I came across HR technology”Expert Provocateur” William Tincup’s “6 Steps to Selecting the Best ATS for Your Company” article the other day, It’s a great primer on selecting an ATS. More than worth a read. William is as direct a voice as you will want to listen to in the recruiting world (others are as direct, but ain’t saying much worth listening to). Since he only had a few hundred words to cover a big topic, I’d like to tag on to this article and discuss the role of candidate experience feedback in the pursuit of selecting the best ATS.
Today’s recruiting technology stack is significantly broader than the old days when the ATS was the king of the hill. For a company of any size, any new ATS you might be shopping for will have to play with a lot of other systems. Some even more important to the recruiting process than the core ATS itself.
Assessments, scheduling, video interviewing, recruitment marketing platforms, career sites, candidate relationship management systems, sourcing platforms, reference checking systems, and more, will be working with or alongside your ATS.
So any new ATS you consider should be open, with an API that can leverage your candidate data into related systems. And it must play nicely enough with these other systems to deliver a cohesive and effective candidate (and recruiter and hiring manager) experience.
Feedback Based Recruiting and ATS Selection
A major theme of the article is “know your process.” I would argue that most organizations of any size couldn’t possible know their process without significant candidate experience feedback capability.
Recruiting is a multi-tentacled, far reaching process that has a life of its own once practiced in the wild. Each hire relies on many people/systems (internal and external to the company) working together, in alignment to pull it off. From attraction to outbound sourcing to assessment to interviews to reference checks to offers and beyond, recruiting is complicated and behaves in ways you can’t know, unless you are gathering candidate experience feedback.
Putting together a comprehensive candidate experience feedback program before, during and after selecting an ATS should be a best practice. Gathering candidate, recruiter and hiring manager feedback before making a change sets a baseline for UX for all three constituencies, identifies breakdowns in process, technology and/or configuration and helps ensure you “know your process” from a full circle perspective.
As the ATS is selected and implemented and rolled out, your feedback and analytics help define how to properly configure your new system and alerts you to inevitable miscues in the system, speeding the process of “ironing out the wrinkles.”
Remember, one of the biggest challenges you face with new technology is enlisting the support of users. Does it work for hiring managers and recruiters? In which ways is it falling short of user expectations? Your responsiveness to user feedback in the early days of rolling out a core recruiting technology can make or break your transition.
In addition to giving users a voice in how well the system is meeting their needs, once the ATS is up and running, you can map new feedback metrics to those of the previous system to establish just how much better off the organization is and develop an ROI based analysis.
“Take the Journey” with Candidate Experience Feedback
The reality is that when Tincup advises readers to begin the ATS selection process by “taking the journey” to fill out every form, follow every click, etc in the process, the reality is that organizations should be doing this every day. And the recruiting dept. Is not the ones who should be evaluating the effectiveness of that journey. Candidates, hiring managers and recruiters should be providing this feedback every day. For organizations that adopt this feedback based recruiting approach, the journey is taken every day by the system users that know best.
Leadership need only listen, analyze and adjust.