HR Technology Column

Even More Brand New

Recruiting Systems, two more brand new recruiting systems, missed last time when I focused on three others. Both Ceridian and Saba have written them recently from scratch, sometimes showing what the "consumerization of enterprise software" actually means. So we now have five new large company systems in six months!

Monday, June 23, 2014
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Pardon my repeating myself again.

Some years ago after dinner, I asked the last CEO of an independent BrassRing, Deb Besemer, why recruiting software continues to be the greatest source of innovation in HR technology. Was it because there were so many steps in the process -- so many moving parts?

"Nah," she said, without hesitation, "it's because we still haven't gotten it right yet." And she's still right.

The last column featured three brand new big company recruiting systems from Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand and Ultimate. And how to varying degrees, they were moving the functionality of the former "edge applications" -- candidate relationship management, referrals, social recruiting, video, etc. -- into the center.

Naturally, the e-mails and LinkedIn posts starting flying in as soon as it was posted from competitors, basically saying, "What about us?"

Two major companies had been excluded -- Jobvite and iCIMS. Both are tough competitors, in business for years with much of the edge functionality already serving thousands of their customers. Not the trend I was writing about.

But the hand-waving from Ceridian and Saba was absolutely fair. Both have brand new systems -- Ceridian's announced seven days before the previous column and the other just in January. So let's look at them, but first a note on the long-standing king of the applicant tracking hill, Taleo, often now called "legacy" by some.

Jiju Vengal, a technology architect for Oracle, posted on the HR TechConference LinkedIn group about some new plans for Taleo. He said integration with Outlook for interview scheduling is being introduced in the upcoming release in July/August. Also, that release will introduce Oracle Social Network into Taleo, which will allow interviewers to have private online conversations about candidates.

In its latest Magic Quadrant for Talent Management, Gartner reports that, years after the acquisition, Oracle has still not been fully integrated Taleo applications into the Oracle Fusion HCM stack, now called Oracle HCM Cloud.

Co-authors Ron Hanscome, Jeff Freyermuth and Yvette Cameron wrote, "Although Gartner expects continued progress during 2014 and 2015, until integration plans are complete, users of these [talent] applications may encounter different user experiences, system administration tools and integration gaps."

At Ceridian, EVP Larry Dunivan has the distinction of being the first HCM executive (along with the above named Ron Hanscome, when they worked together at Lawson) to realize that recruiting was strategic enough that vendors could not rely on partners to deliver the basic functionality.

So Lawson was the first HCM vendor to buy a recruiting system. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the wrong one: ijob. But the notion quickly caught on and by 2000 or so, PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP (in that order) started writing their own on-premise recruiting applications. None was as successful as the best-of-breeds.

History is probably not likely to repeat itself now, as larger vendors are using more functionality that they've learned from the smaller guys and sometimes going even further.

Larry said Ceridian held off announcing its new recruiting system to avoid being in the shadow of Workday's press release, analyst briefings, video and multi-city prospect road show for its new recruiting. That must be why I missed it. The Ceridian application became generally available on May 20, has about 60 customers signed since January, and about a dozen of them live.

Recruiting is another brick in Ceridian's new Dayforce platform, a full SaaS HCM system of record, replacing its old service bureau model. Larry said performance and compensation are on the product roadmap for next year. More than 1,000 customers are on the new platform, 250 on payroll.

Like Workday, Ceridian recruiting is keeping more or less permanent partnerships for commodity activities like background screening and job-board posting. But unlike Workday, Ceridian is keeping its partnership with Jobvite for referrals and other edge applications, and a separate relationship with TweetMyJobs for social recruiting.

"For the moment," Larry emphasizes, "we are relying on them."

Like many of the new recruiting systems, Ceridian has empowered and enabled the hiring manager's role in the process, including creating the job requisition, which can be as simple as "like this other employee."

Still, it's definitely a Version 1.0, with functionality for tracking interview comments (like Oracle Social Network with Taleo) and even creating offer letters still on the roadmap.

Saba started with the advantage of owning its own pre-assessments, video and social capabilities. For instance, when scheduling an interview, the system offers recruiters four choices: in-person, Saba Meeting, phone only or live video.

 When a new requisition is created, the system automatically searches the employee database for likely matches, and Saba hopes to add a similar search for a company's alumni.

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Of course, it has "Apply with LinkedIn" (who doesn't?), and like Workday, a candidate applying on a Saba-powered career site automatically surfaces connections who already work at that company.

Referrals are not so automatic as Jobvite's, but the Saba system does create a unique URL for the job when an employee sends it to a friend. The URL carries the referrer's identity all the way to hire for any possible referral bonus.

Everybody's been talking about the "consumerization" of software. Saba offers a perfect example of that by giving newcomers the ability to "sign in with Twitter, Facebook" et al to open a new account -- just like many consumer apps. That doesn't mean candidate information is carried over from those services; just the same user name and password is used. A small thing in the online world, but a giant step for large company enterprise software. Others may have it, too.

I was glad to see that Saba still does old-fashioned resume parsing, which some systems are abandoning, but for a new purpose: to display the resume in a consistent graphical form like LinkedIn's.

Because of Saba's group object and social functionality, private online discussions among interviewers are easy with the Saba application, which allows people to join the conversation via email, as well.

Saba presents a percentage fit for each candidate to a job, and a nine-box-like comparison of candidates to each other. Offer letter approval and processing are already in place.

Candidate relationship management is the last "edge" to be added, as it is with nearly all five vendors in this group. And full interview scheduling is also a knot yet to be untied.

Understandably, the roadmap is being driven by customer prospect demand for particular features, and the strongest vertical, according to Product Strategy Senior Director Ben Willis, is retail with volume hiring and, of course, the ability to leave a requisition open all the time.

While that may not mean Saba is pushing the envelope further, with so much competition (again!) in recruiting, we will certainly be seeing new and exciting developments down the road.

HR Technology Columnist Bill Kutik is co-chair emeritus of the 17th Annual HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, returning to Las Vegas, Oct. 8-10, 2014.  The new agenda is now online! You can comment on this column at the Conference LinkedIn Group, which doesn't require prior or future conference attendance to join. He is also host of The Bill Kutik Radio Show®. He can be reached at

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