The slow death of the ATS

It has to happen. The ATS is on its last legs as a strategic tool to help recruiting organizations. Its killer application-ness has expired, and its a tool its as satisfying as the expense report system.

It is not the technology’s fault – its legislation. In any organization a simple way to process applicants is a requirement, especially if you are processing hundreds or thousands, or in rare cases, millions of applicants. Its this legislation that creates a need for recruiters who seek passive candidates to use tools like Jobs2Web, Avature, TalentCircles, LinkedIn and other CRM savvy products in liue of the ATS so there are not reporting issues later. Some ATS are getting CRM functionality, but slowly – its easier for them to just integrate with CRMs.

So let me cut to it – take your recruiters out of your ATS. Managers or administation can post requisitions, and screening personnel or tools can do the initial setup of who you should screen. Think how wild it would be if somebody else just cherry picked the top 15 candidates from the ATS and pushed them into the CRM, which also held all the passive folks a recruiter was evaluating. 

WHOA. The recruiter does not need to go through the resumes? Guess what – with 300 applicants, do you really think they are? So instead, have someone else do it holitiscally, treat applicants like customers (not a #), and close the black hole. Now have your recruiters (who should be awesome at assessment and selling) spend the majority of their time assessing talent on behalf of the hiring manager, and broadcasting the brand. I find myself saying the same thing over and over – develop competence in scouting, sourcing, recrutiing, and staffing. The ATS is a STAFFING system, so let the staffers use it.

What value does it produce to have someone who can brand a business to a passive candidate use a ATS? They should be investigating. Once they investigate, have the notes stored – and don’t have them spend 20 minutes uploading the notes in the ATS – have someone ELSE do that. We need to stop trying to do everything in the ATS – they were not built that way. Adding documents, notes, etc causes all kinds of technical and legal issues – so stop your work arounds and get a system that is designed for that.

So if recruiters are not using the ATS, what will they do? How about you start with taking notes when they meet with managers and candidates. Make sure they assess holistically. I really don’t care about your method – but I care that they assess, capture and store it somewhere. Easy solution? Email it to someone else, and pay those people to store it correctly. Makes for a nice little metric too. You know what recruiters can’t get out of – taking notes. They can all write, read, and type. So make that the baseline.

Have them come up with questions, get answers, write it down, and make a recommendation. then send to with enough information to match it to the requisition.  

The move to CRM (or non ATS) is obvious now. Just like using aggregators for posting jobs, or searching through job boards became obvious. We will start aggregating the knowledge so we can cull through it, and the ATS is not the place to store intelligence on talent.

Balancing Your Time

Can you get this report done for Monday? Can you update this schedule before the end of the day? Can you coordinate the materials that the customer has due to us? Can you write this/attend that training class/coach that employee?  The list goes on and on, and this is just at work!  We won’t even go into balancing the private life with because that could go on forever and this is only a blog, after all!

Balancing your work load with the various responsibilities and projects can be a struggle. We all know that there are multiple tools to track tasks.  We also know that we have the ability to push back (gently and politely) on work assigned.  Managing our own personal resource load is just as important as managing the resources for a project team.

Depending on the projects/tasks you are working on (schedules, specific tasks), different tools may be used to help budget time and make task lists.  Project schedules are good for overall task-tracking, but they may not work best for you as you may not own the schedule.  CRMs or any on-line project tracking tool can be helpful. They all have features that enable notes, updates and statuses for your tasks.

There is the basic Outlook calendar tool that gives an option to manage tasks and they are right on your desktop as a reminder.  One of my personal favorites that I have used since, well, MS DOS was around (yes, that long ago) is a notebook.  I know, it is archaic in this gadget/technology obsessed age, but it works well for me.  I take notes, I can cross them off, I am able to go back days, months, years and see what I worked on, finished, information that I may need.

So, find your favorite tool, be it electronic or pen and paper, and start crossing things off your list. It is such a great feeling that you’ll be motivated to be more productive. It’s a win-win!

The Brenski Radio Show: Can Recruiters be Talent Advisors

Check out the first in our series of radio shows on hot talent topics.

First up: Can recruiters be “Talent Advisors”? What are Talent Advisors anyway? Hear why Andrew and Linda think that, for different reasons, recruiters really can’t become Talent Advisors . . .

Focus on Assessment: Collaboration

What is collaboration? The first thing that may come to mind is “teamwork”, but they are two different things. Teamwork is the ability to effectively work with others in a group to produce a common goal. Collaboration can be defined as working effectively with others in the organization outside the line of formal authority (such as peers in other units or senior management) to accomplish organizational goals and to identify and solve problems. In other words, collaboration is not working with your own team, pod or usual group of coworkers, but with an outside set of peers whose job goes hand in hand with yours. For example, Sourcers working with Recruiters; they do not have the same position or necessarily work together, but one’s successes can depend on the other.

As such, the competencies needed to be an accomplished collaborator differ from those of being a good teammate. Often in times of collaboration, one may need to provide services to another group without sufficient amount of knowledge or experience on the problem at hand. A good collaborator will adapt to his/her surroundings, ask appropriate and time-staking questions to get the proper information needed to help, and go from there. They will not use inexperience as an excuse to stay out. On the other side of things, a good collaborator must also be able to give simple yet defined information to someone on the outside in an efficient manner. Collaboration goes both ways.

We’ve all been in situations when the same set of eyes and ears have been dealing with a problem, and something just isn’t working. Maybe the solution is to pull someone from an outside party for a different perspective on the matter. A good collaborator will not hesitate to ask for help outside their own group, even if other members are not thrilled. Some people see this is a sign of weakness and are afraid to ask for help in fear of looking unqualified. However, in my experience, senior managers enjoy being pulled in for their expertise. They know a lot and are (usually) happy to share their knowledge any way they can. Moreover, they would rather help find the solution to a problem than have no solution at all, as it can obviously reflect on them, too.

When success of the business is on the line, why delay in collaboration? A successful collaborator understands the value of collaboration. As stated earlier, this person is not afraid of asking for help and giving help if both parties can benefit from it. Any company can reap the benefits of collaboration if used effectively and appropriately. Are you a good one?