Rectec recently partnered with IHR, presenting some top tips to their audience at the IHR Supplier Showcase on 10th March. Below is the on-demand recording of our presentation. If you’d prefer to read, then we’ve also included below the reading material for your reference. We really hope you find this video/article useful and insightful.
- How to find the perfect Recruitment Tech for your business in a saturated market
- Common misconceptions about Applicant Tracking Systems
- Avoiding common mistakes made when researching the market
- Using your recruitment skills as a weapon for success in finding the right recruitment tech
In this article, we’re going to talk about finding the right recruitment technologies for your business and using your recruitment skills as a weapon for success.
There are some amazing recruitment technologies available in today’s market, but if your organisation needs to buy an Applicant Tracking System for example, then it’s hard to know where to start? It is an incredibly saturated market and there are literally hundreds of Applicant Tracking Systems out there, which makes it confusing, time consuming and frustrating for employers who are trying to find the right ATS for their needs.
There’s also been a common misconception in the market for a long time, that all Applicant Tracking Systems do the same thing. I’ve worked in this industry for 15 years and I can tell you confidently that they don’t! They are all designed to help support organisations to save time and money, by streamlining and automating as much of the recruitment process as possible, but they don’t all offer exactly the same solution.
While many Applicant Tracking Systems do share similarities, they are in fact all unique. They all have their own unique set of features, and a varying degree of flexibility in how those features can function. They all have different teams of people behind them, that offer various levels of support and expertise. Most ATS providers have also had more success in some industry sectors than others and some are better suited to organisations of a particular size. This often shapes the feedback vendors receive and over time their products become stronger and more compelling for certain types of organisation.
When you consider that every employer is different, and by that I mean that every organisation has its own business challenges, processes, objectives and requirements, which make most organisations unique; it’s not a simple case of picking up a product off the shelf and switching it on – rarely in fact will that be the case.
Most of the time an Applicant Tracking System will need to be tailored in some way to better suit shape of your organisation. Typically this will involve modifying the configuration of your chosen solution, or sometimes even paying the solution provider to customise the product in some way. Your aim in this process should be to obtain as much value from the solution as possible, whilst minimising the implementation timeline and effort and removing the need to pay for product customisations. Not all vendors are open to customising their product, but when they are then it can be expensive both in terms of time and cost.
How can your recruitment skills help you to manage the procurement process?
Given that your role as a recruiter is primarily focussed on acquiring the best talent for your business, you wouldn’t necessarily be expected to know which of the 450+ Applicant Tracking Systems in today’s market is best suited to the needs of your business. If you’re going to buy an Applicant Tracking System however, then you should definitely take the time to find out. Our research suggests that over 35% of organisations that buy an ATS don’t select the best one for their needs. IHR conducted a relevant survey recently, and of an audience of 224, 112, or precisely 50%, said that they were looking to innovate their ATS technology over the preceding 12 months.
It’s important to understand that buying an ATS represents a risk to your business, because a bad decision can have insurmountable consequences.
Implementing the wrong solution for example, can lead to broken or convoluted processes and lack of user engagement. For example, if Hiring Managers don’t get value from the system, then they simply won’t use it. Your team may end up following parts of your process within the system, and other parts manually because perhaps there’s already an established manual process that managers are used to, and get more value from.
In this article, I’ll provide some valuable advice and guidance on how you can ensure that your organisation acquires the right technology for your needs, and this doesn’t only apply to Applicant Tracking Systems. This applies to your entire recruitment tech stack, video interviewing tools, testing and assessment tools, the list goes on…
As a recruiter, you may be asked to play a role in the procurement process, in some cases you may even be asked to lead. If you are asked to be involved this process and you don’t know where to start, then you might find it reassuring to know, that even if you haven’t been involved in procurement before, you are likely to have a lot of the right skills.
In fact, there are a number of synergies between recruitment and procurement, and by being aware of these and applying your skills in the right way, you’ll be on the right track with an increased level of confidence. Looking at these processes in parallel, will allow you to better relate to the procurement process as a recruiter, and going into this with all of your recruitment skills and applying those skills in the right way, will help you to succeed.
One of the first things you might do during the recruitment process is confirm the requirements of the role, typically through a requisition of some form. If you’re involved in recruiting into your own team or consulting Hiring Managers through this process then you’ll have a good idea of how to document requirements.
Just like you need to get to know the role you’re recruiting for, before you start your search for the perfect candidate, you’ll need to understand the specific technology needs of your business before you start searching for the perfect technology.
The number one rule when buying technology is to ensure that you fully understand your business requirements. An ATS is a significant purchase and unlike recruiting a person into your business that will engage with some of your employees, an ATS has a potentially much wider reach and is something that many users, including your candidates will engage with.
It is good to be open minded about your requirements, but being too open minded will leave you at risk of potentially being led down the wrong path by enthusiastic sales people who won’t know your requirements as well as you do.
So the first and most important thing you should do before buying an ATS, is map out your recruitment process from end to end, in detail. Create a process map using Visio or something similar, if you don’t have Visio there are some free tools online, or you can get creative in another program
Think about every single step of your process and try not to miss anything. Think about who is performing each step and the kind functionality that would help them to automate that task, or make it quicker and easier to complete. The best way to map your process out is using a swim-lanes which will demonstrate how your recruitment process flows across different users or groups of users in your business.
Document these requirements as you go and think about how important each requirement is to your business, is it absolutely essential, or could you manage without it? Make sure that you obtain input from your team and make sure that your requirements are an accurate reflection of your what your business needs.
This will put you in the best position review the market, a bit like using job details to search for the most suitable candidates in your database, or advertise your job.
Now we have our requirements documented, let’s take a look at the next step. This is where your research starts and this will be one of the hardest parts of your process because, as they say, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Having conducted an immense amount of research in this area, I know that there are that there are many ATS vendors out there who have developed some fantastic technologies that you may not have heard of before. Perhaps they don’t yet have a strong presence in the UK market, or perhaps they don’t have the marketing budget to participate in the events you might attend (like this one for example).
A common mistake that organisations make when searching for an ATS, is being influenced by people that don’t have a good understanding of their requirements. For example, all too often I see people creating posts to their communities or networks like LinkedIn asking “Which ATS should I choose?”.
If you do this, then you’ll probably receive a number of responses from people telling you what ATS they use and why they like it. That’s great for them, but what about the large chunk of the population that implemented the wrong ATS, they won’t typically respond publicly to tell you what to avoid, and even if they did buy the wrong ATS for their business, there’s no saying it would be the wrong ATS for yours.
The best thing you can do at this point is speak to an expert that will help you to understand the technology landscape, and point you in the direction of the vendors who are most likely to meet your needs.
Rectec would be delighted to provide you with some free and impartial advice in this area, we have many years of experience in this field and we’re incredibly keen to serve our industry, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Once you’ve done your research and identified the vendors you’d like to talk to, this is where your evaluation process starts, by contacting your selected vendors to request a demonstration.
If your organisation follows a formal tender process, then this is where your procurement team might want to send a formal Request for Information (otherwise known as an RFI) to your shortlisted suppliers. Your procurement team may want to review the RFI responses before inviting selected vendors to demonstrate their software.
You could compare this to your interview process, with the vendor being your candidate. You should use their demonstration as your opportunity to assess the vendor and the suitability of their solution. Just like when you’re conducting an interview, make sure you ask enough questions to get all of the information you need.
Aside from the physical functionality of the ATS, you’ll also want to be mindful of data privacy, compliance, and the level of support you can expect to receive. You could relate this to the compliance and referencing part of your recruitment process. And by the way, don’t be afraid to ask vendors to provide you with some references or referees from customers of a similar size and industry to yours. You’re not just looking for a piece of software here, you want to know what the vendor is like to work with, and how supportive and responsive they are likely to be.
During your demonstration, be sure to have sight of your business requirements and make sure that you accurately assessing equally, how well each vendor meets your requirements. It’s a good idea to create a check-list or an assessment of sorts, to allow you to fairly and accurately score each vendor, this part is vital in helping you to make the right decision.
Once you’ve selected your preferred vendor, you’ll start the process of agreeing terms and conditions, which you could relate to putting together your employment contract and getting this singed by both parties.
Lastly, we move into the adoption phase. Planning your project and implementing your chosen solution, which you could relate to onboarding a new employee. This will be the start of a wonderful and rewarding journey, if you’ve got it right!
How can we help?
Whether you’re an employer or a staffing agency looking to implement an Applicant Tracking System or Recruitment Agency CRM in your business for the first time, or you’re reviewing or renewing your current technologies, Rectec Compare is your unique opportunity to quickly and easily identify the vendors you should be talking to. If you’d like to find out more please check out our comparison services or get in touch today for a free, no obligation chat. You can also pre-register for exclusive access to Rectec Compare by clicking here.
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Rob Green, Founder & Director, Rectec.
Changing the way that recruiters buy software…