How to Ensure You Hire for Keeps – The ATS Way

Applicant tracking has always been one of the most tedious tasks that recruitment managers faced in the past, especially for companies that receive tons of applications for each job opening. Today with the advent of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), life has become a whole lot easier for recruiters and HR personnel, helping them hire employees that stick around for keeps.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

ATS is a software application for the purpose of automating the recruitment process. From screening candidates to finally hiring candidates it covers the entire process.
The application can be deployed or it can be cloud based recruitment software as well.

Purposes of Applicant Tracking System

The purposes of using an applicant tracking system are many. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Ease of scanning applications – Thousands of applications can be scanned in a jiffy, based on customized filters or keywords.
  • Greater resource savings – Saving resources such as time, energy and paper (since everything is online, there is zero or minimal need for printing).
  • Streamlined and timely communication – Enables speedier and prompt communications with candidates.
  • Interview scheduling and coordination – Schedules interviews with multiple stakeholders for the particular role.
  • Storage and access to candidate pool – Helps maintain a large database of candidates. This is particularly the case when the solution is cloud based since it offers almost unlimited storage capabilities.
  • Social media integration – An ATS can sync with the online platforms (such as LinkedIn) to pick candidate profiles and extend the hiring pool.
  • Cost savings – One of the key purposes is also cost saving. Investing in an ATS helps lower the costs of recruitment in the long run.

Managing Applications for Positions

An applicant tracking software has parsing features which allows it to screen thousands of applications for various positions. Applications from diverse mediums are integrated (email, social media, website applicants) and mapped to the various open positions.

Screening Candidates

An Applicant tracking system typically screens out candidates from a large database of resumes, depending on predefined criteria for a particular job role. They may also use the social media platform profiles in addition to the submitted resumes since candidates today largely have evolved to the space of social media profiles.

Candidates are screened out based on an automated search for keywords which are appropriate for the job role. The ability to set filters ensures that no time is lost in screening candidates who are unfit for a particular job role.

Adherence to Hiring Compliance

An applicant tracking system can be programmed with the customized filters in such a way that the hiring process is adherent with the compliance guidelines for an industry, as set down by regulatory bodies or the government. This works in generating the right set of questions relevant for the role and ruling out any inappropriate questions.

A regular report is also generated and sent across to the relevant agencies. This is particularly helpful while recruiting in the government sector. Hence, applicant tracking system can go a long way in ensuring hiring compliance.

Providing Hiring Managers with Metrics and Data

Most applicant tracking systems provide regular reports, not just for compliance agencies but also for internal consumption. This includes a dashboard of the current status of recruitment in your organization, helping to keep hiring managers and other concerned personnel updated about recruitment efficiency within your company.

The stage-wise status of a job position is reflected till it is closed, and red flags are raised in case of any roadblocks, which may need action from your end. An indicative trend of the industry may also be reflected in the updates that are provided from time to time.

Applicant tracking systems have created a revolution in the space of recruitment. Recruitment is no longer an arduous task of going through a pile of resumes, then filtering the most suitable one and then following up time and again with candidates and internal stakeholders hopelessly. With the advent of modern applicant tracking systems, the whole process from screening to the deliverance of the final offer letter is just a breeze!

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Imagine Employer Branded Emotional Workplace Raincoats

“C’mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C’mon you little fighter
And get back up again…”

—Supertramp, It’s Raining Again

Facebook messenger popped up: Did you hear the news?

The person messaging me was a new co-worker. I just stared at the words, a sick feeling of knowing something I didn’t want to know roiled in my stomach. The blinking cursor taunted me.

I wrote back: What news?

The cursor blinked a steady robotic wink.

That your boss was fired today.

Two weeks on the new job, alone at a conference 3,000 miles away from home, and no where near the office I was onboarded and trained.

Your boss was fired today. This being the person who recruited and wooed me, and, I thought, brought me in to be part of the A-team.

Fear bubbled up like bile in my throat. I knew something was wrong all day when I hadn’t heard back from the multiple messages I had left. Frantic second guessing seized me – the offer, my acceptance, my excitement – the opportunity I had been looking for.

Another message popped up: Kevin, you there? You all right?

No, I’m not all right. Not even close, I thought.

I had no idea what to do. I thought of my wife and my two daughters. I thought of the lean times and risk-taking and the rock bottom perspective before this point. Although I didn’t know for sure if this was the end of a very short beginning, it definitely felt like a long walk off a short pier somewhere in the dead of frozen winter.

Until it wasn’t. Until I discovered it had nothing to do with me and the winter freeze thawed quickly and all was as well as could be. It was then I found myself parachuted into a hot jungle thicket of unpredictable monsoons that was thankfully alive with the work I loved to do and with people I loved doing it with.

I thought I had done my due diligence. I thought I had asked all the right questions from others besides my boss who had recruited me. I read about them online via Glassdoor and LinkedIn and various other press releases and Internet smack – and was okay with all of it.

Ready to go to work! Onward! Let’s do this!

Sound familiar to some of you? We don’t know what we don’t know until we’re truly in it, right? When we talked about the Amazon work experience with Kidpower Founder and Executive Director Irene van der Zande on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, Irene made a valid point. She said that people who decide to work for difficult even harsh workplace cultures go in with eyes wide open, and they either adapt and make it work, or they leave.

But we all know the world of work can be volatile for any one of us at any time. How we respond to tough workplaces is up to us and she shared some examples of how Kidpower has prepared hundreds of thousands of teens and adults worldwide to take charge of their emotional and physical safety when others (and your environment) are acting in unkind, hurtful, unsafe ways – one of which is by wearing an emotional raincoat.

Cry me a river, right? Work is work, so suck it up and deal and be happy with a bright and shiny new job. The problem is that, although more and more companies are forced to be more transparent during the recruiting process and have improved it throughout, we’re just not getting a clear enough picture of what it’s like when we get to the suitor’s front door and go inside.

The Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards research data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – tell us that companies have showed no maturity in strengthening the new hire onboarding experience year after year.

Also from the data – less than half of new hires received a phone call from their hiring manager during the onboarding process, and less than a fifth engaged in any social connection with their future team members. Of course, a deeper comparative analysis across job types (hourly, salaried and executive) may uncover onboarding practice differentials, but the fact remains beyond the employers supplying information and completing required paperwork, muggy thunderstorms may loom.

Interestingly, the 2014 CandE data shows low investment priority (45.1 percent or 79 out of 175 participants) in onboarding technology, in comparison to other recruiting technologies like applicant tracking systems (83.4 percent or 146 out of 175 participants). However, per the survey, onboarding as a service is the number 2 priority being considered for 2014-2015.

That’s good news. Take it from me and what I’ve learned from Kidpower – if storm clouds are brewing on your just-hired horizon, put on your waterproof emotional raincoat and weather it like the champ you are, especially for the the work you love to do and get compensated for. It will pass and you’ll be fine. Most of the time. And in the end you’ll stay or leave accordingly.

In fact, just imagine employer branded emotional workplace raincoats. Hey, there’s a new hire tchotchke for us all.

Come see the must-see keynotes and the 2015 CandE Winners at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.  Connect with me to learn more.