Blog Post

What Is a Social ATS?

Peter Gold

Founder, Storifyd

If you’re thinking of changing your ATS from yesteryear for something more social what should you be looking out for?

So many of the older systems "claim" to be social but posting a job on Twitter is hardly leading edge and unlikely to close off your social recruiting strategy in one tweet.

If you think about the workplace 10 years ago when the ATS first appeared people were still getting used to using technology as part of their job; having a process seemed to be a good idea to make adoption easier. But fast forward to 2013 and everyone from delivery drivers to the CEO use some kind of desktop or hand held device to get some or all of their work done. With all the millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Xing, Viadeo, Qzone and many more, people are being "trained for free" on how to use technology to communicate, collaborate, share, like, comment etc.

With all of this free training going on, the social ATS needs to take note so if you are looking to buy one you need to consider:

  1. Outbound messages.

  1. Inbound candidate experience.

  1. Leveraging your network.

  1. Making the "process" social.

Outbound messages

Job boards have been posting their jobs to free aggregator sites such as SimplyHired and Indeed for many years but they are also now using social channels to expand their reach to connect with candidates elsewhere (not posting jobs but "talking" to candidates – Corporate Recruiters take note!).

Corporate recruiters continue to post to the job boards AND post to the social channels which has driven the ATS vendors to add this into their systems to stake their social claim. Posting jobs is all well and good but unless supplemented with some conversation it won’t get you far.

The job boards still lead the way in online job advertising but can only continue if the corporate recruiter lets them. And if you have a big enough budget.

Inbound candidate experience

So you’ve got the candidate interested via a social channel but what happens when they land on your job advert? Is it words, words and more words or is it more social?

  • Can the candidate see who else they know at your company?

  • Can they watch a video about the job?

  • Can they easily share the job across their network if they want to?

  • Can they start the application process with their social profile of choice?

Recruiters need to start creating job adverts that their marketing department would be proud of. The Internet offers so much more than just text and bullet points yet recruitment is still relying on these simple methods to convert great candidates into hires.

Imagine Facebook without photos or videos; it would be pretty dull and boring!

Making the most out of your network

Social search is not a new concept but it has generally been a separate function offered by a very small number of vendors that are disconnected from the ATS. Today when a recruiter has a job to fill they need be able to market (post) their job and leverage their hard earned network all within a single system. Such as:

  • Search their ATS database AND their LinkedIn network.

  • Share a job across their LinkedIn connections; not just any old connections but those that actually match the job!

  • Match the job to internal employees and ask them to share across their network; hoping for like-minded people.

Having a social contact list is great but being able to leverage it from within a single system is where you really need to be.

Many contact lists + one system = social recruiting success.

Making the process social

Of course there is no process with social. People choose how they work and flit around without a care in the world. By removing any real process social has made it easier but also more complex. So it’s a double edged sword.

Drop off rates of candidates viewing jobs vs. applying are notoriously high but by making the experience from "job to hire" easier can only be a good thing. Assuming of course that everyone does their bit to ensure the right person is hired and the ATS can sift through and find the best applicants quickly and easily.

The Line Manager is critical so the easier it is for them to comment, like (or not), share with their team etc. the more likely the Recruiter will get a quick response and make that hire before the competition do.

The type of organisation that has an ATS is likely to use an internal social platform such as Salesforce Chatter or Yammer. If the ATS does not follow suit the Recruiter will find themselves struggling to get the Line Manager to jump through hoops to download a candidate CV that can’t be read on their mobile!

Talking social at iRecruit

So there are some of my views on the social ATS but if you have your own please come and see us at iRecruit on June 20 and 21 in Amsterdam. We’d love to hear what you think.

You can also read my previous post on the Cornerstone Blog: The Story of the Corporate Applicant Tracking System.

Photo: Creative Commons

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