9 tips for buying game-changing applicant tracking systems

9 Tips for Selecting Game-Changing Applicant Tracking Systems

Today’s applicant-tracking systems (ATS) not only help you lure and build relationships with job candidates and hire high performers — they can also help you build employer brand. Applicant tracking systems have become job candidate management systems. Wouldn’t it be nice to have 90 percent or more of the job applicants you reject recommend your company to others because of how well you treated them during the job application process? It can be done.

Digital technology is hacking recruiting. You need to start hacking or get left behind. If you are on the market for an ATS, here are nine tips to help you with your search.

1.  Be a smart buyer. Know what you want and have a thorough list of questions to vet the applicant tracking systems capability, how it meets your needs, the vendor’s financial position, and customer service.

2.  Put job candidate experience first. Your new ATS should make the job applicant’s experience enjoyable and not the typical one, frustrating hour, that most job applicants must endure to apply for a job on ATS’s now. Your goal should be that the job application can be completed in ten minutes and provide constant, timely feedback to the job applicant throughout the hiring process.

3.  Look for a system that’s 80% out-of-the-box. Always purchase digital software that works 80 percent out-of-the-box. If they are telling you that a new feature you need is being developed and will be ready next quarter, move along.

4.  Keep your cool. Don’t get snowed by the demonstration.

5.  Look for brand-building digital technology you can use. This includes:

  • Mobile. It works well on the job applicant’s mobile phone.
  • Scheduling. Automated scheduling capability means that the job candidate and recruiter, or hiring manager, can digitally schedule an interview and not waste time trading emails or phone calls about availability. Better yet, check to see that this feature can schedule interviews for groups of interviews.
  • Video interviewing. Automated video conferencing interviewing capability allows the interviewer to record questions and then films the candidate’s answers. The best features will enable the job candidate to go through the 30-minute screening interview at a time of the candidate’s convenience, within a time deadline. This capability has allowed recruiters to screen more job candidates faster.
  • Texting. Nearly half of job applicants report they never hear back about their applications and 83 percent rate the experience as poor. Texting can close this communication’s gap. Even baby boomers are open to texts to coordinate during the interviewing process. ATS’s that rank high on my list are ones that automatically text job applicants with updates throughout the process. This includes acknowledging receipt of the application, telling applicants when decisions are made, such as whether the recruiter or hiring manager has decided to interview, and generating offers. AllyO, which provides texting software to Fortune 500 employers, has data that shows texting like this can improve the job applicants’ net-promoter-score to 90 percent or more. That means that 90 percent of the job applicants have responded to the follow-up survey that they will recommend your job openings to their friends.
  • Artificial Intelligence. The best ATS’s have AI that will capture the critical data you need to measure the speed and success of your hiring process and, over time, the job competencies of your best hires. For example, AllyO’s texting capability can recommend to rejected job candidate’s other jobs that are a better match for their skills. ThisWay Global’s AI platform can not only find qualified passive job candidates on the internet, but can also match them, without bias, to your job openings and provide you a score of the highest to lowest ranked job candidates. ThisWay Global (whose AI is being featured on many ATS’s) can also analyze your current job applicants and recommend who is a great fit for other job openings. In addition, with AI, ATS can identify the best sources for job candidates and calculate time-to-fill by job category.
  • Blockchain. This technology is still being developed for recruiting but when it is up and running, recruiters will be able to verify degrees, certificates, and past employers in an afternoon, not days. In my last interview with Angela Hood, CEO of ThisWay Global, she observed that her AI platform is evolving to be a blockchain system of participating professional associations, colleges and universities, and employers.

6. Nail your processes, decision rights and required metrics. Before you seriously shop for a new applicant tracking system, lean-out your processes, know how you will make hiring decisions, who needs to be involved, and the metrics. Involve your recruiters, hiring managers, technologists, and administrators to map an efficient recruiting processes. Then train all of those involved in their role. If you fail to do this, your investment in new technology will not deliver its full return on investment.

7.  Integrate the new technology by changing the workflows of affected employees. Most companies fail to successfully integrate new digital technology like an ATS by not allowing the technology to do what it does best and not letting the people do what they do best. Today’s best ATS’s will automate administration, provide cloud storage, track metrics, learn more critical information of your best hires, and significantly improve the experience of the job applicants. Don’t get in the way of the power of these new ATS’s. Don’t allow anyone to continue outdated processes and be a bad robot. These new technologies will not replace recruiters. Instead, recruiters will spend less time in clunky ATS’s and outdated processes, and more time building relationships with job candidates.

8. Captures affirmative action plan data. It your company is a government contractor, it probably has to provide an affirmative action plan to the government. Make sure your ATS will provide you all the tracking to capture the voluminous amounts of data you need to conduct the required analysis and digitally complete the government’s AAP forms.

9. Avoid trouble spots. I recommend you avoid ATS’s that offer facial recognition technology that claims to evaluate whether a job candidates’ answers are truthful by examining facial expressions, voice intonation, or behavior during the interview. These technologies often have failed to prove they are unbiased against women or people of color. Avoid any technology that claims to accurately assess job candidates without evidence from a validation study. Validation studies are needed to prove the technology can identify good job performers and without bias. Ask for the empirical evidence. Without this evidence, your company could be sued for bias.

Today’s applicant tracking systems can be a game-changer in a tight talent economy. To buy an ATS that will hack your outdated technology and practices and empower you to recruit quickly, build employer brand, and hire outstanding job candidates, you must have a great criteria list. Be a smart buyer! Then start hacking!

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting  and managing partner of InnovationOne. He works with companies to improve their recruiting, HR operations, and develop extraordinary leaders, teams, and cultures of innovation. His new book is Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. Subscribe to his weekly blogs at www.VictorHRConsultant.com. 


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