Minimize Business Risk with HR Technology that Streamlines Recruiting

A clean work space is just one of the advantages HR technology can provide. Other goals of technology in business are to reduce costs by streamlining workflows, eliminating manual tasks, increasing accuracy and reducing labor. These concepts can apply to any employer and any discipline within that organization. Operations, accounting, human resources, etc. can all benefit from the advantages of technology.

Like most technology systems the concept of “garbage in, garbage out” applies. There is nothing automatic about technology. Solutions will only work well if the person inputting the data is doing a good job. Most technology in the workplace aims to either house data for quick reference, perform complex calculations and analysis, report on data, or eliminate transactional tasks. However, it still takes the human touch to leverage technology to its fullest.

HR Technology Solutions

In the world of human resources, enterprise-level technology often comes in the form of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), used to house and track large stores of information traditionally placed in a personnel file. On the other end of the spectrum, stand-alone software platforms that specialize in a specific aspect of human resources management (e.g. applicant tracking, employee onboarding, payroll, time and attendance, performance management and/or learning and development, etc.) will often cater to small- and medium-sized employers. Most HRIS solutions will boast an integrated approach that may meet all of an employer’s needs. However, there’s mixed opinions on any one solution providing all your needs–in a robust enough manner–and in an integrated fashion.

Another benefit of HR technology is that it can help you with compliance, record keeping and holding you true to certain processes that will ultimately reduce your risk of error. Human error in the HR world can lead to both compliance issues and poor decision making. This is especially true when it comes to hiring, as decisions are usually made on limited data that must be analyzed from multiple sources.

Fortunately, there are a number of HR technology solutions available that can reduce risk and streamline the recruiting effort. Luckily, using some of these technologies can result in quicker time-to-hire, better decision making and more accurate outcomes.

Applicant Tracking Systems

Application Tracking Systems are powerful tools that can both reduce risk and make the talent acquisition process more efficient and effective. As with any powerful technology solution, they are only as good as the user. The features a standard applicant tracking system can provide can sometimes be overwhelming if your technology partner is not focused on customized training and ongoing customer service. A seasoned recruiter with working experience of applicant tracking systems should be able to take advantage of these features fairly easily.

Easy application management

For starters, applicant tracking systems can streamline the hiring process by collating and storing applicant data in an easy to access and recall fashion. Often, an applicant tracking system will also allow you to search and filter applicants based on specific objective data. This can help with compliance as you take subjectivity out of the equation and base more of your decision on criteria being applied objectively to all applicants.

Compliant employment data

Other basic compliance assistance comes in the form of collecting EEO data and providing for the appropriate disclosures and releases to the applicant that may be required in your hiring process. The data from these forms and documents can be hidden from a hiring manager’s view while still maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

The ability to store and recall information in an applicant tracking system is one of the biggest benefits. No need to worry about retaining applicant records for a statutory length of time. Nor do you need to worry about printing all this information and keeping it in a file. Most applicant tracking systems will even allow you to purge applicant information of a certain age to keep your database clean.


There are a number of online assessments you can utilize in the hiring process to increase your odds of a successful hire and reduce your chances of a failed hire. These assessments can look at a number of things from identifying certain skills, the application of required knowledge as well as an overall personality inventory. Combining and using the results of these assessments can dramatically increase your ability to hire more effectively.

Personality assessments are one of the most useful tools in helping to identify information about a candidate that you may not be able to identify in a standard interview. Some of the benefits of personality assessments include the identification of work behaviors, personality traits and competencies. They can also provide an overall picture of how an individual may perform in your work environment and what type of conflict may ensue. When used correctly, assessments can paint a pretty good picture of an inevitable outcome.

You can reduce hiring risk by actually paying attention to the results of these assessments. Now, they aren’t an all inclusive decision making tool–and the law would agree. However, they are another set of valuable data that should be combined with all the other information you have gathered and used to make a more informed and accurate hiring decision.

Some of the more useful features of assessments are the ability for you to benchmark the results of an applicant against the results of some of your top performers in similar positions. After all, one of the main objectives of recruiting is to find people that are like your top performers so you can replicate that performance. Background and experience are only part of the equation.

Skill-based assessments are usually used in more technical roles and are structured as interactive tools aimed at identifying if an individual has the correct level of technical ability to perform successfully in the role. The best example of these types of assessments would be for software developers, graphic designers, etc. You would choose a solution that gives individuals a project that tracks certain metrics and results as they complete the project.

Another type of assessment, a knowledge assessment, can measure not only if an individual possesses a certain base of knowledge that you require, but can also apply it. Some employers who require a license or registration of some sort will use the fact that a candidate possesses the credentials as evidence enough that they can apply the knowledge. The trouble, is most credentialing programs do not test application of knowledge. As such, employers should seek solutions that measure an individual’s ability to actually apply this knowledge.

Assessments and applicant tracking systems are just two of the many HR technologies available to you, but they are two of the most commonly used in both reducing risk and improving results. ExactHire provides both solutions in an integrated fashion to help you achieve your compliance requirements and recruiting needs.

Applicant Tracking + Employee Assessments = HireCentric ATS

Looking for both solutions in one platform? Contact ExactHire to schedule a live demo of our HireCentric applicant tracking system with embedded employee assessments.


Photo Credit: Kelly Britto

Hiring Right – 10 Tips to Finding and Hiring the Right Employee

There is no magic approach to finding and hiring the right employee. However, there are some best practices you can implement that will increase your odds at success. Here are 10 tips to finding and hiring the right employee.

Make a Plan

The first step in any successful endeavor is to first get organized. Hiring is no different. If you fail to plan in the hiring process you plan to fail. Your plan needs to encompass a number of things. First and foremost, for which skills and experience are you hiring? Taking the approach of, “I’ll know it when I see it,” won’t work.

Start with a clearly defined and reviewed role description. This is what you are expecting the person to be able to do, so make sure your interviewing plan will identify his competency to do so. A formal plan will also help you avoid bias in the process, thus leading to a more successful hire and better results.

Identify Essentials

A big part of your plan is identifying the essential needs and distinguishing them from the nice to haves. The essentials are priority and as such need to remain the focus of the hiring process. You can identify the essentials if you stick to your plan and use the role description accordingly. These would be the core things the individual must do and be able to do to be successful. Don’t get lost in the illusion of the nice to haves.

To help identify whether applicants possess core essentials, set up job-specific screening questions in your applicant tracking system so that you may score and/or flag candidates based on their answers.

Sometimes you’ll identify the nice to haves and get fixated on them as you brainstorm how you can apply them. If they do not have all the essentials they won’t be successful and no amount of successful application of the nice to haves will make up for it.

Provide the Right Environment

The success of a hire goes well beyond the actual hiring process. You want that person to stay with your company as long as possible and perform the best he can, right? This means the right things have to continue to happen in order for that hire to be an ultimate success. Making sure the individual is aligned properly within the organization and environment will help ensure this success.

Start out by finding early wins for the new employee. This will help to build confidence and establish a supportive and rewarding environment. Be intentional about training hiring managers on this trait, and include it as a part of your strategic employee onboarding process. The more wins a new hire can rack up early on the more successful he will be in the long run within the organization.

Interview for Success

Interview success is bolstered by making a plan. But it goes beyond that. You must actually make sure you are hiring for the right things and interviewing accordingly. If your interview isn’t focused on identifying the correct competencies, abilities and fit, even the seemingly best candidates won’t succeed long term.

You have to approach the interviewing process as a due diligence process. You have to approach it as objectively as possible and assess based on facts.

Pay Attention to Red Flags

Red flags will come up in the hiring process–they may come up multiple times during the hiring process. Every time a red flag appears, take care to note it on the applicant’s record in your applicant tracking software. One red flag may not create pause, but multiple red flags can pretty clearly indicate a future problem.

How to spot red flags. Red flags can be pretty subtle, but most likely you will recognize them and you just have to make sure you record them. For example, if the position will require night and weekend work, don’t ignore a candidate that states she prefers not to work every weekend. “Every weekend” may really mean she doesn’t want to work any weekends. It will eventually become an issue.

Study Top Performers

If this is a new position, it’s a bit of a gamble as you don’t really have a precedent. If this is a frequently hired position or you are replacing someone who was good at it, use that information to your advantage. Study what made that person successful, and identify the traits and skills of the top performers currently in the position. If possible, involve some incumbent top performers in the selection process, and consider assessing the cognitive and behavioral traits of your top performers using an employee assessment tool in order to create a benchmark profile against which candidate assessment results will be compared.

Avoid comparing candidates to a past or current low performer. If you think you will have success by hiring the opposite of a low performer, you are not necessarily hiring for success. What you may end up doing is just hiring the opposite behavioral traits and not necessarily someone who can excel in the position.

Focused Networking

Building a network must involve–you guessed it–networking. Forget about recruiter networking groups. After all, you aren’t hiring recruiters. Identify networking groups that are associated with your target market. As you attend events, you will get to know who the leaders are in your particular industry and with whom you need to associate.

When networking with these individuals they will definitely know who the top performers are. As you build these relationships, they will be more willing to identify these individuals for you and even direct them your way. This is one of the best ways to narrow down a candidate pool to only top performers.

Have a Value Proposition

Awareness of your competition and what they are doing to attract and retain employees is critical. You must be prepared to either match what they are doing or figure out a way to differentiate your organization from an employment brand standpoint. What is your value proposition? Why would employees want to come work with you?

Know Your Market

To be a good recruiter, you need to have your thumb on the pulse of the labor market. Doing so will ensure you target the right individuals and conduct searches in the right places. This will also help you decide where best to post job ads that will attract the candidates you are seeking. To streamline this process, search for external job boards by category in your hiring software. ExactHire’s HireCentric platform offers this feature, including the ability to easily post to these job boards from within the applicant tracking system (ATS). Focusing in the wrong areas will only attract the wrong candidates.

Lean on Referrals

The best for last. A heavy focus on referrals should be the goal of any great hiring strategy. There are two main reasons referrals need to be front and center in your focus. First, good employees will refer good people because they want to work with the best. Second, referrals typically have an instant fit and they already have a relationship with the person who is referring them. Top notch job seekers will be more willing to make a change for a friend than slug through the traditional hiring process without the benefit of any insider insight.

Want more ideas on how to attract and retain the best employees? Visit ExactHire’s resource page for more tips and techniques.


Photo Credit:  William Iven

5 Recruitment Tools That Give You the Advantage

The competition for talent requires organizations and their armies of recruiters to maintain a competitive advantage and a sharp edge when it comes to their recruiting and hiring practices. The modern day recruiter must be proactive, responsive, open-minded, and a little bit competitive. An applicant in your pipeline has also applied to other places so it’s imperative you’re on your game.

There are a number of things that can give an organization and its recruiters a competitive advantage in the gladiatorial arena of today’s hiring environment. Whether you face lack of applicants or lack of qualified applicants makes no difference. The fact is, the best applicants aren’t just dropping on your door-step.

An ace recruiter realizes that speed to hire without jeopardizing the process or quality is critical to winning the recruiting war. You have to be able to attract the best active job seekers to apply and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Likewise, as a recruiter, you need to be able to sort through those applicants efficiently and recognize the best fit quickly.

Fundamentals of an Advantageous Process

There are some basic considerations when establishing a process aimed at giving you the upper-hand in hiring active candidates. The combination of speed, information requirements, accessibility and recruiter decision making all come into play.

Reducing the complexity of applications is probably one of the most critical aspects of the process. Allowing for a “quick app” collecting the minimum information needed for you as a recruiter to make a “call / no-call” decision is about all you need initially. Making your application mobile friendly is a good first step in this process as it forces you to abbreviate the information you are requesting.

Many times an application process is bogged down with irrelevant and excessive information. This can be a turnoff for some candidates and they may leave the process. There’s nothing more frustrating for an applicant than spending a lot of time on a resume, uploading it to your ATS, only to find out you want them to fill out a digital application as well. Limit the information you need to collect from them to the essential information you need for a “call / no-call.” decision. You will get more applicants!

Mobile friendly application processes will place your opportunities in the hands of more people, literally. If they they can apply with a few taps of the screen and a little bit of initial information (e.g. via Indeed or LinkedIn), you are sure to gain the attention of more people. This also means you can’t purely rely on the artificial intelligence of most applicant tracking systems. AI features are great at flagging applicants, but a human decision is still required.

Gain a Competitive Advantage with These Five Functions

Be sure that the applicant tracking system you select provides for these five key functions, which when leveraged properly, will grant you an extreme competitive advantage.  A system like ExactHire’s HireCentric ATS will provide all these features and more giving you a robust platform with the functionality you need to compete in the recruiting space.

User Interface

As mentioned earlier, the less painful you can make an application process the better. A mobile application is a must and an abbreviated process is critical. You don’t want to lose applicants before they’ve even completed the application. Take a hard look at your ATS of choice. Is it just an infinite amount of text fields requiring manual data entry?

A fast application should provide for the critical information necessary for you to make a “call / no-call” decision. This may include name, phone number, email, current position and brief summary, and any “knock-out” questions you may have. Caveat – make sure knock-out questions are actually relevant and matter.

Social Recruiting

It goes without saying that integration with social media sites is a must for every recruiter. A modern and effective ATS needs to interact and leverage social media. You should be able to push jobs to and share jobs on social media sites. As well as allow current employees to do the same. This allows a more active approach to recruiting rather than relying on the “post-and-pray” method.

Applicant Management

Your applicant tracking system is the heart and sole of your hiring process. If you’re fortunate enough to get high double-digit or even triple-digit applicant counts, you will need an efficient method for keeping them organized.  Top line features allow for the integration of applicant assessments and questionnaires. Your information gathering process should rely on who the applicant is and what they are capable of more so than a labored list of previous jobs, duties and functions. Assessments and questionnaires will provide you with an interactive look at who you’re considering for employment.

Paperless Onboarding

The hiring process doesn’t stop once an offer is made. Your onboarding process is the first impression your new employee will receive from your company. Remember, they have nothing invested yet, so a bad first impression could be the difference between a fully accepted offer and a rejected offer. Allowing for e-forms, digital signatures, video tutorials, etc.; will set you apart from the labored and antiquated new hire paperwork.

Analytics and Sourcing

What good is an ATS without the ability to leverage and mine the data that exists? Continuously improving on your process is sure to improve your speed to hire and attract more of the right applicants. Basic information such as time-to-hire, workflow, interviews, hiring yields among others, should be expected. Advanced information that gives you the ability to more precisely target your most successful applicants is what makes a significant difference.


The application process is the first impression an applicant gets of your company. Make it a good one. If you keep these fundamentals in mind and choose an applicant tracking system with some key competitive features, you will surely be on your way for winning the war on applicants. Remember, in today’s labor market, you typically need them more than they need you!


Want an advantage? Contact ExactHire to learn how our Applicant Tracking System can give you the edge you need.


Photo Credit: trainer24

Turnover High? Go Paperless With Your HR.

You know all that paperwork you have your new hires fill out? You know all those forms you have to keep updated and accessible in a shared drive or file somewhere? You know all that communication you have to do with managers when forms change, are added or deleted? Yeah..all that stuff. Not only is it a pain in the butt (especially if you’re in a high turnover industry), but most of it is not needed.  Want to go paperless with your HR–read on.

HR departments are notorious for collecting oodles of information that they don’t need and will never use. They sit in personnel files as documentation in the event of an audit. Managers rarely reference them and HR puts all the information into some sort of database anyways.

Simplify your life, the life of your HR department and the lives of your employees. If you are in a high turnover industry, you especially need to streamline this process. High turnover industries typically see turnover in the first two weeks to 90 days. Just think of all that paperwork you have to manage for someone that may only stick around for a few weeks–and if you’re lucky a few months.

Today’s typical hiring and employee onboarding processes can be challenging for employers. New hires and HR professionals often spend valuable hours completing forms and various tasks. These hours come with a dollar figure. On top of that figure is the expense of paper and ink, which for just a single new hire is staggering.

Luckily there are some steps you can take to reduce the HR workload and paperwork requirements. Warning…the information below should not be taken as legal advice. HR managers should always check with legal counsel before making any substantial changes to policies and practices. Employers with government contracts should take extra precautions to ensure they are compliant with their obligations.

Where to Start

Cut back to just the basics.  For most employers there are only three forms that you actually need filled out. A federal W4 form (and the corresponding state form) for tax purposes, the I-9 form for work authorization, and the voluntary EEO information (assuming you employ 100 or more employees). Really all three of these forms will have all the information you need to pay, contact and authorize the employee to work.  If you’re not sure what this is, the form is pretty self-explanatory and you can check it out for yourself. You can populate whatever database you have with the information on these forms. However, this still includes filling out forms and collecting them.

For a small investment you can collect and manage this information and more electronically. When considering a year’s worth of new hires, many businesses are hemorrhaging money through the inefficient use of materials and time. Until recently, this has been the cost of doing business. But today’s paperless HR solutions offer better alternatives. Luckily ATS software, employee onboarding software and HRIS systems are readily available for all budgets and sizes.  Cost can typically be justified by eliminating a clerical HR position since you won’t have to take information from one source and input it into another.

There are some considerations you want to make in selecting a paperless HR solution. Since your goal is to eliminate transactional duties, you’ll want to select a system that will actually do this. ExactHire’s paperless onboarding system does exactly this.

Consider Integrated Solutions

When evaluating integrated HR software solutions you want to make sure they will actually reduce your transactional tasks. A solution that allows information to flow from an applicant tracking system, to an electronic onboarding process, and possibly even to an HRIS may be the best fit for some organizations. Some systems will even feed information electronically to benefits providers and state agencies further reducing transactional duties. Consider whether your organization will have other integration needs, as well, such as e-Verify during the onboarding process.

When you’re hiring lots of employees in a high turnover environment, you need the ability to onboard them fast and collect the information you need. You also need a compliant solution to offboard them quickly and effectively.

Look for Employee Self-Service Features

A strong self-service function within an HRIS will allow employees to make changes to information such as contact information, payroll information, benefits elections for qualifying events and other administrative functions. All these transactions will be queued for an HR associate to verify before processing.  Don’t confuse this with paperwork! You still want a trained eye to audit for errors and compliance. You never want employees to directly change information in systems without someone else taking a look at it.

The user experience or interface should be intuitive, easy and effective. These are administrative tasks employees don’t want to bother with either so the better the interface the better the results will be. Allow them to access their information electronically and print if needed. Eliminate the burden of requests for pay stubs, benefits summaries and other common documents that employees typically request and need access to right away.  If you can find a solution with a mobile interface, even better.

Documentation and Reporting

You won’t be eliminating paperwork if you have to print everything and file it. Select an employee onboarding solution that allows for electronically signed documents, storage of those documents and easy recovery of those documents–you’ll want to be able to print them in the event of litigation or a regulatory audit.  Most integrated systems will allow you to generate correctly formatted reports for things such as EEO-1 reports and other regulatory requirements. Be sure to select a system workflow that will meet your common and ad-hoc reporting needs.

Benefits of Paperless HR in High Turnover Situations

In high turnover industries an employee may actually quit before you are able to process all the paperwork. With a paperless process you can carry information from workflow stage to workflow stage. By the time the employee starts you will have most of the information you need to pay them, file taxes, report them to your state as a new employee and get them a W-2 at the end of the year. This is information you don’t want to be tracking down or chasing on forms once an employee has left the company.


Want to go paperless? Contact ExactHire to learn how our paperless HR solutions can help.


Photo Credit:  cocoparisienne

4 Ideas For Your Mobile Recruiting Mix

Mastering the art of social media utilization isn’t the only key to implementing an enviable mobile recruiting strategy. Factors such as external job boards, search engines, jobs page design and other communication channels can’t be ignored either. In order to thrive in what might be called the “mobile recruiting wild,” these elements must be addressed. In this post, I’ll present a survival guide for successfully incorporating additional external resources into your mobile recruiting strategy.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

#1 – Your Resources

When it comes to utilizing tools other than social media in your mobile recruiting toolkit, you need to consider the mechanism(s) by which your job listings are publicized, as well as how your own job portal may impact your use of third party resources.

Posting Opportunities to External Job Boards

Time is an ultra-valuable commodity today. Job seekers, especially mobile users, quickly disengage from employer sites and job boards that don’t make it easy to navigate opportunities and submit employment applications. Likewise, busy HR administrators and recruiters don’t want to use hiring tools that make pushing jobs to external job boards time-consuming and tiresome.

To expedite the process for employers, some job boards offer a pared down version of screening questions and therefore a means for candidates to “apply” to an organization’s positions right on the job board, itself. However, with this job-board hosted application approach HR professionals may feel restricted in their ability to customize their employment application experience to the extent they wish. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential if an employer only wishes to gather basic information at an early point in the screening process.

For employers that have more robust application needs and/or wish to push a position to a number of different external job boards, a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS) with a recruiting component may be a better solution. These types of solutions will allow you to build a job listing within the portal, and then easily push that listing to many different external job boards with minimal effort.

Moving to Mobile Responsive Web Design

Even though this chapter especially focuses on your relationship with external recruiting resources, don’t neglect the fact that your “owned” resources (i.e. your own corporate website and/or jobs portal) can impact the success of your external resource utilization. Specifically, if the pages on which you feature your organization’s job listings aren’t designed to be mobile responsive so that job seekers don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place with their fingers, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to reaping the benefits offered by third party hiring partners.

Job Boards Favor Responsive Design

Most major job boards already have mobile-friendly sites and/or smartphone applications that make it easy for job seekers to view positions advertised on their sites. If you choose to push your listing to any of these boards, then your listing will be visible to mobile job seekers, too. However, you may not realize that if your own careers page is not mobile responsive, then the listing position for your job on the external job boards may not be as favorable.

Mobile Recruiting | Indeed Apply | ExactHireFor example, many organizations elect to post their positions to; however, if the Indeed listing redirects job seekers to a careers page description on your own site that Indeed detects as not mobile responsive, then your listing will probably appear low in Indeed’s job listing search results compared to employers with responsive web design. As a result, your job listings will likely be noticed by fewer job seekers on Indeed. Additionally, when it is seen by job seekers it won’t be marked with the notable orange text “Apply from your phone” that serves as a signal to job seekers that it will be relatively painless to apply for the position. To get the coveted orange text on your job listings, you’ll need to either post your jobs directly on Indeed or use an applicant tracking system that is integrated with Indeed Apply.

Search Engines Reward Mobile Responsive Design

In April of 2015, the biggest search engine player, Google, officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, there are definitely individuals who prefer to begin a job seeking quest with a query on a search engine such as Google. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, know that the chances of your job listings page and specific job description pages appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when your recruiting software is designed for the mobile user…so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device on which it is used.

RWD Benefits UX

While this nod to mobile dominance by Google certainly warrants the redesign of a static desktop careers page, be sure and consider the applicant user experience (UX) when executing the site rebrand with responsive web design (RWD) principles. Images and text should be spaced appropriately when viewing the site from a smartphone, tablet and laptop/desktop; but, the mobile devices should also feature a menu icon with collapsed links that mirror the navigation experience from a desktop.

An enhanced user experience will mean it’s easy for job seekers to navigate to different pages of the jobs portal, submit a complete employment application, share the opportunity on social media and/or subscribe to future job alerts via email and/or text message.

Mobile Recruiting | Responsive Web Design

#2 – Your Strategy

The overall talent acquisition strategy your organization chooses to use will obviously influence the methods you employ in your mobile recruiting efforts. Your approach to connecting with candidates, as well as the budget available for recruitment spending are critical factors for consideration.

Push vs. Pull Candidate Connections

Which scenario best describes the approach you take when it comes to sourcing talent for your entire organization: push or pull? Does your answer change if you ask the same question for specific job categories within your business?

The Job-Centric Push

A common approach among corporate talent acquisition specialists is to focus on open job requisitions that need to be filled immediately. This job-centric activity involves pushing details about specific job listings to the job seeker community. The intent is often just-in-time-focused and can be aided by recruiting tools such as

  • automatic job alert push notifications,
  • responsive web design to aid job description discovery by job seekers via search engine results,
  • and the ability to pool candidates for future database search since they won’t always be hired for the initial position to which they apply.

The Headhunting Pull

Prevalent in the agency recruiting space, when recruiters proactively seek out talented candidates but not necessarily for a specific position, they are in “pull” mode. Organizations utilizing this approach will make the most of tools such as

  • third party job boards with apps allowing resume database searches;
  • social media networks that allow frequent connections with unknown contacts (for example, LinkedIn Recruiter);
  • and, staffing agency-focused recruiting software platforms that make it easy to pull or “inhale” resumes and general applications into the platform.

Recruitment Budget

There’s no shortage of places for human resource professionals to spend money on advertising job postings. What works for one employer may fail miserably for another company. Here are some quick suggestions on how to prioritize your recruitment budget spending based on the needs and reputation of your organization.

Site Design First

If your job description web pages aren’t already mobile responsive, then spend money on a site redesign first. Or, if you use an applicant tracking system to manage your job listings, then work with an ATS partner that has a software platform already built using responsive web design.

Optimize Job Descriptions for Organic Search

While re-writing your job descriptions and job titles to be keyword-relevant may not result in a hard cost, it will take your HR staff time…and time is money. However, if your recruiting budget is restrictive or virtually non-existent, then attention paid to job description elements such as job titles, description headers, meta descriptions and interactive content will put you in a better position for organic (i.e. unpaid or unsponsored) search success.

Better Job Description Clickthrough | ExactHireFor ideas on optimizing your job descriptions for search, see 5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Traditionally, many recruiting budgets have had a significant portion of dollars allocated to paying external job boards to feature specific job listings. While employers will surely continue to take advantage of external job board listings on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice; and, sponsored jobs on otherwise “free” job board aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired, other paid options are available.

Small- to mid-sized employers who have not ventured beyond traditional job boards yet may also consider sponsored social messaging, or paid search and display ads through behavioral ad networks such as Google AdWords. For example, if you discover that you have a large number of applicants viewing a specific job listing but then failing to apply for it, that job description page could be a good option for a display remarketing ad. With this approach, the job seekers who visited your page would then see text and/or display ads redirecting them back to your job description page as they view other websites that are a part of the Google Display Network.

#3 – Your Compromises

As your organization adjusts to a mobile-first mentality, it won’t come without compromise. However, considering some of the potential changes before they are in your lap will better prepare you to realign your expectations for what effective recruiting looks like with mobile technology as a driving force.

Employment Application Brevity

If your applicant tracking system utilizes integrations such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn, then you’ll find that applications from those sources may have less robust information because the candidate hasn’t customized all of his information especially for your application. Additionally, even with a mobile-optimized employment application, mobile users are less likely to spend as much time typing answers to your screening-focused essay questions than they would on a desktop or laptop.

Compliance Reporting Conflict

If your business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, than be sure and understand how your mobile implementation plans could affect your ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. For example, you should double check whether the mobile integrations you use will allow you to offer applicants the ability to self-identify veteran and disability information per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an application is marked complete.

Candidate Communication Preferences

We live in a society of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. By making the job search and application process a better, faster experience for mobile users, you can expect to improve the time to fill metric for your organization. However, be prepared to field inquiries from job applicants about the status of their application earlier in the process and perhaps more frequently, too. Look for hiring software that allows you to easily and quickly communicate candidate status to individuals — either via email templates with personalization strings or an automatic external status that displays to candidates once they login to an application profile.

#4 – Your Compass

Any Discovery Channel survival show worth its salt teaches you that to survive in the wild you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’ve been and then find the path with the best chance of leading you in the right direction. Likewise, to improve the outcome of your mobile recruiting activities, you need to evaluate progress and then forge ahead with the tactics that yield the best results.

Spend some time setting up a spreadsheet or reporting interface that allows you to easily monitor the impact of your mobile-minded improvements on your recruiting process. If you use an applicant tracking system, this may already be available to you. Build upon overall recruiting key performance indicators (that you hopefully already have in place) by looking at the ratio of mobile applicants to mobile job site visitors compared to the same ratio for non-mobile users, as a start. Dig deep in your hiring analytics to look for irregularities, unexpected changes and notable trends. Then take action to improve your activities as a result of your insights.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

Image credit: iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 Side by Side by William Hook (contact)

How to Use Google Analytics to Measure Mobile Recruiting

This isn’t a beginner’s guide to understanding analytics; however, even if you are new to recruitment analytics I encourage you to read this post for its tips for using Google Analytics to measure mobile recruiting activity. Then, find your favorite marketing department buddy and plan to explore Google Analytics with his or her assistance.

Why Should You Track Recruitment Site Activity?

An analytics platform is essential to the modern recruiter because it can inform your decision-making process, give you justification for new recruitment expenditures and unearth trends that will compel you to create new action items for your organization’s talent acquisition efforts.

If you’re already using a mobile-optimized applicant tracking system, you may very well already have access to a robust analytics dashboard that allows you to evaluate the behavior and source of your job portal visitors. If you don’t use an ATS, Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful and free alternate resource.

Even with access to a recruiting software platform with in-application measurement dashboards, it still makes sense to use Google Analytics as a complementary analysis tool.

Prerequisites for Mobile Recruiting Analysis

Before you can reap the data rewards offered by Google Analytics, you (or your marketing team) needs to do some quick groundwork to connect your careers website to a Google Analytics account with a unique tracking ID. If you do work with an applicant tracking software provider, ask its support team to install the tracking ID in your ATS portal so you have a secondary analytics option that complements your recruiting software’s dashboard reporting.

Once your Google Analytics account begins to track data, know that the information you glean will become more insightful as time passes. A quarter or a year of tracking information is more telling than a week of data.

Initial Questions for Mobile Recruitment Metrics

Google Analytics can be a virtual playground for the analytically-inclined. There are myriad ways to splice and dice data, but it isn’t going to be productive for you or your organization’s mobile recruiting efforts unless you look at metrics that matter and customize them to your needs. However, you must begin somewhere.

Consider “big picture” questions about your mobile recruiting activities and then use Google Analytics to create custom reports and dashboards that answer those questions in a way that suits your unique circumstances.

  • What type of technology are visitors using?
  • Where do visitors originate?
  • What actions do visitors take while they browse the jobs portal?

Customize Data Elements for Additional Insight

It’s time to drill down to what matters most for your talent acquisition efforts. In this section, we’ll explore ways to answer the above questions using different tools within Google Analytics. As you and your team customize reports, you can use the answers gleaned to carve out which mobile job seeker “personas” matter most. Then, put action steps in place to compel more visitors with those preferred personas to convert on job opportunities.


Primary Question:
What is the breakdown of site visitors by device type?

You don’t know anything about your mobile recruiting analytics until you know what percentage of your career site visitors arrive via desktop, tablet and mobile device. The answer to this question is the foundation for so many more decisions related to how you structure not just a mobile recruiting strategy, but an overall recruiting strategy. For smaller organizations, the general category percentages across all site visitors may be sufficient. In larger companies, it may make sense to evaluate this breakdown separately across each job category for additional insight. This latter approach will be applicable for further discussions in this post as well.

Mobile Recruiting Analytics Overview | ExactHire


Primary Question:
Which channels provide the most mobile traffic to the jobs portal?

Out of the box, Google Analytics provides a number of helpful reports that can serve as starting points for your data exploration. However, as previously mentioned, its power comes from customizing for your own scenarios. For instance, by applying a secondary dimension to the Channels report in Google Analytics’ Acquisition dashboard, you can quickly separate channel traffic by device category. Take it a step further by adding an advanced filter to look at channel traffic for one specific category such as mobile.

Mobile Recruiting Site Traffic Organic

Then, edit the filter to look at desktop by itself, too.

Desktop Recruiting Site Traffic Organic

Look for notable differences and start to ask why they exist. In the previous image, one possible hypothesis for desktop users being more likely to arrive via organic search compared to mobile users could be due to the jobs portal not being built with responsive web design principles. As a result, jobs portal pages wouldn’t necessarily appear as prominently in mobile search results than if the site was mobile-friendly.

However, you can’t rely on siloed statistics, so you must look at all angles to make informed decisions. For example, in some sites, the social channel may be a bigger piece of the pie for mobile users relative to organic search because so many people access social sites from their mobile devices more frequently than from computers.

For further insight, click on one of the channel groupings, such as social, for more detail about which sites in that category provide traffic to your jobs page.

Social Network Mobile Recruiting Analytics


Primary Question:
Compared to desktop users, how many mobile users start employment applications? How many finish them?

Bring additional, essential context to the aforementioned metrics by examining them from a conversion standpoint. After all, improving the number of mobile users to your jobs portal across various channel categories is useless if those users don’t submit employment applications while they visit. Although you should compare the number of initiated employment applications to the number of completed applications over a given time period across all user categories, keep in mind that some people who completed during that time period may have started applications before the beginning of that reporting period. Nevertheless, you can still monitor percentage gaps over time for insight.

Compare this mobile user application start-to-finish ratio to that of desktop and tablet users. By doing so, it will become clear whether you may have an application problem in general; or, a mobile application problem, specifically. To put it simply, is your application too long for everyone because you ask twenty essay questions; or, do only mobile users abandon the funnel because they have cramps from finger zooming to see itty-bitty application drop-down boxes? (Assuming your site is not yet…you guessed it…mobile responsive!)

Tips for Increasing Mobile User Application Conversions

  • Enable auto-populated candidate data from external profiles like LinkedIn and Indeed.
  • Make sure text is legible and images are spaced appropriately without finger manipulation.
  • Add a progress bar to your mobile application showing percentage of completion.
  • Re-engage users who create a profile but abandon the application by sending them email invitations to finish the process.

Additionally, Google Analytics conversion reporting can help you identify opportunities to capitalize on emergent strengths and/or shore up apparent weaknesses.

Social Email Mobile Recruitment Analytics

The previous image might lead a recruiting professional to the following opportunities:

  • Even though the email channel makes up a tiny percentage of mobile site traffic, it’s the most successful category for converting applications. Therefore, a relatively small amount of money and time may be well spent on developing additional email campaigns to engage job seekers in an organization’s passive applicant pool. If your applicant tracking system offers automated job alert emails, this could be a pivotal feature in this scenario.
  • The social channel grouping is relatively poor at converting applications even though it brings more site visitors than organic search traffic. It’s abundantly clear that social media isn’t going away as a tool for recruiters, so this organization could re-evaluate the content it’s posting on social channels to include more calls to action that result in application conversion. Example: If your online employment application is mobile-optimized, share occasional posts about how easy it is for users to apply for jobs from their smartphone with a link to the portal.

Your marketing team can help set up goal conversions in Google Analytics based on a destination URL address or portion of a URL address (e.g., a user landing on your application “thank you” page is counted as a conversion).


Primary Question:
What are notable differences between desktop users and mobile users?

Once you feel more comfortable navigating reports related to visitors, channels and conversions in Google Analytics (perhaps with additional coaching from your marketing “bestie”), start experimenting with segments in Google Analytics. Adding segments to reports allows you to easily compare different cross-sections of users relative to specific dimensions and metrics in a single screen. Segments can help you quickly identify differences between desktop and mobile users, U.S.-based vs. international users, or new vs. returning users, for example.

Audience Overview Segments Mobile Analytics

Google Analytics Mobile Recruitment Resource

As you can see, in order to reap the benefits of this robust analysis tool it’s important to clarify your end objectives and specify the type of information that will help you make actionable decisions for your recruiting activities. Start with the basics and then customize your view using filters, additional dimensions and segments.

Want to get a jump start on analyzing your talent acquisition metrics for mobile site visitors? We’ve put together a dashboard complete with recruiting-relevant report templates you can use as a foundation for your own mobile recruitment dashboard customization. Download our free resource and get instant access to the following data points just to name a few:

  • conversion rate, bounce rate and average session length by device category;
  • session and conversion info segmented by channel across different device categories;
  • and, conversion rate by social network across different device categories.

Mobile Recruitment Analytics Dashboard | ExactHire
Image credit: iPhone by Gonzalo Baeza (contact)

Payroll Service Bureaus – Are Clients a Flight Risk? [Infographic]

Payroll service outsourcing is nothing new regardless of whether you look at large employers, or organizations that fall within the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) space. However, advances in other human resources-related technologies in recent years have, for the first time, enabled increasing numbers of smaller businesses to automate administrative tasks related to recruiting, employee onboarding, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), background checking and reference checking. And, to do so for a reasonable price.

This presents a challenge to independent payroll providers because larger, national payroll organizations are packaging these additional HR services into a single solution and luring existing clients and prospects away from regionally-focused, independent payroll service bureaus. Want to identify the warning signs that suggest your clients may seek payroll services elsewhere? Check out the infographic below and learn how to spot the red flags that your customers may be a flight risk.

(Click here to enlarge)


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HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

Does HR Tech Dehumanize HR?

Technology distorts and weakens vital human interactions that are essential to the development of healthy, productive relationships.

Living in scholarly articles and strewn across the internet, there are endless theories and opinions on the profound impact that rapidly advancing technology is having on our society. Mixed with these viewpoints–and perhaps coloring them with shades of the apocalypse–is a very real fear; it is the fear that with the gains of technology, we are losing parts of our humanity.

Humans as Resources

The term “Human Resources” was coined in the late 19th Century– at the beginning of the Second Industrial Revolution. Then, it simply referred to the concept of humans as capital assets, or worse, commodities. It was not until the latter half of the 20th Century in the United States, with the founding of what would become the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), that the modern understanding of Human Resources began to evolve.

Today, Human Resources Management has grown from a profession primarily handling payroll and benefits, to one that manages the entire employee life cycle, succession planning, compliance, and labor relations–to name just a few functions. But as the scope of Human Resources Management has grown, so too has the time and work required to execute these functions. This fact has led organizations to do one of two things: hire additional, specialized HR professionals for the myriad functions; or rely on a few highly trained individuals to manage it all.

For many small- to medium-sized businesses, hiring additional HR professionals is not an option, so these organizations must rely on the talents and efforts of a few–or even just one. But how can an “HR Department of One” perform at a level of efficiency that matches an “HR Department of Many”?

Dehumanize HR

Dehumanize HR. Yes, a highly controversial answer when taken out of context; however, when an organization’s ultimate goals are considered, it becomes very clear that much of Human Resources Management is not about managing humans, it’s about managing processes. And a process managed by technology, rather than an HR professional, creates the time and opportunity for people to meaningfully interact–the net result being an experience that is more human, not less.

Over the past decade, our society–our world–has grown increasingly connected with rapid advances in technology. The Digital Age has brought efficiencies to almost every part of our lives, many that would have been unfathomable to those living in the mid-20th Century. So why could there be hesitancy to adopt technology to create efficiencies in Human Resources Management?

Fear: HR Software Is a Threat

HR technology as a threat

Some HR professionals fear that by incorporating technology into their departments, they will be eliminating the need for HR staff.  The thought is that if technology can automate so much, then why will we need a person to do it manually? This could lead to a fear of having to fire good people, not to mention the fear of losing one’s own position.

Reality: Technology is a tool to be used.

At least for the time being, much of the technology used in HR today still requires intelligent, experienced humans behind it. So the real danger for HR professionals is in failing to adopt and learn new technologies. The technology won’t replace you, but other humans who know how to use the technology will.

Fear: HR Technology Is a Liability

Is HR software a liability?

Transitioning from “do it yourself” to “login, click, and voila!” can be nerve-racking initially. There‘s the uneasiness of it being too easy–what once took hours to complete can now be accomplished in minutes. And so suspicion and doubt may arise as to whether the personal information is safe, documentation is adequate, and compliance reporting requirements can be met.

Reality: Technology can increase security and accuracy.

Although it may be natural to believe more in what we can see than in what we cannot see, technology has advantages: it does not forget, it does not misunderstand, it does not misfile. Great HR software is developed by a team that knows the HR industry and the compliance complexities that it entails. The best solutions will be backed by a customer support team that stays abreast of changes and ensures that the software is continually updated to meet a client’s compliance and reporting requirements.

Fear: Automating HR with Technology Is Just Wrong

HR software is wrong

For some, any change that radically alters their way of doing things will simply be labeled as wrong. End of story. This fear is held with the valid belief that not all things “new” add value. By refusing to consider new technology, these individuals can continue to think and perform within their safe zone, while feeling more in control.

Reality: Automation provides professional growth opportunities.

Let’s not get emotional. Yes, there is the aforementioned uneasiness of doing something new when we’ve done something one way for a long time. But, we must not confuse “change for the sake of change” with growth. It should be every professional’s goal to continually improve and grow in what they do. This can be done through learning new concepts, implementing new ideas, or finding and using new tools. Not all concepts, ideas, and tools will add value, but refusing to explore the possibilities inhibits your growth as a professional.

These are just a few fears that some HR professionals may have when they consider adopting HR technology for their organizations. The common thread among them is that the fears are unfounded when considering quality HR technology. Sure, there is junkware out there that may validate these fears, but organizations that carefully research options will find a number of solutions that meet their needs and empower their HR staff to focus on people, rather than process.

Independent Payroll Providers Under Attack!

Payroll providers are under attack! Across the nation, over 240 independent payroll providers are under attack by “mega payroll providers.” Their mode of attack? They offer a slew of low-cost or “no-cost” add ons to their core services in a bid to persuade small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to contract with them. Seems benign enough, but the problem is that many of these add-ons are poor imitators of quality HR tech. They might be compared to the equivalent of kids’ cheap party favors…the ones that are “thrown in” when you schedule your five-year-old’s birthday party at the pricey bounce house playground.

Some of these mega payroll providers are starting to appear like late-night infomercials… “But wait there’s more! Order now and get FREE software for hiring, onboarding, performance management, PLUS a robot to fire your bad hires!” It would be comical if it was harmless, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Because just like those infomercials, there are times when the HR add-on features and benefits touted by the mega providers are too good to be true. The result is that businesses get a pretty good payroll provider with subpar HR software that may be clunky, limited, and resting on the dull edge of technology. This hurts the health and growth of an SMB, which begs the question: are these SMBs really, in fact, getting a good payroll provider?

Finding True Value

The reason a business partners with any vendor is to free itself from work in which it does not specialize. Efficiency is gained by contracting the work out to a vendor, and the service received is of higher value than the dollars invested–a positive ROI. This arrangement allows the business to focus on its core competencies and reach its objectives more efficiently. However, this only works when the vendor provides value via a superior product backed by responsive customer service. Quite frankly, when SMBs go with a mega payroll provider they may be setting themselves up to lose on both fronts.

Many of our clients’ previous experiences with mega payroll providers were characterized by slow, poor customer service when it came to supporting ancillary HR software products. And the less robust add-on products that those providers hawk can sometimes cause more problems and inefficiencies than they solve. So while an enterprise-level payroll provider might provide some benefits and value through its core offerings, many SMBs will find themselves frustrated and nowhere near nirvana with the big provider “single sign-on” platforms.

But there are other victims too. Reputable independent payroll providers with effective solutions and responsive customer service, but without the resources of a mega provider, are being pushed out of the market. They may feel compelled to internally develop solutions that fall outside of their core focus and that threaten profitability. To say it simply, smaller providers are being forced to be something they’re not, in order to give clients something they ultimately won’t want (imitation HR tech). So what is an independent (non-mega) payroll provider to do?

Partner Up

Of course mega payroll providers are not evil. They are simply leveraging their market position and resources to create more perceived value for prospective customers–nothing new here. The problem is that they are failing to deliver enough value to the smaller and mid-sized clients that they steal from independent payroll service bureaus. So if smaller providers are to stand a chance at competing with mega providers, they will have to find a way to offer leading-edge HR technology, while also protecting profitability and providing real value. The best way to do this is to partner with “best-of-breed” HR tech vendors.

The world of HR tech has exploded in recent years. There are SaaS solutions for nearly every HR task and process you can imagine. However, not all tech vendors are created equal. When partnering with a hiring technology vendor, you’ll want to ensure that the following is true of the vendor:

  • It provides product support and customer advocacy.
  • It is committed to product improvement and enhancement.
  • It provides sales support via print and/or digital marketing content.
  • It prices products competitively, protecting your profit and customer value.

Each of these areas must be thoroughly vetted before making a decision on a vendor. A vendor that simply says “yes, we do that,” but cannot provide evidence to how effectively it can, in fact, “do that,” is not a vendor with which you want to partner. Remember, although you will resell another company’s product, your clients will associate it with your organization. If the vendor fails to impress you, it will in all likelihood fail to impress your clients, which reflects poorly on you and can damage your client relationships.

Plan Your Counter Attack

In today’s market, it is critical for independent payroll providers to partner with successful, client-centric HR tech vendors. Doing so provides value to clients and maintains profitability for the provider. But rushing to find a vendor and entering a partnership without planning or research can be disastrous.

Before launching a counterattack on mega payroll providers, take the time to plan your approach to an HR tech partnership. ExactHire has created a guide to help you do just that. In it, you will be walked through a series of questions to consider before you commit to a partnership or any type of reseller arrangement. Our hope is that this exercise will help you evaluate whether teaming up with an HR technology provider will potentially open doors for your organization in the marketplace.


ExactHire specializes in providing small- to medium-sized business with HR software, including solutions for applicant tracking, employee onboarding, automated reference checks, and assessments. Additionally, ExactHire partners with other SMB service providers to help maximize value for growing organizations.

HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

Feature Image Credit: Cross-Hairs by Paul Sableman (contact)