By David Bloom

Technology trends come, and sometimes technology trends fizzle. HR professionals need to know what will help drive results and what is a distraction. David Bloom, General Manager, Small and Medium-Sized Business Group at Sterling shares the tech he is excited about using in 2019.

They say a small business can scale when the founder is able to rise above the fray and start working on the business instead of in the business—in other words, solving problems that hold the business back instead of resolving tasks the business generates. The same can be said of the life of HR professionals. We need to rise above the fray, and we need tools to do it.

The HR world is increasingly dominated by technology, just like all of the business. We may have been behind the curve compared to, say, marketing or product development, but today we share many of the same needs and buzzwords. When a shiny new piece of tech uses the same descriptions and claims to have the same features, how are we to decide what is truly going to be helpful?

Frankly, many of the hot trends in the HR world are driven by technology in search of a problem to solve. How many AI-driven Blockchains for Big Data do we need? In the world of HR, we do not need to be on the cutting edge of technology development. We need to be on the cutting edge of technology adoption, looking for emerging tools that can help us deliver results today. For me, hiring fast and well is a 2019 priority, so I have been on the lookout for tools that can move the needle on recruiting. As General Manager of a fast-growing division of HR tech company Sterling—with a 70-person team with a bunch of open roles—I could really use some help. I recently dove into research. The first technology I used was Google (that scrappy startup has a big future in Search), asking a series of simple “how do I” questions and sifting through results.

How do I prospect for talent more efficiently?

I know the talent is out there. I also know how hard it is to find players. This year I am going to invest in HireVue, Career Builder Supply & Demand and LinkedIn Insights to be smarter about the talent market, and will experiment with for building a tailored pipeline. Fetcher has roots in sales prospecting technology but is now focused on finding talent. It is a solid example of how last year’s buzzword, AI, is this year’s interesting product.

How do I reduce bias in my hiring process?

There is a lot of talk about improving diversity in the workforce, but it is often hard to see the actions and results. As a white male hiring leader, I know my own best intentions can easily be subsumed by unconscious bias, so I scaffold myself with technology tools to help me live my principles. I start with to highlight and correct the exclusive language in my job descriptions. I am planning to test HireVue (again) for bias-limiting assessments. Next comes the Unbiasify Chrome extension to scrub images and names from online profiles, and for anonymous technical interviews. And of course, nothing beats a diverse interview panel and setting diversity goals.

How do I use contingent and freelance workers effectively?

Bullhorn, an HR tech platform, conducted a 2018 survey of staffing industry professionals and found that contract hiring growth of 50% or more in every industry vertical. One reason it is so hard to find great FTEs is because great talent doesn’t want or need to be tied to one company. And MBO Partners found that 37% of millennials are working independently full-time, earning an average of $69,100, and the percent of independent workers earning more than $100,000 rose from 12.5% in 2011 to 20.9% in 2018. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I am starting to use boutique talent platforms such as Toptal and Power to Fly to find amazing people. These firms go with the flow of these trends by acting as talent agents for contingent workers.

Technology is fun and exciting, and it is cool to be an early adopter. We and our bosses feel like we are being smart when we say with utter conviction “This year is the year the data-driven blockchain for talent comes into its own.” But a random buzzword generator will not help you close requirements faster, retain your best people, or build a brand that attracts talent as well as customers. Being too cool in HR is a recipe for error. In 2019 I am focusing not on tech trends but product trends that can deliver results today. Speeding up prospecting, reducing bias and leveraging the gig economy are not new concepts, but 2019 is the year those tools are mature enough to help me—and you—now.

About the Author:

David Bloom is General Manager of the Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Group at Sterling. His team recently launched the self- service SterlingNOW. David was included in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Brilliant 100 and on Business Insider’s list of 100 most interesting people in the NYC tech scene. David holds a BA degree from Bates College and an MBA from Cornell University.

This article originally appeared at