The Lacking Intelligence with HR Technology Integrations (a.k.a. The Dongle Just Doesn’t Cut It)

The word “dongle” has become a part of my daily lexicon. It’s a very odd word that sounds strangely dirty. Everyone laughs when it comes up in a meeting. (See, you are laughing right now and I seriously am not trying to be provocative.)

The odd part of a dongle is the fact that it even exists. It connects one thing to another thing to yet another thing to make the first thing work.

Standard HR technology integrations work the same way most of the time. One technology, usually an ATS, has a bunch of dongles hanging off connecting various other pieces of component software. That’s fine if all you are trying to do is just get the information back into the system of record.

But, what if you want to actually leverage that data throughout the hiring process? Here is an example I see all of the time … an ATS has “hooks” into a skills test, pre-employment assessment and a background check. A candidate applies, takes the skills test, then takes a pre-employment assessment, then phone screen, in-person interview, yada, yada, offer. Typically, the only real information going back into the ATS is the score. You can clearly see that they passed the skills test and that they got a satisfactory score on the assessment.

Here is the lack of intelligence though. What about your ability to actually use the information, beside the scores, in a meaningful way? Think about the pre-employment assessment. Most vendors provide a wealth of information about the candidate and their job fit. Most also provide detailed narratives and interview questions. Some even provide specific coaching and on-boarding suggestions. Standard integrations miss all of this and “check the box” that a screening component was completed, but the leverage effect is lost.

In the other post, I talked about breaking the silos in talent selection. I discussed that information collected in one part of the screening process is not usually shared effectively to drive another. Current HR integration strategy can really cause or exacerbate this problem. We are focused on the scores of various parts of the selection process or the fact that they have simply taken place, but require entering multiple systems to gain any insight into the issues identified.

This is not an easy problem to correct. HR tech vendors and their clients have long struggled with the gross inefficiency of building an integration. This is improving as API’s become more open and mid-ware components such as HR Integrations become more mainstream. But, this doesn’t solve the intelligence problem.

In the meantime, HR needs to make sure that even though the ATS is showing that a process is complete, the full report explaining why a candidate scored as they did is being shared and used throughout the screening process. Without this intelligence sharing, the integration becomes a very elegant way to “check the box”.


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