In recent months I have read many articles, blogs, musings (often by people who have little experience of them, crisitcising and questioning the existence of recruitment technologies, lovingly known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Whilst any new technology in any sphere has its problems, from adoption to implementation, to becoming something we cant do without.. we must separate the fact from fiction and get some grip on reality of what works what doesn’t and how we help our businesses find
Firstly, are the detractors really suggestion that we do without technology to manage huge volumes of candidates? Shall we cast our minds back to the day when this activity was managed on spreadsheets (and still is by some organisations), when duplication, disengagement and alienation reigned supreme? Candidates apply into a black hole that is managed by a single individual, – a process nightmare with the chance candidates will get some response or acknowledgement.
Sure all technology has its faults; the crucial element to successful customer service, good product delivery is well designed and (yep the boring bit ) well measured processes. Critically, ensuring the platform works is ensuring correct use and internal understanding of the benefits. In reality. The lack of success in use of technology is a mixture of fault of a poor implementation stemming from poor change management, education and communication of all stakeholders… As leaders we need to take responsibility for this and learn from our mistakes. We didn’t stop using the telephone because Alexander graham Bell didn’t invent voicemail immediately….
Now I am not suggesting technology is perfect. There are many instances where the technology is difficult to use and not customer (candidate or recruiter centric) dreamt up by geeks who believe that everyones idea of heaven is navigating their way through a system that is only supported by the latest, fastest internet browser,that only the aforementioned geeks have….
However, the same people who are critiscising these systems are often the siren voices for adopting new social media and running our functions by ‘big data’. Well where do they think we get this data from? And guess what the data isn’t the answer, its what you do with it and how you influence. And don’t get me started on big data. Its just a buzz word… what we are rally interested is relevant data…
Many of the ATS already integrate with Social Media and even track the candidate journey to help us hard pressed resourcing teams understand our target markets, how they behave and how better can service their needs….And of course attract the best candidates for our businesses.
It is rare that anyone in Internal recruitment you meet actively avoids doing the right thing by candidates and customer alike. But it is fair to say that we as recruitment leaders have not helped the situation by not leading by example. These systems really do have benefits. Within Sodexo – the recruiters are actively engaging with the process and building communities and utilising the functionality. Now we are not perfect, but early signs are that where this is happening roles we previously struggled to fill are being filled, fill rates are quicker, and ‘silver medallists’ from previous roles are filling roles.
I’ll put things into perspective, we have so many things to do fully get to nirvana for candidates and customers alike. The tools are there, the functionality is there and the mindset of the recruiters is focussed on making this work. I also now have data set from various sources that is valid, reliable and compelling which ultimately gives me influence – Now without my ATS I wouldn’t even have a ticket to the game…