Show me the future!
While the ATS war rages on, there is a new battleground slowly building momentum on the fringes of the talent acquisition eco-system focused on sourcing tools for technology talent.
The majority of you reading this blog will be familiar with LinkedIn Recruiter or a version of LinkedIn’s diminishing offerings (depending on your budget) and you’ll likely have tried to build a credible reputation on Github and accessed StackOverflow. For the uber-techy sourcers, you might even be looking at how to use Kaggle to source Data Science professionals.
As a talent acquisition professional that has focused his career sourcing technology talent for 14 years, tools that promise to increase my prospects of finding and identifying Developers, DevOps and Data Science practitioners across multiple social channels and platforms, is going to get my attention straight away!
For this reason, I decided to ask for demos of 3 sourcing tools currently making their way in the UK market.
The criteria for assessing these tools was based on my requirements for return on investment (ROI); as a freelance TA Project Manager, I really don’t have an endless budget for tools and systems to support me in my projects and assignments with clients. I have to factor all my costs into a daily rate or project cost that allows me to make enough margin to cover my travel and accommodation costs and pay my mortgage.
For this reason, I decided to ‘go shopping’ like any customer would and consider the following:
- the speed of response to my initial enquiry about the product
- the demo and overall presentation of the product
- the product
- the price of the product
- and, post demo activities
: and I decided to create a scale to measure my thoughts, reactions and decision thought process for each demo.
1. The speed of response
AmazingHiring, Talentwunder and Hiretual all had a ‘Demo our Product’ page and I completed this with all the required information and then ‘waited’. It’s worth noting that my message contained a narrative that I will be joining a new client in February 2019 and I’m assessing tools to recommend to this client – this was 100% true.
Interestingly, AmazingHiring – and their representative, Yulia Kuzmane – had attended a recent event I was also at and we’d been introduced, however, I wasn’t aware she was part of the AmazingHiring team. She followed up personally to offer me a demo of the tool very quickly after the initial contact. Score: 3
The contact with Hiretual was a little more chaotic; I received contact from one of their team on the 4th February 2019 (after the form filling on the 31st January 2019); we had contact again on the 6th and 7th February and I finally spoke their US-based Sales Manager on the 11th February 2019. Score: 2
Talentwunder responded after about 1-week; I’d submitted my request on the 31st January 2019 and their Sales Manager contacted me on the 8th February 2019 to set-up a demo. Score: 1
In this first stage of my shopping experience, AmazingHiring certainly had the early lead for a combination of reasons; 1). They are active in the UK recruitment and talent acquisition community – attending events and talking to ‘users’ adds value for both parties. 2). Personalisation in any B2C or B2B process will always increase the potential for a sale. 3). Simply acknowledging a request for information (or in this case, a demo) quickly and managing expectation is a positive action.
2. The demo
In my experience, a successful demo is delivered with a passion, enthusiasm and illustrates the expertise of the presenter and this will guarantee high-levels of audience engagement.
The Hiretual demo was memorable for one quote – “if you can’t afford the subscription fee, you shouldn’t be working with us” – this is slightly paraphrased, however, what I think the Sales Manager was trying to convey was that the tool justified the price. From my perspective, I just came away thinking I had been categorised as a low-level / low-revenue prospect that isn’t the ideal target audience. And you know what, I’m a pragmatist and I understand my subscription/licence for 1 person is not going to make any significant impact on the companies bottom line – but come on, I’m still a potential customer and I could turn up at an enterprise company sometime soon. Also, this was another Zoom presentation with no video face-to-face contact. Score: 1
The Talentwunder demo was conducted using Zoom and a shared screen, however, whilst I was ‘video on’ so the Sales Manager could see me – he choose to not turn on his video which I thought hindered our ability to connect during the course of the demo. As far as the actual flow, narrative and description of the tool’s value proposition, it was all very compelling and I didn’t find myself reading the slides myself – which can often happen when you’re just listening to a voice. The end of the demo was closed with a soft sales pitch about the pricing tier, however, I didn’t feel that I was being closed aggressively as a potential ‘sales lead’ as can often happen. The ‘close’ was friendly and open-ended in terms of a follow-up. Score: 3
The demo with AmazingHiring happened before the demos with Talentwunder and Hiretual, so perhaps, a benchmark had already been set in terms of personalisation and engagement. When I clicked on the Zoom link and was taken through to the virtual meeting room the first thing I saw was Yulia – video on and ready to chat. She opened with general conversation and she asked me what I wanted to learn specifically about the tool to ensure those areas were covered in more detail during the demo. Great start!
As we progressed through the demo, she pointed out the functionality that I was interested in and we went through a couple of test searches specific to the company I was joining in February. When she closed the demo, she also offered me a free trial of the tool and also set-up another v-meeting to get my feedback after the trial period. Even better ending! Score: 4
Because AmazingHiring had offered me a free trial, I went back to Hiretual and Talentwunder and asked if they would offer the same free trial; Hiretual didn’t actually respond to that question and Talentwunder said they could offer ‘the company’ a 2-3 day free trial – so I assume, they wanted the client engagement as opposed to offering me a free trial.
3. The product
To be fair to AmzingHiring, Talentwunder and Hiretual, in this section I will not delve into the detail of the tool’s functionality as my requirements are specific to me and there are plenty of other use cases for these tools. My initial criteria were on 1). User Interface (UI) 2). Search capability and results 3). Workflow management 4). Integration with ATS 5). Social searching
Hiretual’s UI seems to be derived from a LinkedIn-esque colour palette, however, if you were a first-time user, it’s very easy to navigate and understand the key functions of the sourcing, folders, insights/reporting and candidate sections. This is the same for Talentwunder, and I completely understand the reasons behind this; if you’re launching a new product to market, and you want traction, what you don’t do is release a radically different proposition to a conservative audience. In short, LinkedIn is easy to use for any level of the user and this drives adoption. AmazingHiring is slightly different in so much as it’s UI feels like it’s been designed by a technologist – it doesn’t insult the user – it assumes a level of competency with search tools and is built to serve a level of capability in terms of the function.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 3
The AI search builder for all 3 propositions appears to cover a vast number of technology search options – and certainly saves time inputting elongated boolean searches as an additional bonus. For a first-time user or new recruitment consultant, this will be very valuable and will supplement alongside in-house training.
The results from each search are displayed uniformly and you can instantly review real-time search results and numbers – very useful for refining search criteria before reviewing the ‘search results’. Additionally, I note that AmazingHiring has a very useful AI sourcing functionality that helps refine searches and avoids the returning of a number of irrelevant profiles – for trainee or entry-level sourcers, this would be a major advantage.
With regards to the results from searches – I only had the opportunity to run a couple of searches inside the demo for Hiretual and Talentwunder, and these were focused on Developers – however, it did illustrate the breadth of options that could be found in each search. AmazingHiring were more generous and allowed me a limited trial after the demo to further explore the search functionality which I found useful as I was able to fully test this against my current and future needs.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 5, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4
The workflow management for candidates was, again, logical across all 3 products, however, there were some differentiators. Hiretual has an option to invite other colleagues to certain ‘folders’ that include candidates saved from searches (again, very a la LinkedIn). Talentwunder has a whole ‘Project Management’ function for ‘Team Collaboration’ and ‘Talent Pools’. In terms of AmazingHiring, these types of functions didn’t appear to be on offer at this stage, however, you can see whether a person is already in the folder using the Chrome extension which and my understanding is that there will be feature upgrades in April 2019 which will provide further functionality and interaction with an ATS.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 3, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4
Hiretual partners with most new ATS propositions such as Workable, Lever and SmartRecruiters and other CRM’s, however, this is on a ‘push’ basis – in short, the systems are not interoperable – it’s one-way traffic. Add to this the fact that you’re actively encouraged to use the workflow management of Hiretual, duplication of admin tasks might be an outcome. I can’t actually recall whether Talentwunder offers ATS integration, however, I’d be surprised if it didn’t – at a basic level – allow you to export data on a CSV or Excel and then insert that into your existing ATS. AmazingHiring only appears to have integration capability with Greenhouse and the aforementioned option to export data, however, I did learn in the demo that they provide an API to corporate customers that support’s the build integration with any ATS.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 3, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4
I can’t fault Hiretual, Talentwunder or AmazingHiring on the number of sites that it has the capacity to search across; from LinkedIn, GitHub, AngelList, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and even Google. From a GDPR perspective, I was assured by the fact that all data presented publicly available data. The ability to unlock personal email addresses and find new information is a very powerful option that is offered by all these tools, however, with ‘great power, comes great responsibility‘.
AmazingHiring and Talentwunder were both very specific about ‘how’ to use the data available, in line with GDPR, and they both pointed out their code of ethics in terms of approaching candidates and making them aware of ‘how’ they were found and giving them the option to opt in/opt out of further conversations.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 3
This is a simple comparison of numbers:
- Hiretual – $6,000 annual subscription (single user)
- Talentwunder – €3,900 per annual subscription (single user)
- AmazingHIring – $3,600 annual subscription (single user)
: if you go for options for more than one user, the price per user decreases. As the price was a key consideration for me.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 2
5. Post Demo Activities
After the demos, I’d set the expectation of each of the 3 companies and explained that I would be presenting my findings to my new client and that I would look to contact them again in 2-3 weeks time when I’d discussed the options. Both Talentwunder and Hiretual sent me the customary email asking for an update, only AmazingHiring actually contacted me to set-up a v-meeting to discuss my further thoughts on the tool’s suitability for my new client’s needs. From this meeting, it was agreed that in the short-term, my new client wasn’t ready for AmazingHiring, however, they left me with the option for another trial in 2-months time – a ‘reminder trial’ – to refresh my memory of the tool and to see if it was then suitable for my new client’s needs. A nice touch and quite sales-savvy in my opinion.
Additionally, AmazingHiring has also invited me to join webcasts that have been really useful in terms of a broader discussion around recruitment and the trends that are developing in the market.
Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 3
The final scores when accounted for are:
AmazingHiring = 34
Talentwunder = 29
HIretual = 27
: and I think anyone needs to consider these scores in the total context of the experience – not just the product specifically. If you were simply looking at the product specific scoring, it would look like this:
Talentwunder = 19
AmazingHiring = 19
HIretual = 18
: which illustrates a slightly closer product comparison. In this case, I think the differentiators are the ATS integration and how you can you and access the data you collate in the product itself – interoperability is key in a recruitment or talent acquisition technology ecosystem.
My closing thoughts are that the race to be the leading intelligent search tool is close and further developments and new functionality from each one of these companies will gather pace in 2019. I also invite Talentwunder, AmazingHiring or Hiretual to comment on this blog post as I am very open to feedback.