Stinkin’ Thinkin’

It’s interesting to me that back when I was in high school and college, I hated to study….anything (well except girls)! I only would get out a book and dig in deep when graduation or scholarships or something BIG was at stake. But as I have gotten older, there are a few topics that I have become a student of, learning everything that I can about them and questioning the presenter’s information and angle. One of those things are recruiting technologies.

Let me give you a little back story here so you’ll understand how I became interested.

I spent 18 years of my life as a minister. Then I owned a graphic design company for a few years. And then I was introduced to recruiting. The owner of a local firm had taken an interest in me and had asked me to come and join his team. I agreed. My first week on the job, a new Applicant Tracking System was being implemented for this firm. I was building out templates and loading requisitions. There was a guy overseeing this process who was the System Admin and SME for all of the various technologies. After just a few days on the job, this guy decided to move to California and try to make movies or something. This left a HUGE hole in the middle of the organization, the implementation process, and someone needed to step in an take action immediately. I approach the CEO and told him that I don’t even know what an Applicant Tracking System is, but that if he would make me the System Admin and SME over it, I would find out everything there was to know about it and get it running perfectly. For some reason…he agreed.

I was immediately thrust into the world of ATS’s and workflows and templates and business rules and talent portals and so on. But I figured it out and also figured out how to automate many steps in the process to help the recruiters find the best candidates more quickly, ultimately filling jobs faster and giving us the bandwidth to take on bigger projects. This proved to be successful and my processes and strategies were rolled out across that firm and for hundreds of new customers. With RPO being a segment of our business, I also had to repeat this whole process with some variations for these customers using a variety of ATS’s, workflows, business rules, etc. and do full implementations. So, I quickly became an expert at everything in the ATS world.

Now I am with a new firm and we are evaluating ATS’s for our own internal use. We have yet another set of standards and business rules to consider, which determines what tool we select and how we tweak everything to make it run smoothly.

What has always floored me about the various ATS companies is that they don’t think through possible needs and rules around the functionality that they offer. They don’t consider the speed of use. They don’t consider giving the customer the keys to customize on the fly. They also will not shoot straight with you when they know their tool won’t do what they know you want it to do. They’ll say yes – and there will be some work-around that will accomplish about 40% of what you wanted. Why wouldn’t these companies go out and hire short term consultants like me to come in and pick their products apart and throw various scenarios at them to truly make their product the very best in the marketplace.

I just hung up from a 2 hour demo with a MAJOR name in Applicant Tracking Systems. After our initial demo, everyone was very high on them. We left everything in their hands and let them run that first demo the way they typically do – showing us what they think we should see. Today was my turn though. I had around 80 questions already listed and ready to ask when we got on the call. I controlled this call and we talked about what I wanted to talk about and we went deep. We had a few moments where the crickets were chirping as they tried to spin their answers but eventually had to admit – we don’t offer that.

I urge you, if youare considering new technologies – make your list of requirements and you take charge of the call. Find out what you want to know and then make them show you how they can accomplish what you need it to do. If you don’t, you will get burned by falling for their sales pitches and not investigating their claims fully.


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