Applicant Tracking System Market Continues to Grow and Diversity

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The applicant tracking system market is continuing to grow, and as providers offer newer and better solutions, many companies are thinking about switching the service they currently use.

That’s the most important information to come out of “Talent Acquisition Systems 2011: Market Realities, Implementation Examples and Solution Provider Profiles,” a report released last year by Bersin & Associates. The report looked at survey responses from HR professionals and recruiters from organizations of all sizes and in all major industries.

According to Sarah White, who works as principal analyst of talent acquisition for Bersin & Associates, a lot of companies are choosing to work with providers that offer better support and a higher level of integration, and ATS companies that offer a large selection of products are doing the best. It’s commonly accepted that applicant tracking systems are just as important to the recruiting and onboarding process as interviewing and social networking.

Here are some key figures from the survey:

  • The ATS market increased by 11.1 percent to $837 million during 2010, which was slightly lower than the $861 million originally predicted by experts. The difference can be attributed to the slowing economy.
  • The survey predicted that the ATS market would grow by 12 percent to $937 million by the end of 2011, as high-end companies consolidate and low-end companies continue to expand.
  • About 50 percent of companies were planning to switch to a new ATS provider over the year, as new options and new technologies emerge.
  • The amount of time it takes to convince a company to commit to an ATS provider has increased from six months to up to three years.
  • A large majority of ATS providers offer a mobile solution in order to keep up with growing popularity.
  • More and more ATS companies are merging in order to offer a more robust suite of solutions to customers, such as search engine optimization or video services.
  • As social networks continue to become more and more popular, most ATS companies are offering the ability to integrate with LinkedIn, Facebook, or other sites.
  • Analytics have become more important than ever in evaluating a company’s application, interviewing, and hiring process.
  • Learning Management Systems are growing by 10 percent per year, while Performance Management and Succession Management Systems are increasing by 12 percent.

So, as you can see, applicant tracking systems and other similar technologies that make the recruiting and onboarding process easier, cheaper, and more efficient aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re not already using this technology, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon!

Applicant Tracking Should Focus Less on Candidate Work History

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It’s common practice for employers in certain industries to place a strong emphasis on a potential candidate’s work history in order to prevent high turnover numbers. It’s long been thought that candidates who have held several positions in a short period of time will make worse employees and will be more likely to quit.

However, a recent white paper by Evolv shows that work history has very little effect on a candidate’s abilities or likeliness to stay in a position. That means one of the factors employees place a strong emphasis on – in their applicant tracking systems, in the interview process, and in the hiring process – is mostly wrong.

The white paper, entitled “Does Previous Work History Predict Future Employment Outcomes?“, looked at applicant data and employment outcomes of 21,115 call center agents.

Key findings of the white paper include:

  • Almost half of all applicants had two or three jobs in the last five years, while 45 percent had none or one job, and 7 percent had four or more jobs.
  • 56 percent of applicants said they hadn’t held any jobs for less than six months.
  • Survival curves, or the probability that agents reach a given point in time, were almost identical for all groups, regardless of the number of jobs held in the last five years or the number of short-term positions.

“These results indicate that an applicant’s previous work history is actually a poor predictor of employment outcomes,” the white paper notes. “In fact, there is other assessment content that is much more strongly predictive of both attrition as well as performance on the job.

“Clearly, a more nuanced understanding of the applicant as well as his or her personality, aptitudes, work style, technical skills, and fit for the position are necessary to make more informed recruiting decisions,” the paper continues. “Previous work experience must be viewed holistically and placed within a much broader context in order to ensure that a given employer is recruiting the best possible talent.”

Smart Moves to Help Small Businesses with Recruiting

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Sometimes small-business owners feel at a disadvantage when recruiting new employees because they don’t have the budget to offer big benefit packages and large salaries to attract candidates. Therefore, they wind up with a small pool of candidates.

Whether or not your small business is at a hiring disadvantage all depends on how you use what your firm has to offer.

The Best Candidate Doesn’t Always Have the Most Experience

It is important to remember when recruiting employees it isn’t all about hiring the one with the perfect education and work experience. It is equally important to find job seekers who fit with your company’s culture and value system.

In the April 28, 2011, Fortune article, “Is it better to hire for culture fit over experience?” writer Ethan Rouen suggests that because workplace culture varies within organizations the skills employees learn at one company may conflict with those of another. How many times have you told a new employee, “That’s not how we do that here?”

Don’t waste time breaking bad habits. Instead, find candidates that demonstrate the qualities that will make them successful in your firm.

Market Your Firm’s Attributes 

Before you spend hours recruiting, first determine what it is your organization has to offer job seekers. Talk to your staff to get their input. Sell these as benefits on your website and in your recruiting literature. If you need some ideas, check out the article, “Why Work for a Small Company.”

Continually Network to Attract Candidates

If you’re like most small businesses, your recruiting budget is tight. Finding inexpensive, yet worthwhile sources of candidates requires networking.

Post jobs on your website; network with local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, non-profit organizations, and professional associations; contact federal and state resources for assistance; and utilize social networking – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – to  its fullest.

Your company may not be in a hiring mode right now, but you should always be recruiting.

Recruitment Software: How Important is Social Media Integration?

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By now, most companies know how important it is to have a good recruitment software system in place. But how does your company value that software’s ability to integrate with social media?

Last year, Jobvite released its annual Social Recruiting Survey and introduced the new Jobvite Index, both of which unveil how recruiters are using social media. The data prove that social media is becoming more and more important in the recruiting process.

Overall, the number of companies planning to recruit through social media increased from 83 percent to 89 percent last year. At the same time, 64 percent of companies were using at least two social networks for their recruiting efforts.

“The data show that recruiting departments, like marketing departments, are reaching and engaging their targets in multiple social networks,” Dan Finnigan, Jobvite president and CEO, said in a company press release. “The fastest moving companies increasingly use the richness of profiles in LinkedIn, the power of online connections in Facebook, and the instant reach of Twitter to develop valuable talent pools and make new hires.”

Some other key findings of the survey include:

  • The number of companies that have hired through social media increased from 58 percent to 64 percent between 2010 and 2011.
  • Although companies still claim referrals bring the highest quality candidates, only 30 percent were planning to increase their referral budget, while 55 percent were spending more on social recruiting. Only 16 percent were paying more for job board postings.
  • As we previously noted, 64 percent of companies use at least two social networks for recruiting, while 40 percent of companies use at least three.
  • About 73 percent of social hires come from LinkedIn, while 20 percent come from Facebook, and 7 percent come from Twitter.
  • The fight for jobs isn’t expected to die down anytime soon, as 77 percent of companies anticipate an increase in competition, and 61 percent plan to recruit from their competitors.

“Jobvite’s new data confirms our research that social recruiting has become an essential element of today’s corporate recruiting strategy,” Josh Bersin, president and CEO of Bersin & Associates, said. “The data also points out that referral-based recruiting is a new ‘secret weapon’ for talent acquisition. Companies that focus heavily on referral strategies, enabled by social networks, are delivering the highest quality of hire at the lowest overall cost.”

Sourcing Candidates is Cheap Insurance

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It should be common sense by now, but it can’t overemphasized: Don’t scrimp on sourcing candidates, no matter what position you’re looking to fill.

Brad Remillard made the point again just the other day.

“I believe you should conduct a background check on every employee you hire — from the janitor to the CEO,” he wrote in a guest column for the Orange County Register.

It’s cheap insurance considering what’s at stake, says Remillard, who has 30 years as an executive recruiter.

His advice rings true. Once you bring someone into your company and hand them the keys to the front door — maybe even the safe — you’re counting on that person to be honest, ethical and dependable.

How you handle the information you find is up to you, but most employers would at least want to know if a potential new hire been arrested or had money troubles in the past.

“At a minimum,” Remillard counsels, “you should conduct a criminal background check going back at least five years and in multiple counties. Check the Department of Motor Vehicles, verify degrees and pull a credit report. If it’s a public company, depending on the position, do a check with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

He also suggests requiring candidates to sign release forms when they fill out applications — it lets them know right away that you’ll be checking their background. It might even save you time by discouraging some who know you’ll turn up issues.