Stack Jenga – When A.I. just can’t help

Most organisations have one, some have a few, and then there are those that have none. What I am referring to is a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or in today’s cool kid terminology “HR tech stack”.
When software engineers talk about tech stacks they talk about languages in terms of Java, PHP, SQL. In the HR world, when we talk stack it’s more likely we are referencing the vendor. Company A may be using a Clinch, Sonru, Taleo, SAP, or enBoarder as a stack for example.
Now that I’ve brought you up to speed on terminology, what does Jenga and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have to do with your stack?
[bctt tweet=”What does Jenga has to do with your recruitment tech stack? @stanrolfe shares more.” username=”ATCevent”]
Let’s start with A.I.. For the last year or two A.I. has been the buzz. A.I. is the nirvana we’ve all been missing and waiting for. The efficiencies it will create will see us spending more time on the value add stuff we often neglect whilst drowning in administration, and manual tasks. It could also mean more time on the golf course, or spent with family and friends.
Whilst I’m still waiting to see A.I. in recruitment really take off, my concern is that A.I. is only contained within the product. The efficiencies you gain are within the functionality of the product itself. But that’s great, it’s exactly why we got it. So what is the issue with that? Hold that question for a moment.
Jenga, do you remember this game? Removing bricks, or tiles and placing it at the top to make the tallest tower without it crumbling to the ground? Think of each brick as part of your HR tech stack. It’s really important to make sure it all fits together securely to form a tall tower. If you start pulling the wrong brick, place it the wrong way, sooner or later it comes crashing down.
Software integration (your various tech stack vendors) will make you or break you. You could have all the best A.I. tools going, but if your integration solution isn’t up to scratch, all the efficiency you thought you saved will disappear right before your very eyes.
What do I mean? Recently I was involved with implementing several new assessment tools, which needed to be integrated into an ATS. The tools selected would reduce the amount of time recruiters spent screening applicants through automation. Whilst we asked the necessary questions during the pre-sales process, we thought we had covered it all.
It was only after implementation had commenced that we started to find limitations to the integration. Manual processes needed to be deployed because of these limitations. All the time we thought we had saved through automation was gone. The Jenga tower began to wobble.
[bctt tweet=”Before you jump headlong into implementing a new tech stack, here are a few things you should know.” username=”ATCevent”]
You would think the vendor would have examples with past or current clients who use the same stack and the limitations within these integrations. The great ones will, those that don’t either forgot, took advantage of you not asking the question, or simply wanted to close the deal and work with the consequences later.
So how do you build the tallest Jenga tower?

  • Don’t assume anything. E.g. that an ATS or job distributor integrates with SEEK. Ask if that integration exists and what limitations there are. I learnt this the hard way where an ATS I helped select didn’t integrate with SEEK. That meant I was copying and pasting parts of the ATS URL and manually uploading it into the SEEK ad. Not ideal.
  • Ask to speak to current clients using the same stack who recently implemented and find out what challenges they had from both the client and the vendor.
  • Get the integration/implementation person or Product Manager on the call during the sales cycle. Sometimes the sales person just doesn’t know the technical limitations of various integrations.
  • Just because a vendor is a integration partner or is available in your current ecosystem, doesn’t mean the integration will provide a smooth transition. There will be limitations. You need to find out what these are.
  • Be warned of the “Open API” sell. Ask for documentation.
  • Get your IT folks in on the call early, they’ll help you through the tech stuff, although those integration issues may still present as they may not be familiar with your processes.
  • Engage a third party, independent consultant (no commission for sale) for those larger purchases who have been through this repeatedly and will save you time and money in the short term.

So to sum up, no matter how great your A.I. tools are, if you get your integration wrong your HR Jenga stack will fall over. Your team will never want to play Jenga with you again, and you’ll be stuck playing solitaire.
Image: Shutterstock

Talent Acquisition (TA) is on the cusp of a new wave of innovation and the 12th Australasian Talent Conference will be shining the light on it – say hi to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Find out more here.

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One Response to “Stack Jenga – When A.I. just can’t help”

  1. Big shout out to all those who contributed to a question on the Facebook Group Talent Product Plays where some of the tips came from. If you’re wanting great insights into HR Tech product head over to this highly engaged group.


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