Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Al Smith


Al Smith
Chief Technology Officer


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

During my career, Google for Jobs has served as one of the largest disruptors in HR. The tech giant has successfully leveraged artificial intelligence and machine learning to simplify the multi-layered job search experience. Now, after just a quick Google search, job seekers are served up opportunities tailored to their specific interests, location, etc. After optimizing their job descriptions for Google, employers benefit from higher application rates. Meanwhile, job seekers are being matched with better-suited roles, faster.

We’ve been partnering with Google for nearly two years. Consequently, from January 2018 until January 2019, traffic from Google for Jobs directly to iCIMS’ clients’ career portals more than doubled, seeing a 2.5x traffic increase.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

When vetting new technologies, it’s easy to get caught up in what your business needs today versus what your business will need in the future, such as the technology’s ability to integrate to existing/future third-party solutions or its overall scalability. My advice to HR and IT decision makers would be this–don’t lock yourself into a contract for a solution that only makes sense for “right now.” The only constant in business is change, and we owe it to ourselves and our respective organizations to account for that when implementing new technologies.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Be sure to highlight what the technology has the potential to address today and in the near future–and do so by focusing on ROI. Identify your pain points and find a solution that will solve these pain points and save your business, both in terms of cost and in time and resources. Will your proposed investment streamline manual processes? Perhaps it will decrease time-to-fill or empower your recruiters to connect with more job candidates, faster. These changes will translate into monetary savings and strong hires–both of which will positively impact your businesses’ bottom line. Lead with the ROI and support your claim with tangible use cases, and your leadership will have what it needs to evaluate the proposed investment.