API: Why?

The majority of recruiting and talent acquisition teams today are using multiple tools to find, attract, and engage talent and for 2016, 46% of organizations anticipated increased spending for their HR technologies. The problem with using a variety of tools, though, is it can slow down the process as these tools likely do not communicate with each other. 

The data from all these systems that are not integrated together cannot capture a whole picture of the Talent Acquisition process and so teams end up with a pile of reports telling a variety of different stories.

46% of organizations plan to increase spend for #HRTech – The problem? Read this: Click To Tweet

HR Tech and its sexy little sister, TA Technology are becoming an increasingly open playing field. While those working in the trenches remember the days of arduous excel spreadsheets and there are still recruiters wrestling with Taleo…today’s Talent Acquisition pros are getting used to a more transparent system that meets their needs and allows them to use multiple applications that look and act like an end-to-end system but in fact, are made up by integrating different platforms.

One of the reasons that HR pros and Talent Acquisition leads are able to feast at the buffet of multiple solutions meeting their key business directives (even if they don’t all come in the same tin) is the proliferation of process integrations (manual integrations on a case-by-case basis, often an import and export of information and not real-time) and the increasing use of APIs.

API. It’s one of those acronyms that we all say, but few understand. I’ve never read a better description of what an API is than this.

…an API is a set of standard routines, which are accessible and documented, whose purpose it is to help the programmer build software applications. I admit that this definition, even to me (a confessed former developer), does not sound very enlightening. So here is my own way of explaining what it is, exactly. Given that IT solutions do not know everything, and don’t have all of the information that may be needed, they can call upon external help when they don’t know or don’t possess the necessary data.Stephane Poirier

Stephane Poirier, goes on to describe how our everyday actions: checking the weather on our phones, pulling up a recipe for dinner and looking up stock prices…all use APIs to get that information as quickly as possible. Pretty cool huh?

Now let’s apply this to our hiring processes. In acquiring talent, there are a lot of steps. From job description and requirements, to sourcing and recruiting, to screening, assessments, skills tests, back-end collaboration, to interviewing, offer and pre-boarding. Phew! Imagine if you could select best-of-breed solutions for each of those things and then seamlessly link them all together.

Well, TA professionals can and what’s more…they expect to be able to. Any vendor who chooses not to have Open APIs or who makes it difficult will have a difficult time gaining market penetration. Sure there are plenty of legacy companies who can avoid this or make it painful enough their clients give up. But the HR pro of the future, the hiring manager of tomorrow, the Talent Acquisition lead of 2020 is going to expect this open playing field, so they can create a tech stack that works for their precise needs, size, scaling goals and employee population. In fact, Brett Queener discussed this very thing in one of our 2016 trend reports. Therein, he said:

The benefits for companies looking to evolve their Talent Acquisition strategy and impact are obvious: no more swivel chair integration, no more burdensome integration, reduced IT costs, and more efficient processes. What is less obvious, but more powerful, is that customers can ensure a consistent candidate experience, while great candidates don’t get lost across multiple non-integration points.Brett Queener

APIs, despite the buzzwordy name, are actually integral to the growth of the HR Technology and TA Technology as part of that growth. More than a nice to have or a simple add-on, vendors should be encouraged to start thinking about Open API from the ground up, API-first design if you will. Without APIs, integrations between different systems are overly complex (requiring passwords and logins to multiple dashboards) and can cost SMBs much more to manage their hiring processes than they need to spend (for example, hoping for seamless integration. And your market is telling you they want access to multiple systems. In fact, they NEED it.

With API functionality built into the platforms crucial to our daily success, the ability to see and manage the talent acquisition process all from one place will inherently speed up the process and provide insight to users that could not be seen from data spread across different dashboards. Talent Acquisition professionals, for their part, must start understanding the term and demanding the transparency before assuming that all integrations are equal.

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