How to Build A Leading Candidate Experience Without Replacing Your ATS

In a time of unprecedented technological advancement, it’s peculiar to hear professionals cursing the solutions they use on a daily basis. But this is the reality many live with whose job requires them to interact with legacy enterprise software. And with their reliance on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), those in the recruiting field are no strangers to this headache.

While every recruiter would love to deliver a modern consumer-quality candidate experience on their career site, most are bound by the limitations of their ATS. This is because enterprise ATS deployments are so labor-intensive that it doesn’t make business sense to replace them too often. As a result, recruiters are left with an outdated talent acquisition asset and candidates exiting their career sites without applying.

Fortunately, in recent years the most widely deployed ATS’ have created integration points for their technology, allowing third-party solution providers to pick up where they fall short. In this article, we’ll inspect this issue further, diving into the challenges with today’s ATS’, and how to deliver a standout candidate experience without “ripping and replacing” your existing recruiting software infrastructure.

Candidate Experience And The ATS

Almost two in three talent acquisition professionals express dissatisfaction with or plans to replace their current ATS. This brings to light a candidate experience pain point, because many companies use the “out-of-the-box” ATS apply flow on their career site. Below tells the story of why this has caused concern:

  • Careers sites require unique functionalities to connect job seekers with requisitions and apply flows on the internet, so they’re often hosted on different platforms (the ATS) than the broader corporate website
  • Since ATS’ are traditionally systems of record and not systems of engagement, they tend to greatly miss the mark on candidate experience during the job search and apply process
  • As the career site is emerging as the top source for applicants, the underperforming ATS is delivering diminishing returns because it has not kept pace with job seekers’ dynamic and rising digital expectations over the years
  • Many companies have attempted to cover up the ATS by bringing in a creative firm, but this is still not up to par with the software functionality expected by today’s candidates

They key takeaway in this story is that the ATS was created to be a system of record—not a system of engagement. However, those same legacy deployments are now being used as the software behind the candidate-facing aspects of the site. This is where integration points come into play.

Delivering A Next-Gen Candidate Experience On Top of Your ATS

While there are many different career site functionalities, below is a list of the ones recruiting leadership should keep as top-of-mind as they consider third-party candidate experience solutions providers:

  • Responsive web design: Careers sites and their apply flows must be able to adapt to whichever device the candidate is using
  • Seamless apply flow: Recruiting organizations should aim for their apply flow to mirror the simplicity of top consumer-oriented sites like Amazon.com
  • Advanced search: The goal is to connect candidates with requisitions quickly and effectively, and it’s now possible to deliver advanced capabilities like autocomplete, geo-located results, filtering, and more to do this
  • Search engine optimized (SEO) requisitions: More job seekers than ever are starting their search from Google, meaning all requisitions and landing pages must be built with SEO in mind
  • Job alerts/notifications: Leading companies have deployed job alerts on their career sites and are experiencing massive reductions in cost-per-applicant and other key metrics
  • Integrated talent network: By adding the option to join a talent network, recruiters are organically building robust talent pipelines while being able to focus efforts on providing value elsewhere
  • Socially connected referral network: With social networks, it’s now possible to build the referral process right into requisitions, so candidates can request referrals from people they know
  • Back-end recruiting analytics: It would not be a “next-generation” candidate experience without having some analytical aspects for measuring and optimizing performance

Patching all of these pieces together on top of the ATS, and delivering a consistently branded experience from the time the candidate enters the career site through her job search and process of applying for a position, is the intimidating challenge companies are facing today. Fortunately, with integration and APIs, delivering this type of candidate experience can be done at a fraction of the cost it would require to replace the entire ATS.

Image: bigstock

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