The nature of the global workforce has rapidly changed. The idea of getting a job from one company, working their for 30 years, and then retiring is long gone. Companies need to scale their workforce up and down in order to stay competitive and job seekers have to be more flexible and mobile as well. Hence, the importance of agility staffing.
This has placed a premium on the need for companies to increase their agility in staffing. Companies need to source, screen, select and on-board the right talent at an accelerated pace. If they take too long or fill positions with the wrong type of talent, it can directly impact their competitiveness.
According to an Intelligence Report from the American Staffing Association,
The number of people working at a company, their skill sets, their cumulative cost to the company, and their ambition and motivation all combine to create the single most important variable in the success or failure of any enterprise: the staff. A company that can get the right people in the right positions at the right time and at
the right price has a tremendous advantage over less astute competitors.
In response to the need for speed and agility, companies are increasing their adoption of Applicant Tracking Systems even during a slow economy.
Bersin & Associates says in a recent posting that the Applicant Tracking Systems market (ATS) grew by 11% to nearly $1 Billion as of April 2011. Reasons for the significant growth are that companies need to move quickly and they cannot keep pace if they either have no technology at all or if they have out-of-date ATS software.
Online advertising for vacancies in Health Care and Technical occupations were the only bright spots in an otherwise disappointing job climate, according to information released by the Conference Board for the month of August.
Overall, 2011 is advertised job vacancies fell by 163,900 from July to August, 2011. This drop followed a previous decline of 271,000 from June to July. According to June Shelp, VP at the Conference Board, “Following a very strong first quarter, labor demand has fallen off in the second quarter and into the third quarter [of 2011], reducing the earlier gains.”
Despite the overall soft performance, there were some encouraging results in specific industry sectors. In particular, health care and technology showed increases in the number of online job postings of 26,300 for a total of 513,700. This strength traced to occupations such as: registered nurses, speech-language pathologists, family and general practitioners, and occupational therapists.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment®, (LINE®), the challenges facing employment and recruiting are increasing.
In September, the hiring rate is expected to decline -9.6% in manufacturing and -15.3% in the service sector. This will contribute to the recruiting difficulty. In August, the index for recruiting difficulty rose sharply and increased +15,6% in manufacturing and +14.1% in service.
The full report is available to SHRM members at SHRM.org
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest professional association devoted to human resource management. Our mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most current and comprehensive resources, and to advance the profession by promoting HR’s essential, strategic role. Founded in 1948, SHRM represents more than 275,000 individual members in over 140 countries, and has a network of more than 575 affiliated chapters in the United States, as well as offices in China and India.
We are receiving inquiries from frustrated customers who would like to switch applicant tracking vendors but would have to buy out the months they have left on their current contracts and face the possibility of losing all of their applicant data. Their dissatisfaction usually comes from the lack of customer service and support they were promised rather than the functionality of the system. One small company is actually entering into litigation to cancel their current contract and have the stiff penalty for canceling waived.
My guess is the software service companies who lock you into long term contracts are interested in keeping your business while they try to keep up with the ever-changing, enhanced technology and outstanding service of their competitors. If they don’t live up to the expectations they promised—no worries—they charge you a penalty for leaving and get paid anyway! Whatever their logic, you’re stuck with an inferior product or service. Whatever happened to integrity, reputation, and genuine concern for the customer and solving their problems? Call me old fashion, but I hate the thought that the ease of technology has replaced a solid work ethic and reliability.
As a National Account Manager, I’m proud of the customer service ApplicantStack promises and delivers without the need to lock our customers into a contract in return for their loyalty. In fact, we are so confident in our ability to promptly respond to customer needs and fix a problem when something goes wrong, we don’t have any contract at all. You can actually subscribe to our service on a monthly basis, with no penalty for cancellation. If we don’t deliver or can no longer satisfy your needs, you can not only cancel but easily download all of your data and take it with you at any time. Now that’s confidence!
Customers evaluating web-based applicant tracking services should be weary of signing a “long-term” contract. In this unsettled economy, how can companies predict what their revenue or needs will be one or two years down the road. If you’re being offered a discount or some other perks for committing long term, I suggest you know what happens to the contract when the vendor doesn’t hold up their side of the agreement or if your company downsizes or is bought by a bigger company that has their own service. Stiff penalties, expensive legal battles and the challenge of starting all over, will give you little flexibility and will have a negative impact on your business.
As a company, I’m sure you are working hard to create positive relationships with all of your customers. We all know how important it is for future business and possible referrals. You might even be making a huge investment by engaging a public relations or marketing firm to assist with your market positioning. Did you ever consider that your applicants are customers too?
Are you giving applicants the same respect and creating a positive experience for them during your application and interview process?
According to a recent Gallup Panel Survey, too often the answer was no. In fact, half of job applicants who mention specific frustrations say these aggravations give them pause when considering the possibility of working for these prospective employers.
The survey asked a targeted sample of job seekers a series of questions about various aspects of their search for employment, including the parts of the process they deem most frustrating. The sample consisted of those who are currently unemployed and seeking a job as well as those who are currently employed full time or part time and have searched for employment in the past six months. These prospective candidates shared their frustrations about their interactions with possible employers, aggravations that can lead job seekers to form negative opinions about these organizations and their brands.
If you’ve searched for a new job recently, you know that the task can be overwhelming—especially in an employer’s market, where there is an abundance of applicants applying for the same job. Results of a bad job search or continuous poor interviews can actually destroy an applicant’s confidence and cause feelings of despair. If you examine your current communications with interested applicants or candidate’s you’ve actually interviewed, can you confidently say your company is creating a positive image and building positive relationships with your applicants? Do they wait months to hear back from you, if at all? Do you send them a response when they initially apply and let them know the next steps in your process? Do you let them know early on in the process when they don’t meet your minimum requirements so they aren’t holding on to false hopes that they are being considered? What do you think these applicants are saying about you to their colleagues and other professionals in the market?
One simple solution to building a more positive image with applicants is to improve your communication and follow up. It takes so little time and can go a long way to create good will and enhance your reputation as an employer of choice or a great place to work. The most common reason we don’t communicate enough with our applicants is we’re just too busy to respond promptly to everyone who applies or interviews with our company, especially if we don’t consider them appropriate prospects.
A good applicant tracking system can totally automate the process for you eliminating the lack of time and limited resource challenges all recruiters face during their hiring process. Ideally, you can create email templates in your system and trigger them to be sent at certain critical stages of your process — when an application is received or rejected, requests for available dates and times for phone screens and interviews, or a request for more information. Keeping your applicant informed about where they are in your process will eliminate telephone inquiries, which you definitely don’t have time for, and will create a much more positive experience for your applicants. Remember, applicants are customers too and they’re impression of you as an employer can either enhance or hurt your reputation.