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The habit of buying and hoarding is not just restricted to home life. I see it all the time in recruitment businesses too.

Kit that was bought for a number of reasons: To fix a problem, because their recruiters wanted it, or because the sales person gave them a great deal.

Do you have, or you thinking of buying any of the following: CRM / ATS, Job Board Posting and Sifting software, Analytics software, internet scraping software, LinkedIn licensing, Facebook adverts, Servers, laptops, email archiving software, VOIP,  iPads, the list is endless (and I need to keep my words down).

Now I know that we are theoretically out of recession (shhh…).  My business is certainly seeing an increase in projects surrounding the strategic use of recruitment tech (especially CRM, cloud software, LinkedIn). During the recession funky and sassy recruitment tech seemed to breed like wildfire (BullhornEbstaTwitter and Cube19 for starters).  It really feels like it’s come out of nowhere and it’s everywhere.  You can’t go to a recruitment event without recruitment tech people being lined up with fab case studies about how their products will help you.

STOP the Bus!

Before you get uber confident and go into buying cycle, I want to share some practical advice on things that may help you make the right decisions, and you’ll notice cost is not at the top.

1. Job Spec

If the system / thing you want to buy was a person, what would its job spec be?  What could you expect of it?  How would you know if it was performing?  And could you fire it if it did not perform?  And  what do you need to do to get the best out of it.

Set it and forget it tech is really rare, so be prepared to train it.  And dare I mention KPIs…?  I advise all of my clients to measure their tech, for example, do you know how much money your CRM makes you?  You should if you are planning on either ignoring it or upgrading/migrating it. For example, Twitter is not a box ticker (or a job board), so try harder and think wider!

2.    Problem or opportunity?

Why are you considering a new tech purchase?  Do you have a specific issue to solve?  Perhaps it’s not a problem you have, rather an opportunity to be better.  Consider this: the last thing that most recruiters need is more tech. They probably need a more defined, measurable process. Perhaps they don’t need a new CRM, just an easier process and software to scrape data from the “big data” world.

Have you studied your processes to see what they really are?  I often see massive disconnects between directors and the processes that they think their recruiters are delivering are in the businesses.

Get this bit right and it’ll be obvious where your bottle necks and opportunities to improve are – and the tech decisions will follow rather nicely. For example, are you spending countless hours creating the most beautiful spread sheets and then have zero time to actually read and action them? Think about getting a decent analytic system.

3.    Who owns it?

For goodness sake, just because it runs on electricity does not necessarily mean that it is an IT deliverable.  Your IT function they may be too removed from recruitment to get how to get the most out of the kit and thus the product may fail.  The best people to own the kit are the ones who use it – yes, they can engage support from areas of the business, but not just palm it off on them as they are too busy billing.

4.    Problems Between the Chair and Keyboard - Humans really stuff things up

What plans have you got to ensure that your staff are going to get value from the kit? Don’t just upgrade them to a lovely LinkedIn Recruiter licence and let them free. Manage the training process, have an expectation and communicate that to them, then measure them on it. Otherwise why bother?  You’re leaving too much to telepathy and chance.

5.    Risky Business

Have you identified the risks of this technology?  Don’t be scared of tech. It’s normally pretty awesome and the new kids on the block (mentioned above) pretty much rock!  But all software and hardware has risks if you don’t treat it respect.  Time to think about education, company policies and SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

6.    Step Away from the Deal

I often see kit which has been bought but the reason for buying it is lost in the process – or rather the cost of the kit has become the definition of the purchase, not a criteria.  Step away from the pound signs and focus on points 1 to 5 above. Repeat and then get to the cash.  If you have taken decent steps with points 1 to 5, you’ll know the true cost (value / investment) needed and be able to make an educated, not price-driven, decision.

Following these steps will ensure that you and your staff have the right gear to get the job done and keep your business running smoothly.

Do you have any more?  Feel free to comment.

 (Thanks Recruiter for publishing this last month.)

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