As many can attest, the talent acquisition vendor landscape changes on a daily basis. Keeping up with all of the newcomers and established solution providers is a challenge.

Earlier this week, Brandon Hall Group launched our first annual Talent Acquisition Benchmark Survey to get a sense of how this practice area is maturing – in terms of both key practices and technology adoption. While the survey will give me a better understanding of how organizations are using technology to support their talent acquisition efforts, keeping tabs on vendor offerings and activity is an ongoing process.

That’s why I dedicate hours every week to in-depth product briefings in an attempt to stay informed on the latest and greatest. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the vendor landscape is shaping up, and how the terms like “applicant tracking system” have different meanings today than they did even two years ago.

Luceo Solutions is a perfect example. Luceo describes itself as a provider of cloud-based applicant tracking software (ATS) focused on creating a usable solution that makes it easy for small and mid-market businesses to manage the various components of talent acquisition. After the first 10 minutes, it was clear that Luceo is doing a lot more than applicant tracking – including email campaign management, social sourcing, and candidate experience management. Pretty advanced stuff, considering some 70% of their new clients are first-time ATS adopters.

Of course, Luceo isn’t the only solution provider building out functionality beyond a core ATS offering. Jobvite and iCIMS have added new features like video interviewing and onboarding tools. And almost any vendor worth its while is working to improve its integration capabilities with point solutions.

All told, this is making it a little more difficult to slice and dice the software landscape. I’ll be tackling this topic in a forthcoming report in Q1 of 2014, but that’s still months away. This week’s blog is something of a precursor, a first look at how the vendor landscape is shaping up and how I believe it will continue to develop – at least for the next six months!

Vendor Landscape At a Glance

As I it currently stands, the landscape can be broken down into three categories:

  • Applicant Tracking Systems offer basic functionality required to automate and manage sourcing, assessment, and hiring workflows. Features often include requisition creation and management, candidate sourcing and tracking, assessment and interview coordination, and perhaps lightweight candidate relationship management. Heavily commoditized, applicant tracking systems have quickly gone from the biggest thing in recruiting technology since the fax machine to a fundamental component of any talent acquisition technology strategy.
  • Point Solutions provide tools for specific functions. They are a popular solution for boosting performance of an individual process – like employee referrals or candidate sourcing – and often offer more advanced toolsets than you would normally find in an applicant tracking system. Examples include:
    • Sourcing tools like TalentBin
    • Employee referral platforms like Zao
    • Assessment tools like SkillSurvey
    • Video interviewing tools like HireVue
    • Recruitment marketing platforms like Smashfly
  • Talent Acquisition Suites. As you may have guessed, talent acquisition suites are a combination of both. They feature the core ATS functionality required to automate the essential components of the standard talent acquisition process, but also feature more robust toolsets for advanced process automation – either within the suite or via integration capabilities.

I would consider Luceo to be a talent acquisition suite, as well as Jobvite and iCIMS. The biggest players in the talent management space – SuccessFactors, Taleo, Cornerstone OnDemand, and Saba – also offer talent acquisition suites, as standalone products or as part of their integrated talent management suites. 

An Ever-Changing Landscape

Even writing through this, I can think of a number of solution providers and products that don’t fit neatly into any of these categories. For example, WePow recently reinvented itself to offer a bigger spread of talent acquisition solutions beyond its original video recruiting product, Wowzer.

Frankly, I won’t be surprised if, after all the time I spend trying to break down this dynamic industry, things look completely different this time next year. It’s the nature of the beast. By studying how the market shifts and changes, though, I can ensure Brandon Hall Group stays ahead of the game, and poised to guide our members through the sometimes-murky waters of vendor evaluation and selection.

Keep your eyes peeled for our forthcoming report, and be sure to check out the 2013 Talent Acquisition Benchmark Survey.

As ever, I invite you to reach out with any comments at kyle.lagunas@brandonhall.com

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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