It’s Raining Men (And Women). Hallelujah. Managing Candidate Pipelines with an ATS

by Dave Sargeant, President & CEO, ACA Talent

Many of you may not remember this song from 1982 by the group The Weather Girls. It was also co-written by someone you may know from “The Late Night Show,” Paul Shaffer. But enough of the trivia, let’s get down to business.

Like our recruiting team, I’m sure many of you are wondering how to deal with the plethora of candidates who apply to online postings without taking the time to read the position requirements. Job boards have made it easier for candidates to apply to companies through keyword-matching tools.

For example, a candidate can set up a search for the word “sales” and, with a click of a button, automate future applications to any postings with this keyword. This is why it’s not uncommon for recruiters to receive hundreds of resumes every time a new position (especially for sales) goes live. While some candidates do take the time to create tailored submissions, many don’t.

With a steady influx of candidates, the challenge shifts from attracting talent to managing the applicant pipeline, especially when 95% of those candidates don’t qualify for the position. How can an organization manage candidate flow with its current available resources while still delivering a positive candidate experience? With so many candidates to sift through and qualify, it would be easy for talent to fall between the cracks. Remember, your recruitment team is in the front lines when it comes to representing the company’s employer brand, and, as the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Several years ago came the answer many of us had been waiting for when Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) finally started to deliver on the promise of managing recruitment activities. But wait—did they really make your job easier and faster? Nothing ever ends up being quite as simple as one would have hoped. With all their bells and whistles: workflow, stage enforcement, reporting, and integration with existing systems, like assessment tools and background check companies, it now takes an expert to implement and support the system that was supposed to simplify everyone’s life. And there is such a thing as too much automation.

The ATS is only as good as the information it captures: garbage in, garbage out.

I’ve been a big fan of the ATS for years and have spent much of that time building our system around what’s required to support the business, while allowing recruiters to get the job done right. Managing the balance between candidate flow, client relations, and reporting/metrics is imperative to a successful recruiting program. Buying a system is easy; making it an efficient, functional part of the process takes careful planning and implementation. The ATS is only as good as the information it captures: garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes.

As recruiters, it’s important to remember what made you great in the first place: interaction with the candidate and delivering a positive first impression. We are in the people business, after all. Whether the candidate gets the job or not, never let them leave with a sour taste for the organization. Take the time to communicate effectively. Today’s applicant may be a better fit for future opportunities with the organization.

Oh, and in the time it took to read this article, fifty new candidates came into the ATS, and are waiting to speak with you about that position you just posted for an “Outside Sales Representative.” GO GET ‘EM, TIGER.