How Flawed is Your Applicant Tracking System?

January 20th, 2017
Jon-Mark Sabel

“The face of recruiting has changed greatly over the last decade, but the tools our industry uses have essentially stayed the same,” Jessica Miller-Merrell begins in her article Five Flaws in Your ATS. “The same old standard ATS that most of us use has been around for decades.” The standard ATS is not the marketing and engagement engine it needs to be in the 21st century. The responsibilities of most recruiters far outstrips the capability of most ATSs. Miller-Merrell lists five flaws inherent to most Applicant Tracking Systems:

  1. No Dynamic Search. “We need our system to assist us in this area by providing a dynamic search and job matching that does the initial dirty work for us, identifying candidates that are qualified for a position without us having to weed through resumes,” Miller-Merrell explains.
  2. No Ability to Add Notes. Recruitment today more about cultivating relationships than ever before- it is critical to be able to track and note conversations.
  3. No Profile Sharing. Profiles on social media have become a crucial part of candidate recruiting and evaluation; most ATSs lack the ability to connect these to the corresponding ATS profile.
  4. No Scheduling Reminders. “Applicant tracking systems may help you keep things organized, but most don’t support you in being timely.”
  5. No Modern Workflow Management. We use multiple channels (text, phone, email, social), but the standard ATS was created only with phone in mind.

These issues have been prevalent for years, yet there seems to be little effort on the part of the standard ATS to make a change. Most still offer poor, repetitive, mobile-unfriendly candidate experiences with high rates of drop-off. If the ATS is unwilling to change, perhaps the organizations using them should take the first step? Find Jessica: Twitter

2. The Importance of Healthy Corporate Culture

Prior to social media and the internet, small and ethical organizations had it tough. Their behemoth counterparts could blanket city billboards, radio, and television with high-budget advertising campaigns, drowning out negative noise and positioning the spotlight firmly on themselves. This is no longer possible. “Brand value is more important than ever before,” Rita Trehan explains. “Not just for consumers, for investors too. Over the past few years, more investors have been pressuring their fund managers to ‘screen out’ irresponsible businesses and pro-actively ‘screen in’ ethical ones.” Volkswagen provides a stunning recent example of how ethical missteps can affect an organization’s bottom line. When it came to light that their diesel-fueled vehicles were cheating on emissions scores, its stock tanked 50% from the 12-month high it achieved earlier in the year. Trehan provides three ways to avoid these ethical quandries:

  1. Break down organizational silos. In large organizations it is common for departments to be disconnected and siloed, causing each to lose touch with company values and preventing oversight.
  2. Listen to other people. “Discussion and debate is healthy, and stops you taking rash decisions under pressure to try to deliver overly ambitious goals and targets which turn into poor and unethical behaviour further down the company.”
  3. Empower your HR departments. The Head of HR is in a perfect position to prevent ethical missteps before they happen, and recommend fixes. Take advantage of that expertise.

Find Rita: LinkedIn

3. Business Talent Management During Disasters

You never know when natural disaster might strike and cause deleterious downstream effects on business. “25% of business do not reopen following a major natural disaster,” Samantha Stauf says. “It’s a depressing and unsurprising fact.” Preparing a natural disaster plan is multifactorial, and its depth should depend on the likelihood of experiencing one. It is estimated that every dollar used for disaster preparation can prevent seven dollars of economic loss in the event of the worst-case scenario. In terms of talent management, it is crucial to have these plans in place. Stauf outlines four talent management strategies that should be used in preparation for the worst:

  1. Create employee evacuation (time-off work) policies. Consider creating a case-by-case evacuation approval policy. Some employees might live in particularly dangerous areas that would prevent them from making it to work.
  2. Create a more lax “bad weather” late policy. “You need to ask yourself what’s better: employees arriving at work safely ten to twenty minutes late or employees arriving on time if they aren’t derailed by an accident due to risky driving,” Stauf explains.
  3. Specialized employee safety policies. This is particularly important for jobs conducted outdoors. Employee injury not only opens an organization up to lawsuits, it also hurts long-term productivity.
  4. Implement an emergency remote work policy. Remote work is on the rise, and is not linked to decreased productivity. Of course, some employees are not able to perform their duties from home, but those that are should be encouraged to in the case of natural disaster.

Find Samantha: Twitter

4. Looking at Social Schedulers Beyond Scheduling

Social media recruitment marketing is on the rise as organizations turn to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to attract top talent. Should you be using third party software to schedule posts across platforms? Kate Weimer says “yes” for a single reason: analytics. When analyzing what posts gather the most “likes” and interest, it is important to have that data available as an aggregate. “When you schedule a post through Facebook and Twitter, or post it directly on LinkedIn, the only analytics you can rely on are those that each social channel provides you with,” Weimer explains. “And you have to collect each set of data from each of the social channels’ analytics platform.” In other words, compiling aggregate data on your own is nigh impossible. Using a single social scheduler also allows multiple people to be added to a single account for use across platforms, rather than added to multiple accounts on multiple platforms. This makes department-wide social collaboration much easier. Of course, don't forget to reply in a timely manner to messages and comments on social media- otherwise it’s just “media.” Find Kate: LinkedIn

5. Need Better Morale in the Workplace? Simulate a Plane Crash.

If you’re looking for a less… conventional method of teambuilding, look no further than the high-stress Survival Systems USA plane crash simulation. In the Survival Systems USA plane crash course, participants are forced to keep warm, inflate life rafts, and escape a mock plane compartment, all while partially (or fully submerged) during a simulated storm. “In Survival Systems’ class, participants overcome self-imposed limitations, and learn trust, communication, and leadership,” says Merrick Rosenberg, chief executive of Team Builders Plus. “There are specific types of groups that like high-risk activities, like lawyers, salespeople, and marketers.” Finance and social work, not so much. So if you’re interested in building team bonds in a less traditional manner, consider a mock plane crash. Find Tyler: