Is an Applicant Tracking System right for you?

Small to medium size companies (50-500 employees) are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in today’s job market. Our current economy has created the need for companies to cut back their expenses while competing for top talent in a high unemployment environment. It is not unusual for the individual responsible for attracting, hiring and retaining talent to be wearing several “hats” and finding it more difficult to balance their current work load. The recruiting process, like any other business process, requires a series of steps and necessary actions that will lead to a successful hire. The steps in the process are time sensitive, paper intensive, bound by legal considerations and often require the time of multiple individuals. Companies are finding the following challenges difficult to overcome.

  • High volume of resumes with no efficient way to accept, review, store and manage them
  • Cumbersome or inefficient internal communications
  • Inability to access information quickly and report on recruiting metrics
  • Leaving vacancies open for long periods of time
  • Losing qualified applicants due to inefficient resume management
  • Duplication of recruiting efforts between various branches, divisions and managers
  • Excessive maintenance and support with homegrown technology
  • Inefficient tracking, if any, of EEO-OFCCP compliance data

It makes sense to automate steps in the recruiting process to free up time to focus on important business issues. Finding the right technical solution that meets the needs of an organization can be an overwhelming task. With so many applicant management products in the market today, it is imperative to examine current internal processes to determine needs before committing to a product that doesn’t meet those needs or pay large amounts for a product with features they will never use. An HR Manager/Recruiter can take the following steps to determine which applicant tracking system is best for their organization.

  1. Document the current recruiting process to determine what is working and what is not working. Track how long it takes to fill new positions and what financial impact the inefficiencies have on the company’s revenue.
  2. Gather a small group of stakeholders together to share this information and discuss possible solutions. Stakeholders might include a major decision maker on financial expenditures, the individual responsible for recruiting efforts who knows and understands the pain points, and a hiring manager who is impacted by the inability to find good people in a timely fashion and within a budget he/she can tolerate.
  3. The group should collectively make a list of goals and compile a list of features they consider to be necessary to achieve their goals. Once they have identified what it is they need the system to do, they have the criteria on which they will evaluate the large pool of products available. Here is an example of General and Specific goals which could come out of this meeting:

General Goal:

Lease an affordable real time, Web based system that requires no technical maintenance, will shorten the recruiting cycle, reduce the cost and time to hire, and result in an improved, qualified applicant pool.

Specific Goals:

  1. Scalable and configurable to allow for company growth and/or change
  2. Streamline and improve communications between hiring managers, recruiters, and applicants regardless of their physical location
  3. Ability to access information quickly
  4. Reduce legal exposure
  5. Measure results and track recruiting metrics including costs
  6. Requires no assistance from the internal IT staff
  7. Provide a more positive experience for the applicant
  8. Compatible with our current HRIS system
  9. Able to implement in a short period of time with little disruption to our business
  10. Automated download of existing job descriptions and resumes

Based on these goals, the company should develop a more detailed list of criteria on which to evaluate possible vendors. Use knockout factors and/or required features to short list the firms that best meet the criteria. Include wish list / Nice to Have features as part of your evaluation which are “icing on the cake” of a possible solution.