6 Takeaways from the 2013 HR Technology Conference

The HR Technology Conference & Exposition is the largest gathering of professionals in the HR Tech industry. If you’re in HR, you’re in the HR Tech industry—you simply can’t do your job without your systems functioning at peak performance. The themes of this year’s conference were openness and transparency, as professed by keynote speaker Don Tapscott, author and advisor on media, technology and innovation. In the spirit of these two vital qualities, below are six key takeaways from the 2013 HR Tech Conference & Exposition held in Las Vegas, Nevada.


1. Social, Mobile and Cloud (SoMoClo) Technologies are No Longer “Someday” Ideas. 
Social, Mobile and Cloud (often referred to as SoMoClo) are no longer revolutionary ideas to be implemented within HR technology in the future; they are rapidly becoming table stakes—or the very minimum level of investment required by a company hoping to compete in today’s volatile talent landscape. Elaine Orler, President and Founder of Talent Function, provided an interesting walk through of the history of HR Tech, examining how Mobile and Social became “must haves” in 2009. This certainly hasn’t matched the situation on the ground, however, as many companies are lagging behind in adoption and enthusiasm for Mobile—still having certain fears about social recruiting (LinkedIn excluded). But it’s 2013, and the skeptics are becoming believers. Nearly every tool on the market today now comes with deep mobile experience, social integration and is rooted in Cloud-based applications.

2. Analytics are Everywhere. 
Conference sessions focusing on workforce analytics were bursting at the seams, with HR analytics companies such as VisierEquifax and zeroedin sharing interesting products on the Exposition floor. Panelists also discussed “Big Data” and strategic workforce planning initiatives currently underway at their organizations. But the true sign that analytics have arrived in the HR software space is the presence of visual reporting tools, customizable data relationships and cross-platform data integrations in nearly every product. Software vendors clearly understand how important analytics are to HR, and they are building analytics functions into their products. It remains to be seen how the execution holds up, but understanding the need for tools is an important first step.

3. The Video Interviewing Market is Maturing. 
Video interviewing has been around for a while, but it is finally on the cusp of becoming a mainstream strategy. While at the conference, I counted eight vendors advertising video interviewing (and recruiting) software. Among these eight vendors were enterprise players such as HireVue and Montage, alongside younger startups like SparkHireRIVS and the recently rebranded WePow. As adoption of video across the consumer space—including Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and Google Hangout, for example—continuing to increase, additional usage across the world of recruiting is inevitable, especially as the benefits and results continue to be positive.

4. Innovation is Alive and Well Across the Industry. 
Having gone through waves of consolidation over the past several years, the large industry players (vendors) were highly visible at the conference—and not just because of the banners hanging from the ceiling. Knowing the major vendors as well as I do, I tend to spend much more time visiting smaller booths, exploring the young startups looking to bring new ideas to the market and fill holes left by larger vendors. Innovation is a topic worthy of its own post, but until then here are a few interesting tools presented by smaller companies in the recruiting space:

Reschedge.com – A simple solution for scheduling hiring manager interviews; allows users to quickly import the interviewers they want by looking at company contacts and using email addresses.

Recruitics.com – Recruitment marketing and job distribution platform, leveraging strong analytics, automatic bidding and job-level management to help achieve clients’ marketing goals.

RecruitLoop.com – Freelance recruiter marketplace in which organizations can bid on recruiting work at hourly rates; from writing job ads or screening candidates, to doing full-service hiring projects, recruiters work hourly to provide clients complete control over scope and costs.

Findly.com – Perhaps not small, but not quite well known yet either; Findly is a slick suite of edge recruitment apps featuring a strong mobile interface.

5. Providing an Engaging and Insightful Presentation Requires Preparation. 
HR Tech is highly regarded for having an agenda chock-full of the industry’s best presenters and key voices. That said, I noticed many variances in the quality of presentations—even by folks that I know to be exceptionally smart and interesting. For example, Jason Averbook, Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio, hit it out of the park with his closing keynote. It was clear from the start the amount of preparation he put into the presentation. Sometimes industry experts to be reminded that it’s not always enough to be knowledgeable and influential; interactive, engaging and insightful presentations require preparation and practice.

6. People genuinely appreciate community across the industry. The warmth and appreciation shown to retiring showmaster, Bill Kutik, Co-Chairman of HR Tech for the past 17 years, was heartwarming throughout the conference. Many longtime industry professionals expressed the respect they have for Bill in helping to build such an impressive venue each year. I want to thank Bill (and I think industry professionals would agree) for building an educational event that consistently enhances our careers and personal lives—and for providing an industry that is already filled with fierce competitors with a forum for mutual collaboration, learning and community.


Post contributed by Adam Godson, Cielo Manager of Technology & Analytics. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter