Can Recruiting Software Improve Efficiency for Small Companies?

Recruiting has many components to it. While all companies (large and small) will differ with their own specifics, there are some common things that are part of most everyone’s recruiting process:

  • establish your brand for potential applicants
  • consider different ways to attract applicants
  • nurture them if the time isn’t quite right for one party or the other
  • move them along in the process to avoid missing opportunities
  • keep track of what has been or needs to be done with these applicants

Larger organizations have used technology to help with these items for 10-15 years, but only recently has it become feasible for smaller organizations to do the same. Good recruiting software (also referred to as Applicant Tracking Software or ATS) is now a cost-effective way for small companies to gain efficiency in these common recruiting tasks.

A good analogy is accounting software. Unlike 25 years ago, small companies today have access to very functional (and affordable) tools to automate the various aspects of their accounting. Today, the thought of handling these functions manually is almost laughable, given the technology available. In many cases, smaller organizations are finding the same to be true with recruiting. Below are some quick examples of how these types of tools help companies streamline the common aspects of recruiting:

  • Branding — great recruiting software will reinforce the existing web presence of an organization. This levels the playing field against larger competitors who have been doing this for years.
  • Attracting applicants — making potential candidates aware of openings is critical. Beyond traditional job boards, leading-edge recruiting software solutions are utilizing technology available to help leverage the social and business contacts of existing employees to drive more passive candidate traffic. These are the people who are potentially open to a change, but haven’t yet started actively seeking opportunities on job boards.
  • Nurturing candidates until the time is right — more progressive ATS offerings will allow an organization to “drip” on potential candidates with new openings and/or social media updates to keep them engaged. This keeps the organization more top of mind for that potential candidate.
  • Move them along in the process — knowing which applicants have applied, where they are in the process, and the next steps to be taken are keys to successful recruiting. This keeps good applicants more engaged and helps to avoid losing them to other opportunities. This is one of the core functions of a good applicant tracking system.
  • Keep track of what has been done — this is important to any organization, as documentation can be invaluable for situations where discrimination or unlawful hiring practices are alleged. For organizations that are required to comply with Affirmative Action regulations, the right software application is imperative.


Using this type of technology can certainly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruiting process for an organization. To learn more about ExactHire and our solutions, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Internet Open by Blaise Alleyne (contact)

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What You Should Know About Job Aggregators and Direct Job Links

Job Aggregators Direct Job LinkIf you happen to recruit for a company that budgets enough money to spend on paid job board advertising, then you’re no stranger to the potential challenge of selecting the job posting sites that are most likely to offer you an intriguing return on investment (ROI). However, in this era of “Big Data,” a decision that used to be closer to a crap shoot is now a more palatable exercise in reviewing site analytics available in your applicant tracking system (ATS).

Now, more than ever, it is simple to run reports that generate data detailing which of your ad sources are referring the most site traffic to your careers portal; and, which sources are resulting in conversions such as completed employment applications. However, you should be aware of factors that may influence your tracking data; specifically, how job aggregators and the use of direct job links can impact your analytics.

What Are Job Aggregators?

Also called job search engines, job aggregators such as and seek to “aggregate” job listing content from as many different (typically electronic) sources as possible. And, with the exception of job listings that your organization may sponsor on these sites, the organic (or unpaid) job listings that are revealed to job seekers who do keyword searches on them are generally compiled because those jobs are originally hosted or featured on another job board.

One of the ways in which aggregators collect job description information is to utilize spider applications that crawl the internet looking for job posting sites so that the content from these sites may be indexed on the aggregator, typically in summary format, and then linked to the original posting site. In this manner, jobs that individuals first encounter on Indeed or, for example, might have landed there because they were “scraped” from a paid site such as or

Job Board Scraping Considerations

Job board scraping isn’t new, and some aggregators will even offer to regularly go to the jobs page of your careers portal and scrape all of your active job openings. While this approach requires little to no involvement on the part of the recruiter or employer, it does mean that you don’t really have a say in which specific content from your job descriptions is featured in the search results on the job search engine, either.

The other impact of scraping is that it can sometimes skew the information you are using to determine which job boards are giving you the most bang for your buck (or time). You may have even had this conversation with your account representative for a major paid board, already. It goes something like this…if a job seeker sees your listing pop up in search results on Indeed, and then decides to go to your corporate website to do some research before applying…he/she might never go back to Indeed to follow the apply link which perhaps originated on a Monster or CareerBuilder ad, for example. Instead, having deemed your organization worthy of his/her potential interest, he/she just decides to go to the jobs page on your site and apply directly within the portal. The crux? When asked on the application how he/she heard about the job listing…the answer might be Indeed (even though Indeed wouldn’t have featured the listing without CareerBuilder first posting it).

So how do you make sure you are getting to the bottom of how applicants hear about your jobs? Since applicants don’t always remember (or even truly know) where they see your job opening for the first time, then it is ever more critical to rely on the quantitative data available to you in the reporting and analytical area of your hiring software–rather than applicant answers.

Big Data & Tracking Referrals With Unique Source IDs

Instead of relying on job aggregators to scrape the open positions from your corporate employment page, you can proactively dictate which job-related content is shared with job aggregators by utilizing an XML (eXtensible markup language) feed that controls which fields of data are pushed externally. Applicant tracking software can provide you with this type of resource so that you may automatically push all of your job listings to external job aggregators. This saves human resource professionals time that would have been otherwise occupied by manually postings jobs (that have already been posted once to a company careers portal) to a host of other third-party boards.

While this resource is a great time-saver, its not always completely safe from “scrape skewing”; though, it is certainly much better than relying on source information that is manually entered by applicants during the application process as long as you look at a report that shows the full referring URL for each applicant. This referring URL field can be included in a report using HireCentric’s report building tool. Since accurate reporting derives from unique URLs being used for each ad source for each job listing, the only way to ensure 100% accuracy in source reporting is by using direct job links.

When Should I Use a Direct Job Link?

Also known as a job permalink, direct job links allow an organization to proactively track traffic generated by a specific referral source for each individual job listing. As mentioned earlier, if your paid job board account rep. is concerned about his/her organization possibly not getting credit for all the traffic his/her specific paid board is generating for your organization (undoubtedly due to concerns related to your positions being scraped off the job board by an aggregator), then utilizing permalinks can further uncover the truth in tracking.

The URL address generated for a direct job link will include an ID number that matches up with the ID number associated for a specific job referral source within your applicant tracking system. An especially practical use for the permalink might be when you wish to advertise your new job openings via distribution channels such as social media and email. To track the effectiveness of an email campaign to previous applicants, for example, you might designate “Email” as a source within your ATS, note the ID generated for that source, and then use the direct job link feature to create a unique URL referencing that source ID that will be used within the email messaging.
Generate direct job link | HireCentric
The result? Email recipients who click on the job link within a message will automatically be recognized and tagged with the “Email” source ID within the ATS. And by running a report within your hiring software application, it will quickly become evident whether enough traffic and eventual applicants were generated as a result of the email campaign to justify assembling future email campaigns with the same structure/parameters.

So, while unprecedented transparency into your recruiting process ROI is now available to you, it’s still critical to understand how the metrics being presented are generated as that is key to bringing either clarity (or cloudiness – hopefully not!) to your decision making process when budgeting for future recruiting expenses.

Would you like more information on how to use data to analyze the success of your recruiting efforts? If so, please visit our resources section or contact ExactHire today.

Image credit: Fassade 2./ Façade 2. by Stefan W (contact)

Posting Jobs To Job Boards – How To Automate

Automate posting to job boardsI talk with groups frequently about the use of social media tools to help drive qualified candidates to their open positions. While I believe strongly in those efforts, the fact remains that job boards still account for a significant amount of applicant traffic for most organizations. Naturally, then, clients typically want to know where they should post jobs and how to keep track of them.

The first part of the question (where to post jobs) is a separate conversation unto itself. The second part of the question (how to keep track of which job boards are being used) is my focus here today. To break this down a bit, I see this in two phases:

  • To which job boards have certain positions been posted (and what is it costing)?
  • What is the payback from these ad sources (what kind of applicant traffic are they generating?)

The act of getting positions posted to job boards can be time-consuming. Once you’ve created your job description, you typically must visit each board, log in, paste in your description, provide the additional information needed as required by the individual board, and confirm that the formatting looks correct. This allows the position to be posted. Then, when the position has been filled or the posting time limit is reached, you usually must then revisit the various boards and take the listing down.

As to the payback of various boards, most organizations don’t have the time to really consider this at all. For most, the only way to track the listings and the expenses associated with each is in a spreadsheet or manual file. Even if a company is willing to log this, they are still faced with the issue of not knowing how many applicants are coming from each board. The only way to know is to ask those applicants, which leads to yet another column in a separate spreadsheet that logs all applicants and from where they came. I think you get the picture at this point — this is way too painful for most.

The exception to both of these instances is when an organization chooses to use an applicant tracking software solution. The right ATS should allow you to automate the posting of your open positions to most any job board, alleviating the need to visit the individual boards and complete all of the steps I mentioned above. In addition, using a software tool like this should allow applicants to share what board led them to your open position, including tracking the costs of each posting and the number of applicants coming from each board. Our HireCentric ATS even allows organizations to review analytics documenting traffic to an organization’s careers portal, including a list of referral sources (i.e. job boards in many cases).

While this may not be the sole reason an organization seeks out a recruiting software tool, it is one of the more consistent points on which we receive positive feedback. To learn more about ExactHire, please visit our resources section or contact us. 

Image credit: tackscape by Joelk75 (contact)

How Do I Calculate ROI For Applicant Tracking System?

There are several ways to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for an applicant tracking system (ATS). But to start, you need to first determine the cost of your hiring activities without an ATS.

Equation #1: Time Cost

Let’s say we have an HR Employee who handles hiring (I’ll call her Joy). Consider the number of hours that Joy works on hiring activities in a week (H) and multiply that number by her amount of pay per hour (P).

If H = 40 hrs.

and P = $20 per hour

Then, H x P =  $800 per week focused on hiring activities without an ATS

An applicant tracking system could easily reduce that employee’s work by 25% and cost as low as $30 per week (C). So let’s look at the ROI in that scenario:

If H = 30 hrs.

and P = $20 per hour

and C =  $30

Then, (H x P) + C =  $630 per week focused on hiring activities with an ATS..a savings of $170 per week or a 560% ROI.

Equation #2: Labor Needs

But what if Joy can only review 40 applications per day and your organization really needs to review 60 applications per day? If you want to get through 60 applications in a day without a backlog–and without investing in applicant tracking software, you’ll need to hire another person.

So if one employee (E) can review 40 applications per day (A) and you need 60 applications reviewed per day (N), let’s determine how many additional employees you’ll need.

If N = 60

and A = 40

Then, N ÷ A = 1.5 employees to review 60 applications per day.

Equations #3: Labor Cost

Now, let’s combine the results of both equations to find the time cost for this scenario where hiring is the solution to meeting capacity requirements.

(H x E) x P = $1200 per week focused on hiring.

Now we have a ball-park figure we can use to see if the cost of the ATS is equal to or less than the additional labor cost.

Reducing Labor Cost With Applicant Tracking Software

An ATS can review applications more quickly than a human through the use of automatic scoring and/or disqualification filters associated with answers given for application screening questions. With the aid of these filters, the applications can be sorted and the reviewing process can begin with those applicants that most closely align with what you are seeking for that given position.

This means that Joy in our example above should have no problem reviewing 60+ applications per day, saving the organization from hiring a part-time employee and saving $400 per week in labor costs…or $1600 per month. When you consider that the price of HireCentric ATS starts at $120 per month, that’s a big return on your investment!

ROI for Applicant Tracking System Analysis Factors

Beyond the time cost savings, let’s consider some of the other items to factor into your ROI analysis:

  • Focusing on just the more-qualified applicants (as determined by the screening questions mentioned above) usually leads to better hires, because recruiters and hiring managers are no longer buried by resumes. Better hires tend to ramp up faster, perform better and stay longer. This means a better bottom line for your organization.
  • Candidates no longer “slip through the cracks” — the better ones are more quickly identified and may be contacted quickly to avoid them going elsewhere.
  • You’re now building an actual candidate pool from which to draw later. This means fewer postings to paid job boards and dollars saved because of it.
  • Jobs may be shared through social media by both your applicants and your existing employees. Again, this means more quality applicants without over-relying on paid job boards.

My experience is that focusing ROI efforts on time savings alone tends to fall on deaf ears when approaching a CEO or CFO for approval. Using some of these alternative ideas, along with the time savings and low cost nature of an applicant tracking software tool, should improve your odds of making a business case to executive management and getting the solution your organization needs.

If you would like to discuss pricing and/or ROI for ExactHire’s applicant tracking software further, please contact us today.

Applicant Tracking System: Differences Between Administrator & Recruiter Access

If you’ve recently gone paperless in your HR Department, or are at least considering the move to a web-based environment for recruiting, then one of the decisions on your radar will probably be determining which employees in your company should have access to which sections of information in your applicant tracking software portal. Depending on what type of applicant tracking system (ATS software) you are using at your organization, you will likely have at least a handful of options for restricting user access so that HR staff members have Administrator access compared to the more restricted level of access designated for your recruiters and/or hiring managers.

Of course your decision will be impacted by the culture of your organization; as well as, the tech savviness of your hiring managers and the level of hiring assistance offered to them by your Human Resources Department. In this blog, we’ll review some of the differences in user permission options you’ll find common across ATS applications.

Visibility To ATS User Permission Management

First and foremost, you can generally expect that only the highest level of Administrators in your portal will be granted access to create new users and/or edit existing user credentials. This includes the action of resetting passwords for other users, as necessary. Within user management areas of an application, it is common to have the ability to optionally toggle on or off visibility to other sub-features for certain users. As a result, hiring managers with restricted access cannot covertly give themselves Administrative access…and rightfully so!

On the other hand, if you have some recruiters that will be the primary users of the system and will regularly need access to make updates to status codes on the fly and change content on the careers site, then you may opt to give them Administrative access.

Adjusting Universal Settings Across Your Applicant Tracking System

While your recruiting software vendor should do a great deal of the customization and implementation on your behalf when you first install a new system for your organization, you will still inevitably need to add some additional settings as you use the tool moving forward. Most times, revisions to settings will be handled by Administrator users; whereas, other more restricted users will need to make requests to their Administrators for adjustments.

Here are some examples of such settings:

  • Making changes to the content on your external branded careers portal
  • Adding new applicant status, or disposition, codes
  • Creating additional ad source labels for new external job board postings
  • Incorporating new job categories or classifications

Posting Job Listings & Viewing Job Description Information

Some companies may be comfortable with giving manager-level users permission to upload job descriptions and post them to external job boards on behalf of the organization. Or at the very least, they may prefer that hiring managers and recruiters be allowed to initiate job requisition requests so that various layers of management may approve a new opening before it is officially posted. However, other organizations will only be comfortable with HR representatives having access to job listing information and controls. When customizing your user logins for various individuals, be sure and consider job listing control in the process.

Documentation On Applicant Records

Most systems will permit a manager-level user to make notations on an applicant record to record information about interview responses, candidate correspondence, and other pertinent feedback. This feature may be able to be toggled on or off on an individual user basis so that you can trust only managers that have been trained thoroughly in the interviewing process to have access to this ability.

Ask your vendor whether or not external files can be uploaded and attached to applicant records by various users, as well.

Lastly, and especially if you have a large number of users in your system, take advantage of any opportunities your software may allow for restricting certain user-added notes to being visible only to Administrator-level users. On the applicant side, if some employment application questions should only be screened by Administrators, for example those related to criminal conviction history, then configure your system to only display those answers to Admin users.

Access to Reporting Features

Visibility to reports has the potential to vary widely from one ATS platform to the next. Check with your provider to see which user levels will be able to access any standard reports built into the system; as well as, whether or not ad hoc reporting functionality exists. If so, the latter will likely be available only to Administrators (i.e. no recruiter access) since it would potentially involve the ability to create reports that include confidential information voluntarily disclosed by applicants about race and gender.

Applicant Screening & Administration

With regards to viewing applicant records within your ATS software, different levels of users may be able to execute different types of applicant management functions. For example, while an Administrator may be able to manually add applicants to consideration for a position or copy an existing applicant to another position in a different department, hiring managers may not be able to adjust the jobs for which an individual is being considered.

Similarly, an Administrator would naturally be able to see all jobs to which an applicant has applied across all departments; whereas, a hiring manager over a specific department wouldn’t necessarily be able to know about others jobs in the company being considered by the applicant. But, this is a great example of how your Administrator may toggle this optional ability on for just specific restricted users…dependent on the unique needs of your organization.

It is in your best interest to know your system’s user permission capabilities, and your applicant tracking vendor should be happy to explain this information to you, and then help you to consider the available features relative to the needs of your business. Then, you can come up with the ideal mix of accessibility to settings and applicant records for your team.

If you would like more information about ExactHire’s applicant tracking system, please visit our online resources section or contact us today.

How To Make Your ATS Implementation Process A Little Less Scary

Congratulations! You’ve decided to move forward with an applicant tracking system. We are really excited about that news! My guess is about half of you are a little scared or even worried about the ATS implementation process because it’s a new technology to introduce to your organization. Let me lay out ExactHire’s process for you as well as give you some tips on how to get things up and running quickly.

I’ve signed my Contract/Scope of Work (SOW). Now what happens?

Once you sign your Scope of Work, that triggers a relay of information from our ExactHire Sales department to our Client Services department. From there, a Client Services representative will reach out to you requesting some information. Because we love paperless hiring, you will be asked to fill out a few web-based forms electronically. This gives us the information we need to build your branded applicant tracking system portal and corresponding employment application(s). If you know that it will be another two weeks before you can complete these forms, please communicate with us. If we do not hear back from you within a week after our initial communication we will follow up. We certainly don’t want to “pester” you, as we know that human resources professionals are often juggling many projects at once…some of which pop up unexpectedly; however, we are excited to move you through the process quickly so that you may start taking advantage of the ATS as soon as possible, as well. With that being said, please note that we are in a holding pattern until you submit the implementation forms.

ExactHire ATS implementation process flow

What if I’m not sure about how to answer the implementation form questions?

HireCenric ATS implementation formHireCentric ATS Implementation FormLet me start by reassuring you that your site is not “live” and able to accept real applicants until you’re ready. We also understand that some of you may not have any previous experience with an ATS, and so by answering some of the questions, you may feel nervous about whether you are giving the best answer for your company’s needs. That’s okay. We’ve implemented numerous clients; we can anticipate when an answer you give might warrant a discussion to double check on your needs based on what we know about your organization. In addition, these items are not etched in stone; they can be altered. You are welcome to dive in and give completing the forms a shot; or, we are always happy to have a quick phone chat to discuss what you might be contemplating.

What kind of information will be requested?

We will be asking about your employment application preferences. We need to know how to build the application to best suit the needs of your organization. I suggest having a printed copy of your current application handy so that you can tell us what is on it. Or, take this moment to do an audit of your current application and make edits to represent what you want it to ask of applicants moving forward. We will also need to know things like how you want to segment your job listings into groups. For example, will your business unit labels be based on divisions, locations, departments or something different? We will also inquire about email addresses, users, ad sources, status code labels or dispositions, etc. All items can be altered or built upon at a later date, but it is helpful to have some basic elements in place to get the site started.

After I submit my electronic forms, how long will it take to get information back?

It will typically take us up to one week to complete the ATS site build from the time we receive your submitted implementation forms. Once we have completed your site, we will send you an email containing information specific to your site: URL addresses; log-in credentials; and, any specific questions we may have remaining in order to finish out the final details of your site.

We will also request that you (and any other HR staff members who will be using the ATS) put yourself in the shoes of your potential applicants and take the time to complete an application to your new site, yourself. It is important to complete this exercise before your one-on-one training session for several reasons:

  1. You will better understand what you’re asking of your applicants. If they have a question about the application process and you have never completed your own application, you will not be able to help answer their question as effectively.
  2. If you desire any changes to be made to your application once you see how it flows in your ATS portal, you can communicate those changes to us and we can make the edits before you start having real applicants apply.
  3. When you complete sample applications prior to training, you are then able to see applicant record data in the site during training which makes it easier to see how different features and reports work on the administrative side.

Schedule your ATS training sessionIn that same email, we will offer you a few options for training. This is done via web conference and typically lasts for an hour and a half. We suggest confirming your training date with us as soon as possible, even if it is scheduled out for a few days or weeks into the future.

Who should attend ATS Software training?

Anyone who will be an Administrator-level User in your system should attend the initial training session geared toward Administrator users, specifically. Administrators have access to jobs, applicants, reports, settings, and user set-up dashboards. Other restricted users (such as hiring managers) will have a separate training session appropriate to their restricted level of user access as warranted.

If I had to remember a few things to help make this ATS implementation experience GREAT, what would they be?

  • Be responsive. I understand work is busy. I know you cannot always get things completed right away. That’s okay! Please communicate with us that the email we sent to you did come through, and when you anticipate you will get to it. And, you can certainly expect the same responsiveness from our team!
  • Jump in and get your feet wet! Rest assured we can change things if you “mess up.” Give it your best shot and together we will have a foundation of your feedback from which we can work.
  • Test your employment application. Ensure that it won’t be too long or short for your applicants, and that it captures the information you require to make informed screening decisions. Testing the application helps you understand the administrative side of the applicant tracking portal, also.
  • Schedule your training session. Time is precious. If you get your training session on the calendar, it’s easier for you to schedule other events around the training rather than vice versa. However, schedule your session in such a way that you are confident that you and your staff will be able to readily start using the tool soon after you are trained. That way, training will be fresh in your mind as you get more acclimated to using the ATS. In our experience, if you wait too long after training to “go live,” then its harder to get up and running once you are ready to do so.

We are only a phone call or email away! Always remember that. It’s not scary when you have someone journeying with you!

If you’re not already an ExactHire ATS client but are interested in learning more about our hiring software tools, please contact us today!

Image credit: over the edge by nic_r (contact)

5 Tips for Getting Hiring Managers Excited About Using An Applicant Tracking System

Sometimes getting hiring managers to adopt new technology can be like pulling teeth. And it may not even be that your colleagues don’t like change or tech (though honestly sometimes that is a culprit too), but they are likely strapped for time, or may have had a bad experience with a software rollout in the past. If you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle to get your co-workers better engaged with your applicant tracking software (ATS software) solution, then consider the following discussion points for persuading hiring managers that their cooperation is a win-win for everyone when it comes to improving the hiring process and attracting top talent.

Access the ATS from anywhere – important for the jetsetters!

Prior to implementing an ATS, your managers may have spent hours sifting through resumes in their email inbox…and those might have only have been the ones that HR had already screened and forwarded to them. However, with an applicant tracking system hiring managers can directly access the portal’s applicant pool for their respective positions from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. And if any of your managers are road warriors, then that should be a win-win. Whew…no more complaints from hiring managers that HR never sends them any applicants!

And, by using automated scoring and disqualification filters on certain application questions, HR staff can rest assured that hiring managers can easily view only the applicants that have met basic qualifications. Some managers will jump at the chance to reduce clutter in their email by logging in to view applicants in the hiring portal. However, for those that still prefer to receive email messages, the HireCentric ATS is flexible enough to email only certain managers the application notifications for candidates that have met minimum requirements.

Give your hiring managers a big KISS – keep it simple & streamlined

Even though these managers are involved in the hiring process, HR-related tasks and recruiting are certainly not their full time gigs. Remember that aspect when customizing their level of access to the applicant tracking portal. Choose a hiring solution that allows you enough variety in user permission levels to accommodate the unique needs of your workforce. For example, some managers may wish to post positions, email applicants and view records within the system. Whereas others, may only wish to receive an email with a link to view an applicant’s record without a requirement to remember a password to login to a system. Make sure your system allows for both scenarios.

In my experience, most organizations do not wish or need to give hiring managers access to all aspects of an ATS. Restricting some access for the managers’ login credentials will make their user experience more efficient. It should be clear to them how to quickly say “yay” or “nay” for applicants, and sensitive information such as self-reported race/ethnicity info and/or information on criminal history should be hidden from hiring manager access.

Train managers on basics right before they start using the ATS – and prizes don’t hurt!

Don’t make managers sit in on the same training session that super system administrators will attend. That’s the quickest way to see eyes glaze over, as not all of the topics covered in the training will be relevant to hiring managers. Instead, keep the manager-specific training session short and ask your provider to share support documentation geared toward manager-level users of the system, too.

Perhaps most importantly, strongly encourage hiring managers to begin to use the system very close to the time of training. The best way to ensure retention is to put into practice the new knowledge and concepts gained right away – before they are forgotten. You might even have the managers submit a sample employment application so that they may experience what their prospective employees will undergo, as well as see their own finished applicant record on the administrative side of the system.

IDEA: Run a contest to encourage adoption among managers by rewarding the most creative application submission in terms of the question answers’ relevancy to and qualification for a test job opening.

Satisfy their “show me the money” screams – results speak volumes

Make a compelling argument for how the use an applicant tracking system will help to improve your organization’s bottom line by reducing turnover, improving quality of talent, and freeing up managers’ time spent on manual screening and applicant note-taking methods so that more strategic tasks can be addressed. Hopefully this plea won’t result in you having to boisterously shout across the office, but rather conducting a simple review of time-to-fill and time-to-hire metrics collected, showing a reduction in time spent on the hiring process since the inception of using the ATS.

Also, considering the availability of features like scoring and disqualification filters, assessments that can be embedded into the ATS, and options to improve applicant conversion numbers, hiring managers should be jazzed about: 1) the chance to improve the quality of applicants that make it to later stages of the selection process; and, 2) the more robust and objective information they will have about applicants going into an interview.

Pinpoint your early adopters and let them play around!

The extent of the struggle you may have with bringing your hiring managers around to the idea of using an ATS will probably depend on your industry, and perhap the demographic of your staff. However, in any group…there are usually a few peeps that like to have the latest gadgets and shiny objects. Find those people in your group and invite them to be your guinea pigs (or in tech speak, your “beta test”). They will likely jump at the chance to be a part of the elite testing group, and at the same time, you’ll have the benefit of their candid feedback on how the tool can be best streamlined for the remaining hiring managers’ use. Knowing their suggestions are incorporated into optimizing the system for your own organization will engage them to positively spread the word about the software and convince other managers to hop on board the productivity wagon.

ExactHire can work with your organization to determine just the right balance between simplicity of use and richness of features for your business and staff. For more information, visit our resources section or contact us today.

How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 5

Location, location, location! No, I’m not talking about prime land real estate; however, the same old catchphrase can apply to your job listings and job board real estate depending on how well your company’s geographic location aligns with the location of your targeted applicant pool. In this fifth installment of the “How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards & Internet Search” series, I’ll discuss how strategically using features available within your applicant tracking system can remedy an organization’s ailing efforts to get listings in front of out-of-town applicants.

Skills Gap: Qualified Applicants Don’t Live in Your Neighborhood

Awhile back I was chatting with one of our clients. She works for a company within the automotive industry and frequently needs to hire individuals skilled in trades, such as mechanics and technicians capable of working on large diesel engines. She usually has a number of similar positions open across multiple facilities, but the facilities are not in really large metropolitan areas…rather bigger towns scattered across the Midwest. In particular, one of those larger towns happens to be about thirty minutes from Indianapolis via interstate.

She has found that if she can get the word out, sometimes skilled individuals who reside on the edge of Indianapolis are willing to drive to her facility for work…after all, it is in the opposite direction of most rush hour traffic. However, it is much more challenging for her to engage qualified applicants that are closer and, perhaps at times, more aware of her job openings. She is definitely experiencing a skills gap in her town when it comes to technical positions.

So naturally, having had some success reaching Indianapolis residents and engaging them to come to her town for work, she wants to continue to get the word out and expand the geographic scope of her applicant pool. However, with so many postings skimmed by job seekers, she needs to do it in such a way that it is still clear that the opportunity is based in her town…and not in the city thirty minutes away. After all, she doesn’t want to waste her time, or even the time of her hiring managers, if a few applicants that don’t realize the position is really in the smaller town (and therefore do NOT want to make the commute) get through the cracks.

Strategic Job Locations & Setting Expectations Clearly

The key to this obstacle is to use your job description to make it clear that your opportunity is based in the town, but also ensure that it appears in the search results for applicants who may not be specifically looking for jobs in that town…but rather in the nearby city. Check with your applicant tracking system provider to see if alternate job locations can be enabled for the job boards to which you push your job ads.

For example, it is important to be upfront about the fact that your position is based in your town on your careers page. You may go so far as to also say as much in the first two sentences of your job listing to be sure that the town name appears in snippets of your posting in search engine and job board results pages.
Setting Location Expectations - Job Listings
Then, when pushing certain job listings to free and paid external job boards, designate the larger nearby metropolitan area as the “job board city” since applicants often do geographic searches on external job boards. After all, many more searches are likely to be done on the city than on the smaller town. And, while some of those applicants will dismiss the small town job opportunity when they note in the first few sentences that it is based in the town a half hour away; others will check it out–as they might reside in an area of the city that is relatively close to the town. Plus, they never would have thought to search for opportunities in that town, specifically. This can be especially compelling when you consider that a city like Indianapolis is so spread out that it can take nearly an hour to go from a suburb on one side to another on the opposite end of the city.
 Specify Job Board City | ExactHire

Big City Skills Can Meet Small Town Opportunities

If you ever find yourself in a similar scenario scrambling to entice applicants to come to your quaint out of the way town, consider the approach I’ve outlined here. However, bear in mind the importance of still making it clear to applicants that do view your job description that the position is indeed located in your town…and not the big city. This technique isn’t about bamboozling applicants with the location bait and switch, it’s about harnessing the power of job board geographic searches to put your listing in front of applicants when it might not otherwise have been seen. Then, it is still up to the applicant to consider the merits of the scenic drive.

How to Implement a Paperless Recruiting System

Paperless recruiting has many advantages and it can be easy to get started. Most of you who have come across this blog were on a hunt for those specific advantages. For human resources and corporate recruiting personnel, implementing a paperless recruiting system might have such an impact that you could swap your filing cabinet – the one you have dedicated to resumes and possible future hires – for a chair with flair or a decorative floor lamp! That is the most obvious advantage of paperless recruiting – LESS PAPER!

The Hows of Paperless Recruiting & Hiring

Before we get into my list of advantages, I am going to dial it back and tell you HOW you would embark on creating a paperless recruiting process. Companies often use what is called an ATS, which is an acronym for Applicant Tracking Software (or System). The majority of companies will purchase a software application that offers customization of some features rather than having an in-house developer create a customized ATS. There are two main reasons for this.

  • Time – The opportunity cost of your in-house developer’s time spent developing your own custom application is more expensive then money spent on external products that are already available.
  • Limit Liability – Off the shelf ATS solutions have security features researched and already implemented.

An ATS can be installed on your computer or, more commonly, be web- or internet-based. Web-based software is considered to be “software as a service” or SaaS because the software and data are hosted “in the cloud” and accessible to you anywhere you have an internet connection. ExactHire provides SaaS ATS. Our applicant tracking system allows you to have a customized online application – all you have to do is redirect site visitors to your ATS careers portal from your company website – usually via a “Jobs,” “Employment” or “Careers” link – this link redirect should only take your IT department or webmaster seconds to set up.

The Paperless Recruiting Advantage List

Now that you understand the basics of HOW you would begin the paperless hiring process, here are the advantages:

  • Less paper – Why keep thousands of sheets of paper? Everything can be stored online including notes, documentation, credentials, etc.
  • Never misplace again – Can’t remember where you put the folder yesterday with the applicant’s application that was supposed to go to the hiring manager? No more folders! With a click of a button, email the applicant’s information to the hiring manager… or better yet, give the hiring manager restricted access to the applicant’s application within the ATS.
  • Trackable – Did you send the applicant the interview request email? Did the hiring manager look at the applicant yet? Where did I advertise this job listing? The ATS tracks all of these events and more.
  • Accessibility – The hiring manager is in a different state than corporate HR. The perfect applicant works during your hours of operation and cannot stop by to apply. You travel frequently. Your company has many locations. All of these statements are common. A web-based applicant tracking system is accessible 24/7 and from any place you have an internet connection.
  • Reporting – How daunting is compliance reporting each year? Do you have quarterly reporting you must show Accounting or your Supervisor? Have no fear! With a few clicks of a button, the majority of your compliance reporting can be downloaded out of the system and ready for use. The more specific quarterly reporting can be pulled using our ad-hoc custom report building feature.

Please do not just wonder about paperless recruiting while you are wandering cyberspace any longer – message us here at ExactHire with your question, and we will be happy to let you know if an ATS can help your company with your talent acquisition-related tasks!