The Secret of A Successful ATS

Bersin Deloitte’s ‘Top Ten Actionable Talent Acquisition Trends for 2015‘ highlighted the failings of today’s recruitment technology, ie, the notorious Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Our popular Candidate Voice research regularly informs us that high percentages of candidates are now searching for jobs using their mobile devices. However, when confronted by first-generation hiring management systems, they are abandoning these lengthy application process simply because they were not designed to be accessed by phone.

We continuously survey those who apply for jobs via our big data technology service and almost every time ‘ATS frustration’ comes in as number one on the ‘most hated’ list.

JobsTheWord surveys illustrate with great clarity that the one thing guaranteed to lose the interest of your ideal candidate – the one potentially open to applying for a better job, but who doesn’t actually need it – is a tedious online application process. A comment received when we asked for feedback on behalf of a client recently as to why they had not applied for a role we’d sent him was telling. He agreed that both the role and the company were “highly attractive propositions”, and so when we asked whether the application process had deterred him in any way:

Most definitely. I tend to find the longer the form to fill out the more bureaucratic and nit-picky the organisation. This is an instant turn-off.

We do understand keeping why keeping metrics is important and, as a consequence, employment online application and tracking is essential. However, we believe that the secret of a successful ATS system is utilising one that enables the uploaded resume to populate most of the application, making it easier for the applicant to proceed with some minimal data entry.

The fact that as few as 1 in 8 (12.5%) of candidates go on to complete the online application form after being redirected to a complex ATS from our site is frustrating. At times, non completion rates can be as high as 60%, which leaves a massive 40% of candidates originally interested in applying for a position, abandoning the process when faced with an onerous ATS.

Is it possible that a large proportion of those people who were initially interested in applying, but didn’t after viewing the online form, fall into the ‘best candidates’ category? Our research certainly gives clear evidence that this can be the case. This means that when JobsTheWord promotes roles and employer brands to suitable passive talent, ‘ATS frustration’ is the number one reason they don’t end up applying for role and this is certainly not unique to us!

Mike Sandiford
Head of Partnerships
0207 193 9931

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