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Getting the most out of recruitment technology


Online job applications
Nicholas Thomson, solutions development director at Ceridian, presents his top 10 tips for getting the most out of your recruitment technology.

Recruitment is the lifeblood of any organisation, providing either raw or established talent that will ultimately be responsible for driving business performance. An effective recruitment strategy is therefore firstly about implementing an attraction policy, which draws the quality and volume of candidates you require, and secondly about the technology, which allows you to manage a high volume of candidates.

1. Preparation
Before embarking on identifying a suitable supplier of recruitment technology, ensure that you clearly define your current recruitment process, and how you would like the recruitment process to look after implementing the technology. Within this, ensure that you identify the short, medium and long-term wins, as passing these milestones will drive the project forward.

2. Communications
Nearly 45 per cent of applicants surveyed for the 2006 Recruiting Metrics and Performance Benchmark Report claimed that communication and feedback during the recruitment process was substandard. Therefore, within any recruitment plan, clearly identify when applicants are to be contacted, and ensure that the technology platform you are choosing is capable of aiding or automating this process. Additionally, ensure that your technology supports a variety of communication media (paper-based, email and SMS) allowing candidates to be easily updated on their progress.

“Clearly identify when applicants are to be contacted, and ensure that the technology platform you are choosing is capable of aiding or automating this process.”

3. Get the most out of your career sites
The career site through which candidates view and apply for your positions is crucial. It helps you reduce administration and improves the overall quality of hire. It is important that your site should sell your organisation to jobseekers and at the very least provide current employee testimonials, detailed job specifications, details of open days and application process details. In short, the content of your career site is key, meaning that your technology needs to either provide the functionality that allows you to manage the content of the career site easily, or it must at the very least integrate its ‘search & apply’ functionality seamlessly within your existing career site.

4. In order to drive collaboration, simplicity is key
Being a highly collaborative process with large amounts of administration, it is essential that the technology you choose is capable of being used by all of the various stakeholders. This will only be successful if the solution is easy-to-use, which is easier said than done in today’s market of over-engineered solutions. Although this is an individual, subjective decision, it is still sensible to take references and understand the types of clients the vendor currently supports.

5. Bigger is not always better
Following on from point four, clients are traditionally impressed by vendors who supply well-known brands and corporations. Although this is indeed a valuable measure, this doesn’t always give an indication of how good or easy-to-use a piece of software is, but rather how good it has been marketed and sold. Therefore, ask vendors for a breakdown of their client sizes. Look for a good spread between large, medium and small customers. The presence of large customers indicates that the software can scale, but crucially the presence of small customers will indicate that the solution is simple-to-use. Indeed, taking a reference from a smaller customer will often allow you to speak to both the decision-maker and the user, leaving you with a complete picture of a vendor’s virtues.

6. Learn the product in stages
Irrespective of how simple-to-use a piece of technology is, there is still a requirement for systems training and implementation of changes to working practice. Often this leads to the project becoming large and unwieldy and often drains valuable resource away from the day job of actually recruiting. Therefore, wherever possible, try to split the project into more manageable chunks so that users do not get swamped without too much training or detail in the initial phases.

7. Look for technology which aids the attraction process
Historically, recruitment technology products have focused exclusively on managing the administrative burden while only paying lip-service to managing one of the biggest recruitment costs, the attraction strategy. Therefore, look for solutions which actively help reduce the administrative burden of running your attraction strategy, for example through multi-posting to job boards. Furthermore, those solutions should then provide quality management information which identifies which sources are providing quality candidates and which are not.

“Look for solutions which actively help reduce the administrative burden of running your attraction strategy, for example through multi-posting to job boards.”

8. Utilise the online application like a first round interview
Often, we see clients building expansive online application forms that get the candidate to provide information such as qualifications, employment history, education and other information that is already contained in their CV. Unless you need this type of data in a structured format (e.g. in order to perform anti-terrorist checks) then this not an efficient use of the applicant’s time. Collect the CV as supplied by the candidate, and then treat the application form as the first-round interview, asking both screening and narrative-based competency questions. This will allow you to assess an applicant’s suitability immediately and differentiate them more accurately from other candidates.

9. Drive collaboration via web training
Administrative burdens will be eased most dramatically through embracing a devolved recruitment model. However, the challenge with this is that most of the infrequent users will not want to attend training, and those who do attend would retain little. Therefore, look to build online demonstrations which these infrequent users can access easily, detailing what they are being expected to do with clear images. This can be achieved easily and cheaply and will ensure that all users have a resource to which they can refer without having to read vast quantities of help text or constantly phoning the recruiters and asking for guidance.

10. Flexible solution, flexible provider?
Crucial to ensuring that you get the most from your recruitment technology project is the level of support you get from the vendor. You want to avoid vendors that sell at low prices upfront but then charge you whenever you need to make a change. Therefore, wherever possible, look for a vendor who engages with you as a business partner and wants to ensure that the solution evolves with your needs, providing help, guidance and flexible service contracts.

For more information, please visit: Ceridian UK.

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