Have you ever wondered how an applicant tracking system actually helps in the hiring process? Well you’re in luck! Enjoy this article written by Jedidiah Becker, on behalf of Software Advice.
Earlier this year, Software Advice published the 2013 Recruiting Channels Survey, which explored trends in the field of recruiting. While the most conspicuous find was the rapid rise of social media, the numbers also indicated that traditional recruiting channels, such as employee referrals and job boards, will likely remain recruiting mainstays for the foreseeable future.
Today’s recruiters thus have a more diverse array of hiring tools to work with than ever before—a situation that can present both opportunities and pitfalls to even the most seasoned hiring team. With such a wide array of options, how can you develop a strategy that uses the best of what’s out there to recruit quality hires?
To answer this question, I talked with Laura Smous, head of brand and content strategy for The Resumator, a recruiting software company that helps businesses customize and automate the hiring process from start to finish. Based on our conversation, here are a few of the core strategies The Resumator uses to successfully recruit top talent.
Leverage High-Profile Customers to Attract Talent
It’s no secret that cultivating a successful brand with a good reputation is key for attracting and retaining customers. But as Smous and The Resumator CEO Don Charlton have discovered, you don’t have to be Google or Apple to use your company’s brand as a lure for quality hires. One strategy, Smous says, is to leverage the power of any high-profile brands that use your service or product.
The Resumator is currently used by over 2,000 companies—many of them hip, popular and well respected—and the company isn’t shy about displaying this prominently on their website. With customers as diverse as Mashable, Al Jazeera, Hubspot, Digg, Major League Baseball and even the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, The Resumator is able to draw on the rich cultural capital of its customers to increase its own brand exposure.
For example, when a customer such as MailChimp uses The Resumator to post a job and receives 100 applicant responses, only one of these job seekers will actually get the position. However, all 100 candidates are exposed to and interact with The Resumator’s brand during the application process. If this experience is positive, these job seekers may then go on to apply for a position at The Resumator.
Another potential benefit from brand exposure like this is increased referral traffic. When asking their own interviewees how they found out about The Resumator, Smous says one of the most common responses is that applicants kept running into the software while applying with other companies. Applicants enjoyed the product so much, they wanted to find out more about the organization behind it.
Web traffic provides hard evidence of this—In 2013 alone, Smous says The Resumator has received approximately 30,000 referral visits directly from their customers’ career pages.
The Resumator creates such a painless applicant experience that we often get people interacting with our employer brand because they applied elsewhere and really appreciated that we cared about the user experience for them.
This appreciation is often expressed in Tweets like the one below, which Smous says are very common.
Customize Recruiting Tools to Automate Hiring Workflow
While there are more recruiting systems and platforms out there than ever before, Smous says she suspects few companies use these tools to their full potential. Yet by customizing your recruiting tools to create a hiring process that is as automated and consistent as possible, you can dramatically increase your hiring team’s efficiency, ultimately saving resources and improving the quality of your hires.
With this in mind, The Resumator has designed features within their software, such as Workflow and Workflow Helper, which you can customize to match your own company’s hiring workflow to make the process more efficient from beginning to end.
The Workflow feature, for example, automatically tracks the status of an active application depending on where a candidate is in the hiring process, e.g. “Scheduling Interview,” “Interview Scheduled,” “Interview Complete,” and so forth. It also saves a detailed record of all candidate activity and communication, should you ever wish to get back in touch or view the messages you exchanged with them.
Additionally, the feature lets you build your own workflow templates from scratch to correspond to specific positions at your company. For example, the hiring workflow for a software developer might include a step for taking a coding test, while a sales position might instead have a step for a mock pitch or demo.
The Workflow Helper feature takes the Workflow one step further by enabling automatic communication between the team members involved in the hiring process as it moves forward. For instance, if an applicant’s workflow status has just been changed to “Interviewed,” you can set up Workflow Helper to automatically send a reminder to the interviewer to fill out an evaluation.
If a candidate’s status is changed to “Hired,” you can automatically assign tasks to those team members involved in getting the new employee set up. This type of customization lets you automate tasks in the hiring process to save time and resources, reduce errors and create measurable consistency.
While the Resumator has used their own software from the start, and thus doesn’t have any prior data to compare against, some of their customers have provided hard numbers that highlight just how effective this type of customization can be.
One client, ClearChoice Management Systems, reported that The Resumator’s tools helped them reduce the total amount of time their hiring team spent on administrative tasks by 60 percent, while their number of open requisitions grew by 300 percent. Similarly, The Rubicon Project reported cutting their total time spent on recruiting in half after they started using these customization features.
Track the Effectiveness of Social Media Recruitment
Almost 50 percent of respondents in the survey referenced earlier reported that their company planned to increase their investment in social media. As Smous sums it up,
For any recruiting strategy to be successful, you need to understand how to effectively use the tools of your time. And right now, that’s social media.
To ensure you’re using social media effectively, Smous says it’s extremely important to track your recruiting efforts across all channels so you know which platforms are bringing in the most qualified applicants and can therefore adjust your strategy accordingly.
With this in mind, The Resumator created a Reporting Dashboard that lets you view how many of your applicants come from each social media channel, their status in the hiring process and even how they’ve been scored by your team.
This provides critical insight into where your best candidates are coming from and lets you see which platform attracts people who are a good fit for the position in question.
She points out that this tool can be particularly helpful if you use paid advertisements on social media sites to find candidates. For instance, when The Resumator is looking to fill a particularly competitive position, such as a senior software engineer, they initially place ads on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The company then uses the Reporting Dashboard to track how many applicants they receive from each platform before and after the ad was run. “If we don’t see the performance improve [after the ad], we will not run that ad on that source again,” Smous says. “If we see a marked improvement, we may invest more.” In this way, tracking your social media advertising and recruiting efforts can provide direct feedback that helps you maximize your resources.
The ability to monitor your success across various platforms can also help you adjust your social media tactics. For instance, if you notice that Twitter simply isn’t bringing you many applicants, you may need to tweak your strategy before you simply disqualify the social network as a viable recruiting channel.
Sometimes one platform is more effective simply because of demographic reasons, but it’s often the case that companies need to reevaluate their own activities on that platform.
With the number of recruiting tools expanding daily, there has never been a higher premium on crafting a hiring process that aligns with your broader business strategy. As Smous points out, “Companies that view and treat hiring as a strategic part of their business, rather than as an incidental cost, are best poised to incorporate a hiring tool holistically.”
Image provided by The Resumator.