SmartRecruiters Blog

How to Get Top Talent in Your Pipeline

This column originally appeared on

Old-school hiring tools like the applicant tracking system are failing to help you attract great candidates. Here’s how to get top talent in your pipeline.

Every CEO’s job description includes “hiring manager.” As an entrepreneur, I can attest to how mission-critical it is to build a great team that will drive your business toward its goals. Yet despite the weight of this responsibility, the majority of recruiting and hiring “technology” remains outdated and unsophisticated: spreadsheets, email and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

What if there were a better way to find and hire great people? It’s time to modernize the process and create an efficient and engaging experience for everyone involved, from hiring managers and recruiters to candidates.


The World Has Changed, So Why Keep Recruiting the Old Way?

Companies have tapped into megatrends like the cloud, SaaS, mobile and social networking to reinvent sales and marketing, transportation, hospitality and the list goes on—we’ve just begun to tap into new technology to modernize recruiting and hiring. We’ve been stuck with outdated systems that continue to frustrate hiring managers, recruiters and candidates alike.

The ATS alone has a 48-percent candidate drop-out rate, according to a 2014 Potentialpark study. When candidates apply to jobs through an ATS, they fall into a black hole where they become a faceless number attached to a flat, one-dimensional resume. This system affords no collaboration among hiring teams, no engagement with candidates and no real means for applicants and hiring managers to get to know each other and decide if they are a match.

Spreadsheets tell a similar tale. They are difficult to keep up to date, provide zero candidate engagement and don’t guarantee OFCCP/EEOP compliance. Then there’s email, another common recruiting tactic. While its still useful for engaging with candidates, it breaks when you try manage your entire recruiting effort through email folders.

As if relying on old tools isn’t bad enough, businesses are slow to adopt modern technology, such as mobile. Only 20 percent of businesses have a mobile-optimized careers site, yet 72 percent of candidates visit careers sites on a mobile device—so why are so many businesses not putting their best mobile foot forward? There are even global mobile service providers that don’t provide a mobile hiring experience.

We’re at the point of implosion. Companies are spending $400 billion a year on recruiting services and systems. Businesses are missing out on many talented, interested candidates, and sadly, by the same token, scores of all-star players aren’t finding their dream positions.


3 Steps to Modernize How You Hire

Let’s take a step back and remember what the purpose of recruiting really is. It’s not about turning candidates into numbers and tracking resumes. The purpose of recruiting is to hire great people. That requires reinventing recruiting and hiring as we know it, from sourcing to engaging to closing candidates.

1. Sourcing: Do you have a wide choice of candidates? Candidates are not just searching job boards and your company’s careers page anymore. They’re also visiting your company’s social media pages, interacting in your social networks, your colleagues’ social networks, recruiters’ networks—and they’re wanting to engage over the web and mobile. You need to have a presence whenever the talented candidate wants to say, “Hello.”

2. Engaging: How do you keep great candidates in your pipeline? Once you’ve captured great candidates, you have to woo them. We now live in a transparent world. Candidates know as much about your company as you do. Build a strong and attractive employer brand across every touch point, including your company culture page, social media pages and blog. Equally important: make it dead simple to apply. It should take one click. Any more complexity than that will have you losing great candidates in no time.

3. Closing: You have two weeks to close top talent. That’s it. If you’re recruiting process takes longer than that, you’ll lose the best candidates. In the first week, you should do pre-screenings and initial interviews. The next week is for the second round of interviews and assessments by the hiring team—and that should comprise four members to be exact. Hiring is a team sport. Each hiring manager asks different questions and digs into topics that another might not. Four viewpoints together provide a more accurate assessment of a candidate. By the end of the week, make your offer.
Herein lies the crux of the new world of recruiting and hiring: you have to do all of these steps —write a killer job ad, cast a wide net, engage deeply with candidates and collaborate to interview, assess and make a decision—all within two weeks. That’s what it takes to drive your hiring process from good to great.

Jerome Ternynck

Jerome Ternynck is the Founder & CEO of SmartRecruiters, the industry's premier talent acquisition suite to find and hire great people.