Advice for Employers and Recruiters
Is your talent technology acquisition strategy like a wedding?
Welcome back to the High Volume Hiring Podcast, the podcast that features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high-volume hiring.
The High Volume Hiring Podcast
In this week’s episode, host Steven Rothberg, College Recruiter’s Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, talks to Peter Weddle, the CEO of TAtech. TAtech is the trade association for the worldwide community of organizations that provide technology-based tools for recruiting.
Peter shares his experience of being able to look over the shoulder of the early entrepreneurs in the TA tech space, the importance of having a clear goal in mind when utilizing a new talent technology solution, and how recruiting teams should address the difficulties in implementing talent technology.
Listen to the full episode here:
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Welcome to the High Volume Hiring Podcast. I’m Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search, site College recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career. This podcast features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today’s guest is my friend Peter Weddle, the c e o of TA Tech, the trade association for the worldwide community of organizations that provide technology-based tools for recruiting. Peter, welcome to the show.
Hi, Steven. It’s great to be here.
Awesome to see you again, and to be with you. Hey Peter, for the listeners who might not know that much about you or TA Tech, maybe take a minute or two and tell ’em kinda like where you came from, what your career path was, and also maybe a favorite horror story,
<Laugh>. Well, there’s so many to pick from <laugh>, I, I I guess it all began back in the in the early nineties kind of date me. I, I sold a company that was pre-web, but arguably one of the largest in the country that was using computers to match people in jobs. I sold it mm-hmm. To Sirion. Mm-Hmm. And I was looking around for my next gig, and I landed the opportunity to write a biweekly column for the Wall Street Journal on this new thing called the internet mm-hmm. <Affirmative> in, in particular the employment space. So I had the good fortune to be able to look over the shoulder of all the early entrepreneurs in the talent technology field from the early job boards, the early talent marketplaces, the early aggregators, and then increasingly artificial intelligence and programmatic ad buying and so forth. And I did that until Murdoch bought Newsco or bought Dow Jones, excuse me. And at that point, it just seemed to me that the industry had matured enough that it deserved a trade organization. So I founded TA Tech
Awesome. And the original name for ta Tech International Association of Employment Websites. I kind of got the feeling that it was like a Wheel of Fortune competition and that you didn’t have to buy any vowels
<Laugh> Well the, the acronym sounded like the International Brotherhood of Plumbers. Oh, yes. I, I, I, I, I grant you. But you know what, we, at that point, we were still casting about it to, to figure out what we were gonna call this crazy new field. It did land on talent technology, hardly original, but you know, it, it seemed to me that the, the people who were in the business of using technology to solve talent acquisition challenges and problems you know, they deserved a handle. HR Tech had been around for years. They deserve their own specific handle. So we created TA Tech.
Yeah. And TA Tech does, is, is a really great, much shorter way of describing it rolls off the tongue. I think everybody knows what, what, what you’re referring to. So it was, it was a really good name change. And you, and you’re right, it’s organizations like the company that, that I found at College Recruiter. Yeah. We fit into HR Tech, but more specifically we fit into, into TA Tech. So it’s sort of, it’s, it’s a much more it better aligns with what we do. What, what are some of the other kinds of organizations that, that belong to Ta Tech other than job boards?
Well more recently we’ve had a lot of new members in programmatic ad buying platforms, conversational AI and chatbot solutions, c r m platforms, recruitment marketing companies. We’ve always had a presence in the a t s segment of the market. So virtually any organization, principally companies, but also associations in some cases that use technology to provide a product or service for employers.
Hmm. Okay. Cool. So, yeah, man, that really runs the gamut. They’re, they’re right assessments at t s chat bots there, there’s so many that fit into that.
Yeah. And, and now we’re pushing the envelope. We’re looking at blockchain and Web three and, and you know, really new kinds of new kinds of technology altogether. So it’s never a dull moment.
Yeah. A anybody who says that there’s no improvement or evolution in this space, that all they have to do is just come to one of your conferences, and I think they’ll be floored within about the first 10 minutes. So, you know, a mu a mutual friend, somebody that I greatly admire, somebody that I know you’ve worked with a lot over the years, Madeline Lono published some, some work recently for her company, aptitude Research that, boy, there was a statistic in there that I kind of looked at it and was like, seriously? But she said something to the effect of that 48% of recruiters are satisfied with their talent technology stack. So, you know, a slight majority are not satisfied with their own tech stack. What’s going on? Why do you think that
Is? Well, there are, you know, a host of factors, but I think two are most important. And they sort of focus on the beginning and the middle of the buying process, if you will, in the beginning. Oftentimes companies don’t have a clear goal in mind. Why are we buying this technology? What are we trying to accomplish? What KPIs are we trying to achieve? What problem are we trying to solve? And if they don’t have that clear goal in the beginning, people are gonna be disappointed when it comes on board because it’s not gonna do what they expected it to do. But the other problem, and I think probably the more significant one is problems with implementation. There was some research done by Forbes, which found that the dirty little secret of the IT department is that 50% of IT projects fail.
So we look at these people in the IT department and we think, oh, these guys are, you know, tech gods, they really understand how to make this stuff work. And in point of fact, you know, they’re human and they, they get it wrong half of the time. And the research revealed that when you probed the causes for implementation failures, only 3% of the time was the cause a, a technology deficiency, a problem with the product 97% of the time. The problem was with the implementation process, the way it was brought into the organization, the way the organization prepared for and introduced it to the staff, involved the policies and procedures that might have been affected and so forth.
We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the high Volume Hiring podcast. So, imi, you know, you know my wife well, faith Rothberg, and she’s the CEO of College Recruiters. She comes from a technology background. She graduated from college. She worked as a computer programmer for Ford. She was in management information systems consultant for KP m g in what she has told me many, many times over the years, aside from I need to bring her flowers more often, is that she is that
She asked me to remind you. She asked me to remind you as well, that it’s been a while. Yeah, <laugh>,
It actually has been a few weeks, so I suppose I’m gonna have to get on that. The but she, one of the things that she really helped me see is that, is that it is one of those fields where you have to be perfect every time that there, there’s no, there’s no room for error sales, business development, customer support. You can make mistakes and then make up for them and just, you know, apologize, make, make good and whatever. But you have any errors in it, and it’s just kind of unthinkable. And I know that the developers who work for us and that the tech folks people who work with technologists that are listening to this w would agree that, man, if there are a hundred steps to implementing a new technology solution, you have to get every single one of them right in, in order for that to work. So I guess I’m not really all that surprised at, at that 97% number. So if implementation of talent technology is, is so difficult, is such a problem what do you suggest that recruiting teams do to address that?
I, I think it’s important to be thinking about implementation from the very beginning. When you, when you make a decision that you’re going to acquire a piece of technology you, you want to not just focus on writing the R F P and and, and vetting all the solution providers and finally picking the company that’s gonna be involved. You wanna be thinking about what, what impact will this new product have on our policies, on our procedures, on our processes, on the, the skills and knowledge of the people involved. And not just recruiters, by the way, but also by recruiters, customers, those hiring managers that they’re serving. So you, you, you really wanna know the impacts or as best you can upfront. And then you wanna understand who’s gonna be your champions in the organization and also who are gonna be your resistors so that you can deal, you can deal with those folks in a timely and effective way. And
Is that something that the recruiting teams should primarily be doing internally? Is that something that the vendors need to do a better job with? You know, if, if they’re talking, if, if the TA folks are talking to an ATS company a, a a, a chat bot company, a job board, whatever, is that something that they should say to the vendor, the vendor needs to do a better job with that? Is that fall more within the talent acquisition group? Is that both where, where do you see that, that extra layer laying?
So I think maybe the best way to, to approach it is to use what I call the wedding tradition. You want to invite everybody to the party and what that means is that yes, of course the solution provider has to be involved, but the solution provider is really all about making sure that their product works. So they’re gonna help with the integration into the tech stack as best they can. They’re gonna work with the it team as best they can. But there are huge aspects of a new technology coming into a recruiting organization that they are not able to, to really deal with. And we’ve, we’ve mentioned several of them already. So oftentimes a, a new piece of talent technology is an exercise in change management. You know, what, what parts of the process are gonna be changed, what parts of the procedure, what changes will there be in procedures?
And even it is PO possible that there might be some changes in policy. So you’ve gotta really get everybody who’s gonna be involved on that project team and talking to each other. And the sooner that you do that, the better. I mean, we, we’ve, we’ve been working on a handbook and, and we’ve been we’ve been blessed to have some contributions from senior level talent acquisition executives. And one of the things that they pointed out was that it’s very important to have the compliance team involved from the very beginning. Now, that’s not somebody you would typically think about in a, you know, a new technology acquisition, but you want to make sure that the compliance team is represented not only on the acquisition part, to make sure that the product coming in, in no way upsets, derails, interferes with the company’s de and i goals, but also that the, its implementation lives up to any representations that were made about what the product can or cannot do with regard to compliance.
You mentioned D E I I can absolutely see how from a compliance standpoint, there, there are some real hot button issues there. We wanna make sure we do this and not that. I think another example would be privacy with the plethora of privacy laws that, that have already been enacted globally, that are going to be enacted globally. It astounds me how many organizations are turning a blind eye to that with the vendors they’re choosing. And you’re, you’re liable for what your vendors do. You know, if, if you’re, if you’re gonna implement an a t s that does not hold the data in a way that’s compliant with the privacy laws in a area of Brazil and you’re hiring people in that area, you’ve got some problems. And I think that the compliance folks that you’re talking about would just, their, their whole orientation to how they get their work done to the issues they’re looking for. They’re gonna be looking for those issues. I could certainly see why, why a TA leader might not want to bring in the compliance people because they might not want to get that answer be sort of willfully ignorant. Is that I, I would imagine that you’ve run across some of some instances like that where, where it’s kind of like, if I close my eyes to the problem, the problem doesn’t exist.
Well, I think you can look at it this way. If you get the compliance experts involved in the beginning, you’re less likely to have to rely on the lawyers later on in the <laugh> in the process.
<Laugh>. Yeah. That, that, that is absolutely true. You know, but I think before you and I knew each other I I graduated from law school. I was actually still, still in law school. I was working for a Fortune 50 company Honeywell, and I was working in their HR legal office. And just you mentioning getting the lawyers involved, kind of like towards the end of the process. I can’t tell you how many times we would have conversations like that. Like if the HR person had come to us and said, can I do A or B? And we would’ve said, you can absolutely do B and here’s how you do it. And we’ve done this 50 different times for the love of God, don’t do a <laugh>.
And so promptly, you know, what happens when they didn’t consult is that they did a and you know, it’s, it’s, it’s it’s a lot harder to clean up a mess than to avoid a mess in the first place.
Right. And, and a lot of times, yeah, it’s, a lot of times it’s sort of a six of one half of a dozen or another. It’s like, we could do A or B doesn’t really matter, and just not because they’re trying to break the law or create a problem, but it’s just they haven’t been down that path before. I think a lot of recruiting leaders that maybe were in say, I dunno an organization that’s like a in retail or hospitality and highly successful there, and then they go over to say, healthcare or financial services, highly regulated industries, they just don’t know of, of the, of the problems that they might encounter. And so they accidentally get into those. Well, you know, be, before we run outta time on this I, what I’d love for you to do is to give the listeners a, a little bit of a, a peek around the corner. I’ve been to boy at least a dozen of the event stating right back almost to the, to, to the beginning of the association. And I know you’ve got a, a big one coming up in May, so maybe you can let the listeners know if they want more information on Peter Weddle, on TA Tech on the, the conference in, in May and Austin and how they should do that. Well,
Thank you for asking that. Our, our event coming up in May in Austin is called TA Tech North America and the World Job Board Forum. And it’s described on our website, ta ta tech.org/events. And we’re also doing a similar major market conference in Europe, TA Tech Europe, and the E M E A job board forum in London in November. So if you can if you’re interested in business in the North American market, the conference in May is sort of the place to be. If you’re interested in the European or E M E A market, the the event in November is probably where you wanna be.
Oh, that, that is fantastic. College recruiter will for sure be at the North American one. And I suspect we’ll probably also be at the European one, and, and, and hopefully it’ll be me personally in one of those seats. For people who want to contact you how should they do that?
Well they, they’re welcome to contact me by email. My email address is Peter Weddle, my first and last name. My last name is spelled w e d d l firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fantastic. Peter, it has been great sharing a little bit of time with you and look forward to seeing you hopefully in the spring.
Stephen, thank you for having me. I’ve enjoyed it as well, and give my best to faith.
Thanks for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I’m your host, Steven Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at email@example.com. The High Volume Hiring podcast is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts and College Recruiter. Please subscribe for free on your favorite app. Review it five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know who want to learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.
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