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5 Concepts for Next-Generation Applicant Tracking and Recruiting Software March 25, 2009

Posted by Darwin in applicant management, applicant tracking, human resources, recruiting software.
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1093369_business_shadowIt’s time to rethink how we gauge our applicant tracking and recruiting software.  In the past, companies have touted a system that can ‘blast’ to thousands of candidates and find a needle in the haystack.  This is an old and out-dated way of ‘recruiting thought’.  True recruiting efficiency will come from applicant management software that promotes teamwork and collaboration between hiring managers and recruiters.  Without further ado, enjoy:

1)   Rethink Critical Features: While the oft-cited “-ations” (e.g, customization, integration, etc.) of software are important features to consider, great recruiting and applicant tracking software will focus on some of the “idities” first. Next-generation systems will be designed with a focus on the capability, rapidity and fluidity of new user adoption. The Applicant Tracking System you want should be designed with a clear understanding that people, not technology, drive the success of recruiting. A rethink of its critical features leads to only one conclusion: it should make the process of hiring people easier for other people to accomplish. Choosing recruiting software that is not designed to motivate its users to regularly log in and interact with it can very much be like buying a nifty electronic gadget but not bothering to the get batteries for it.

2)   Rethink the Problem: In “Money Ball” Ken Lewis premises that the conventional baseball wisdom was flawed: the stats that the baseball insiders used for measuring individual success didn’t equate to team success. He turned out to be right.  The conventional promise of recruiting software is to solve hiring by getting more candidates. This relic from the days of unsearchable paper resumes and classified ads is a recipe for a high strikeout ratio and the only occasional home run. Having millions of candidates doesn’t make hires. Blasting emails to your contacts doesn’t make hires. Teamwork, collaboration, engaged hiring managers and efficient recruiters makes hires.

3)   Rethink Immediate Benefits:
Many of today’s recruiting software systems are plump with features designed to meet the specific and varied needs of HR Professionals, yet most of these “innovations” have had very little impact on improving the actual process of filling a position. Simply put, many of the recent innovations in the recruiting software industry have been nothing more than marketing traps for the buyers of recruiting software. When considering what recruiting software to purchase, don’t focus exclusively on features that will benefit the recruiting department or HR.  Instead, remember that there is another entire half of the recruiting supply chain, the hiring manager and business user- the customer.  Focus on selecting a system with innovations that enable all users, from recruiter to hiring manager, to hire people better, easier, faster, and smarter than the way your company is currently doing it. Any additional features are—of course—nice, but make sure you don’t get an ATS that puts the feature cart in front of the recruiting horse.

4)   Rethink Rocket Science:
The hiring process for most people involved in hiring can be distilled into a simple “Yes/No” decision.  So, take a good, long look at your current/potential applicant tracking system vendor.  Has it taken this very simple decision process and made it unnecessarily complicated? Great recruiting software shouldn’t take Rocket Science.

5)   Rethink Implementation and Training: Besides a Recruiter, the act of hiring is not the main career focus of any other employee in a company. Next generation software providers are creating products that are simple to choose, use and deploy. While recruiters may, over time, become accustomed to even the most complicated and unintuitive systems, hiring managers and executives never give these systems a second chance.

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