Information Systems in the Hiring Cycle 2: Electric Boogaloo
Hi all, Cathal here again from Wilson’s Warriors. In this post I’ll wrap up my thoughts on the Applicant Tracking System used by firms when looking to hire candidates to roles. In the last post I gave a brief intro to what a basic ATS could do and today I’ll try and expand on that.
While last time I looked at the concept of a resume/CV scanner as a use case of an ATS, this time I’ll focus on the ATS as a concept and how an integrated Applicant Tracking System can turn an arduous and complex process into a single system.
An ATS supports the entire recruiting process from the identification of a vacancy to the on boarding of the hired candidate, providing a common data base for all process steps and facilitating the management of the recruiting process without any media disruption.
Today most integrated ATS follow the same general process. Once a vacancy in a firm occurs, the hiring manager will initiate the recruiting process using an interface provided by the ATS. Once the vacancy has been green lit by HR, a user generated job description is created and, key to the functionality of an ATS, user-defined skills and capabilities are stored. These variables are what the ATS is checking against in most applications, and has given rise to the gamified approach to writing cover letters or CV construction where the sole aim nowadays is to “Beat the ATS”. After this initialisation of values, the ATS constructs a job advertisement which can be advertised in the locations of the firm’s choosing. Additionally, the modern ATS facilitates the search and filtering of potential candidates into applicable databases. This is particularly pertinent in the intern example that I am familiar with. Most banks will offer several similar internships and as such many applicants will apply to all of them. An ATS is a godsend in this case as filtering which applicants are best suited to which different field becomes a trivial task and strong candidates begin to rise to the top. This is a simplified explanation of an ATS, but Eckhardt et al provide this fantastic visual representation of the modern ATS below.
Interestingly, up until around 2 or 3 years ago it was the status quo for the ATS to be handled by a 3rd party. ATS companies like Workday or Taleo took up the lion’s share of the market and were the solution of choice for multinational firms in how they wanted to handle recruiting. An interesting change has taken place recently however, particularly in the technology sector where firms are now developing their own ATS. This began in blue chip multinationals like Alphabet and Microsoft and is slowly travelling over to the financial sector. Indeed it is now quite common to have identical job specs but have the values that the ATS is looking for be completely different. The idea behind this is that firms are using this chance to push company culture when seeking candidates. From my own job hunt experience I can confirm this as part of each interview now usually consists of questions on a firm’s ethos, mission or company message and this line of thought carries over into the ATS.
Firms without an ATS are a dying breed too. A recent jobscan report noted that 491 of the Fortune 500 companies make use of an ATS, or 98.2%. The days of manual human driven recruitment look to be in the past.
- Eckhardt A, Laumer S, Maier C, Weitzel T (2014) The transformation of people, processes, and IT in e-recruiting: insights from an eight-year case study of a German media corporation. Empl Relat 36(4):415–431