SmartRecruiters Blog

Common Perceptions in Talent Acquisition That Must Change | Part III

This is the third and final installment of Common Perceptions in Talent Acquisition That Must Change. In case you’re just tuning in, Part I dispels the myth that talent acquisition (TA) is a cost center for businesses. Part II touches on the importance of sharing decision-making power with multiple stakeholders in the hiring process. Below is the third and final misperception in need correction:

Digital Transformation Is a Lipstick on a Pig Exercise

Okay, that might be the most bizarre sentence I have ever written. If the first thing that came to your mind was, “Where the heck is this guy going?” or “This dude is weird.” Then that’s fine by me as long as I have your attention.

To get us started on this topic, I should clarify a bit. Putting lipstick on a pig, with concern to digital transformation in HR and TA, means that you are avoiding the core technology or process issue and trying to fix it with a point solution. Here are a few examples that I love:

  • Using chatbots for your careers page, but still requiring a login and password for your applications.
  • Having amazing website architecture, beautiful content, and deep videos on your careers page, but applications that do not render on mobile devices or aren’t responsive enough to allow someone to apply while on an airplane. (Yes, this one drives candidates crazy, and ultimately drives most to abandon the process. Imagine if you were shopping on Amazon and then when you went to check out, they asked you to get out our checkbook and mail in your payment.)
  • Selecting any modern solution that doesn’t have a mobile app. I know this may sound ridiculous in 2019, but you would be surprised at how many HR tech vendors exist without any sort of mobile application. If we can do banking on our phones (which is clearly sensitive data), should we not be able to do HR/TA related tasks, too?

There are several reasons that companies make decisions like this:


Point solutions are typically less expensive than platforms, or other frontend or backend systems that support multiple integrations. So, if you have limited funds available to support a project, then it feels good to tackle something in order to drive some level of progress.

Be careful about how often you take this approach, as it’s common for companies to amass a good number of disparate systems over time. Most of which will not integrate well with one another, i.e., you could easily end up with a rat’s nest on your hands.


Similar to budget, most point solutions, in theory, are faster to deploy than core technologies to your overall process. When a company has fully optimized their talent attraction and engagement workflows, and it has narrowed them down to one area of performance-related concern, then a quick fix point solution is perfect.

However, when a company has multiple known issues, it’s best to slow down and outline the desired process steps and outcomes as opposed to implementing something that you only think–or hope–will work. 

Procurement Process

This one is interesting. Many companies have simpler processes for procuring something that is considered tactical (cost, time to deploy, low IT requirements, etc.), so if a team is pressed for time, wants to avoid doing an RFP, or simply doesn’t want to deal with internal politics, then taking on something fast and easy feels like the right path. 

I struggle with this one as it can be very difficult for HR/TA leaders to get budgets approved. In fact, they rarely get what they are asking for.  Yet, they are no different than any other department in that they are under a tremendous amount of pressure to innovate.

Market Influence

Whether it’s because of peer pressure, or broader market influence, many people end up making a purchase simply because others are doing the same. That feeling of being left out or behind drives the majority of buying behaviors.

Now that we’ve discussed why some companies make decisions like this, what should companies do? While the following tips are not going to work for every scenario, they are the best pieces of advice I can give you based on my 20+ years of building businesses and working with organizations of all sizes.

1) Have a Plan

All companies need great execution to survive. In order to accomplish any goal in life, it’s best to lay out a framework and timeline for what you are after. Most people know what is broken and standing in their way, yet very few have a clear strategy on how they plan to fix it.

2) Be Prepared to Pitch and Defend Your Plan

Having a plan is a start, but in order to properly execute the plan, you will need alignment, funding and resources. A thoughtful business case that articulates challenges, solutions, and clear outcomes. Also: supporting data goes a long way with executive teams. Finally, don’t flinch when opposition arises. If you believe in your plan and have properly articulated its value, then your peers and executive audiences will respect you even more when you fight for your projects.

3) Solve for the 90%—Not the 10%

It’s impossible to make all departments and users happy, so focus on the greater good within projects versus worrying about a few detractors here and there.

4) Stop Thinking About Your Old Processes and Think About New Ones

While we do have a certain level of compliance driving our various hiring processes, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t constantly bethinking about new ways of doing things. 

Thank you for your time! Sarah and I look forward to your feedback and continuing the conversation! 

Good Hiring,

Bob Memmer

Bob runs our corporate sales team at SmartRecruiters. Prior to SmartRecruiters, Bob ran sales and customer success at Captora where he delivered triple digit revenue growth. Before that, Bob was Area Vice President of Sales at Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) where he drove revenue strategy for the commercial sales team within the platform. Bob came to Salesforce with the acquisition of Jigsaw in 2010 (175M) where he joined pre-revenue and delivered several years of triple digit growth as Vice President of Sales. Bob has a BA from Purdue University.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson is the head of people at SmartRecruiters.