by Scott Schmidt, Appirio Managing Workday Consultant
The upcoming release of Workday Recruiting has generated huge interest among Appirio clients who are eager to replace their existing Applicant Tracking System (ATS). So, while this isn’t a new topic, I think it’s an important reminder for organizations thinking about changing their recruiting technology solutions.
The dirty secret of recruiting and recruitment technology is… it really doesn’t matter what technology you have if you don’t focus on your processes and the execution of those processes.
Now that statement is true of all HR technology areas, but I believe that it’s especially true in the recruitment space. While other areas of Talent Management can have extremely different processes and outcomes depending on the organizational culture and desired outcomes, the recruiting process is fairly standard across organizations. There are some decision points for items like pre-screening assessments, screening questions, or the number of interviews that should be conducted, but every recruiting process needs to have applicants apply for open positions, go through a screening or interview process and then facilitate the applicant joining the organization.
This has created an environment where the vast majority of applicant tracking systems have evolved to become compliance tools instead of providing differentiated business value. As Liz Ryan points out in this great Forbes Blog piece entitled, How Technology Killed Recruiting, “We took a craptastic 1940s process, the job-application-screening process used by factories probably since Henry Ford was building Model Ts, and we simply threw the sucker online. We didn’t change a thing. If any of the vendors who built the first Applicant Tracking Systems had spent ten seconds thinking about that process, they would have designed it intelligently, using normal human logic to create a funnel that would simplify the process of separating wheat from chaff in the selection pipeline. That’s not what they did, though.”
However, that doesn’t mean your ATS isn’t hindering your recruiting efforts if it was implemented without clear outcomes in mind. What it does mean is that an efficient applicant tracking system can very much be the starting point for differentiating your recruitment organization.
In order to truly differentiate your recruiting process and have it be a value-add to the overall business instead of neutral or negative, you need to think beyond traditional ATS technology. In a world of standardization and honestly pretty poor recruiting practices, it is relatively easy to stand out if you make the commitment.
For example, it seems obvious, but even something as simple as making sure that every candidate who applies receives a response – good or bad – from your organization is enough to stand out. The key is making some decisions about your process and then executing consistently. There also may be the opportunity to look at complementary technologies that could be incorporated into your overall recruiting process. Video interviewing solutions like HireVue have made huge advancements from their initial “how is this different than Skype” days. Organizations can also devote resources to maintaining a presence on social media as well as maintaining timely communication with potential applicants.
The key to improving your recruiting efforts is to stop looking at the ATS as the cure to your problems, and instead focus on your processes. Make some decisions about what you want to focus efforts around, look for ways to streamline what you are doing, and potentially look for new and innovative technologies that could help you. Then, once you have a smartly designed process and clear expectations you just have to focus on executing against that plan.
It doesn’t seem hard when you think about it, but too many organizations focus on changing technology and totally ignore process, or they change processes, but don’t focus on following those changes. In order to be successful it’s important that you are evaluating all of these things as you look for the right technology solution to address your needs.