The Applicant Tracking System sucks

If you are a candidate you might think that it does not matter to you whether or not our ATS (applicant tracking system) works well.  Guess what?  It should matter to you because if you don’t understand ATSs then you don’t think like a recruiter.

First, most ATSs are made by HR departments.  This is akin to having accounting or operations putting together a CRM (customer relationship management software) for sales.  It just don’t work well.

Many ATSs will let an applicant apply for multiple jobs all at once.  But did you know that the recruiter can see that and that it really pisses us off?  Why, you ask?  Imagine if someone asks you out, then you see them do the exact same thing to everyone in the bar.  Do you feel special?  Hell no.  They seem desperate.  I do not like hiring desperate people, do you like dating them?

Also, many ATSs do not make it easy to look at all the new applicants at once.  This seems like it would be a no-brainer but no one in ATS land has figured this out.  A recruiter must go into each opening (we call them requisitions, reqs for short) and see if anyone new applied.  How would you like to have 10-20 mailboxes outside your house you had to check everyday for mail?  One for the electric bill, one for the gas bill, and so on.  So, some mailboxes don’t get checked very often.

Most recruiters carry a req load (number of openings) of 10-20 or more.  Add to that most if not all ATSs do not make it easy to look up candidates.  So when you call and say “Hello, this is Bob” I might not know who you are.  Sorry, but that is the way it works.  So, when you call me say something like “Hello, this is Bob Barker returning your call about the sales opening in Poughkeepsie.  Then I might know who you are.

ATSs also do not make it very easy to keep track of the people you talked to last year or reminding me that I need to call you tomorrow.  CRMs do that but oh no, not an ATS.  That would be WAY too easy!  So if I cold call you again please be forgiving.  Also, if I forget to call, call me but be nice.

The Man

If you want to get hired, you must think like a recruiter and like a hiring manager.
Al Pollard