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.

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