What is slowing down the adoption of recruitment technology?


Both buyers and designers of technology need to come together to appreciate the true power of technology.

Amidst all the different-sized technology ideas incubated in the investment space today, the HR technology market stands at more than $15 billion in software alone.

Just the sheer size and the pace has been stratospheric; many start-ups in social and referral recruiting, assessment science, talent analytics, eLearning, and mid-market core HR systems are rapidly carving out their own spaces within HR technology.

What’s even more exciting is that new technologies to help effective employee communications, engagement, recognition, and healthy work environment are vying for an equal share of the investment pie.

As technology continues to be the favoured child of seed funds and investment firms, the world is seeing a commensurate surge in innovation. It is estimated that the top 50 HR technology investment deals amounted to more than $560 million.

And the largest chunk from this pool is invested in recruitment technology. However, despite this huge injection of funds, teething troubles and adoption inertia persist amongst users and consumers of recruitment technology.

Even though questions are raised on the high interest and slow adoption, the answer to the dichotomy does seem somewhat within reach.

Here are some of the major reasons for slow recruitment technology adoption:

Focus on business process design    

Technology is useless unless it can solve business problems.

Understanding of the end-user’s business helps in designing an appropriate business process flow for the system. Most of the times the adoption crisis comes into the picture when there is an imbalance amongst business process flow, core objective, technical design and adequate investment.

Customers cannot come up with changes in design each time they face an issue and it’s unfeasible for technology vendors to put re-development efforts for each update.

The key to success is to start with the output a business process needs to give. Recognise and map the individuals, stakeholders, connections and communications needed for the process to work. Accordingly, sketch a blue print. This practice lets the designer review the existing processes, practices and policies and eliminate the outdated ones to introduce new ones that help in achieving the strategic objective of a recruitment platform.

User experience is the new combat zone
Any technology (be it for sourcing, screening, ATS or any other) is built around two prominent characters – the recruiter and the candidate. And certainly, any technology falls short when it fails to reach the recruiter or the candidate expectations.

Recruitment technology adoption is like sales, whereby if a technology component is not adding ease of use, increasing productivity or having the ability to integrate and aggregate, the user will find it taxing to involve it in the everyday business process.

For instance, if a recruiter wants to source a position, he/she has to go through multiple channels, filter duplication and obsolete resumes.

If a recruitment technology integrates all these activities with easy access, the recruiter will happily shift to using it.

Therefore, recruitment technology vendors have to design the system keeping the user as the centre. One cannot just brag about the best features and practices in the system, if the user is unable to understand its value.

Customisation – I know my processes best?

Customisation beyond the core functionality of the product is a myopic approach.

Lots of buyers tend to ask for software that can mould to their way of working (however archaic it could be) rather than accepting new and innovative technologies. These technology customisations do not allow the buyer to use the industry’s best practices which are otherwise enabled in SaaS products.

Hence, the customised systems become non-usable soon after and users tend to find ways to avoid its use resulting in loss of time and money spent.

This exercise initially consumes too much time and money and over a period becomes a dead part of the software which, in the long term, minimises the performance of the product — further reducing the adoption rate.

Introducing or updating any technology does not come without risk, but a system focusing on the business needs of the users, their regular challenges and understanding the importance of only specific, need-based customisations will ease out some of the bottlenecks in adopting recruitment technology.

Imagine innovations such as real-time automated processes of scheduling interviews, updating status, blocking calendars, emailing necessary documents, gathering online-search based information, all happening concurrently through a BOT when an interviewer simultaneously chats with a candidate. These functionalities will aid the recruiter in more ways than one and have a huge potential to connect and scale.

There is a vast possibility of a significant increase in recruitment technology adoption.
But, it is not a one-sided job.

Both buyers and designers of technology need to come together to appreciate the true power of technology.

We only hope that new age technology providers are able to bring the two ends together and create products and ideas that are easily embraced and adopted. It is only then that recruitment can become the true flag bearer of HR technology innovation.


  1. Recruitment technology is yet to identify and match the gut feel of recruiter about the suitability of candidate to his expectations.Till then adoption of recruitment technology will continue as secondary tool.

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