How to Add a Human Touch to Applicant Tracking Systems

by Allison Reilly

applicant tracking systemsLike many things in technology, and in life, you can't just "set it and forget it." Many things require constant attention in order to work well, and even a little human intervention from time to time. One of those things is the applicant tracking system, where it seems like you can set up the software and let it do all the work in sorting and picking your best candidates. But, technology isn't always perfect, and if you don't add a human touch to the work of your applicant tracking software from time to time, then you may miss out on a some awesome talent. Here's how you can add a human touch to your ATS and find a potential hire that the system may have missed.

Some Resumes are Rejected Simply Because the ATS Can't Scan Them

Not every ATS is created equal, and sometimes an ATS will reject a resume simply because there's something about it that the software can't scan. Many tracking systems are unable to scan PDF files (although PDF files, unlike Word documents, aren't up to the formatting whims of whatever version is installed on the computer), so take the time to scan resumes that your ATS isn't equipped to scan. Many systems also can't scan various formatting techniques that the job seeker includes to have certain parts of the resume stand out, such as italicized words or a table outlining their work skills. Take the time to scan these resumes because they may be worth interviewing, especially since the ATS didn't reject because they failed to meet the qualifications of the position.

Utilize Social Recruiting

Many ATS systems are beginning to include, if they haven't already, social media platforms into the functionality. This functionality varies from being able to see the social media profiles of candidates to creating an in-house social referral system right in the ATS. Either way, social media recruiting requires a human touch to the robotic software, as you need to do more than see that the candidate has a Twitter handle or a Klout score. You need to look at how they are using each platform (if they are active on it at all) and whether or not these platforms could be an asset or a liability based on what a candidate has previously posted and the types of content posted when s/he isn't at work.

Think About Developing a Talent Pipeline

A majority of employers don't have any sort of pipeline, so why waste those candidates who are good, but aren't good for your current open positions? Save those resumes to develop a talent pipeline, or a database that you can start with first before you advertise an open position or decide to look outside of your company for someone to hire. Candidates rejected by the ATS aren't necessarily bad candidates, or folks who have poorly-written resumes. They've simply been flagged as candidates who don't have what's needed for a certain position. Essentially, don't take the "no" from your tracking system as the final answer. Some of these candidates may be talented people, and as hiring and recruiting only gets more competitive, finding a way to say "yes" to them in the future before someone else can will only mean huge benefits for your organization.

With the battle for hiring great candidates getting hotter, information on what the hiring market looks like, how to find the best candidates and the costs of recruit-to-hire are more important than ever. Join us for our hour-long upcoming webinar, where will give you the inside scoop on:

  • National Labor Statistics – where is unemployment today and how it affects recruiting and hiring
  • National & Industry Specific Recruiting Costs - and how to measure and compare yours easily
  • Current Candidate Acquisition Challenges & Opportunities by Job Function
  • Expected Challenges for 2014 & How to Overcome
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