Remember the time you saw the first ATS software, and you felt it was an answer to all recruitment challenges the world had seen? Well, you weren't wrong for the most part. 90% of Fortune 1000 companies use an ATS. It helps you to speed up candidate management and significantly reduce time-to-fill. From posting the job online to making the job offer, ATS saves the day figuratively, and hours, literally.
However, ATS is built for a world that's fast-changing. If you're one of those organizations that get best-fit candidates by putting out job requirements on its website, you're all set with an ATS and you don't really need to read this post. But my guess is you're not of those folks and I'll tell you why.
Recruiting has evolved, and the world agrees.
The best candidates don't apply to jobs anymore, we need to find them, hunt them, cajole them into the hiring process, and we all know ATSs aren't built for that.
There aren't enough 'Applicants' in the world for Applicant Tracking Systems to be a comprehensive recruitment solution.
If we had to visualize how ATSs work, it would look like this:
Step 1: Job Created
Step 2: Job published on Company website and Job boards
Step 3: Job seekers apply
Step 4: Applicants are screened
Step 5: Interviews conducted
Step 6: Applicants hired
However, the real-world recruitment process of present times looks a lot different than what ATSs are built for.
Here's how hiring happens today:
Step 1: Intake meeting for new and evergreen roles
Step 2: Sourcing from LinkedIn, GitHub, and multiple job boards
Step 3: Nudging all prospects to check if anyone is looking out one by one
Step 4: Update the prospect spreadsheet with reached out folks
Step 5: Get on calls with everyone who replied with interest
Step 6: Update prospect spreadsheet with 'interested' data
Step 7: Hold the first-level interview to check if the profile meets the requirement
Step 8: Update prospect spreadsheet and upload candidate on ATS
Step 9: ATS kicks in
If you look closely, your ATS is mostly a system of record. A system of record is an information storage and retrieval system that acts as a source of truth. A system of records is integral to the recruitment operations however the limitations are quite evident.
An ATS wouldn't let you have track engagements with your prospective candidates. You can't measure open rates, click rates, and other vital metrics for the emails you send to the passive candidates. You essentially have to either get on a call or ask explicitly about the prospect's interest in the role and the process to have the slightest visibility and predictability of your talent pipeline.
On the other hand, a system of engagement will help you gather all your passive candidates on one platform, automate all nudges and follow-ups through work and personal emails, track and measure engagements throughout the process, and help you become much more efficient in the outbound recruitment motion.
A lot of recruiters have found a way to morph their ATS into a tool that suffices their bare minimum outbound recruitment needs. Here's what the hacky process looks like:
What's wrong with this?
Tl;dr: A lot.
Not by a long mile. On the contrary, we love them and believe that ATSs are necessary. In fact, the most important and deep integrations that we have built at Kula are with the two most famous ATSs of the world. What we are against is the butchered way of using an ATS for outbound recruitment and engaging with passive candidates. An ATS isn't built for it. You need a recruitment automation platform to fill that gap.
A recruitment automation platform helps you build a vast talent pool by unifying candidates from previously scattered sources - LinkedIn, Gmail, spreadsheets, phone books, and everywhere else. And then automate multiple email nudges and timely follow-ups in an intuitive workflow. With analytics embedded into every step of the process, you always have a real-time view of your predictable and reliable talent pipeline.
In short, a recruitment automation platform is built for an outbound-first recruitment world, unlike ATS, which needs to be morphed into doing something it's not built to do.
We would love to hear from you - your opinion, comments, disagreements - everything.