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Playing Devil’s Advocate on Behalf of Applicant Tracking Systems

Recently, it seems that public opinion believes that applicant tracking systems are inherently evil. But why? Developed to be helpful, ATS software saves human resources professionals and recruiters no doubt hundreds, if not thousands, of hours every year. Sure, there is the possibility of losing out on a few good candidates but is that really enough to warrant a bad rep?

The fact is we, as implementers of the technology, all have more power than we like to admit. Not to mention, the reality of the HR and recruiting space extends beyond the ATS – the possibilities are truly endless. By marrying technology and process, organizations can strengthen their overall strategy without becoming overly reliant on any one technology.

Technology acts as support, it enables the work we do – it does not negate the value of human participation.

The call to arms against the ATS isn’t without justification, especially as it relates to candidate experience, however; the providers (and to some extent, users) are capable of taking on the system and making it work better. Step one, determine how the technology can support your company’s recruiting objectives and move forward accordingly. Take a walk in someone else’s shoes to find out what HR and recruiting pros need to close the so-called black hole and improve hiring using ATS.

Step two – implement an ongoing maintenance schedule. Collect feedback from internal stakeholders as well as job candidates in order to adjust how ATS supports your organization. Consider The Candidate Experience Awards model which uses three survey rounds to solicit feedback at all stages of the recruiting process in order to set benchmarks.

The final step requires taking a stand against negative attitude. ATS providers have the luxury of being highly educated about their solutions, more so than most users and the market in general. Using this as leverage, talent management systems and ATS providers should move to help their users understand the full functionality of these products as well as how it can support strategy. Chances are many HR and recruiting pros will learn about untapped features and additional resources that will reaffirm the usefulness of their ATS.

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