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Talent Innovation Summit: Crush Your Next HR Implementation with John Vlastelica and Friends

A skilled moderator can make the vital difference between a mediocre panel discussion and a standout one. We’ve seen John Vlastelica, Managing Director at Recruiting Toolbox Inc, in action as a moderator before, and we can confirm he is one of the best in the business – quick-thinking, super-knowledgeable, and not afraid to call BS if he hears it.

 In just 8 days, John will lead a lively discussion on how to crush your next HR tech implementation with our panelists – Mike Podobnik of Medallia, Melissa Thompson of Thompson Talent Innovation, and Susan Pike-Gubler of Veon – which we’ll be live streaming for those who can’t attend our Talent Innovation Summit in person. For a peek at his own perspective on how to properly roll out HR tech, and to learn a bit more about his background, see our mini-interview below.

1. John, before founding Recruiting Toolbox you were a corporate recruiting leader at companies like Amazon and Expedia. What made you jump to the consulting side?

Three main reasons. One, as a corporate recruiting leader, I searched for a consulting and training partner who really understood corporate recruiting, who would be credible (especially for tech companies), who had the expertise I needed without the big “been there, done that” ego, and after searching and searching, I decided to just try to build something like that myself. I knew there was a need in the marketplace. Two, I wanted to play to my strengths. I loved project- based work and training in corporate environments, and decided to build a business around that. Third, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was a DECA (organization for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs) geek in HS, and placed third in the national entrepreneurship competition my senior year – I knew early on that I wanted to start my own business someday.

2. Through Recruiting Toolbox, you’ve helped countless organizations improve their recruiting strategies, processes and systems. When it comes to implementing new HR technology, what do companies most commonly get wrong in your opinion?

A few things. Assuming tech will solve your process problems. You have to get clarity on the problems your new tech will solve first, then figure out goals, roles, and processes, and then select and implement the technology with the least amount of tradeoffs (no tech is perfect). Too many people believe tech will solve almost all of their problems – it usually doesn’t.

Another big challenge is adoption, of course. Today’s tech is often built out to be collaborative, and the purchasers – usually those involved in recruiting, but often with heavy involvement from procurement and IT – often drastically underestimate the challenge of driving adoption from the non-HR users – specifically, hiring managers, interviewers, admins, etc. Many of these tools are so underutilized – because of lack of adoption – that the ROI just doesn’t pan out 6-18 months later. Post-implementation work is often underestimated and under-resourced.

3. Implementing new tech takes buy-in from a surprising number of stakeholders. Which department or function would you encourage talent leaders to spend more time with?

I’d say people managers/hiring managers. Too often, we “sell” these new solutions as being more efficient, saving us money, allowing us to do new cool things, helping us achieve more consistency in our process, and giving us better analytics. Those are generally things we want in HR – they speak to our pain. But what is the pain point you’re solving for the business? For example, most hiring managers care about two things, and two things only: speed and quality. So, to influence them, we have to show how it fills critical roles faster, with better quality talent.

4. Your panel will be live streamed on Tuesday, September 19th from 11:30am-12:15pm PT/ 2:30pm-3:15pm ET. Many panels suck. Why won’t yours?

Ha! Yes, many panels do suck. We’ll hear from practitioners who will share what works and doesn’t work when leading implementations. They’ll reveal practical, real-world insights and recommendations to help you crush your HR tech implementation. And I’ll play my typical critic/cynic role, keeping everyone honest and on their toes!

Seriously, it’s a great group of people who have learned things the hard way – by doing it. We had a prep call a couple weeks ago, and I can’t wait to shed light on the great lessons they’ll share.

5. What current trend in talent acquisition do you think is most important?

I’ve been saying this for almost 20 years, so it’s “past, present, and future” important to me: engaging hiring managers and creating a culture of recruiting. A-player candidates demand engaged, high-ownership hiring managers, and A-player talent has a low tolerance for traditional engagement, interviewing, and closing processes. We work with hiring managers, interviewers, and recruiting teams around the world, and find that the really savvy companies have heads of TA that know that building a culture of recruiting ownership needs to be near the top of their priority list. Tools like Lever were built from the ground up to help enable this collaborative, high-ownership recruiting model.

6. Aside from the panel, what are you most excited for at the Talent Innovation Summit?

I’m most excited to go to this Talent Innovation Summit to hear what companies who buy into this whole collaborative model are doing to engage the business, drive adoption of best practices, scale up a high hiring bar, and enable recruiters to be true Talent Advisors. These are all areas my firm focuses on, and so I love to hear how other companies – small startups to giant enterprises – find innovative ways to do this much-needed work.

To watch this lively panel, you can now watch the free recording here