SmartRecruiters Blog

The Problem with Recruiting

In the 1990s, recruiting was a paper processing exercise. Think desks full of resumes. Overqualified people doing manual tasks. A nightmare to track talent. Then came the internet. Aha! A gift to recruiters: the promise of paperless recruiting.

The machine followed. We thought, “No more manual tasks! No more stacks of paper resumes!” Talent just fills out the form, and viola, they have entered the applicant tracking system.

We thought we were geniuses. We successfully put a 100 year old process online. We weren’t geniuses. It was the way we actually recruit – and not just the technology – that needed to change.

For you see, the best candidates don’t apply to jobs. They have no appetite for filling in lengthy forms. Need evidence? The industry standard ATS click to apply ratio stood at 5%. This huge drop-off meant that most companies were missing out on the majority of good, interested candidates.

The old ATS talent pool was a graveyard. Resumes quickly became outdated and recruiters could not find what they were searching for. And hiring managers wouldn’t use the old, clunky ATS. Which brings me the ATS’s official cause of death: hiring managers have no love for the ATS. When the end user hates your product, it will die. But who is really the end user? The candidate. And when a candidate applies through an old school ATS system, they are diving into the black hole. Lost in space. A world of spreadsheets gives the hiring manager no ability to track (let alone engage) and frankly, it isn’t even legally compliant.

So came the Frankenstein solutions. Solve a niche problem here, a niche problem there e.g. “talent community,” “mobile apply,” etc. A long term solution is never adding complexity to a broken core. Aren’t we all tired of this old model?

Recruiting is not about tracking. The ATS as we know it has to go. Tracking is a feature, not a purpose. The purpose of recruiting is hire great people. How do we stop tracking applicants and start hiring great people? How might we reinvent our recruiting paradigm today.

Recruiting should be: (1) great people to choose from, (2) happy hiring managers, (3) a recruiting team that is in control, and ultimately (4), business acquires top talent, beating the competition. The solution to recruiting is a candidate centric sales and marketing funnel…


Jerome_close-up_biggerJerome Ternynck is the CEO and Founder of SmartRecruiters.  Tune in to the SmartRecruiters Blog next week for more Reinvention of Recruitment.

Jerome Ternynck

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