when our kids are recruiting.

I might be being a little overdramatic, but we know it’s true.

648 words later. I’m going to tell you something you already know.

There are no perfect tools.

There are some excellent tools out there, but we need better.

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We, recruiters, are being held to a higher standard with higher expectations. With every passing day, we are required to find better candidates, faster than ever before and move them through the process so the business can get back to doing whatever they do with minimal interruptions.

Our senior leaders want us to be more strategic and consultative while carrying 20-50 requisitions. When you add the five different tools we are using, it’s virtually impossible to meet these expectations.

We need help. We need to stop the conspiracy.

We know there are 1000’s of developers in the industry feverishly working each day on coming up with new solutions to help us reach our full potential.

We have all this technology.

We need better, faster and more efficient technology

How do we get there?

How do we stop the conspiracy and bring the developers and recruiters together and fill the gaps more quickly?

We collaborate and hold each other accountable. Yeah even now we are the customer paying for a service, we need to be held accountable too. There are many cases where we don’t look at the big picture. This is where vendors and recruiters need to come together regularly and discuss “what is working, what is not and make the adjustments to improve the tools.”

It is a two-way street. The customer owes it to the vendor NOT to just complain about what is wrong with the tool but to provide regular feedback on what is working and what is not and then offer up recommendations.

The vendor needs to listen to the customer objectively, think about what the customer is asking for and how many other customers would want this feature or option?

Vendors need to think outside of the box in providing solutions. If there are challenges and solutions aren’t immediately available, we the customer need to hear from you the vendor on “how can we make this better,” so we can do our job efficiently as possible.

Be responsive.

In the end, we are a customer, we pay for the services, and your services were selected because our organization felt the solution you provided would provide the results we needed.

As we know technology, processes, etc. evolve daily, our tools need to evolve too, and they need to be integrated into a seamless workflow.

What recruiters hate more than inefficient tools, is having to switch to a new tool because their old tool did not deliver. We know, the grass is not always greener on the other side. It’s imperative to have the partnership with the customers (recruiters) and not just the executives to ensure you are meeting the needs of the front-line users.

In the end, there is a common goal and together we can:

  • Increase efficiencies within the sourcing/recruitment workflow and,
  • Improve user experience, which includes both the recruiter and the candidate.

Let’s end the conspiracy and create the perfect tool!

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Matt Craven is a senior strategic sourcer & program manager at Schneider Electric. With 20 years of experience in talent acquisition in various industries including healthcare, financial services, energy, and technology. He drives results by finding the purple squirrels (not always with technology either) and gets his candidates to accept!

Matt leads various continuous improvement projects that drive talent acquisition as a “strategic partner” through research, data and building relationships. He helps shape how organizations look at recruitment functions.

Passion drives him. When he’s not out hunting for great people, Matt is spending time with the family in the Pacific Northwest, hiking, kayaking and exploring the beautiful beaches along the Oregon coast.

Connect with Matt on Linkedin OR Twitter.


6 Comments on “The Conspiracy Theory on Recruiting Tools

  1. Great piece, Matt. The advice that I give over and over is that there are no silver bullets. I don’t care what a sales rep is saying, there’s nothing that will do the job of a recruiter for you. If there was, they’d be bigger than Google and wouldn’t be selling to you.

    Setting clear expectations for every tool and measuring success against data are so important. I can’t tell you how many reps are stunned to silence when I tell them that their tool isn’t performing for us, and I can document where it’s falling short. Very few vendors are used to having to work the issue with the client or be accountable to results.

    1. Thanks Alex! I agree, it would be nice to have one silver bullet… but it does really come down to having selecting companies who will partner with you and do everything they can to improve their solution for you… Hopefully companies will really take this too heart and see it as an opportunity to gain market share and improve customer experience.

  2. Matt, you are right. Good product needs good feedback. I also realize that if we ask better questions we can often get better answers and everyone benefits.

  3. Matt, from the other side of the table, and with a roadmap to chart, build, etc. I’d love to be the possessor and seller of the perfect tool. But every single time you change a variable- and the list is endless- it creates downstream complications. Don’t use Chrome at your company? Oh. You do use Outlook? OK. No, we are switching to Gmail. Oh. We are a government contractor, OK. But not on this set of reqs. Oh. Our hiring managers give the final approval to go live on a req. OK. Except for reqs above 100K or EMEA. Oh. Who does those? That gets decided on a req by req basis. OK. Meanwhile, on our side: Java just updated and everything is broken. Oh. We can fix that. GDPR is here. OK. What gets pushed on the roadmap? Oh. Our Lead on that project just got a huge raise offer from another company, what do you want to do about it? Oh. We can work it out. Hey Customer XYZ called, they want a 172GB database ported and templated. When? By Thursday. Gee, that takes 80 hours of processing not including setup. Better set up a meeting. Hey the new UI design is nice- people really dig the horizontal scrolling. Works with big monitors! OK, great. Except about 1/3 said they really are used to vertical scrolling and they don’t want that to change. Oh. He wants the action menu on the left. OK then. She wants it on the right. Oh. How long to develop this list? 4 months. OK, that can work. But three more for test, and we better beta a dozen customers before dropping it into full production. Oh.

    Day in, day out, year in, year out. If it were easy, everyone would have it. It’s not rocket science and compared to “real” technology, it’s almost elementary at best, but the actual act of creating a sustainable, profitable (same thing) long-term team to produce and implement and service and improve the work, year in and year out? A lot easier to imagine than accomplish. Ask the many, many vendors who have come and gone in the 20 years we have been doing this.

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