Five Questions That Will Lead You to the Best ATS

Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services, and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, thought leadership, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from.  I am not formally employed by Recruitee.  All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by Perry Oostdam of Recruitee. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Image courtesy of Recruitee

Image courtesy of Recruitee

What works for one company may not work for another. This goes for the budget, policies, and recruitment software! With the abundance of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) available, it’s worth it to shop around and get the best fit for your specific needs. There are comparison tools that are handy, like Capterra’s list of the best ATS. Side-by-side features and ratings are a great research tool! However, it may seem like a daunting task to sift through the options if you don’t know what you are looking for. Read on to find out the questions you need to be answering in order to determine the right ATS.

1—Is it user-friendly?

Collaboration in the hiring process is crucial. Decide with your whole team if an ATS will work for your particular situation. You must find one that even the least tech-savvy of employees can use and interact with! This will increase the level of inclusion and employee engagement, as well as the quality of hires. It’s a win-win situation.

How to find the answer:

Pin down what it means to your team to be user-friendly. A great place to start is a resource or article that explains how and why recruitment software can benefit teams when it’s easy to navigate and use. When listing these requirements out, remember to include criteria that benefit both a) the users and b) the potential applicants. Here are some quick ideas to give you and your team some inspiration:

  •  Simple application process with no redundancy
  • Application form can be completed on mobile
  • Sourcing extension for auto-fill of candidate data
  • Email inbox right in the platform
  • Live support

2—Is it mobile optimized? (Bonus if it has an associated mobile app!)

In the first question’s details, I mentioned mobile application forms as a possible must-have. This isn’t something to take lightly! Even if you don’t tangibly see the results of your mobile-optimized application form, candidates and your hiring results will thank you for it. A whopping 78% of job seekers reported that they would apply for a position via a mobile device. This is a huge chunk of your talent pool! Some applicants will bypass applying for a job if it can’t be completed when they are viewing it on their mobile device. Why miss out on top talent this way?

Speaking of missing out, the hiring arena is fast-paced. You don’t want to lose a potentially great fit for your company because you are out of the office. I’m not saying stay connected 24/7. However, your team will benefit from an ATS app that allows custom notifications. This way, your ATS is essentially in your pocket, allowing you to pick up on important, time-sensitive opportunities. Candidates will appreciate the responsiveness, and your competitors will be left wondering how you nabbed top talent so quickly!

How to find the answer: Test it out on your phone! Does the application form hold up on a mobile device? Also, go to the app store and see if there is an associated app with the ATS at hand. Download it, and try it for yourself.

3—Is it customizable?

Not only should notifications from your ATS be customized, but the whole platform should be able to be tweaked to fit your exact needs. Extra features that aren’t necessary just waste space and junk up the interface. Find an ATS that is intuitive and allows for customization. This will not only benefit your hiring workflow, but it will improve the candidate experience.

For instance, mass emails can appear cold and impersonal. When you are already dealing with a sensitive situation such as rejection of a candidate, this can leave them feeling jaded, confused, and, worst of all, ready to retaliate. The candidate experience can have a large impact on employer brand and the way your company is perceived. Tweaking bits of the hiring process to show candidates that you care will work wonders.

How to find the answer: Look for options to customize your workflow, from interview setups to team management. Furthermore, look for the ability to personalize candidate interaction, such as emails with placeholders.

4—Does it track recruitment data?

With the pressures of recruitment to-do lists, analysis sometimes gets pushed to the backburner. However, constant optimizations can result in a genius hiring process! It’s worth it to track the right data and analyze your findings. Practical application throughout different stages of your company’s lifetime will get you better hires in less time. Not only do companies differ in their hiring needs, but hiring needs change and fluctuate as an individual organization ebbs and flows.

How to find the answer: If you think you don’t have time to track data and/or don’t know what metrics to include, find an ATS that offers data tracking and automated reports!

5—Is your data secure on the platform?

Recruitment software is making the right move: to the cloud. ATS, in particular, are best when cloud-based. This keeps sensitive candidate and user information safe and secure from hackers, viruses, and the like. Think of the cloud as an intangible file cabinet that doesn’t run the risk of catching fire, losing documents, or being broken into! Pick an ATS that has proper security procedures in place.

How to find the answer:  Make sure your ATS is outside of the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act. Cloud-based software can be used globally. Additionally, in the terms and conditions, look for adherence to security protocols.

Ask these questions, but play around with them to ensure that they are right for your company. What works for a similar company may be way off when it comes to your needs! Sit down with your team and decide the make-or-break features that will fill in the gaps where your recruitment is lacking. Try out the free trials of a few ATS and use your experiences to make an informed decision. Your hires will be better for it.

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Author bio:

Image courtesy of Recruitee

Image courtesy of Recruitee

Perry Oostdam is the co-founder and CEO of Recruitee, a collaborative hiring platform for teams of all sizes. Recruitee helps optimize the entire hiring process, from candidate relationship management, employer branding, and job posting to candidate sourcing and applicant tracking. The company has offices in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Poznań, Poland and works with companies around the world.

For more information on Recruitee and its features email them at sales@recruitee.com.

 

The Underground Workforce: Immigrants

 

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

A little over a month ago, I traveled to Queens to go pick up my 10th wedding anniversary cake from a family friend. To give you some context, I live in Long Island, NY (the forgotten borough, unless you talk The Hamptons) so anytime I want food or goods related to my West-Indian culture (and this cake was a West-Indian cake) I go to Queens or Brooklyn usually. Since I am approximately an hour and 15 minutes from Queens I try to maximize my trips by ensuring I get all the West-Indian goodies I want before returning home. This day, I did just that and went to my favorite Singh’s Roti Shop in Ozone Park to get my roti, doubles, pholourie and the like. The line in Singh’s on a Saturday is usually long but is made more pleasant by the people watching, aromatic scents and beautiful Soca and Calypso music playing while you wait.

I found something more at Singh’s this day and it involved a woman standing behind me on line.  I remember turning and smiling at her and she asked me: “If the line here is always this long?” I replied: “Yes, always!” She then went on to ask me if I was a Trinidadian and I said: “Yes, with a mix of Guyanese too”. She proceeded to tell me that she was so hungry as she has been working as a live-in aide to an elderly woman in Upstate New York and the family does not so much as grant her but 15 minutes to go and procure food for herself.

She went on to share with me the deplorable way in which the family treated her patient. She also shared that she told them she had some affairs to take care of so she got two days off. She took two trains and a bus by memory to get to Singh’s as it was the only place she remembered having food that would nourish her and make her feel a little like she was back in Trinidad.

I asked her why she stays if she doesn’t like the way she is being treated? She mentioned that she was working to put her kids through school. On the brighter side, she was going on an interview for a new patient the next day with a family she felt more aligned with. I told her I would pray for her that her interview went well.

I was then called up to place my order, so I said a quick goodbye. As I waited for them to package my order, I watched her with sadness thinking she was carrying the weight of her space in the world on her shoulders (and it showed). She reminded me of any number of my aunts. As I paid for my food, I went over to her and told her she is a strong woman and I wished her well with a parting hug.

As much as our encounter uplifted me –it also made me angry that she was being used and abused for cheap labor by an American family because they can and more importantly, because her labor and toil are convenient for their lifestyles.

In a time where the discussion of undocumented immigrants is so contentious, it is unfathomable to me that we have such hypocrisy at play where this issue is concerned. Essentially, our position is we don’t want you illegal and undocumented people here; except for in instances where you present a cheaper option that makes our lives simpler. I wonder if it has ever occurred to the lower half of the economic scale that their prized 1% white male and women counterparts are to blame for the undocumented numbers in the U.S.? I am here to shed some light.

Your prized 1 percenters are the ones who actively seek out women like this woman I spoke with to be wet nurses, doulas, companions and live-in nannies at a much lower margin than what any U.S.-based nanny would charge. I know because some of my own family members have had flights, housing, cell phones, wages and expenses paid for them to come here from abroad and do this work.

To further back what I already know to be true, I dug up some statistics from Pew Research Center. Here are some things you should know about undocumented immigrants and their impact on our workforce:

  • In 2015, there were 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. This number has been mostly unchanged given estimates made for 2009 – 2016 since there was a smaller sample size and a large margin of error in the numbers. According to this same study, unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million a whopping 4% of the U.S. population. So much for undocumented immigrants taking over the U.S. and all of the “good” jobs.
  • Surprise…surprise! Mexicans are not among the majority of undocumented immigrants. Statistics from the same Pew Research Center study, suggest that from 2009 – 2016, the bulk of undocumented immigrants are coming from Asia and Central America countries outside of Mexico. I guess an Asian influx isn’t a problem, but let us also not forget their particular knowledge, skills, and abilities also facilitate our culture of convenience.
  • The U.S. Civilian Workforce includes 8 million undocumented immigrants accounting for 5% of those who were either working, unemployed or looking for work. How can undocumented immigrants be so unwanted and at the same time so assimilated into our workforce? More convenience and hypocrisy.

There are many moving parts to this discussion. My annoyance with it all is that our economy, businesses, and lives run on immigration. Yet, we dehumanize these people, throw around propaganda about banishing them and still when it suits us we hire them to do the work that no one else is willing to do. As HR professionals, we have to be just as willing to talk about how we improve societal conditions as we are to talk about the latest best practices to improve company culture. We also have to recognize that while our obligations are to the organizations we serve, we are on some level tied back to the overall perverted web of labor that exists here in the U.S.

We must seek the truth. Protect the truth and recognize when our ideals and practices are dissonant. I hope this helps.

To read the full article with statistics from The Pew Research Center study click here.

Is Your Recruitment Process Still in the Stone Age?

Recruitment Process- Jobsoid

Have you ever called a promising candidate for a follow-up interview only to find out they just took up a job at a competing firm? How often does this happen? If it’s more than once, it’s already one too many! If you are missing out on top talent only because the follow-up rounds took longer to plan, it’s high time you updated your process. But you probably know that already. What usually happens is HR managers like yourself often find themselves in a tough spot because they simply don’t know where to start! Considering the multi faceted nature of the process, you can’t always rightly identify the cause of such delays but you can tweak your process wherever possible and avoid any unforeseen delays! Find out how:

Automation, Automation, Automation

It’s time to stop making dedicated drives for all your HR data and upgrade to the latest technology. Sure spreadsheets and emails work when there aren’t any urgent/immediate hiring needs but that won’t always be the case, since this function is more of an ongoing activity. The HR department receives resumes all round the year and keeping track of them can become quite a daunting task. So, instead ditch those spreadsheets and move to an automated software that can intuitively track and manage all applicant data.

The Source Code

Just kidding, no code here, but there is just one simple rule, dig deep enough to find out which source drives the best candidate volume. It is very important for the modern recruiter to understand where and how his company receives the best traction. Another aspect to this is that you not only track which medium you get the most visibility on but also the best quality. Identifying the right platform for your recruitment needs automatically streamlines your process by cutting out the noise.

First Impressions are a Two-way Street

Like you would expect your applicant to be on top of their game while you interview them, they have similar expectations while applying for jobs. And with the digital age that has set in. Your company’s website is the mark of credibility in your applicant’s eyes. A well-updated, detailed website will always draw more traction as it adds to the company’s overall image.

Embrace the Change

While all things vintage and classic have their own charm, sometimes it is necessary to make the shift with changing times. There are a plethora of applicant tracking systems, recruitment tools and hiring software available in the market which significantly add time to your hiring process. A good applicant tracking system will help in taking care of minute details like automatically souring and screening candidate data, maintaining and updating talent pools, as well as sending out follow-up emails.

Research and Development

Just like recruitment, research and development is an ongoing process. Taking time out to constantly analyze your recruitment processes is crucial to hiring success. Apart from identifying bottlenecks in your process, you also need to keep tabs on current strategies and technologies to be able to get the desired results. Do your reading, experiment with those free trials and then settle on the best method for your organization.

So, there you have it, recruitment doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as it used to be years ago. All you have to do is find out what works best for your company, find software and tools to automate functions that don’t need your immediate attention, giving you time to focus on other time pressing activities.

Author Bio:

Kelly Barcelos

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

Trust: Why It Matters and How Tech Can Help

Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored guest blog post. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from.  I am not formally employed by Ultimate Software. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by Adam Rogers of Ultimate Software. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Many Americans spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their families, so it’s not surprising that the strength of these relationships is important to job satisfaction. Trust, respect, and communication are vital aspects of a positive employee experience, but far too often, these critical factors are ignored or largely overlooked by organizations—perhaps partly due to the innate difficulty of tracking these metrics.

 

And how important is that trust, really?

 

Can I Trust You?

According to recent research, extremely. 9 out of 10 employees think trusting their direct managers is important to remaining satisfied at work, but less than half of employees actually do. An April SHRM study learned that respondents were not content with workplace trust levels, even when reporting high job satisfaction. And Rapt Media found more than a third of US employees feel like their companies don’t care about them at all—likely contributing to the 69% of respondents who said they’re either open to other opportunities or already seeking another job.

 

These statistics are concerning, raising red flags about productivity, retention, and everything in-between. Two-way trust is a crucial aspect of a stable, satisfying and successful work environment, but establishing and nurturing this within an organization can be difficult. Trust is certainly multi-faceted, at work as in life, but experts agree that communication is required, including transparency and responding to feedback. When implemented correctly, these communications tenets are valuable strategies.

 

In fact, 75% of workers said they would stay in an organization longer if their employer listened to—and addressed—their concerns. Can you imagine the financial impact of a 75% reduction in attrition?

 

Leveraging Technology to Cultivate Trust

To build a high-performing culture based on trust and communication, employers must effectively uncover their employees’ true feelings and respond appropriately. Many organizations currently rely on annual performance reviews, which can be quite valuable for assessing employee performance against pre-determined goals and objectives. But when it comes to obtaining quality feedback and insight into the employee experience, these infrequent evaluations almost always fall short.

 

Fortunately, technology has caught up with this significant need. Basic online templates evolved to sophisticated pulse surveys that can measure employee experience in real-time. In addition to yes/no queries and other quantitative tools, these innovative solutions can also decode open-ended surveys with exceptional accuracy. UltiPro Perception™, for example, uses advanced natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms to analyze text-based responses and identify key workplace themes, like trust, as well as the respondent’s underlying emotions.

 

This highly strategic tool can be effortlessly deployed at regular intervals to assess employee sentiment, either for the entire organization or filtered by location, position, manager, etc. Patterns emerge and business leaders receive real-time, actionable analysis and instant insights to improve trust, satisfaction, and retention within the organization.

 

These surveys allow leaders to measure how their employees feel about the hot-button topics frequently blamed for job dissatisfaction, such as family-friendly policies, growth opportunities, or job flexibility. Armed with data-based feedback about what matters most to their employees, executives have real power to evaluate and address pain points—building trust simultaneously.

 

For 46% of organizations surveyed in SHRM/Globoforce’s 2016 survey, employee retention was the #1 workforce management challenge. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By actively listening and responding to employees, it’s possible for organizations to solidify a culture of trust and communication—improving engagement, productivity, and retention in return.

 

Three Steps to Finding Success Through Clarity

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends, family and colleagues about where I am currently and where all my efforts are headed. Young adults everywhere are charged with deciding at the ripe age of 17 what they want to do with their lives. In my case, it was expressed in choose a college and degree field. Make sure it is something that “makes sense and cents”.  I assume like most young adults now, I was supposed to be clear about what my life goals were. So long as I was clear on my choice, it was my charge to make a reasonable decision on the next steps thereafter. I’ll say that I did my best.

The issue was I didn’t have a definition for what clarity meant.  What I thought was “clarity” was really me blindly walking on a mirage of a straight line to career success. I was finding my way, but I was also doing the status quo. While I have no regrets about the journey so far, I am well-aware that I lacked some imagination in envisioning my future.  I’ve come to realize that the lack of imagination I had was directly tied a lack of clarity I had around what my heart truly desired. It made total sense. How does one imagine potential and greatness with precision if they are fuzzy on what success looks like? It simply cannot be done.  To be honest, it isn’t totally true that I was unclear, but I will own that I was superficially-clear. Anytime you are carefully balancing what you want with the opinions and criticisms of others you are going to come up short.

It gets boring and tiring to always be following the rules…my advice…break all the damn rules and smile doing it.

The past few years in business have reconfigured me in such a way that I had to become crystal clear on what I wanted for my life. Notice I didn’t say my “career”. You see, once I got clear on the life I wanted to live it became easy to infuse my career pursuits and business with the morals, standards values and mantras I live by daily. It pushed me to create a lane that was unique to me. As a result, I became emboldened and empowered to defy all of the so-called rules that were working against me. Having this level of clarity has not only been exciting, but freeing.

Here are three benefits I have experienced since becoming clear about the direction of my life and career:

1) I learned to say “no” often, without apology, and with confidence. I say “no” to business, to people I no longer need to be associated with; and to situations and circumstances that aren’t mutually beneficial to me or the other person. In other words, I do what I want, change course as needed and do so without saying “sorry”. Giving up saying “sorry” for living life on your terms is a hard habit to kick, but I have worked at it. When you aren’t clear, everything seems like something you should latch onto. I know now that I don’t need to do everything or know everyone — it’s all about finding the synergy in things.

2) Shiny objects, fads, “what everyone else is doing” doesn’t move me. I have long been a creature who is seldom moved and unbothered by the pomp and circumstance of others. However, I would be lying if I said I have never compared myself to others. It is what makes us human. I have been diligent in focusing on my own lawn. While I certainly keep a pulse on what is going on, I do my best not to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing ( i.e. fads, best practices, shiny objects etc.). In the long run, it doesn’t have any bearing on what you are doing anyway. Not to mention, that unhealthy doses of comparison robs you of being able to be grateful for your own progress.

3) My brand and I are in the flow. My message, my brand and what I stand for are so much clearer now that I have clarity around the overall goal. I have spent the past few years rethinking and figuring out what I like, what I want my legacy to be about and making it a reality. I’ve come to realize less is more and sometimes the brand is simply the journey so far. Life in action. I’m essentially just working hard at living my best life.

Success is subjective and what you make it. If you haven’t achieved success in a way that is meaningful for you it is likely because you haven’t done the internal work required to give you the clarity you need to make the right moves. Make the time to think about where you are and where you want to be. Then, go for it.

I am growing a little community on Instagram called: Growth on my Terms. If you are looking for inspiration from everyday people on success, life and moving through challenges be sure to check it out and join the conversation: www.instagram.com/growthonmyterms.

A Business Curse Word For The Ages: Diversity

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

 

I’ve spent the better half of my career immersed in work environments that had to keep a watchful eye over things like diversity & inclusion. The work felt like something I should be proud of — seeing as though it is predicated upon providing equal opportunity to people who have often been outcast based on everything from race to physical disability. At the same time that I was busy being proud, I found something interesting among my HR peers and other internal partners. This interesting tidbit was: Nobody “really” cared about diversity and inclusion.

Sure, we had several funded and active programs to quote, unquote “level the playing field”. We met regularly to look at how we were making strides with our Affirmative Action Plan and goals. For good measure, our leadership would even make it their business to make a very poignant and seemingly genuine speech at our African-American Affinity Group Scholarship Dinners or our coveted Black History Month Celebrations.

Still, very few in the organizations I’ve both worked for and heard about via the anecdotes of similarly-situated colleagues truly cared about diversity. It could be read between the rolling eyes, I witnessed when white hiring managers were forced to pull together a competitive slate of candidates instead of hiring their friends or others from their network. It was evidenced, when in one company I worked for — the administrative pool was 80-90% white and left us consistently having to answer to our partners in the Diversity Group about why we could never manage to hire more people of color with such high availability and capability numbers.  It became blatantly clear that no one cared, when even in HR, people of color were better educated and had stronger backgrounds than the bulk of the white professionals working for the company – yet we had to consistently answer to these people who had no clue. The disdain, jealously, and surprise oozed as I watched my white counterparts half-smile or as others call it “smized” with wonderment in their eyes as I spoke up for myself in meetings. The kind of “who hired her, she’s so articulate and smart” looks, but I digress.

I spent over 10 years in HR and really never met a person that wasn’t of color who truly cared about Diversity. Scratch that, even people or color gave up on the promise of diversity in time when they realized the purported efforts never matched the actual outcomes in real life. It in turn made me want to fight for the people I served more. It is the reason that I not only revived the otherwise defunct, African-American Affinity Group at my last job, I also ran and got elected to President in the group while working in HR (which had never been done and was frowned upon). When it came time to work with a national organization to help reformed youth who ended up in the prison system and I knew it was simply a superficial endeavor on the part of my then-employer — I raised my hand to manage the program. There were no shortage of hurdles I had to overcome in getting these stellar gentlemen hired for a program that was allegedly supported from the top. Oh, but somebody tell me again about how ‘diversity’ is so important.

Somebody, anybody share that statistic we have all run into the ground about how teams and organizations are more “innovative”, “productive and “profitable” with a diverse team and leadership behind it. Now that I have effectively left “The Matrix” that is Corporate America, I see why both the concept and application of diversity is troublesome for so many companies and the people that run them.

Here are some thoughts and questions I have:

1)  When we really break down why any diversity, inclusion and or anti-discrimination laws exist we must automatically return to the root cause of it all which is the anti-color sentiment on which the U.S was built and continues to run (a.k.a slavery, Jim Crow Laws, Segregation, Mass Incarceration of POC etc.).

2) If it is truly part of the founder or CEO’s moral and ethical fabric to have an “appreciation” or “love” of all human beings and their unique contributions, why do you need a group or department or a law to guide your efforts to not only include all human beings; but see that they are given a  a fair chance to be hired, developed and afforded equal access to opportunity?

3) How is it that companies have Affirmative Action Plans that get diluted and minimized to quotas in which they hire just a few POC, females etc. to appear diverse enough to keep their government contracts; but still leave some cushion for the latitude they crave to hire their golf buddies, neighbors or family members (who possess little to no requisite skills)?

“Diversity” is like a curse word in business. What it screams to CEOs is that you cannot just hire people who walk, chew, think and look like you. For the most part, they all want clones of themselves at every level of their company and the only time it even strikes them as plausible to look beyond themselves is when they can’t find the acumen they need to be profitable in their sea of clones. You shouldn’t have to be coerced or convinced to hire someone different if you are truly for all people. Diversity meetings shouldn’t have to happen every week or every month if you genuinely care and champion it. Moreover, the government shouldn’t have to regulate how you do business by dangling the carrot of money in front of you to not discriminate and provide equal opportunity. The fact that all of the practices I just mentioned are so pervasive, let’s me know that less of you care about diversity than you are willing to admit.

Before you go building that new diversity program or hiring that new Director of D&I, I would highly suggest you think about why they are needed in the first place.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with my friend, Mark A. Dyson host of The Voice of Jobseekers Podcast along with another friend, Chris Fields, Owner of Resume Crusade. We discussed many of the double and triple standards I discussed in this article. If you are interested, take a listen below and share your thoughts in the comments. We appreciate you!

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