It's probably time to update your ATS

Careerbuilder study shows 60% of applicants have quit applications due to lengthy processes

For as long as recruiters have gone digital with talent acquisition efforts, applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they do provide a central directory of candidate data — on the other, they tend to be limited and require other applications to be useful.

Most of the time, recruiters are stuck with whatever ATS has been in place for years, which can create a great deal of frustration and inefficiency.

So, when is it time to ditch your old ATS?

From the perspective of candidates, ATS can also be intimidating to the point that they refuse to finish lengthy applications. According to a survey conducted by Careerbuilder, nearly 60% of all candidates abandon applications because they are too lengthy or complex.

When ATS are so overwhelming that a prospective candidate feels the need to look elsewhere for work, something is obviously wrong. Companies cannot afford to let top candidates slip through their fingers because of onerous processes.

SmartRecruiters, a SaaS talent acquisition company headquartered in Los Angeles, introduced a potential update. In an interview, SmartRecruiters Founder and CEO Jerome Ternynck, talked about what his company’s recruitment technology brings to the table. 

“A hiring manager should be able to accomplish two major things with any recruitment product,” Ternyck said. When evaluating recruitment technology, managers need to find solutions that address the following two questions:

  1. Does the platform deliver hiring success?

  2. Do all managers and executives use it?

The other aspect comes down to how ATS are used internally. Managers and executives need to have a direct way to share resumes, offer feedback, add comments and collaborate during the hiring process. In many cases, ATS do not provide this value nor do they tap into the bigger need to be connected to the marketing and brand of the company.

“Current ATS platforms were never designed to be marketing tools," Ternyck said, "instead they have become burdensome administrative traps for recruiters.” He explained that today's recruiters function in an advanced technological environment, with several systems, backgrounds, assessments and marketing tasks running simultaneously.

Trends to take into consideration

Aside from employer branding, ATS need to take advantage of trends like gamification in order to keep applicants — especially younger candidates — from tuning out. Experts suggest a mix of approaches in order to integrate gaming elements that make a potentially stressful process more engaging and fulfilling for candidates, including reward systems, interview tests and even video tryouts.

In an increasingly mobile world, applicants will expect an experience that differs from the traditional, static job board. Social media promotion is a must, and one expert told HR Dive that it's optimal to ensure that the typical candidate can access and complete your application in five minutes or less on a mobile device.

At the same time, don't let your creativity distract you from more nefarious ATS concerns, namely cybersecurity. It's estimated that one single candidate file can sell for $50 on the black market, due to the high amount of personally identifiable information (PII) stored in any given file. Attacks often target large databases; Target made news in 2013 when this form of breach affected its point-of-sale systems, revealing customer credit card info.

Building a more integrated model

Others, like SmartRecruiters, are working to replace ATS as standard models for recruiting.

In an effort to meet the needs of modern day recruitment processes, which have become more group-focused, the SmartRecruiters team developed an end-to-end talent management platform. Ternyck described it as a fully integrated system designed for maximum recruiter productivity connected to 200 already pre-integrated vendors.

With the goal of improving the candidate experience and increasing completion rates, SmartRecruiters also took on a more global approach, including localization in native languages and full translation. A bias-checking feature prompts recruiters and managers to rate candidates on a 1-5 star system; interestingly, raters never meet the candidates in person which removes any personal bias. 

Ternyck believes that team-based hiring is the future of hiring, and despite technological advancements, he doesn't think recruiters need to fear being replaced by artificial intelligence.

“We are not taking the humans out of recruitment automation. Instead, machines can help us make recruitment human again.” 

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Filed Under: Recruiting