RPO Implementation –  Technology is Recruitment’s Best Friend

by Maru Gonzalez & Cynthia Cohen

In our previous article The Process Experience we walked you through the process of collecting, reviewing, revamping and communicating the recruiting information needed to design the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) process map. In this article, we will focus on the technology used to track the recruiting process, more commonly known as the Applicant Tracking System.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that permits the digital handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be implemented or accessed online (i.e., cloud-based) depending on the needs of the business. The principal function of an ATS is to provide a central location and database for a company's recruitment efforts.


As you may have noticed there has been a change in the way candidates are recruited into an organization. The fact is that recruiting has gone online hence the importance of the need for an ATS to support the recruiting process. If we look at some of the statistics to back this up, you can see for example that “the use of social media for recruitment has grown 54% in the past 5 years,” according to Glassdoor. In addition, WePow reported that “79% of job seekers are likely to use social media in their job search;” however, “90% of fortune 500 company career sites do not support a mobile apply solution.” These are just some numbers that have called my attention to remark the importance of an adequate ATS to support the recruiting process as well as the candidate experience in today’s high tech world. 

Having an ATS in place has many benefits. First, an ATS provides the ability to automate the recruitment process while providing accountability in your teams’ actions, meaning being clear on who is responsible for what in the process. Second, an ATS allows you to know where your candidates come from such as referrals, portals, and agencies. And third, my favorite, an ATS allows you to track the time within each step, giving you sufficient data to calculate your time-to-fil. 

Whether you’re in the market for an ATS or already have one, every technology should be able to provide you with the essentials to support your recruiting process.  Below is our wish list when it comes to the Applicant Tracking System capabilities: 

  • Automated Workflow: The ATS should be capable to be automated according to the process that has been design. Meaning a flow between steps and statuses and automatic updates such automatic candidate communications.
    • Steps & Statuses: The ATS should be flexible enough to design the desired workflow steps and statuses. These should all be reportable for accurate hiring forecasting.
    • Candidate Rejections: The ATS should have the possibility of making candidate rejections automatic upon candidate updating. These should be matched to the candidate rejection reason.
    • Candidate Communications: The ATS should hold a Candidate Communication library for the Recruiter to use depending on the intention, for example a candidate communication update
  • Languages: If dealing with a global ATS, this should be available in multiple languages for the recruiter and candidate.
  • Candidate Application Portal: The candidate portal should be easy to use and mobile friendly for different types of portal: External Candidate Portal, Internal Candidate Portal and Agency Portal. This is essential as more stats point to the increased popularity of applying to jobs online, the percentage being as high as 78% in 2014 according to Indeed. 
  • Candidate Source: The ATS should be able to track the source of the candidate whether it is an internal candidate, agency, job portal or referral.
  • Posting Options: Being able to post in multiple career sites within the ATS.
  • Pre-Screening Questions: Having the ability to include pre-screening knock out questions is great when dealing with high volume requisitions. This will filter out those candidates that do not meet the minimum requirements for the role.
  • Self-Scheduling Interviews: Some ATS’ have the ability of having the candidate be able to self-schedule their own interviews. This is amazing if the candidate is mobile savvy and the recruiter keeps the calendar constantly updated with times available for interview.
  • Reporting: We’ve mentioned it before, it’s all about the data! So, making sure that the correct steps and statuses are in place and that these are reportable is crucial to program success. In an RPO engagement, both the client and the RPO provider need to be able to report and track their service level agreement (SLAs) & key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Training: Even if you have the most amazing ATS in place if you don’t know how to use it, it will be useless. Having your ATS provider design a customized training for the new recruiting team is essential. Without proper training steps or statuses will be skipped and the reportable data will be inaccurate.

Keep in mind that the main purpose behind using an ATS is to assist organizations in becoming more effective while enhancing collaboration in the recruiting team 

Technology and recruiting go hand in hand in today’s world. Having your process aligned with your technology will help you keep your team aligned while having accurate recruiting data to support your hiring decisions.

Suggested readings:

The Best Applicant Tracking Systems of 2016

Top Applicant Tracking Products by Capterra

About the authors: Maru Gonzalez and Cynthia Cohen are co-founders of Mynt Consultants, a global RPO consulting agency offering RPO/Recruitment Project Management Services, particularly in Process Design and Engineering, ATS Implementation and Training, as well as Change Management and Continuous Process Improvement.  Learn more about Mynt Consultants

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