Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A mom, desperately trying to get ahold of her kid, calls and calls and calls to no avail. Moments later her phone lights up as it begins to vibrate—it’s her child! But it’s not the sound of their voice but a text message. A TEXT MESSAGE! Someone she spent hours in agonizing labor for can’t even take a second to answer her call?!? Oh the agony… the outrage!
Text messaging is still the most effective way for businesses to communicate with their employees
Ok, maybe that situation is a little too dramatic, but people—including your recruits and employees—are more willing to text than call is the reality in today’s world. It may seem ridiculous, but US smartphone users have 5x more text conversations than phone calls. It seems counterintuitive at times because it generally takes us longer to have a conversation via text than to make a simple phone call.
But the truth is in the numbers – TEXTING RUNS THE WORLD.
How do you use texting to benefit your business?
The wisest Human Resources professionals in the business know the importance of quickly building strong connections with their most prized recruits. Enhanced and timely communication strengthens a candidate’s interest in a company. Communicating in a manner most comfortable for them encourages those applicants to remain happy and engaged—especially when their system has the texting features that SwipeClock’s ApplicantStack offers.
Text messaging is a valuable communications tool that recruiters can use to easily connect with candidates. It helps increase engagement and improves the hiring process through faster delivery of information and effective management of expectations.
1. Texting candidates consolidates communication into one convenient place
With SwipeClock, all of your text messages go through the ApplicantStack solution within WorkforceHub, so anytime you click on the button to send a text, you can immediately see the text history with that person. This messaging history can become extremely valuable when managing multiple candidates at varying stages of the hiring process.
2. Scheduling and follow-ups become a faster, more efficient process
While trying to keep both applicants and management happy, it is necessary for most offices to consistently be on top of the hiring and onboarding processes. And since 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way for businesses to reach them, SwipeClock’s texting feature enables HR departments to not only automate and streamline this process but personalize the communications for greater effect.
3. Applicants and Employees, like the rest of the world, prefer texting to phone calls and email
With more than half of US mobile users saying they view a business more positively if they utilize SMS capabilities, it’s no wonder texting is the preferred way for the majority of recruits to receive hiring and interview updates.
It is, however, important to remember that although the stats overwhelmingly suggest the US markets much prefers texting to other forms of communications, there are still those who prefer a call or email. So, with that in mind, it may be prudent to simply ask how they like to be communicated with before assuming they’re a frequent traveler aboard the texting train.
4. Coordination of tech-driven interactions is streamlined and professional
In general, people are looking to work for companies that have an eye towards leading-edge technology. By communicating the way they prefer to be communicated with, recruits and employees tend to equate that tech-driven communication with an office being “high tech.” This often leads many people to identify the company as a quality, forward-thinking workplace.
5. Two-way texting is vital to maintaining a connection to valued candidates
When texting with a company, many people are pleasantly surprised and excited to find out that there’s a person on the other end of their text conversation. When they respond and someone texts back, they feel a personal connection.
The reality is that using texting to communicate back and forth no matter who you are communicating with provides a wealth of advantages and benefits. With 92% of American adults owning a cellphone and, on average, an SMS open rate of 98% (compared to under 20% for email and 76% of calls going straight to voicemail), one might think it crazy not to use SMS text to more effectively confirm and communicate with your workforce as well.
Texting has been responsible for major business deals, peace treaties, marriage proposals and breakups and now it’s most definitely ready for corporate recruiting and onboarding communication. With SwipeClock’s texting capabilities, businesses and their HR personnel are able to communicate more effectively as they continue to work to improve the overall recruitment and onboarding process.
If you are an HR director, it’s boom or bust right now when it comes to talent management. Essential businesses are in a hiring frenzy. Others, regrettably, are laying off or furloughing workers.
We hope you are in the former category.
But how do you compete for talent with Walmart, Amazon, Fed-Ex and CVS?
Let’s look at 3 ways creative HR directors are hiring during the COVID-19 crisis.
3 Ways to Hire During the Coronavirus Chaos
1. Partner With Your Customers and Vendors
Are you a talent acquisition specialist for a B2B company? Have any of your customers or vendors recently let employees go? There’s no reason you can’t follow the lead of CVS and source partners’ recently laid off employees. If you are a professional services company, you may have relationships with hundreds of organizations.
CVS is embarking on one of the most ambitious hiring drives in its history with plans to hire 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers—and it has decided to tap directly into its customers’ workforces by taking on furloughed workers from the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains. The drugstore chain said it would use a “technology-enabled hiring process that includes virtual job fairs, virtual interviews and virtual job tryouts.” Market Watch
Most SMBs don’t have the resources of CVS but you can use the same techniques on a smaller scale. Talk to colleagues who have business relationships with your partners’ or customers’ recently laid off employees. These may include account managers, event planners, buyers, and supply chain managers.
These potential employees have already been vetted by companies you know and trust. They probably have a favorable view of your company. Passive recruiting is a lot easier when you are trying to source talent that is currently unemployed!
2. Host Virtual Job Fairs
Create an event using chat rooms, video conferencing, company videos, and webinars. Assign each hiring manager a presentation. Enlist your best brand ambassadors (current employees who love your company) to engage with job seekers.
A virtual job or career fair is perfect for attracting both onsite and remote workers. For telecommuting positions, you aren’t limited to job seekers in a geographic radius.
If you are looking for employees in your community, you can tailor the event to a specific demographic. If a local employer just cut workers, be straightforward about targeting their former workforce.
Who do you invite?
Use your applicant tracking system (ATS) to search for resume keywords in your talent database. Chances are, some of these people have recently been laid off. Create a job fair email template in your ATS and email an invitation to qualified candidates in your pipeline. Include a link to your registration page.
Request employee referrals. Each of your employees probably know several people out of work right now. Don’t forget to advertise on your social media sites. Ask your vendors and business partners for referrals. Talk to career counselors at schools in your community. Make the sign-up process fast and easy.
Virtual job fairs speed up hiring
For the recruiter, these events [virtual job fairs] compress the time to first engagement and ultimately the time to hire. Candidates are given the opportunity to engage with an actual recruiter from the company they are interested in on a specific day and time. That’s something you normally don’t have that early in the process. (SHRM)
3. Offer Flexible Schedules
Schools are closed. People are caring for sick family members. Workers need flexible schedules as much as they need steady jobs.
There’s never been a better time to offer flexible and non-traditional schedules—for both onsite, mobile and at-home employees.
Flexible schedules allow smaller companies to compete
Flexible schedules aren’t just an attractive perk for job seekers. They help SMBs be more competitive in multiple ways.
- Flexible scheduling reduces labor costs
- Reduced absenteeism increases productivity
- Engaged employees drive business growth
- Improved work/life balance helps retain experienced employees
What’s the easiest way to provide flexible work schedules? Cloud-based employee scheduling software is your answer for flex scheduling.
Employee scheduling software lets you create standard schedules in seconds—and flexible schedules in minutes. You create templates for each department, team, or location. You can also create templates for specific shifts or seasons. When the base schedules are in place, it’s easy to drag and drop employees into shifts.
Flexible schedules reduce healthcare employee burnout
Employee burnout is an issue for many industries, especially healthcare. And especially now. When employees have more control of their shifts, they are less likely to suffer psychological stress. Workers with improved mental health are more effective and make fewer mistakes. There’s never been a greater demand for experienced healthcare employees. If you don’t offer flexible schedules, your workforce can easily find positions at competing healthcare employers.
A Refresher Course on Best Practices for Hiring
1. Use an Applicant Tracking System
An applicant tracking system (ATS) allows you to reach far more candidates and track them through the hiring process with smart automation.
The software manages postings in multiple venues, receives and filters applications, parses resumes, and store applications for future openings. Since preliminary screening is automated, it narrows down applicants to a small pool of promising candidates. An ATS is a smart investment for any small business owner who is serious about competing in today’s job market.
An applicant tracking system doesn’t just make your life easier. It is an important tool for attracting top talent and onboarding them when they are hired.
Did you know that desirable candidates will probably find a job within two weeks? If your application system takes weeks, you are losing quality employees to companies with modern, efficient systems. Job seekers have plenty of options. The best applicants will move on if your recruiting system is antiquated.
2. Rethink Educational Requirements
Many employers have discovered that real-world experience can be more valuable than a degree. In a tight job market, you can’t always get college grads. Consider candidates with tech certifications and applicable work history.
3. Fine Tune Job Descriptions
Enlist your managers and employees to write accurate, detailed job descriptions. These don’t need to sound like they were written by a professional headhunter.
Include the salary range. Many applicants don’t waste their time applying when they don’t know what the job pays. Save yourself time by weeding out candidates who are looking for a higher salary.
When creating job descriptions, lessen the emphasis on qualifications the candidate must possess. Consider what your company can do for the employee. Candidates who respond to a benefits-first approach are often the most ambitious and competent.
You can create, store, and update job descriptions with recruiting software. Centralized access makes it easy for teams to collaborate.
4. Shorten Your Applications
Only the most desperate candidates will struggle through a lengthy application. Carefully-designed applications contain only the essentials. Recruiting software has templates to get you started.
5. Define Your Hiring Criteria
Answer the following questions: 1. Who must sign off on the hire? 2. What specific qualifications are necessary? 3. What is the deadline for making a decision?
6. Treat Applicants Like Customers
We’ve all had bad experiences job hunting. These include automated “we received your resume” emails (or worse) no notification that the company even got your application.
Be clear about the timeline. Keep candidates informed during the entire process. Your hiring methods reflect on your company. Respect your applicants as if they were your customers.
7. Formalize Your Interview Process
Create an interview script and make sure managers follow it. Ensure that it meets anti-discrimination requirements. Workforce management recruiting software helps you create and manage interview scripts. Update the questions as job roles evolve.
Good interviewers don’t dominate the conversation. They let the candidate do most of the talking. Pay close attention to the questions the candidate asks. They will yield valuable insight into the job seeker’s priorities and personality.
8. Monitor Employee Reviews
Have you read the online reviews from current and former employees? Smart employers take them seriously and make changes when necessary. Evaluations by actual employees carry far more weight than your website. Good job candidates do their research. Negative reviews hurt your hiring chances. You can’t remove reviews on most sites, but you can respond to them and describe steps you’ve taken to address the complaints.
5 minute read. Updated March 1, 2020.
What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
An applicant tracking systems is a type of HR software that automates the hiring and onboarding process.
7 Sober Hiring Stats You Can’t Ignore
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 670,000 more job openings than there are unemployed potential workers.
- About 7 in 10 companies reported talent shortages in 2019, the highest level ever. That’s more than three times higher than a decade ago. (Manpower Group)
- Top candidates are on the job market only 10 days only before accepting a job offer.
- 94% of companies with recruiting software report that it’s improved the hiring process.
- 35% of small organizations use ATS.
- Many companies are using recruitment texting. Some studies put text open rates above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.
- 64% of applicants would share negative application experiences with friends and family and 27% would actively discourage others from applying.
11 Undeniable Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems
1. An Applicant Tracking System Saves You Lots of Money
Applicant tracking systems provide an impressive ROI. How much? A small company can save up to $10,000 using an ATS.
Companies using applicant tracking system reap the rewards. New-hire turnover is 40% less on average, and they can fill vacancies 20% more quickly.
New Hires Generate Revenue More Quickly
ATS’ help you fill positions faster. This shortens the time it takes for the new hire to generate revenue. ATS with onboarding tools further shorten the time-to-productivity.
2. Hire Top Performing Candidates Before Your Competition
An ATS help you identify top candidates and present an offer before the applicant is hired by a competitor. These high-demand employees drive productivity and innovation.
3. Track Hundreds of Resumes With Ease
When it comes to administration, ATS automation is truly impressive. Systems can handle hundreds (even thousands!) of applications, resumes, and other workflows.
Not only do you save on the cost of labor for the hiring team, but you also free up their time.
They can use that time on improving hiring strategies. Improved hiring strategies can then help your business grow even faster
With the strategic use of an ATS, you can become the budget hero in your company.
4. An ATS Creates a Dynamite First Impression
During the recruitment process, your goal is to attract top people to your company. You aren’t just recruiting; you’re marketing. Shockingly, 69% of unemployed people wouldn’t take a job if the company had a bad reputation—they would rather stay unemployed!
Applicant tracking systems help you put your best foot forward. Automate communication with candidates, so no one falls through the cracks. Get your job listed on prestigious job boards across the internet. Brand your application portal so it’s unique to your company. This is how you communicate a professional image of your company to job seekers.
5. Your Competitors Are Using An ATS
If you haven’t implemented an ATS, take note. 98% of Fortune 500 companies and at least 66% of large companies use it. The adoption rate for small companies is lower, but growing quickly. Last year, it was estimated that 35% of small organizations use ATS.
Keep in mind that you are also competing with talent sourcing agencies. The ATS adoption rate for professional recruiters is nearly 100%.
6. Recruitment Texting is a Must in 2020
Many companies are using recruiting texting in their hiring operations. The open rates for marketing texts are legendary. Some studies put the text open rate above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.
Consider this: if a person has set up texting notifications, they can see a preview without opening the message. If the text is short, they can probably see the whole message in the notification window.
If you aren’t engaging with your candidates through texting, you are falling behind. ATS texting helps you leverage the power of many candidates’ preferred method of communication.
7. Quickly Narrow Down The Application Pool
First, you create a job posting. Your ATS posts it to multiple online sites (of your choosing). The applications start coming in. The system collects and organizes them in a central database. It creates a profile for each applicant.
As you know, job seekers format their resumes in a variety of ways. The ATS extracts the information and organizes it in the same format for each candidate profile. In the profile template, there is a field for each relevant piece of data.
For example, there is a field for each degree earned, each previous job title, and each skill.
This type of organization gives you searching superpowers. You can analyze and compare by work experience, education, or previous employers. Or job titles, skills, or demographic variables.
Let’s talk about resume filtering. The software uses keywords from the job posting. It matches the keywords with those found in the resumes. Consider how long it takes you to read one resume. An ATS can parse thousands of resumes in seconds.
This process weeds out the candidates who don’t have the necessary qualifications and it delivers a pool of qualified candidates before you need to read a single resume!
8. Screening Questions Help You Find Better Candidates
When you’re reviewing resumes, you’re going to choose quality over quantity every time. No one wants to waste time going through dozens of unqualified applicants. An applicant tracking system allows you to add screening questions to your application to ensure applicants meet basic qualifications like education level or years of experience. Some applicant tracking systems let you create scoring rules that weigh certain questions more heavily, so better applicants automatically rise in your review queue.
9. ATS’ Can Post To Multiple Online Job Boards
With an ATS, your job posting gets maximum online exposure. Most will post to LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Monster (just to name a few) with one click. While you’re at it, post it to your social media sites and careers page.
You create the job posting in the ATS, and the software takes care of the posting. This is a huge timesaver for busy hiring managers.
10. Applicant Tracking Systems Improve Collaboration
You are more likely to find high quality candidates if multiple stakeholders can weigh in.
But if expanding the hiring team slows down the process, the top candidates will lose interest. They will seek out firms that move faster.
ATS databases enable effective collaboration. Each decision maker can enter notes and applicant ratings. (The rating system is customizable, by the way.) Mobile apps allow recruiters to access the ATS from any internet-enabled device. Some systems include video interviews that team members can watch at their convenience.
11. Applicant Tracking Systems Help You Comply With Labor Laws
To say that recruitment compliance is complicated is an understatement.
The laws are always in flux and they vary by location, industry, and business size. Small companies have fewer resources to ensure that processes are compliant.
ATS help you comply with regulations related to hiring. Vendors update SaaS systems to stay current with hiring regulations.
In addition, ATS generate reports to protect you in case of a legal challenge.
For example, suppose a rejected candidate alleges discrimination. Don’t worry. Your ATS has the documentation to validate your legal hiring criteria.
Who uses Applicant Tracking Software?
If you receive applications, you need an applicant tracking system. ATS software clients include:
- Independent recruiters
- Staffing agencies
- Executive search firms
- Large enterprises
- Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB)
Typically, the applicant tracking software is managed by the human resources department or a hiring manager.
We’ve touched on a few ATS functions. Let’s take a deeper dive into the inner workings of applicant tracking systems.
What Does an Applicant Tracking System Do?
ATS systems perform a wide variety of functions to make the recruiting and onboarding process easier for managers as well as new employees. Any applicant tracking software should perform the following five functions.
There are incredible people out there just waiting to fill your positions – but if they never see the job posting, they won’t apply. A 2015 Pew Research study found that “researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universal” for job applicants. When selecting an ATS software, look for one that gives you access to critical job posting boards like Monster and Indeed.
In 2015, almost 60% of younger job seekers used their smartphones to search for job openings, and half of that population used a smartphone to fill out a job application. Those numbers are only expected to increase. Any of the ATS systems you look into should be mobile-friendly, creating job listings that allow applicants to submit documents via mobile phone and to bookmark jobs for later.
As any amateur job seeker will tell you, networking is the best way to find a job. Your applicant tracking system needs to sync with the most popular social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You don’t have to worry about unqualified applicants when you use applicant tracking software because they’ll be weeded out. You just want to get your posting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Inc. reports that for every job posting, companies receive an average of 250 applications. Larger companies will be flooded with applications for each job they offer, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. ATS software should allow you to quickly and painlessly sift through applicants, bringing the best-qualified people to your attention and automatically rejecting unqualified candidates.
Most ATS systems allow you to create pre-screening questionnaires. Applicants are required to answer certain questions, and ‘wrong’ responses will remove them from the candidate pool (while automatically sending a thoughtfully worded e-mail thanking them for the application). Some ATS systems go a step further, assigning value points to each question so you can sort candidates by score.
The best applicant tracking software integrates and automates resume parsing, resume storing, and reference checking. If it doesn’t have to be done by a human, why not automate it? The HR department or hiring manager shouldn’t have to sort through dozens of easily eliminated candidates. An applicant tracking system performs the menial tasks of analyzing dozens of candidates, so the hiring manager can focus on the few who really stand out from the crowd.
Communication is key in every aspect of life, and that includes the hiring process. The way you communicate with a potential new hire says a lot about your company’s values, and knowing where they stand in the application process is essential for applicants.
ATS systems let you automatically update candidates with news about the job posting. Give stragglers a gentle nudge to complete an application, or let someone know that you’d love to conduct an interview. Past applicants will appreciate knowing if the job has been filled, and may opt to receive job updates from your company in the future.
Once you’ve narrowed down your applicant pool, applicant tracking software eliminates the back-and-forth of trying to schedule an interview by creating a calendar with open slots for preliminary phone or in-person interviews. Out-of-state jobs may require video interviews so you can analyze behavioral tendencies; some kinds of applicant training software offer this integration as part of the package. The hiring manager enters the times he or she is available, and the interviewee selects the option that works best. No more complicated weeks-long games of email tag to find a time that works for everyone!
Applicants want to know how they are doing throughout the process. One study shows that the key pain points are right after submitting the application, when 49% would like feedback; if not selected for an interview, when 39% would like feedback; and after the interview if they weren’t selected, when 43% would like feedback. Each of these is an opportunity for the HR department or hiring manager to show that the company truly cares about its potential employees. ATS software makes this easy to do.
Once you’ve found the best candidates, the applicant tracking system can streamlines the hiring process, particularly if you’re using collaborative hiring. Many jobs require input from multiple decision-makers. The ATS software consolidates reviews and reports from every stakeholder, so hiring managers can take in everyone’s opinions at a glance.
Candidates can be scored and rated separately, and a good applicant tracking software includes collaborative tools and reports so everyone is on the same page. Want a background screening? Your applicant tracking system should be able to provide that, too. After you’ve extended an offer to your prospective employee, many ATS systems offer additional abilities so you can onboard the new hire.
The application process may be over, but onboarding is just beginning. Your new hire has documents to fill out, resources to review, and forms to e-sign. ATS software should have an onboarding portal where you can consolidate documents. Your new hire can sign in, review and securely sign necessary paperwork, and use the portal as a resource to check back on onboarding documentation and company guidelines whenever he or she chooses.
Your applicant tracking system may even sync with payroll, so you can quickly get your new hire into the system and properly compensated. Tasks can be created, edited, and managed for both the new hire and the hiring manager. And all of your documentation is secure and accessible in cloud storage.
The right ATS is your hiring manager’s best friend. Try ApplicantStack for free today. You’ll wonder how you ever did without it.