Talent Acquisition Technology: Reinvention And Innovation

Last time, in Why We Don’t Need To Reinvent The ATS, I disscussed the common frustrations companies experience with Applicant Tracking Systems. In this installment, we’ll consider if we should now look to reinvent the ATS?

Should We Reinvent the ATS?

There have been a number of new ATS companies sprouting up over the past year or two, and many have received positive reviews from early adopters. But I’d suggest that much of the praise is from small- and medium-sized businesses that require less functionality and in many cases have different needs.

The majority of the large organizations I’ve talked to still require established ATS solutions that have built necessary functionality over the past 10 years, especially due to compliance and legal reasons. So I ask these four questions before answering the big one:

Can We Live Without Many Of The Features Provided By Legacy ATS solutions?

Consider the crucial features and functionality that are needed for large organizations to gain supreme value from these solutions. How quickly can we build this functionality (and other new-age features) into a reinvented ATS?

From talking to the people who have actually worked to build these technologies, it will take a years upon years to match what many solutions have today, and a majority of this functionality is integral to meeting the legal demands the government requires from organizations. It would be great to make this process easier, but if we can’t report and remain compliant to the federal government (one of the major benefits of the ATS) then what’s the point? There’s a give and take around what’s inherently needed and what’s not.

What Would We Be Improving?

Many are looking to reinvent the entire concept of what an ATS is – and that can be a worthy goal. This reinvention is happening mostly on the recruitment marketing, candidate attraction and relationship side of recruiting. How do we better capture candidates as applicants and provide recruiters with ways to better engage these candidates in the ATS?

However, many ATS tools aren’t just for hiring, but flow into talent management with onboarding, training and other modules to facilitate processes downstream in the talent process. Much of the innovation has gone in this direction, and there’s a lot of value to having a system that starts at the application and bridges the gaps to your core HR systems.

So let’s think about what the ATS should truly be and where value is ultimately created. It can’t do everything, but what should it truly do? Where should it fit in our talent acquisition process?

What’s The Opportunity Cost?

By spending time, resources and money reinventing the ATS, what opportunities are we unable to tackle? We can’t do everything, so where can we provide the most value in today’s technology ecosystem? Does the industry need a better mousetrap? Or does it need better bait to ensure the mousetrap works more efficiently and can worry more about disposal vs. attraction?

Where Are We Today?

When I look at the ATS, I see a solution that serves its purpose. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have qualms about the issues inherent in these systems. I just believe that we will never truly be satisfied with the status quo, and we’ll always find ways to try to improve how we do things. But we have to understand the motivations behind this urge.

It’s easy to say, “yes,” of course we should try to reinvent the ATS, given its widespread use and the need for additional solutions in talent acquisition now. But the better question is: “Why do we want to reinvent the ATS?”

Where Else Can We Focus Our Talent Acquisition Technology Innovation?

You’re right, I haven’t provided an alternative to a better ATS … yet. Hopefully, I’ve provided a good cliffhanger as we look to explore where else we can pour our energy and innovation to improve talent acquisition.

In my next TalentCulture post I will tackle how I see the trends in talent acquisition technology and the pros and cons of transforming our thinking on how we use technology to attract, engage, nurture and hire qualified candidates.

Image: Bigstock


Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and has sponsored this post.