A year and some months after acquiring the popular MaxHire and Sendouts, Bullhorn is releasing its overhauled ATS, incorporating some of their best features while fixing one of the biggest complaints with its own SaaS system. Bullhorn now runs on MACs, as well as on PCs and mobile devices.
The new S Release announced today is not an integration of its late 2012 acquisitions of the two software providers. Their systems will continue to be offered and supported. But Andrew Hally, Bullhorn’s VP of of product and marketing, expects that when MaxHire and Sendouts users see what S Release can do, they’ll switch.
The two most significant changes — besides fixing the Mac compatibility problem of prior Bullhorn ATS versions — are speed of performance and ease of use. The system is now so fast that the announcement of its release says it is three times faster than any prior version.
“Every screen in the Bullhorn ATS loads faster than competitor ATS systems,” the announcement claims. Bond, JobDiva and Brightmove, are among Bullhorn’s leading competitors for the staffing and search industries. With some 5,000 customers, most of them search and staffing firms, Bullhorn is the largest of the industry technology providers.
However, it’s most visible improvements are right up front, beginning with the dashboard, which is about as intuitive and easy to use as Google is to search. Everything is right in front of the user. Bullhorn says the redesign has cut clicks by 40%, which, even from the quick demo I saw, seems entirely reasonable.
When you make something easy to use, people use it. “Data from beta users shows an average of 50% more recorded activity and up to a 43% increase in recorded placements in the first month of adoption,” insists Bullhorn.
S Release has “a lot of really cool features,” says Bullhorn’s Senior Product Manager Mitesh Ashar, reeling off several: list filtering, easy list creation, direct integration of emails, importing of external lists of both candidates and clients, with the latter capable of being sorted in multiple useful ways to facilitate outbound sales calls, and stock and customizable reporting functions.
It’s the user interface, though, that he says makes S Release so valuable. “The UI is pretty intuitive,” he notes, recounting a test where recruiters were able to use the system with only minimal training.
S Release is not a revolutionary overhaul of the basic Bullhorn ATS. Instead, the company’s coders concentrated on turbocharging the system and simplifying it.
“We really focused on fast,” Hally says. “Increasingly, the industry is about speed… even minutes count.”
Beta tester Daniel Guelzo was so impressed with just that one aspect of the system that in an unpublished blog post he called the ATS “the best I’ve ever used.”
Guelzo, an 18-year industry veteran, is director of talent development for Optomi and was previously director of talent development at Spherion before it was bought by Randstad. “Speed to placement,” says Guelzo, “especially in contract IT staffing, Optomi’s specialty, is table-stakes at this point. If you’re not first, don’t bother showing up.”
You can decide for yourself whether it matters that S Release can search 100 million candidate records in under a second. However, there is no doubt that the ease of use is a big advantage. Bullhorn’s development team, made up of groups from the two acquisitions and from its own ATS unit, worked hard, Hally says, to reduce clicks between screens and services, making it a snap for recruiters to search clients, potential clients or candidates and review their resumes, and enter notes. They can do most of this without moving from window to window. S Release uses handy slideouts for many of these functions.
Guelzo, who’s such a fan of S Release that his endorsement is used in the announcement and on the marketing page, says that two weeks into beta testing the system at Optomi he implemented it company-wide.
“It’s so intuitive that even new hires who haven’t worked at an agency before are generating results from the day they first log in,” he says.
No system offers everything, but one odd omission from S Release is the ability to automatically rank candidates. Hally insists that in practice, recruiters rarely use that feature, preferring to vet each candidate personally.
“Recruiters don’t care all that much” about ranking candidates, “Hally observes, calling it “a feature they kind of ignored.”
As fast as it may be, S Release is keyword matching based. Recruiters select the specific skills and terms (though Bullhorn helpfully suggests keywords from what is being entered). Contextual search, which is not so much a trend in ATS but a feature, would, coupled with a ranking component (that could be toggled off for those who don’t want it), have been an additional selling point for the “fastest Bullhorn ever.”
Even so, Bullhorn’s S Release (the S stands for speed, says the company) is a real move ahead, especially since — and almost unheard of among ATS vendors who introduce a major upgrade — the $99 per seat starting price is unchanged.