Receive daily articles & headlines each day in your inbox with your free ERE Daily Subscription.

Not logged in. [log in or register]

tools RSS feed Tag: tools

How To Recruit With Video

by Mar 8, 2012, 5:01 pm ET

According to comScore, 181 million Americans watched more than 40 billion videos in the past month. A more interesting stat would be, what percentage of companies are ignoring this huge pool of passive candidates by not implementing a video recruitment strategy? May I ask, what are you doing now to capture the mindset of the passive candidates who are quietly waiting for the market to turn in their favor? Are you using YouTube and sites like it to maintain your edge? If not, this webinar is an event you can not miss.

For more podcasts, webinars, and articles on recruiting be sure to check out!

[podcast format="video"][/podcast]

Cost-Cutting (Free) Recruitment Practices!

by Feb 23, 2012, 3:44 pm ET

In this session, we will talk about all your recruitment & sourcing process and how you can cut costs without sacrificing the quality of the hire. Not everyone is able to afford the cost of every job board, along with Broadlook Diver, and a Linkedin Premium account. Sometimes being a staffing manager means creating magic out of very little or nothing at all.

We will discuss improvements to your recruitment process that include savings on the phone, savings in your search, savings with your recruitment message, savings in your branding, and savings in the sourcing tools that you use.

For more podcasts, webinars, and articles on recruiting be sure to check out!

[podcast format="video"][/podcast]

New Tools Simplify, Amplify Social Media Job Posting

by Jul 26, 2010, 1:05 pm ET

Jobmagic has joined the growing number of vendors offering social media recruiting tools.

The company, the successor to job-match provider Vitruva, released a tool set for recruiters and employers that simplifies the distribution of jobs to social networking sites and spiffs up their appearance with logos, pictures, and even embeds You Tube videos.

Most of the features automate the job distribution to social and business networking sites and via Twitter channels. The graphic elements and the interactive components are differentiators in this growing area of social media servicing.

A Jobmagic posting can include a mini-profile to give candidates some confidence that there’s a real person somewhere out there who just might look at their application. Even better is a contact button that connects recruiter and candidate. I couldn’t find out how that’s done. IM would be really cool, but it’s probably a post to the recruiter’s or the company’s Facebook wall. keep reading…

Laundry List Ads, Job Hopping, and Facebook Sourcing

by May 19, 2010, 3:28 pm ET

ere-community-logoThe #socialrecruiting summit was a real blast and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the next one in Seattle (more details coming on that later).

Here’s what’s going on in the ERE community this week:

  1. Nix the Laundry List: Job Ads That Kill
  2. Enough with old school thinking about job hopping
  3. How to Source from Facebook Status Updates
  4. Who is entitled to the fee?
  5. Concerns about data stored on US-based servers?
  6. 7 Habits of the Highly Effective Social Recruiter

1. Nix the Laundry List: Job Ads That Kill

Kevin Jenkins writes about job descriptions as de facto recruiting advertisements. He posts, “Requirements intensive (i.e., laundry list format) job ads serve no purpose other than to undermine your recruiting effort. They are pointless; that’s because a properly written job responsibilities section always delineates the skills needed to perform the work required and it does so much more effectively.

What do you think about these sorts of advertisements?

keep reading…

Simplify Life. Become a G-Recruiter

by May 12, 2010, 1:35 pm ET

You want to be a G-Recruiter?

Consider it if you’re an independent, or work where Outlook is considered an ATS, or you track candidates on Post-Its and file resumes on your hard drive in the folder called “RESUMES.” Or you’re simply tired of working the way someone else thinks you should.

G-Recruiter, as its maker Amitai Givertz describes it, is a mash-up of free Google tools that automate most routine and many mundane recruiting functions. “G-Recruiters are people who combine Google’s free services and related tools to replace conventional recruiting products and services,” he proclaims on the G-Recruiter website, built, appropriately, on Google sites.

Using Google desktop, a browser (preferably Firefox), and such free Google services as Gmail, search, Google Docs, and its RSS reader, Givertz has built a powerful recruiter desktop that can be customized to the user’s tastes and needs. Remarkably, everything is free. Just as remarkably, Givertz has packaged all the essentials for easy downloading, and has posted a series of tutorials and videos that show you how to make everything work.

You do need some computer chops to assemble the pieces and customize it, but you don’t need to be a geek to do this. keep reading…

Amazing Practices in Recruiting — ERE Award Winners 2009 (Part 1 of 2)

by Apr 13, 2009, 6:30 am ET

It has been an amazing year in recruiting and talent management, despite severe economic hardships, budget cuts, and widespread hiring freezes.

Unlike the economic turmoil following 9/11 and the dot-com bubble burst, many recruiting functions have continued to innovate and stretch the limits of what can be defined as “standard recruiting.”

If you work in an organization that has given up on innovation and instead has adopted a survival strategy, it’s important to realize that many of your competitors are not standing still. If your organization chooses to wait for an economic recovery to begin modernizing their recruiting practices, you may find it nearly impossible to catch up.

One of the challenges in the fast-moving profession of recruiting is how to keep up with the latest evolutions in best practice. In my experience, there’s no better place to learn about practical tools and applications in recruiting and talent management than

Fortunately, ERE Media holds a yearly global competition aimed at identifying the very best “next practices” in recruiting. Each year, ERE receives hundreds of applications in eight recruiting program categories from well-known organizations like Microsoft, IBM, Ernst & Young, Intuit, Accenture, GE, Yahoo!, and from less well-known but equally innovative organizations like DaVita, the American Cancer Society, and Tata.

Fortunately, as a judge for the Recruiting Excellence Awards, I’m given the opportunity to highlight some of these amazing practices that your organization should consider adopting.

keep reading…

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Video Resumes

by Mar 21, 2007

Video resumes and video interviews are here. Yet some employers, afraid of the legal ramifications of reviewing videos of people in the hiring process, are curling up into the fetal position and taking steps to avoid them altogether. Here’s why you should do the exact opposite and fully embrace them.

I recently had a conversation with a director of recruiting at a large organization who said that he had just put a policy in place to reject all video resumes. “And why would you do that?” I asked.

keep reading…

Assessing Employee Referral Programs: A Checklist

by Sep 12, 2005

By now, everyone has heard the praises on employee referral programs and how they can produce outstanding results with regards to cost, speed, and quality of hire. While these continue to be the driving factors behind the rampant adoption of employee referral programs (ERPs), as recruiting tools they also deliver a number of other, often overlooked benefits that should be considered when designing, managing, and measuring the effectiveness of the program. Such benefits include increased new-hire success rates, insights into employee moral and pride (as seen through program usage statistics), and more focused use of recruiter and management time, which is enabled by offloading a portion of the sourcing, screening and assessment load to the greater employee population. Because the number of things a referral program can impact is so large, it should come as no surprise that most ERPs perform well below their potential. The relative poor performance of most programs can be attributed to one or both of the following reasons:

Simple Recruiting

by Aug 3, 2005

There is a question I have been posing to recruiters all over the world that is evoking some interesting answers: What is the simplest recruiting model you could imagine for your organization? What I mean by this is, how minimal could you go and still deliver good people in a reasonable time? Could you get by with no applicant tracking system and no website? What would you keep and what would you toss out if you were given the task of reducing the recruiting function so that it used almost no resources? Why do I care about this? I believe that when you can reduce a function or a machine to its simplest components, you can see more clearly what is essential versus what is a nice enhancement. For example, a car is at its simplest when it consists of a chassis, four wheels, a basic engine with no electrical system, no gauges or dials, a steering system directly connected to the wheels, and a single seat. Everything else is sure nice to have but does not make the car any more functional. Recruiting today has become encumbered by all sorts of bells and whistles that may give us the illusion of better recruiting, but that may also be eroding our ability to do the very basics of recruiting: find the best people, convince them to work for our employer, and make the process simple and fast. It is always healthy to go through a process of simplification, downsizing and streamlining. What emerges is usually a much more effective and efficient operation. Let’s take a look at some things that might be eliminated from our current recruiting practices and what could replace them. Let me make it clear before I jump in here that I am an advocate of using technology and of the tools that make it easier to do our jobs. I am writing this to help sharpen our answers to the questions we are often asked, such as why we spend all that money on an applicant tracking system or what real value we get from the website. By thinking about what they contribute and what would be missing without them, we can be better advocates for them. 1. Forget all Internet interfaces. The Internet is wonderful and I couldn’t imagine a world without it, but is it essential to recruiting? I worked as a recruiter, as did many of you and many of the other ERE writers, well before the Internet was even a twinkle. We were successful. We used our personal contacts, focused on local recruiting, added a lot of weight by taking potential candidates to lunches and dinners, and talked a lot on the telephone. It was time consuming, but satisfying, and it worked. Recruiting could still be done this way. The Internet has also spawned a host of related needs: training in online search, training in how to use a job board and how to post to one, and training in data mining and information gathering to better pinpoint searches. All of these require time and money and need to be perceived as worth the effort. Many recruiters still resist and have been successful. 2. Forget the recruiting website. I know that I am perhaps one of the strongest advocates of having a good recruiting website, but what would happen if you didn’t have one? Very successful recruiting functions, such as that at FirstMerit Bank, which Dr. John Sullivan wrote about earlier this week, have almost no web presence. I imagine that most small companies either have an extremely basic website or none at all. Still, they manage to attract and recruit good people. Websites are merely reflections of branding strategies and plans that have been thought out and executed in a host of ways. Candidates of a certain type may feel that organizations without websites are strange, but I doubt if anyone has stopped pursuing a job because the organization did not have a website. 3. Why bother with an applicant tracking system? For most recruiters the ATS is a sinkhole for both money and time. System can cost more than six figures to install and customize and hundred of thousands more to maintain annually. Many organizations employ IT professionals to support these systems and have additional staff to keep correspondence up-to-date and to enter data that cannot be entered automatically. The fact is applicant tracking systems cost a lot and probably are only really justified when recruiting volume is very high or when an organization has a strong global brand and is a magnet for candidates of all types. Many organizations use these systems primarily to generate reports for the government to show compliance with EEO and other requirements. The number of organizations that have purchased one of these systems is small (maybe 5% of all organizations in the U.S. have such a system in place being used regularly). Many organizations use an Excel spreadsheet or some other simple database. Some just use paper file folders and the telephone. They are far from essential for most of us. 4. Job boards are a waste. Who doesn’t post to a job board? Almost every organization uses some sort of job board, but very few actually know how many candidates they got from them. What we have done is closed some doors to candidates while opening others. In many cases, the same candidate also would have sent you a resume directly or would have called you had that avenue been available. Most recruiters in past decades opened postal mail, picked up the phone, or kept communication open with potential candidates through meetings, social events, and their network. Job boards are relatively expensive; they generate candidates who may not be qualified and reach out to a very broad geography. For most organizations, recruiting is a local activity and candidates come from nearby. They learn about you and your positions from friends and word of mouth. Perhaps job boards, too, are expendable. At this point we’ve reduced your recruiting function to a few people with a telephone doing essential things ó cold calling, networking, selling, building talent pools ó not learning technology and worrying over Internet security or the latest glitch in the ATS. Technology is incredibly helpful, but only when it integrates seamlessly into helping us do these essential things. Take a look at your technology investments and see if they are helping make your recruiting simpler or just adding nonproductive complexity.

Moving Away from Requisitions and Towards Strategic Partnership

by Jul 19, 2005

The response to my last two articles on the topic of requisitions was informative. Most recruiting professionals who responded via the ERE Forum thought I had missed the point entirely, while those people who wrote me directly expressed gratitude for stating something they struggle with everyday. But everybody’s basic point was the same: requisitions run my life and define my job. Some people seem to like that, some people don’t. No matter where people fell down on the issue though, they all hinted at the next question: “Okay, smart guy. If requisitions are so bad, tell me how you live life without them!” The answer? Integration! This article will explore “integration” the way people with pocket-protectors and broken horn-rimmed glasses mean it, as in, “The integration of multiple subsystems within a heterogeneous compute environment is a necessary condition for end-to-end transactions.” I know, it’s pretty hot. But since this is a family publication I will try to keep such a sexy subject as dry as possible. There is also the metaphor of integration, which is about how you integrate what you do with your client’s business. I’ll address that only briefly at the end of the article, since my main focus is on technology integration. Moving away from a tactical requisition-based environment to the more ideal strategic partnership scenario requires the integration of various technologies that you may already be using inside your organization. In fact, in order to move beyond requisitions you (or your HRIT partner) must work towards making sure that all your data sources are integrated into one seamless information system. Even if your organization doesn’t have the types of systems that I discuss below, they probably will at some point in the future. The technologies that drive workforce planning include workforce planning tools (including project management, resource allocation, new product modeling, and IT governance), performance management tools, contact management and candidate relationship tools, and financial central-planning tools. At present, most of these tools live in their own universes and don’t talk to each other. For instance, if you have a project at your organization that you are staffing, it is likely that the project management team used some form of tool to create a scenario whereby they would need to go off and hire someone. These tools range from the very old (manual spreadsheet analysis) to the very advanced (new product modeling features in resource and project management tools). The project planning tool helps the business leader model some scenarios around staffing: the expected launch of the product, what types of skills are needed on the project, which individuals inside the organization are available to be staffed on a new project, and financial/budget constraints on what the project can pay for any particular skill. The business lead creates these plans and then runs them through various approval processes and checkpoints in order to end up with an approved plan. That plan says, “The company needs to hire these types of folks, with these types of skills and experiences, around this time, for this much money.” The project manager will then typically contact their HR or Recruiting representative to tell them about their needs. Because the HR/recruiting rep wants to make sure that they have the information right, and since they usually don’t have access to the original planning tool to see the various approvals, they must create a requisition to confirm that the need is real, as well as to initiate a conversation with the hiring manager about his or her “actual needs.” But what if the planning tool and the ATS talked to each other? Using the present level of sophistication of integration tools (at EA we use a tool called Tibco, but there are many others out there), your HRIT department can help you create business rules that determine whether a “TBH” (to be hired) has gone through the appropriate authorization channels and whether the proper information is contained in the resource request. Assuming the needs of those rules are met, a virtual requisition can be created in the ATS, which then can trigger the hiring process. The need description, budget allocation, skill requirements, and timing of the request should all be contained within the modeling tool database. Yes, sometimes you will need to go back and double-check the information, or change the job description language to meet a specific geographical or employment challenge. But that is more about the marketing side of recruiting, and less about administration. In other words, integration between the project management tool and the applicant tracking system takes requisitions and moves them from the administrative side of the business process to the communication side of the recruiting/selling process. Of course, this integration won’t solve world hunger or hold back the tides. Recruiters must still be accountable for understanding their client’s needs by specializing in what Kevin Wheeler calls “expert thinking” and “complex communications.” Integration won’t solve for a lack of these skills. In fact, a simple test of how “integrated” a recruiter is with the company’s talent processes is to remark their level of surprise when a new requisition magically appears in their fully integrated ATS. A recruiter who is well integrated into his or her clients’ business planning process will already know the requisition is coming. On the other hand, a recruiter who uses requisitions as a way to avoid hiring managers will continually be surprised when new requisitions appear. Of course, project planning tools aren’t the only source of TBH data. In fact, most organizations are just starting to move towards a “project work model” (as opposed to the functional model of work, where you just repeat a task over and over, but never get to see the final outcome). But all organizations talk money. So often times new hire planning is done in central planning tools, usually in finance. Most companies (and almost all public companies) must provide a budget for headcount prior to the start of the fiscal year. In the post Sarbanes-Oxley era of company governance, headcount is a common metric that Wall Street uses to evaluate the expense risk of a company for the coming fiscal year. You have probably had to deal with this through your company’s budgeting process: how many people, in what types of positions, for how much money, are you going to need for the year? Again, in most companies today, this information is accessed through the finance department during the requisition creation process. In other words, the information is only available to the finance department, because only they have access to the budgeting module of the financial system. So a requisition becomes a way of getting finance to approve something they already agreed to: that a position has budget approval as of a certain date. As we discussed in the previous articles, the approval of a requisition by finance is redundant, because they have to do it again when the offer gets issued. But again, imagine for a minute that your ATS and the central planning and budgeting system are integrated. Your position description (note that this does not have to be a requisition) already has a job code, a department number, and hiring manager number. Guess what? That’s the same information in the planning system! So once you are ready to send an offer out, you can initiate a request to the planning system to check that the position is budgeted and open. This protects the company from making the mistake of hiring someone off plan. It doesn’t require a requisition, and it has successfully automated a manual process. Finally, I would like to reiterate something I brought up at the start of the article, which is that integration is both a technology and a metaphor. From a technology perspective, integration means reducing the administrative workload of the recruiting organization through seamlessly meshing different information sources into one cohesive hiring management system. This will enable recruiters to shift from being tactical administrators to strategic consultants and partners. But technical integration only provides an opportunity for becoming more strategic. The metaphor of integration is the way to maximize this opportunity. Integration as a metaphor means that the recruiter is a seamless part of the business system they are supporting. Moving beyond requisition is the first step from technical integration towards “business integration.”

Will the Best Assessment Vendor Please Stand Up?

by Jul 7, 2005

The continued groundswell of interest in the use of assessment tools brings with it many positive things. First of all, it is really great to see that an increasing number of companies are beginning to experience firsthand the value that a well-planned and properly implemented assessment strategy can provide. What has me even more excited is that the continued integration of assessment with other technology-based hiring tools ó such as sourcing tools and applicant tracking systems ó is an important step in the continued development of a process-based approach to hiring. I really do believe that this is where the future lies when it comes to the intersection of hiring and technology. But while continued interest and advances in both technology and consumer mindset are encouraging, there is still a great deal of hesitancy among potential consumers of assessment tools. While many folks have been sticking their big toe in the water, a large number are still unwilling to dive in. This is understandable, as there are many reasons why thinking about the use of assessment tools can be a bit scary. One of the biggest reasons for this hesitancy is the fact that one of the first steps in using assessment, the simple act of choosing an assessment provider, can be a daunting proposition. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Low level of knowledge. Assessment is a complex subject matter that takes some effort to fully understand. My research has shown that a lack of knowledge about assessment has continually been the main reason for hesitancy to consider using these measures.
  • keep reading…

The Changing Face of Applicant Tracking

by Jun 2, 2005

Applicant tracking system (ATS) is a curious name for the software that powers most recruiting functions in Fortune 500 organizations and in many smaller ones as well. One would assume that recruiters and hiring managers would want a tool that assisted them in discovering the right person for a position ó not a tool that just tracked applicants. The name is reflective, though, of what these tools are designed to do. Their primarily purpose is to store resumes, retrieve them through search engines based on keywords, and track a candidate’s progress through telephone screens, interviews, and either an offer or a rejection. In fact, all the most popular applicant tracking systems are designed around the philosophy that the resume is central to recruiting. These systems enable the resume to be stored, retrieved, and matched against a requisition. They are not based on tracking relationships or people unless those people are “attached” to a particular requisition. This means that there is usually no way to gather and retrieve information about people who have not expressed interest in a specific job. There are a few systems, however, that are based on another and more useful philosophy ó that people and relationships are central to recruiting. These systems help recruiters develop and build relationships with people and develop talent communities. Most of the confusion recruiters have about applicant tracking systems is caused by not clearly understanding or appreciating the difference between these two philosophies. The agency world has been using tools that are more aligned to the relationship philosophy for some time now. They use applicant tracking systems that are designed to facilitate relationships, store contact information, and regularly communicate with candidates. These systems include Bullhorn and Prohire (which is built and sold by Recruitmax). The corporate recruiting world has focused almost exclusively on ATS-centered around tracking resumes. The applicant tracking systems most commonly used include Taleo, Webhire, Recruitmax, and Brassring. Some of them can do rudimentary relationship and talent community building, but their strength is around administrative and database functions. These relationship functions have been added on later and are not as seamlessly part of the product as they should be. Corporate recruiters who want to develop talent communities and build relationships are limited right now to a handful of systems. These include and Yahoo! HotJobs’ HotHire (developed as a replacement for Resumix by Yahoo! Hotjobs) ó both products built more on the candidate relationship philosophy. Otherwise, corporate recruiters resort to contact management software such as ACT. Contact management software allows recruiters to store vital information about potentially interesting candidates, such as telephone and email data, as well as personal notes about the potential candidate. These systems also store resumes and track them against requisitions, but they are much better at candidate communication, scheduling appointments, reminding recruiters about specific people, and developing talent communities. They often provide candidates with tools to self-manage their relationship with the organization, such as updating their personal information when it changes or even removing themselves from the system when they are no longer interested. The history of how these systems evolved is fascinating and rich enough for several columns. But the core part of the story is that human resources functions are administrative and look for tools that help them store, track, codify and report data. Historically, HR and corporate recruiting had little interest in relationships or in “selling” jobs or people, and more interest in process and the ability to meet legal challenges. The agency world, on the other hand, has been built on relationship development and candidate communication. Recruiters who move from agencies to corporate roles are often surprised to find that they do not have the same tools. Many ex-agency recruiters feel handicapped in the corporate environment because of these differences in philosophy and tools. Agencies make their profits from quickly and efficiently putting good candidates in front of hiring managers. They often do not bother with resume storage, and instead keep track of potential candidate’s contact information and some notes about the candidate to help in their communication and to jog their memory about the candidate. When a need arises, they search through their notes and past communications to potential candidates and, when they find a potential fit, they call the person up, re-establish contact, and request a resume. This is slowly becoming the model corporate recruiters are using. It has many benefits. First of all, this philosophy changes the way recruiters source candidates. Rather than look for the perfect candidate who fits an exact need, they store information on a wide variety of people who may be a fit for some future position. As needs arise, they scan their contact lists, make phone calls and find or are led to an appropriate candidate very quickly. Often by using their persuasive powers, they influence hiring managers to consider candidates who otherwise might have been passed over because they were not exact matches to a requisition. This, in turn, reduces the time to present candidates. In fact, relationship-focused recruiters can often present a candidate in a few hours, rather than in a few days, which is more common. Time to present is becoming a measure of recruiter quality because it speaks to the recruiter’s ability to anticipate hiring managers’ needs and to have candidates ready. Unfortunately, most corporate recruiters spend lots of time looking at resumes of people who are unlikely to ever be hired and storing them. They do this to be legally compliant, to meet EEO guidelines, or just because the ATS requires that it be done that way. Corporate recruiters should learn from the agency model. Hiring managers go outside to agencies because they know they will quickly get appropriate candidates with little need for them to provide a lot of detail. Agencies can do this because they focus on understanding what needs the business has and which competencies will help meet those needs. Then they start to contact the people in their talent communities who have similar competencies. Within a few days, their contacts lead them to the best candidates. They rarely search resume databases or try to match requisitions to resumes. This is a futile effort for the most part, because hiring managers are never sure of exactly what they want and expect to be influenced by candidates and recruiters. In rare cases, hiring managers can even be delighted by the caliber of a candidate they did not expect to see. Matching humans to jobs requires flexibility ó something databases are by design not equipped to provide. A well-executed recruiting model assumes that matches are inexact and that candidates who meet the critical requirements but lack other requirements may be the preferred choice. Tools that provide flexibility in data entry, allow networking and candidate communication, and allow recruiters to make “fuzzy” matches to candidates will emerge as the winners in the overcrowded ATS marketplace.

Making Corporate Career Sites More Effective Using World-Class Measurement Approaches

by Mar 28, 2005

article by Dr. John Sullivan & Master Burnett To the average human resource professional, it might seem as if everyone in the corporate world is on the verge of information overload these days. No matter where you look, data is being collected, manipulated, and pushed back out. From computer generated reports sent via e-mail to status updates sent to your Blackberry, massive volumes of information are swarming around. Most of this information is utterly useless; after all, it does nothing more than tell you about historical performance according to some oversimplified formula that in reality tells you little about how to do your job more effectively. That said, information in general can be very powerful ó if the type of data collected and the method used to collect it are accurately aligned with the type of decisions you will need to make upfront. Unfortunately, most measurement systems start with what data is easiest to collect. This article is going to focus on world-class measurement related to making corporate employment sites more effective, but the concepts presented here could be applied to almost any topic. Reporting versus Operational Metrics The problem with most corporate recruiting metrics is that they are designed to report up in an organization, not power the day-to-day decision-making process where small corrections are needed to keep a fast-moving organization on track. These types of metrics are commonly referred to as “reporting metrics,” and are most often reported out on a periodic basis versus a timeline associated with operational actions or event-dictated responses. They are great at telling you that something isn’t working, but horrible at telling you why it isn’t working, or where your process to achieve certain results went awry. This results in most reports being deemed not relevant by those who need the information most. Before you go saying that’s not true, think about how many reports get circulated in your organization, and then think about what percentage of them you actively refer to when making a decision. Most data suggests that in an average organization, only 17% of the information made available via standardized reporting gets used! Making Web Measures World Class and Usable The keys to making web measures world-class are pretty much the same as those required to make any set of measures world class. They include:

  1. Making the information provided actionable. This edict cannot be repeated enough. To make information valued in an organization, it must be presented in such a way that the recipient can immediately realize how to make use of the information ó and how to act differently.
  2. keep reading…

How to Choose and Implement an ATS

by Mar 23, 2005

It sometimes seems as if recruiters and technology are like oil and water ó almost impossible to mix. I am rarely at a client for very long before the “issue” of technology comes up. Usually, it’s in the form of a complaint. I hear things like, “Our ATS can’t do what?” or, “I wish I could get better metrics, but my ATS can’t create the reports I need,” or, “The recruiters here never bother to enter the right data or they don’t use the system at all.” When I talk with finance groups or engineering departments, technology is never an issue. They seem to live together in harmony, albeit with a few blips here and there. While a few people I know have said that they feel computers are just too impersonal for people-oriented recruiters to be comfortable with, I know many very warm and successful recruiters who are advocates and users of very sophisticated systems. There are several reasons why these systems are hard to sell, poorly utilized, and rarely praised. Poor Understanding of Current Processes No system can do what you want if you don’t know what you want to do. Many recruiters cannot tell me the entire process of getting a new employee hired. When I ask them to pretend they are a candidate or a job requisition and then take me through the various steps to get to a hire, they can only get through those steps they play a part in. Many pieces of the recruiting process are vague or ill-defined, even to those who do them. Often, many people do a small part of a process and no one really knows it all. Just as often, the processes themselves are not efficient. Employees in manufacturing environments have had process improvement goals for years. Consultants and academics have been hired to analyze and probe into every aspect of producing a product, until today we are able to produce products of all types with fewer people and greater quality and at lower cost than ever before in history. The spotlight is now being turned on to the “soft” processes, such as recruiting, and these processes will be examined and streamlined immensely over the next several years. Recommendation: Before even thinking about an applicant tracking system, you have to write down or draw a diagram of every process step the requisition, the hiring manager, the recruiter, and the candidate have to go through to complete a hire. You will ask why the step is necessary and what would happen if it were eliminated. You will simplify and make sure the step is adding value and producing quality. Then you will be able to compare what you need to get done with the capabilities of whatever ATS you are evaluating. This is the first and most important step in creating the RFP or of even talking to a vendor. You have to know exactly what you want and why. Undefined or Unclear Goals for Your System I find that recruiting departments rarely define what they expect the system to do for them. Do you expect it to reduce cost per hire? Maybe you expect it will speed up the time to offer? Or the time to hire? Perhaps candidate quality will improve? Maybe all of these? You also need to have a straightforward answer to the following questions: Why are you buying this system at all? Why can’t you just continue to do it the way you have done it in the past? Recommendation: Have a realistic and clear view of what you can expect. Know what is realistic to expect by asking other organizations what their experiences have been. The ATS vendors should be able to provide you with examples from other customers. Typically, users find that for the first year or so costs may not go down very much as there is a learning curve. You may need to maintain an old system while the new system is being implemented. That is why having a realistic picture is so important. If you have sold the idea of the applicant tracking system as a way to significantly reduce costs, your boss may be very unhappy when those savings don’t show up. Besides, saving money is a dumb reason to buy one of these. It just isn’t a good enough reason and rarely happens anyway. These systems should be purchased because they make you more productive and improve candidate quality or the candidate experience. A Lengthy and Bureaucratic Vendor Selection Process I am always amazed at the RFPs for applicant tracking systems I see from many very large and well-known organizations. They are pages in length and cover so much detail that that the forest is entirely missed for the trees. There are, in my experience, four critical things to know about the vendor and its product. Everything else is nice to know, but not critical. In theory your RFP could be one or two pages long. Here are the four major issues you need to address to devise an effective RFP:

  1. Does the system have at least 80% of the features that you think you will need? Can it produce the reports you need? Can it integrate with your HRIS system? Can the vendor give you examples, and will that cost be part of the quote? Obviously, you have to have completed my first recommendation above and know your processes and what you need very thoroughly. You also have to realize and accept that no system will be likely to do 100% of what you want without great expense and customization. Be realistic and work with the vendor you choose over time to evolve the missing elements.
  2. keep reading…

Best Practices for 2005

by Dec 23, 2004

In my humble opinion 2004, has been a great year for the online hiring industry. I believe this is due to the development of the following trends:

  1. The ATS industry has finally started to get it! The jig is up for companies that have promised to increase quality of hire but fail to offer infrastructure capable of fulfilling the promise. Market demand has required that ATS vendors of all sizes begin to evaluate how they can deliver this essential, but often missing, ingredient. To their credit, most vendors have reacted accordingly and are working hard on a new generation of products that provide the substance required to help their customers make quality hiring decisions.
  2. keep reading…

Technology Trends: Become a Better Customer

by Dec 10, 2004

Every month, I do an article on the state of technology. This month is no exception. While progress is occurring in using technology for improving hiring and recruiting processes, I’m disappointed that it’s not occurring more rapidly. From our investigations, this is more of a problem with the users of technology ó the customers ó than the vendors. For significant progress to be made on the IT front, recruiters and recruiting managers need to become better customers. They quickly need to be better users of technology. By demanding more robust systems, vendors will respond. They have the will and the capacity, but not enough direction. Unfortunately, too many customers demand features that are often unnecessary, counter-productive or poorly thought out. Collectively, this is why technology has not progressed as rapidly in the hiring/recruiting area as it might have. We’re going to change all of that. You’ll have an opportunity to accelerate this trend and become part of a new technology movement. Information on how to participate will be provided at the end of this article. Not all will qualify, but if you’d like to influence the technology product roadmap, it’s something you should consider. For now, let’s just set a new direction. In my opinion, the overall objective of technology is to maximize candidate quality while reducing time to fill and cost to hire. From this perspective, the investment in technology has not had a great ROI. To achieve this maximum quality/shorter time/lower cost objective, here are some of the big areas where technology needs to improve:

  1. Handling the needs of less active and passive candidates. For example, recruiters need to focus on job descriptions that are compelling, easy to find, and easy to apply for. The ability to build and manage pipelines of top people with CRM (customer relation management) capability is also important.
  2. keep reading…

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

by Nov 4, 2004

At one time there was a popular folk song called “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” You might remember it (it’s okay to hum along if you do):

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing…

keep reading…

The World’s Very Best Employment Websites

by Oct 26, 2004

For many companies, employment websites do much more than just collect resumes: they provide a distinct competitive edge for top talent. But whether you’re in a large or small company, whether you have a big budget or a small one, whether you act as an in-house or agency recruiter, there are many lessons to be learned from those who do it best. So what makes an employment website one of the best? Start by thinking of your best recruiters, who:

  • Find and talk to people who might not have considered or even heard of your organization in the past ó and not just the people with resumes.
  • keep reading…

Is Your ATS an Asset or Liability?

by Oct 8, 2004

In the past few weeks I’ve written about two seemingly unrelated issues ó the shift in corporate America to emphasizing the hiring of less-active candidates, and how to assess executive potential in up-and-coming managers. The first article highlighted the need for applicant tracking systems (ATS) to improve the suite of candidate relationship management services companies use. Less active candidates have different needs than active candidates (two examples: more information with respect to how the job ties into the business strategy, and implementing a continuing dialogue of the status of major company hiring initiatives), and a properly designed ATS can automate much of this. The second article indicated that one of the important traits that senior line executives need to possess is the ability to use technology to more efficiently manage and scale business processes. Such business functions as distribution, sales, and manufacturing have been able to use technology to provide profound improvements in performance. HR/recruiting hasn’t seen had the same IT/process improvement benefit. In my opinion, not many HR managers truly understand how IT can impact business performance. This is why few get promoted to business unit management positions and why even the best ATSs are not as effective as they could be. This could be sheer speculation on my part. So to prove the point, I’d like you to take this quick assessment of how well your ATS measures up against the best, and how much it’s costing you every day. A low score across many companies will prove my point that HR/Recruiting and IT don’t mix. One clue you might have a problem: low user adoption rates. If you don’t have at least two-thirds of your recruiters properly using the major features of your ATS, you’re wasting lots of time and too much money. More important, you’re not hiring all of the top people you should be. The ATS Performance Evaluation Where do you stand on these important measures? 1. Recruiter adoption rates

  • Good: At least two-thirds of the recruiting team uses most of the features of your ATS, keeping all information current.
  • keep reading…

Overview of the Technology-Based Assessment Marketplace

by Sep 30, 2004

My efforts to stay on top of the online screening and assessment marketplace have proven to be an interesting. This is a very challenging market ó one that is not easy to sum up in a few simple words. The factors that are currently keeping the picture a bit on the cloudy side include:

  • Broad scope and fragmentation. Screening and assessment involves a wide variety of different products that are offered by many different types of vendors.
  • keep reading…