The recruitment industry is rapidly evolving. With skills shortages in key fields, uncertainty over Brexit, and the ever-changing nature of the workforce, the expectations of recruitment firms are evolving. As a result, so too has the technology used by recruiters. In many ways, technology has evolved to meet the increasingly sophisticated techniques that recruiters are now adopting to maximise candidate sourcing and engagement.

There are many different recruitment technology options on the market, which makes choosing the right solutions often a long and complex process. The recruitment industry itself is not homogenous – businesses don’t all work in the same way, and many have unique requirements that necessitate unique technology solutions.

Additionally, since profit margins in the recruitment industry are being squeezed by increasing global competition and a tight labour market, making future-proofed tech buying decisions that will deliver strong return on investment is more important than ever.

Building a robust technology stack that is not an easy task, but there are some questions you can ask of your chosen technology provider before committing to them, to ensure that it will support your company through its next level of growth – and beyond. 

Is your tech supplier continuously innovating?

A good technology provider will have a clear roadmap in place for future product developments and – by extension – how it plans to innovate. For recruitment software, this should certainly include a roadmap for more advanced automation and artificial intelligence. Manual processes result in costly errors and damaged productivity for recruiters, so automating processes should be high on the agenda for all recruitment companies, if it isn’t already. The future state of the recruitment process will be undoubtedly shaped by machine learning, natural language processing, and other subsets of AI, so it’s worth preparing for it now.

Your provider should also be able to prove how it stands out from its competitors. This might mean highlighting specific features that competitors don’t offer but could also include couching differentiation in terms of scalability, breadth of integration partners, and ability to provide specific product versions that meets the needs of different types of recruitment business, including executive search and other specialist firms.

How far can the technology be customised?

It’s highly unlikely that a high-performing recruitment firm would run with a software platform out-of-the-box, with no level of customisation. Now that recruiters engage with candidates and clients across a wider range of digital channels, it’s important that your core recruitment platform can be integrated with email clients, social media platforms, mobile apps, and more.

Managing the recruitment lifecycle is complex, so strong collaboration between team members and departments is essential. Therefore, rather than running with several disparate platforms for different stages of the lifecycle, recruitment businesses are better suited to using one platform that can manage the entire process: start to finish.

And this platform should be capable of providing tools not just for client and candidate-facing activities, but also for used for back office activities like billing, invoicing, and time tracking. This is where an open technology ecosystem comes into its own. In other words, it’s key to work with a provider with extensible APIs that enable ease-of-integration, so that your platform can be configured to your specific needs.

The platform you choose should also be flexible enough to allow software developers to develop, test, and deploy their own third-party applications on top of the core platform – taking customisation to the next level.

Is the technology future-proofed?

Once you’ve established that your technology supplier is innovative and flexible, you’ll need to assess whether or not the platform is truly scalable. Your platform should scale effectively alongside your recruitment business, rather than forcing you to have to replace it with something else once you outgrow it.

Part of being future-proofed is having the aforementioned roadmap for innovation in place, and for the technology to be customised as a company’s needs changed. But it’s also about having a reliable, scalable system. Part of this is making sure you use software that is ‘true cloud’. There are a few key characteristics that make a solution ‘true cloud’; it should minimal installation requirements, be updated to bring out new features in real-time at no additional costs, be reliable, secure, and easily configurable with open APIs for customisation.

In the age of GDPR, part of future proofing your recruitment business will inevitably be improving its ability to manage and utilise data. Similarly, your solution should also promote better data management practices by acting as a single source of truth for all teams. Poor data management can be a real roadblock for growing recruitment businesses. A common example of this happening is when recruitment and sales teams are out of sync, meaning the business isn’t turning over client work as quickly and efficiently as it could be.

Finally, but perhaps most crucially, upgrading your technology infrastructure is time-consuming and expensive – you only want to do it once. This means making sure your provider is financially sound and exhibits signs of stability and growth. It’s not uncommon for software companies to drop out of the market, leaving their customers in the lurch. In short, part of making sure your technology choice is future-proofed is choosing an established, secure, and reputable provider.

Creating a bespoke technology stack that will adapt and grow with your business is crucial to achieving a strong ROI. By asking the questions above, you’ll be sure to find the technology that can help your business grow.