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WTF* is wrong with your ATS (*Way too frustrating)

WTF* is wrong with your ATS (*Way too frustrating)

*Way too frustrating

By: Meryvn Dinnen, Contributing Writer

I’m sure many of us remember the good old days of finding talent for your business. Endless spreadsheets to track applications and correspondence, multitudes of CVs with different coloured highlighter marks on different words and post in notes on relevant sections, CVs piled up under ‘Interview’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘No/Reject’, and once that’s all done you need to summon up the energy to compile a shortlist, juggle diaries, schedule the meetings and write the rejection letters. Easier to close the door and leave it for another day…or a colleague.

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There had to be a quicker, more efficient, cheaper way to hire. With all the ever evolving technology at our disposal we must be able to save time, money and sanity. And so the ATS came in to our corporate lives. The bright, shiny, new piece of kit that wouldn’t just deliver better talent to us, but do it much quicker and cheaper.

And it worked. No recruitment or HR Technology conference was complete without a compelling array of statistics showing reduced times to hire and costs per hire, the talent was better and the recruitment costs were under control. More sophisticated models arrived with new buttons and functionalities, whose impact could be maximised after an expensive training course. The systems became ever more complex leading to job descriptions for internal recruiters containing must haves like ‘experience of working with xxxxx system’. And applicants began to grumble. They no longer had a point of contact and never seemed to know if their CV was of interest, or even if had been received at all.

Nowadays many Recruitment and HR Technology conferences are being filled with another compelling array – this time of reasons why our ATS is driving us mad. The invited guest to our recruitment team who is outstaying their welcome and becoming more of a hindrance than a help.

What’s going wrong??

Firstly there’s the Black Hole. An endless continuum into which applications disappear, never to be seen again. Candidates think that we already have their CV from a previous application but we can’t seem to find it. We end up paying a fee to a recruiter who introduces someone whose CV fell into the black hole last year…and we didn’t even know it was there! And we spend a lot of time on LinkedIn trying to reach out to people who’ve already reached out to us.

Those that miss the black hole have to navigate the parsing, assuming they’ve got the format right. The eager-to-impress job seeker has poured hours of effort into creating a CV that is visually appealing and contains all the right achievements and deliverables that we want to see, only for our ATS to take exception to the format or the layout…or both, and send it spinning towards obscurity.

Ah, but look at all the fancy things our ATS can do. Applications and analytics, recognitions and shortlisting, bells and whistles. It’s just a shame that all our recruiters need one of those expensive training courses to understand how to use it properly. Maybe they can throw in a special session on how to track down your account managers too, as they often slip in to a black hole of their own when we need them most.

Candidates aren’t too happy either. The email confirmation isn’t enough, they want to be kept informed on the hiring process, find out why they weren’t called in for interview and get feedback on their CV. The screening questions aren’t very popular either. All of which is a bit embarrassing if the candidate we’re about to reject has been referred in the first place.

And whilst we’re talking about job seekers, they want to search and apply using mobile devices, and also want to find and be found through social media channels. How many of our ATSs are really up to the task?

The best ATS should be a seamless part of an integrated HR system, enabling workforce planning, talent pooling, candidate identification, screening and on-boarding, fully functioning from any device or platform, and giving a great experience to recruiters and applicants.

After all, technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Right?

Mervyn Dinnen is an award winning blogger and a content & social engagement strategist. He specialises in the Recruitment and HR sectors and is a regular speaker and panellist at industry conferences.

For ATS technology to ‘swear by not at’ visit: http://www.monsterhrsolutions.co.uk/talent-management-suite/