Corporate Eye

What’s New (and Who’s Who) in E-Recruitment Software

The 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant offers two scoops of info on all the major E-Recruitment players, plus a look at the up-and-comers.  Peopleclick has celebrated their location in the Leader Quadrant with complimentary access to the MQ, so I’ve been enjoying a stroll through the E-Recruitment landscape.

The MQ is always fun (for us wonks, anyway) because it does three things:

  1. Sets up the significant factors for evaluating vendors in a specific subject area
  2. Provides a nice visual of how the different players place in relationship to one another and to core considerations
  3. Offers a snapshot of what’s special—and what’s problematic—about each vendor

Thing #3 often includes some mild gossip (“customer references say XX is not very YY”), so the report makes for fairly interesting reading if you have the time and curiosity.   If not—or in the meantime—here are some highlights:

Gartner defines e-recruitment software as systems that “help to automate the requisition-to-hire process,” and characterizes this market space as “made up of recruitment specialists, ERP/human resource management system (HRMS) vendors and talent management suite vendors.”

According to Gartner, most customers responding to their survey (about 200, widely varied in size and industry) had “the basics” in place, and it appears that such fundamentals as requisitioning, candidate self-service, job board posting and applicant tracking are fairly similar among various vendor offerings.  The report goes on to describe several differentiators among the products included in the Quadrant:

  • Onboarding. Though “most vendors offer some sort of solution,” Gartner says there are significant functional differences, and niche providers are growing fast in this area.
  • Social Software. Amazingly enough, 22% of respondents say they are using social-software functionality from their e-recruitment vendor–but 34% report no plans to use social software. Here again, niche players are strong.
  • Interview Management. A difficult functionality area, according to Gartner, with some offerings significantly better than others.
  • Assessments. An important area for hourly hiring, with some providers excelling significantly over others.
  • Workforce Planning. Worth quoting:  “Understanding what demand will emerge for new hires, especially for critical roles in the organization, so that recruiters can proactively build talent pools, is the essence of workforce planning. However, only 16% of organizations have implemented it, and more than 50% had no plans to do so.”

Those differentiators were identified by survey respondents.  Gartner adds a few emerging areas:

  • Flexibility of Data and Workflow. Apparently . . .  much difference in degrees of flexibility regarding data captured in a requisition and on a candidate/applicant record.  “Some vendors require consultancies to modify workflows, others are more flexible.”
  • User Experience. Hmmmm.  “Improving the hiring manager and candidate user experience is key to addressing many challenges.”  Gartner says social software is “starting” to have an effect on this area” (I’d say that’s a bit behind the curve!) and that many vendors have “renewed or redesigned their user experiences to take advantage of advances in user interface technologies.”
  • Multinational Support. My note:  This is a complicated and increasingly important area of functionality that hasn’t yet received sufficient attention.  Gartner says: “Although many vendors offer several languages and flexible tools, few vendors provide out-of-the-box localization for multiple countries.”
  • Reporting/Analytics. Metrics for time to hire and cost per hire are standard, but some products also offer more sophisticated sourcing data.  There’s a growing focus on the quality of hire as well.  Gartner notes that some vendors build their own solutions, others rely on BI vendors.

Looks like I’m hardly even halfway through the report, so this post is Part 1!

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.