Cut & Polish

Talent acquisition technologies in 2022: the Gartner® Market Guide

As finding the right talent has become a C-suite concern, the talent acquisition (TA) function now sits at the center of every good company. And the very technologies that support this function are business-critical—especially in 2022, as teams navigate the repercussions of a post-pandemic market downturn, unprecedented churn in an intensely competitive labor market, and a continued global talent shortage.

But the TA technology landscape is fragmented and flush with specialized point solutions, and it’s not always easy to know what to look for when building out your recruiting tech muscle. The Gartner® Market Guide for Talent Acquisition (Recruiting) Technologies is a go-to resource for talent leaders hoping to better understand the TA landscape in 2022, how it’s evolving, what technologies are likely to address their recruiting needs, and what vendors can help drive value at various stages of the hiring process. 

Below are our takeaways from the Gartner report. We recommend talent leaders use the Gartner report for a more informed idea of what’s possible when it comes to recruiting optimization, and how to address their companies’ hiring needs through technology.

The evolution and maturation of talent acquisition technology 

Gartner observes that the “TA function has historically relied on the applicant tracking system (ATS) to meet the core tracking, posting, and automation requirements of the requisition-to-hire process. [But] as the TA function of many organizations has expanded to compete for talent, TA applications have evolved to cover a broader set of activities such as recruitment marketing, candidate relationship management (CRM), onboarding, and even internal talent marketplaces.”

Among the key findings of Gartner was this: “the new areas of TA technology investment that have the most potential for business value are passive candidate sourcing, AI-enabled candidate skills matching, interview-related automation, and the overall candidate experience.” The TA marketplace offers many solutions for each of these use cases, but we believe the most successful deployments of TA technology understand the tech stack as an integrated ecosystem meaningfully built to meet well-thought-out organizational hiring needs. Gartner also views talent acquisition—and its technologies—not as an independent function, but as working in concert with HR and the downstream employee experience to impact talent retention and satisfy skills demands across the organization.

CRM as a “must-have commodity”

Gartner segments TA technologies into four functional categories: candidate attraction and engagement, applicant screening and selection, onboarding, and internal talent marketplaces. “Candidate attraction and engagement”—a category that’s near and dear to us at Gem—includes tools that support employer branding, sourcing efficiency and effectiveness, recruitment marketing, and the overall candidate experience. Recognizing the growing part that CRM technology plays in the hiring process, the Gartner report says:

“The collective purpose of [candidate attraction and engagement] capabilities is to continuously source, and connect with, both passive and active candidates as part of strategically relevant talent pools. This is so that when job requisitions are posted downstream, there’s a ready pool of talent from which to curate, and you’re not effectively starting from scratch. As competition for talent has become more intense, investment in these categories (particularly CRM) has shifted from a wish list capability for the TA function to a must-have commodity in many cases.”

How talent demands inform TA tech spending 

Gartner “views TA applications as a subsegment within the broader HCM [human capital management] market. Gartner market share data for 2021 reported that the HCM application market amounts to $21 billion (in constant currency) with 11% year-over-year growth.” The most demand and adoption for TA applications has come from the Americas, followed by the EMEA and APAC regions. After all, many countries—the U.S. among them—saw talent demand exceed pre-pandemic levels between December 2021 and January 2022. 76% of the HR leaders who participated in Gartner’s 2022 HR Budget and Staffing Benchmarking Survey said they expected headcount to increase well into 2022, with turnover remaining high. This drove—and continues to drive—additional tech spending.

Key criteria for comparing TA technologies

Gartner identified four key criteria for comparing talent acquisition technologies. 

They’re criteria we consider at Gem as we build and iterate on our product, so we’ve included quotes from our customers about how they feel those criteria align with their experience of our partnership. 

1. Candidate experience, including talent marketing functionality, campaign tools, personalization, customization, responsiveness, and user experience. Candidate experience is now a key talent metric in any recruiting organization. 

“With Gem, I can see where bottlenecks in the funnel are. If a recruiter is having 20 times more phone screens for a certain hiring manager, does the hiring manager fully know what they need and if the market aligns with it? We want to make sure that our candidates have a great candidate experience and Gem’s analytics have allowed me to identify those who could be moved into pipelines for different roles. If the role is in a holding pattern, why not ask the hiring manager’s permission to introduce the candidate to a team with an open role and an appetite to hire now?”
- Joel Torres, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition @ Twilio

2. Process efficiency, including automation to reduce timelines and free recruiters up to spend time engaging meaningfully with candidates. At Gem, this means everything from automated sourcing, to email finding, to Rules of Engagement, to 2-way ATS syncs, to Data Refresh, to Candidate Rediscovery, to real-time metrics and insights, and more. 

“My job is to increase operational efficiency and reduce mean time-to-hire. It’s really that simple. But it’s a complex equation, and there were a lot of things I had to implement to do so. One of those things involved expanding the team’s use of Gem.” 
- Arquay Harris, VP of Engineering @ Webflow
“Gem’s tokens auto-populate when sourcers send out messages in bulk. We used to have to manually adjust messaging, which pulls you out of the zone if you’re in search mode. So there’s an efficiency play there. With all that functionality, sourcers get their time back.”
- Emily Stellick, Head of Global Sourcing @ Affirm

3. Technology and innovation. This includes the use of embedded AI and ML for automation and personalization, but we feel it also highlights vendors who regularly release new product features and updates through ongoing dialogue and partnerships with customers.

“Using Gem is like having an extra partner in my recruiting efforts. It’s so clear to me when a company is doing things the right way. I’ve given so many other recruiting software providers feedback, and so few of them listen. So I really appreciate when a B2B software company actually cares about the individual user experience, listens to users, and engages with them.”
- Samantha Leveston, Senior Recruiter, R&D @ Handshake

4. Strategic alignment. According to the Gartner annual survey, “the reskilling and upskilling of talent has been the No. 1 topic of focus for HR leaders… for four consecutive years.” As a result, TA technologies are no longer standalone purchases whose work ends at offer-accept. They need to be evaluated alongside HRIS technologies and systems that deal with skills advancement, career development, and internal mobility.

Recommendations for talent acquisition leaders 

The Gartner recommendation for TA leaders who want to ensure their recruiting tech stacks can fully support this business-critical function is laid out in four steps:

  1. “Identify untapped areas of recruiting automation opportunity by mapping your existing TA technologies against the anatomy of the TA market. [The Gartner report] provides you with illustrations that can be downloaded and marked up to reflect the current versus potential future states of your TA tech stack.” 
  2. “Prioritize recruitment process automation opportunities by meeting with representatives of your recruiting function to discuss current-day process flow against targeted change/improvement measures and KPIs.”
  3. “Contrast and compare vendor product options in prioritized opportunity areas by leveraging the named representative vendors information [in the Gartner report] as a starting point.” 
  4. "Evaluate how your TA technology objectives connect to the overall skill and talent supply objectives of your organization that reach beyond the TA function (into L&D, HR Ops and HRBPs, for example). No decisions in your world are made in a vacuum, so solicit thinking partners to help dot connect your various digital strategies in this larger employee experience space.”

We highly recommend checking out the full Gartner report for deeper insights. Gem has been recognized as a Representative Vendor for its Talent CRM in the Gartner “Market Guide for Talent Acquisition Technologies.” We’d love to tell you more about how our solution meets the Gartner key criteria for evaluation. 

Gartner, Market Guide for Talent Acquisition (Recruiting) Technologies, Rania Stewart, John Kostoulas, Emi Chiba, 19 April 2022.

Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Content Strategist
October 4, 2022
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