Selecting an ATS: Don’t Just Check the “Recruiting” Box.


When CIOs evaluate ATS solutions, many say they want best-of-breed features across all HR functionality, but when it comes to recruiting they simply “check the box” and move on. Yet more CIOs now pay much closer attention to talent acquisition – not surprising given than 61 percent of CIOs say finding skilled IT professionals is a challenge.

Consider this: Companies that adopt best practices and processes for recruiting generate 3.5 times the revenue than peers that have not. Without specific tools built with recruiting in mind, you’ll end up with a mediocre solution at best.

Want proof? All it takes is one simple challenge.

I’m only going to ask you to complete a routine task to prove my point, but before I do, it’s important to recognize that recruiting differs from other HR functions. You see, while most HR functions are internally facing, recruiting is externally facing. That has a huge impact on processes and technology.

Most of the time HR systems are used to help managers accomplish tasks such as completing performance reviews or setting goals — areas where managers have control over their teams. Recruiting is quite the opposite, more like marketing and sales where there’s no control over people and thousands of candidates to deal with.

In addition, recruiters must work with multiple external vendors – perhaps dozens – to perform assessments, generate background checks, create advertising, manage social networking, and more. The rest of the HR realm is more focused on internal record keeping.

Taming a messy process through streamlined best-of-breed tools.

Given that recruiters need to work with external information, the data gets messy because it’s inconsistent from source to source. A profile, for example, is structured differently than a LinkedIn profile and your recruiters have no control over that structure.

Other HR functions can be standardized — for example forms used for performance reviews. There’s no such standardization for recruiting, and most ATS solutions don’t recognize this.

To see how this can screw up a recruiter’s day, think for a moment about how search functionality works. Google indexes the entire web. That’s one messy job! Facebook, on the other hand, controls formatting of profiles so they’re consistent.

The search challenges are completely different, yet nobody expects to use Facebook to search the web. But using a traditional ATS for recruiting is exactly like using Facebook to search the web – relying on a tool never designed with that need in mind.

Remember, recruiters perform in a sales-oriented role. They need to find candidates using data that’s messy and inconsistent. That doesn’t work at all without best-of-breed tools specific to those needs. And those tools are woefully missing from most ATS platforms.

Don’t believe me? Take me up on my challenge:

Access your current recruiting module. Now find five candidates already in your database you can shortlist for a hypothetical Senior Developer position you need to fill, then kick off two assessments and background checks for each.

You have 30 minutes. (Don’t worry. I’ll wait.)

Not so easy, huh? And even if you find a candidate to hire, can you complete an offer for approval in the next 10 minutes?

SmartRecruiters clients work this quickly and easily every single day. That’s because they didn’t simply check the “recruiting” box when evaluating a new ATS. And they know that recruiting is far more essential to business success when the competition for top talent is so fierce.

If your ATS wasn’t up to my challenge, don’t worry. Help is on the way. Just get in touch with us so you can take advantage of best-of-breed talent acquisition right away.

Watch the product tour to see how our enterprise recruiting software can empower you to find, engage and hire great talent.
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Mike Johnson Mike Johnson is the Chief Sales Officer for SmartRecruiters.
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