Applicant Tracking System User Access Levels [VIDEO]

In this Q&A video chat, Jessica Stephenson discusses the common differences between applicant tracking system user access levels. In particular, she reviews manager and assigned user ATS access in detail — including feature availability and ideal timing for involving new users in the selection process.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson and welcome to another episode. Today we’re going to focus on best practices for determining the appropriate level of user access within the applicant tracking system for the many stakeholders involved in your hiring process. And we work with small and medium-sized businesses, so this question often surfaces during the implementation process. And, while commonly people are familiar with an administrative level user, or the super login I Iike to say, they might not be so sure of the different types of user access levels for people outside of the HR department, in particular.

So usually HR staff members will be administrative level users within an applicant tracking system, and sometimes I see that expand to include owners or CFOs at smaller companies, as well. And the administrative level user can certainly manage applicants across all business units that are established within the system, and then do things like change settings, add or edit job listings, access reporting, leave HR-visible notes so that lower level users can’t see those notes, and then add and edit other users to the system.

When it comes to employees that should access the system outside of the human resources department, I divide those into two categories. The first one being manager-level users, and the second being candidate-specific assigned users. So, with manager-level users, they can access all applicants across their own business unit or units, and for your organization that might mean a department or a geographic branch, so on and so forth. Larger organizations that are rigorous about training hiring managers on the recruiting process may wish to optionally allow these manager-level users the ability to add, edit and post job listings, as well. However, many smaller organizations will tend to leave job edits to those in human resources and lock down that access so that managers can’t touch job listings. In addition, in general, manager-level users in applicant tracking systems can’t access reporting, change settings or add or edit users within the system.

Now candidate-specific assigned users are what I would call “bare-bones” access level users, in that they login and they don’t see any other dashboards like jobs or settings or users, and they will only see candidates that have specifically been assigned to them by other users. Think “minimalist” when you think of this type of user, and know that it’s ideal for organizations that are ready to empower non-HR staff to make applicant notes and decisions within the ATS…as opposed to via email correspondence back and forth with HR, for example. The other compelling benefit of making wider use of this very restricted login type is that in a reputable ATS, it should support a complete view of the applicant record including: who at any point in time has looked at that applicant record; to whom it has been forwarded via email; the email correspondence history with the applicant; and, any time someone has been an assigned user for that candidate so that they could review the candidate’s credentials. This benefit is especially critical for those organizations that are subject to affirmative action plan compliance, as well.

So now depending on the applicant tracking system in use, these two broad user level categories that I’ve discussed will likely have various toggles available for further customization, as well, especially at the manager level login. So for example, an administrator may choose whether or not that manager can initiate job requisition requests; or leave notes and view notes on the applicant record; update the EEO information for a candidate; and, optionally edit the status or disposition assigned to a candidate, or the date on which it was assigned.

In terms of timing, and what I mean by that is, how soon various non-HR users would start using the system during a specific hiring process…that will of course depend on the level. When a manager-level login is created, because they can access all applicants across all business units, and sometimes even job listings, as soon as their login is created they are going to be able to at any time go in and view details. And so, certainly the organizational expectations and culture surrounding hiring managers’ participation in the selection process will help dictate when those hiring managers should actively start to participate and perhaps leave comments and assign status codes and so forth.

Now, with more restricted assigned users, their scope is more limited since they are only going to be able to start taking action once candidates have specifically been assigned to them. So if you choose to exercise the most control and/or wish to make the review process as simple as possible for those non-HR folks, then the assigned user is the ticket.

And with both types of user-level access, the great aspect about using an ATS and not making them administrative level users is that you don’t have to have any worry about them inadvertently accessing sensitive information related to perhaps the candidate’s employment history, any kind of red flags that might be on their record that you’re not ready for other people outside of HR to see, and that sort of information…because you can lock that down. And so, the timing of their access becomes not as important a factor as it might be otherwise.

So, above all, I want to reiterate the value and certainly the security piece of mind organizations will see when they handle all applicant documentation, including screening activities and correspondence with candidates, within an applicant tracking system…not via email, for example. I hope you enjoyed this episode of video chat and please stay tuned for answers to further questions. Thank you!

Recruiting Software: Single-Source System vs. Stand-Alone ATS [VIDEO]

In this Q&A video, listen to ExactHire Co-Founder, Jeff Hallam, run through some common recruiting-related pros and cons when it comes to choosing between a single-source human resources software information system (HRIS) or a stand-alone ATS (applicant tracking system).

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jeff Hallam and welcome to another edition of ExactHire Q&A. The topic today is whether an organization should purchase recruiting software as part of their overall payroll and HR solution; or, whether that’s something that they might be better served purchasing in a stand-alone environment. And the idea of our talk today is not to try to arrive at any conclusions or tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but rather just to give you some guidance and some ideas to think through to help determine ultimately what might be the right solution for you and your organization.

So, let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons for each. So, if you look at a solution that’s offered through a payroll and HR software provider, some of the pros would be things like the ability for information and the process to flow from one point to another…from the very beginning as an applicant…all the way into being an employee…and then ultimately as an ex-employee.

Certainly one of the strong selling points in solutions like these is also the notion of integration. Once I’ve hired someone that core information can flow forward into payroll, and I as an HR professional nor anyone else on my team has to worry about re-keying that information.

And then likewise having a single provider for all things, holds a lot of appeal for people. And so that is certainly a list of some of the main drivers that might lead people to lean toward purchasing this as part of that overall payroll and HR software deliverable.

Some of the cons, likewise, include items like how much of a priority is recruiting software in that provider’s development queue? Is it getting the time, attention and dollars that you’d like so that it’s going to keep up with emerging trends out there in the industry.

What does the price point look like? Is it more, is it less…and are you contractually obligated to stay with that solution as part of the overall solution for any minimum period of time?

And then finally, features and functionality. It’s not uncommon for this to be not necessarily the strength of most payroll and HR tools. So that’s certainly something to look at…will it have the features and the capabilities that you’re looking for and that your group would need?

Now let’s look at stand-alone recruiting software. So, the pros for that are that typically those types of solutions should have very good features and functionality. They should be something that, because that’s all they’re doing, it should have those types of things.

Secondly, there often times are add-on tools…other things that you can do as spokes off of that, that may not exist in that single-source solution that we were talking about a moment ago. Things like video interviewing, automated reference checking, onboarding solutions, integrated background checks and things of that nature.

And then hopefully, dependent upon the provider that you’re dealing with, there should be better expertise to help with technical questions that would come up. That group should be a little more on the leading edge of what’s going on out there and what’s emerging in the industry, as opposed to somebody where this is part of their overall solution.

The cons to the stand-alone solution are…of course, out of the box, it probably is not going to integrate with your existing payroll and HR solution.

You do now have a separate vendor to go to for support-related questions as opposed to a single vendor in that consolidated environment.

And then dependent on the provider, there are some applicant tracking or recruiting software providers out there that do have contractual obligations. So once you sign up to use that, you are required to use it for a certain period of time. And that’s kind of a common con to be aware of in either scenario…just make sure that you understand what that looks like so that if it’s not doing for you what you’d like you have an opportunity to consider other options without being bound to that one provider longer than you might care to.

So, here’s a quick list of five questions to ask yourself as it relates to what might be best for you, and which of these scenarios might apply. So the first one would be to look at the overall priorities of your organization, and for your position. How important overall is recruiting? If it’s a minimal activity, and it’s not happening very often…that probably points you one direction versus another.

Secondly, how much hiring will your organization do over the next year or so? How much volume is going to be done might tie in with the priorities, and it might also tie into the next question…which is what data exactly are we talking about when that integration piece is discussed? So once I’ve hired someone, what exactly from the applicant tracking side of things will then port over into payroll? Make sure you understand what that is and make sure you understand how important it is and how much of it there is.

Looking at price, is there a price differential between the two…that’s certainly something that merits consideration.

And then finally, some of those add-on tools that we talked about with the stand-alone recruiting options…how appealing are those to you? Do you ever see yourself needing those?

As I said earlier, none of this is designed to say you should go one way or the other…it’s like so many other things with software…there is no pat answer that’s going to be consistent for everyone. Rather, it’s just something that is designed to help you from your end, have a little bit more objective way to sit down and look at the pros and cons of each, and ultimately determine, what is it that’s ultimately going to be right for your company.

This has been another edition of Q&A, thank you for joining us!

How to Engage Hiring Managers During Hiring Process – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

In this video, pick up some tips on how to better engage hiring managers to effectively participate in your small- to medium-sized business hiring process. Learn how technology can help automate the hiring process and facilitate manager participation, especially when an organization is decentralized.

Video Transcript:

Hi, welcome to another edition of ExactHire Whiteboard Video Chat. I’m Jeff Hallam and today we’re going to talk about how can I engage hiring managers in my recruiting and hiring process.

This comes up a lot, and as you can imagine it’s something that most everyone is trying to get to, but it’s not always the easiest thing in the world to get buy-in from folks who don’t hire for a living. When they have positions open they want them filled, they want good people in them, and a lot of times they’re trying to get through that as quickly as they can as opposed to maybe following your process that you’ve laid out as an HR professional or as a recruiter.

So these four steps are really designed, or these tips I should say, are really designed just to give you some ideas on how you can better engage these folks and hopefully get both what you want, and they want, out of this cycle.

So the first piece is, maybe trying to look at it through their eyes. And anytime you can walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes I think it can certainly benefit the experience. And so you have to think of it from their standpoint, this can often times be seen as a bother. Why do I want to do this? What’s in it for me? I don’t want to take the time. I don’t want to learn another system. And all those things are valid when they are busy…as we all are. So one of the things you can do is as you see it from that perspective, really think hard about what is in it for them. Think about how their needs and what they’re trying to get done can align with what you’re trying to get done. And when you can do that, that’s definitely a great first step. And that kind of transitions over here to point two in terms of making it easy.

By making it easy, what we mean is, if you can really see it through their eyes, it will help you understand what would in fact make this easier for them. So things like not requiring them to quote/unquote learn another system. Not requiring them to put in pages and pages of notes. So the more structure and input and things of that nature you can give them the better. And likewise, if you can create an environment from their perspective, where they can actually very quickly give you their feedback, and it’s always in a consistent format, all the better. And that kind of bleeds over into point three here.

If you can create a template, a form, a document…whatever it might be that can collect this feedback, that’s almost always going to universally go over a little bit better than just the free-form notes. Again, it will take a little getting used to up front for folks, but once they get that, they’re going to understand that from their perspective, it’s quick…they’re putting in their feedback, they can see other peoples’ feedback. It’s easy, they can access it from anywhere, it’s easy to get to, it’s constant. And, then as that starts becoming a little bit more baked in, a little more consistent, then you get to a point very quickly where you can start making sure that there is follow through.

You can hold these folks accountable and let them know that you are going to be checking into this. And when they’re not doing it, this is a good opportunity for you to go back and hold them accountable, and help them understand and reinforce these other points of why it is important, why it’s just as good for them as it is for the organization. And, as you start doing these things, particularly if they’re in the right technological platform, you should really be able to bring a lot of automation to this, get that feedback very consistently, have it always in a consistent format…and as you go through that process, if you’re like a lot of other folks we work with on a regular basis, you should actually see your hiring results not only speed up, but just as importantly the results should improve.

Streamlined Hiring Process | SaaS > File Folders

“Technology is great when it works.” Perhaps cliche now, my husband has been saying this to me for over 13 years. Although there is merit to his sarcastic take on technology, the truth is that technology has impacted life as we know it for the better. Even the critics and naysayers of technological advances have benefited from it, whether they know it or not. Technology fuels business on the backend. Computer systems, databases, and software programs house the majority of functions necessary for our daily lives to run smoothly.

Can you imagine (or remember) the hassle of managing a hiring process with folders of  paper applications and resumes for various positions? First off, they are dropped-off or mailed to you–that takes time and they may be misplaced. Assuming you receive it, you have to thumb through each one to see if any meet your desired qualifications. Then, you contact them individually to see if they are still looking for a job before writing down an interview time on your desk calendar (the kind that sits on your physical desk–not your digital calendar). And that is just the beginning!

Before desktop computers and software, you had to call references, do background checks, fill out new-hire paperwork, and file that folder full of information in alphabetical order in the proper drawer for applications.

Ahhh….those were the days.

No! Stop the nostalgia. Those days were awful. These are the days!

Software systems help streamline the hiring process and many, many others. This reduces work and the duplication of tasks. And that makes employees happy!

Today’s hiring managers can post a job on the wonderful world-wide web and wait for applicants to accumulate in their Applicant Tracking System. From that point–with the click of a button–the manager can easily reach out to all applicants and advise them as to whether they are moving forward in the process or not. At the same time, the manager can send emails with additional links and instructions for those who are moving forward.

Applicants can complete background checks, predictive indexes, assessments, and reference checks in a completely digital environment. And then- almost magically- the information is sent to the hiring manager to make a decision. An offer can even be sent electronically to the luckily applicant!

Even more impressive, once the position has been accepted, the hiring manager can have the new employee complete all the daunting onboarding paperwork before they even arrive for their first day of work. Onboarding software allows payroll, benefits, I-9, W-4, and any other necessary paperwork to be completed electronically and sent directly to the Human Resources department.

Compared to the days before desktop computers, the internet, and process automation– when an HR professional’s day was full of  mundane tasks and long hiring processes–today’s hiring process can be lightning fast and of the highest quality. Now HR professionals can maintain hiring processes for multiple positions at the same time across different departments, and they do it in a fraction of the time compared to earlier years. This means that job applicants, clients, consumers, and co-workers are getting better, quicker service through technology.

So the next time someone complains about all the new-age, fancy technology, just remember that SaaS > File Folders! If you don’t embrace change, you will be changed.


To learn more about how you can streamline your hiring process through an SaaS solution, visit our resources section or contact ExactHire today!


Image credit: Sculpture: OMG LOL by Michael Mandiberg / Eyebeam Art + Technology Center Open Studios: Fall 2009 / 20091023.10D.55420.P1.L1. / SML by See-mee Ling (contact)

Hiring Software at the Speed of Thought

A few years ago, I read a book called “Feed” by M.T. Anderson.  Set at some undetermined point in the future, the story follows a group of teenagers who take a trip over school break.  The trip just happens to be to the moon (common at that point in the future).  While the setting is interesting, it’s the feed–as in news feed–in the story that is most intriguing.

Central to the story is how corporations (especially retailers) interact with consumers (especially teenagers).  Each person is connected to a feed that basically runs in their head constantly.  Based on where they are, what they see, what interests them, etc. — the feed continually suggests news and products that they can consume.  Likewise, much of what they may consume is available instantly and is paid for immediately from their bank account.

When I first read this, it was well before Google or Amazon had the presence they do today.  For many of us, much of what’s listed above has already played out — sometimes more than we might like!

Fashionable Hiring Software?

Now, with wearable technology beginning to come into vogue (smartwatches, Google Glass, etc.), it made me think about how this technology will enhance hiring software, and what role it could ultimately play in the hiring process for organizations.

While not imminent, it’s not hard to imagine a point in the not-too-distant future where companies can target potential applicants with their job listings via some form of electronic intelligence or feed.  Or, as you read news in whatever fashion it might take at that point, companies may be able to advertise open jobs by targeting readers who are in similar industries or who have similar types of jobs currently.

Likewise, for applicants, the job application process experience may become incredibly simple.  Resumes will likely be gone, replaced by a single applicant profile that may be shared with any potential employer just by consciously walking through the thought process that you’d like to work there.  Who knows how hiring software–like our applicant tracking software–will have changed by then?  Will we even use laptops?  Or, will recruiters and hiring managers be able to manage processes like these with some type of wearable technology that may be “viewed” without a screen anytime?

Technology continues to evolve and shape the world in which we live.  For those of us working in the hiring software space, the next few years will surely continue to bring exciting new developments for us and our clients.


To learn more about ExactHire’s hiring software solutions, please visit our resources section

Image credit: Congreso Wearables Big Data Salud 2 by COM SALUD Agencia de comunicación (contact)

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