10 things I learned researching the ATS platforms used by the Fortune 100

Last week I decided to research the applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by the Fortune 100. The analysis was prompted by a fellow recruiting startup founder who suggested that Great Hires invest in becoming a partner for a newer ATS company’s marketplace.  This made me want to estimate the size of the opportunity based on the volume of candidates that pass through the ecosystem of these providers.  Despite how fragmented the ATS market is, I was surprised that there are only two ATS system providers who serve more than two companies of the F100.

  1. Taleo/Oracle and Kenexa BrassRing dominate the Fortune 100

2. The number of jobs flowing through the top systems (Taleo/Oracle, Kenexa/BrassRing and homegrown) dominate everyone else.

3. The average number of job openings of the Fortune 100 is 2,172. These firms must have very large talent acquisition organizations to keep up with their hiring needs.

4. Many companies have started using a second platform such like a recruitment marketing system (e.g. Jibe or Smashfly) or even a second ATS-oriented company  (e.g. Smartrecruiters or Jobvite) to deal with CRM, Recruitment Marketing or Talent Community needs. However, these “second” platforms have less than 20% penetration in the F100.

5. Six firms built their own ATS: Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, Statefarm. What makes Statefarm unique is that they aren’t a technology company, but they seem to have unique needs with a franchise-like recruiting model.

6. Only one Fortune 100 company has adopted the Workday ATS in the two plus years since its release.

7. Amazon has 17,000 job openings and 230,000 employees. They are a much bigger organization than most people think and ranked #20 of the F500 by number of employees. For comparison, Wal-Mart is the largest employer with 2,300,000 employees.

8. Oracle has 8,000 open job reqs. I wonder how much input/feedback the Oracle recruiting function has provided the Taleo development team about their ATS?

9. Three of the top 6 companies with the most job openings are healthcare related and combine for nearly 43,000 openings

10. American Airlines gives candidates the option to apply using their Yahoo credentials. Not LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or Twitter.  Are they signaling applicants who they are really looking for?

American_Airlines_Apply_with_Yahoo

Note:  Berkshire Hathaway was not included in this analysis since it is really a holding company, and was replaced by #101 DuPont.

3 Steps to Systemically Build Your Company’s Candidate Experience Competency

Over the past couple of years I have spoken to many companies about their candidate experience efforts.  When I ask them to describe their strategy usually they either talk in generalities saying it is ‘a priority’ or they describe specific tactics they have implemented.  However, very rarely do I hear a cohesive, integrated organizational strategy which includes cross-functional engagement.

In many cases, a company has an identifiable problem or a galvanizing event (e.g. a top-talent rejection) which triggers a renewed focus on investing their candidate experience. For Scott Weaver at Cumming Corporation, a 2015 Candidate Experience award winner, the metric that stood out was ‘time-to-fill’ and his team was looking to move faster.  As a professional services firm, every day a req goes unfilled is lost revenue for their organization.  Their candidate experience journey started with a process improvement and optimization project.  For many other organizations, it starts with solving a specific activity during the recruiting process. However, many companies, like Cummins,  are realizing that they need to take a more holistic perspective on the end-to-end candidate experience.

candide experience award 2015

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Gerry Crispin about where a company should start if they wanted to systemically build a stronger Candidate Experience-focused organization.   He described a 3-step framework on how to build a sustainable candidate experience competency.

Step 1:  What’s important?

Company OKRs

If the candidate experience is not listed on the priority list for either the organization, HR or the Recruiting Function, then the Candidate Experience really isn’t ‘important’. It is just one of the many things an organization does that they try not to screw up. What do I mean by that?  It means that everyone generally knows that the Candidate Experience is one of the aspects of recruiting and everyone tries to do well.  It is no different than Product Quality or Customer Service.  But if you do not have it clearly listed as a goal or objective at some level in the organization, then it is just another strategy based on hope. And hope is not a strategy.   And it certainly isn’t part of the corporate culture.

candidate-experience-priority

The first step to developing sustainable organizational Candidate Experience capability is to make it a priority by including it in your company or department’s objectives.  Without organizational alignment, buy-in and engagement, it is just a bunch of individuals who are ‘doing the right thing’ but not necessarily with the support of their leadership.

Candidate Fairness

According to Gerry Crispin, one of the biggest drivers of delivering a good candidate experience is the perception of fairness by candidates.  “If candidates think the fix is in then their perception is reality.” Examples include not hearing from anyone after applying or being told they would hear back in two weeks, the no one follows up or answers their call.  In addition, Crispin sees the following drivers what drives the best candidate experience-driven organizations:

  1. Setting proper expectations (for both the job and the hiring process)
  2. Listening
  3. Accountability
  4. Perception of fairness
  5. Closure

At Cummings Corporation, increasing transparency to candidates to the process has been a big focus that helps with perceived fairness. Improved communication with both the hiring team and the candidate has allowed them to go faster. For Scott Weaver’s recruiting team, this starts when an application is received and candidates immediately receive an email describing the process in detail. The email includes specific expectations about what happens next and how to get answers if there are concerns or unexplained delays.   Their philosophy is about treating the candidate with respect, but without over-investing precious recruiting team resources.

Step 2:  How are we doing?

Once you have everyone bought in that the candidate experience is a priority, you need to know where you stand.  Gerry Crispin says collecting data is a critical starting point. “First and foremost you need some form of baseline.  There is no point in starting to work on your candidate experience capability if you don’t have some sense of where the context is going to be.”   Determining a baseline measurement on where you are starting from will help you track your progress.  Ideally, everyone you tough from the beginning of the sourcing process to onboarding are part of your measurement.  And there are many milestones during which you can measure the candidate experience (as described in detail in the Talent Board’s CandE report ), but to start, Gerry Crispin recommends just measuring the Net Promoter Score of the finalists and the candidate you hired.  Over time you can expand your measurement to candidates earlier in the process to include the application and screening process.

to-measure-is-to-know-

Ultimately, the most important recruiting metrics is quality of hire since it is the process outcome for the talent acquisition function.  But to measure the quality of the entire process, candidate experience metrics are the best indicator of how the various stakeholders are committed to bringing on the best talent.

 

Step 3:  Priorities to Improve

The insights you gather from baselining your candidate experience metrics will point you to where the issues are.  Once you see all the different areas that need work, you will need to pick your spots and prioritize which to work on first.  How you choose to address these priorities will depend on what you think the best plan of action will be; whether it is people, process or tools.
improve process

At Cumming, they looked at the 16 touch-points they have with candidates, mapping their journey and benchmarked themselves after the hospitality industry for how to deliver a concierge-like experience.

Given the number and complexity of milestones, from sourcing to onboarding, just picking one or two areas to improve can be resource and time intensive depending on the size of your organization. Both from a financial and change management perspective.  Throw in any change in technology and you quickly realize that systemic change will not happen overnight. However, small, incremental tweaks can make a real difference, like removing unnecessary fields in your application process or tailoring your rejection emails to give candidate better insight into why they were not selected to move forward.

From several of the Candidate Experience Award winners I have spoken with, improving their candidate experience capability is an ongoing investment, but at any time they are clearly prioritizing where they point their limited resources to have the biggest impact on their overall outcome: hiring success for both hires and their company.


About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Recruiting Coordinators: The unsung heroes of talent acquisition

If you ask the average hiring manager what a recruiting coordinator (aka candidate success coordinator, talent acquisition operations specialist etc.) you will probably get a perception that they are just someone in HR or a recruiter.  Most people on a job’s hiring team think stuff just magically happens when a candidate arrives for their interviews and are clueless that a talent acquisition coordinator is working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Then the cherry on top is that recruiting coordinators tend to only get noticed when things go wrong.   But the truth is that recruiting coordinators are the secret weapon of hiring success and they do not get enough credit for the value they add in the recruiting process.

superheroes

Recruiting Coordinators + Candidate Experience = Hiring Success

Recruiting coordinators are focused on giving candidates a concierge-like, white glove experience. Beyond greeting candidates, making them feel comfortable, giving tours, providing water, coffee & snacks, coordinators also set up all the technology whether it is a projector, dialing into Webex, or recording a presentation.  However, that is just table stakes for the role.  Talent acquisition coordinators are like the Chief-of-Staff for a job (Note: “a job”, not the hiring manager, recruiter or candidate).  Their role is to manage all the logistics for the recruiting process, including travel arrangements and expense reimbursement.

It’s very easy to think interview scheduling is pretty simple. But the reality is that finding a date and times when everyone on the Hiring Manager’s interview list is available is non-trivial.  When you factor in how everyone’s schedule appears as ‘busy’ in Outlook or Google calendar and is likely out of date, the battle has just begun.  No one sees the relationships a coordinator needs to build with executive assistants to sweet-talk them into finding a mutually agreeable slot to interview a candidate.  Then factor in that over 50% of interviews get moved, rescheduled, rooms changed, or have last-minute interviewer cancellations…who has to deal with the consequences of each change? You know who.

keep-calm-and-get-stuff-done-3

Of course being a coordinator requires you to strike the right balance for all stakeholders (hiring manager, recruiter, interviewers and candidates).   Coordinators are the front line troops for the candidate experience.   Being thoughtful of putting together an interview schedule where the candidate stays in the same interview room and having interviewers come to them is much more candidate friendly than having the candidate go from office-to-office or building-to-building to find each interviewer.  In addition, making sure the candidate and interviewers have the latest information is no simple task. Between resumes, travel information, interview guides, the latest schedule, company information etc. there is a huge amount of information that needs to be distributed and tracked.  When something gets missed or forgotten, who do you think gets a call or email?  You know who.

 Untold Recruiting Coordinator Stories

Here are a couple of examples of where coordinators go above and beyond to deliver a great candidate and hiring experience.

Kari Scheidt from Salesforce describes the importance of the coordinators relationship with the candidate. She explained how coordinators can be an advocate for the candidate to the hiring manager or interviewers, especially when the candidate has shared something important the team should be aware of in their decision process.  Kari highlighted the importance of candidate empathy with a story of super-hero effort that most hiring team’s don’t see. One winter day, Salesforce was flying in a candidate from the east coast which was experiencing horrendous storms.  The candidate was freaking out that they would not make their interview.  Despite all the flight delays and being oversold, she was able to beg the airlines to find a way to re-route the candidate and get them to the interview on time.  The candidate really appreciated the effort that was taken to go above and beyond to make it all happen. “People forget that the way you are treated as a candidate is how you think you will be treated as an employee.”

adamas-5-star-white-glove-service

John Tran, a Talent Acquisition Ambassador at Yahoo!, takes great pride in seeing someone he brought in as a candidate and then helped onboard, turn in a superstar.  Many times, it all starts with a tour John gives to prospective hires of the Yahoo! campus to help reinforce the emotional bond they already have with the Yahoo! brand.   Once hired, he enjoys seeing their success and relishes the feeling that comes with having helped pave the way for folks he helped hire to accomplish great things in the company.

At a previous company, Phyllis Yoshimoto (currently a talent coordinator at Pharmacyclics) woke up one morning to find out a top candidate had received several offers and her company needed to act fast if they wanted to still be considered. At 8 am she confirmed with the candidate, who was based in Seattle, they could fly to the Bay Area that day for a slate of interviews.  Phyllis was able to both coordinate the candidate’s travel and pull together the full interview schedule to start at 2 pm that day.  In the end, it all went perfect and the hiring team was able to make an offer to the candidate that day.  The candidate accepted and turned into a great hire.

What you can do to help your recruiting coordinator

So now that you understand the importance and value of your recruiting coordinator, here are 5 things you can do immediately to help coordinators be even more successful:

  1. Make sure your hiring team responds back in a timely manner (within 24 hours) to attend an interview
  2. Prepare your interview team on which competencies to evaluate and questions to ask
  3. Provide timely feedback about each candidate
  4. Pass along any insights your learn from the candidate that would help with any information to be distributed to the hiring team or logistics for the interview day
  5. Reinforce to your hiring team the importance of the candidate experience, and that showing up late or being disrespectful to a candidate has a big impact on the entire recruiting team

Finally, if you don’t do so already, thank your recruiting coordinator every time you make a hire.  They are truly the unsung heroes of talent acquisition.


About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.