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Why it’s time to dump your outdated applicant tracking system

Sharon Florentine | Aug. 17, 2016
Still using that clunky, outdated ATS? It's time to consider a next-generation solution that focuses on candidate experience instead.

"Recruiting, finding talent is the most human of endeavors, and so it has to be more about appealing to your customers -- the candidates -- as human beings who want to engage in a conversation with you about your company and job opportunities over time -- not just when a role is available," Srinivasan says.

That means taking into account things like appropriate timing and nurturing candidate leads in the long term.

"Timing is everything for the candidate, and the better systems, like ours, are looking at facilitating a conversation with a candidate over time. If I'm already employed and 'passive,' maybe I'm quite happy -- what's the motivation for me to make a job change? In the past it's been very difficult for companies to keep track of things like motivation -- maybe I have a bonus coming up and my 'vesting cliff' for my retirement plan or long-term incentive bonus is coming up. I wouldn't want to leave until those things occurred. So, you have to make sure you're taking things like this into account -- we call it 'snoozing' a candidate," she says.

Passive candidates

Betty Tsan, head of talent at online educational technology company Coursera, says these features have allowed her teams to better manage hiring and even to land some elite passive talent.

"A lot of candidates are those we've sought out, who we'd want to put into our pipeline, but they take longer to warm up. They are people we've reached out to and started a conversation with about projects and initiatives we're working on, how their experience would mesh well at our company, but they're passive candidates. We're just waiting for the right time to approach them," Tsan says.

This updated approach allows Tsan and her teams to identify, nurture and ultimately compel many of those passive job seekers to consider opportunities at Coursera, she says.

"We know that that people who we've identified as game changers are going to be hard to unseat. And when you're competing in Silicon Valley, not just against the Facebooks and the Googles but against hot startups, you have to have that edge, that way in already, and you have to move quickly," Tsan says.

Today's solutions also incorporate a highly searchable, open access repository for past candidates and applicants. Companies spend an inordinate amount of time luring people into the recruitment funnel to get them into a pipeline, but with traditional systems, candidates are shelved and forgotten about once a role is filled.

"In a traditional system, once the role is filled, candidates are just shelved; these systems are very hard to search. Say you fill an Android developer role - great. But then eight months later, another Android developer leaves. How are you going to go back that pool of candidates you had? It's almost impossible, even though you probably had at least a few people you were considering if your 'first choice' didn't accept," says Srinivasan.

 

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