By now, we are all painfully familiar with the term ATS (Applicant Tracking System). I say painfully, because there is a lot of pain involved with these systems. I am not talking about the pain of selecting and then implementing them – I am referring to the pain of actually using them and have them add benefit to your recruiting organization.
Remember Elmer Fudd? The great bard of cartoon hunting lore who incessantly chased that "wascally wabbit"? Fudd was a tracker. And thus my point. You track animals and you have relationships with people. No talented person in their right mind wants to be tracked. By their very name, ATS systems tell us all we need to know about their usefulness when it comes to recruiting. I commonly refer to these so called systems as Animal Tracking Systems. I think it is more accurate of what they are.
Let’s face it. The ATS was built to manage process and track information for the purpose of compliance, EEOC, OFCCP, the corporate legal counsel and HR weenies in the house. Sure, occasionally they kick out some tired, worn out and meaningless metric about time to fill, or number of positions filled in a quarter, but all the ATS really does is take the recruiting process on paper and put it on a server. No value add whatsoever to actual recruiting.
Recruiting isn’t about process or tracking. Great recruiting is about useful information, relationships, networking, needs-based consulting and exceptional communication. No ATS made yet has been able to do these things well. Nope, it comes down to a skilled recruiter being able to execute exceptionally well in all of these areas. Sure, a system can house the information necessary to help a recruiter make better decisions, but in the end, it really all comes down to how effectively the recruiter can execute when they get to the right talent. Sadly, ATS systems are ill equipped to add any value to this endeavor.
Any recruiting organization that seeks to add value to their company or client has to build and/or manipulate their current system into a TRMS (Talent Relationship Management System), so that the activities of real recruiting are enhanced by the system. The list of functionality necessary to do this properly is quite extensive, but it can be done, and has been done, in many right-thinking, recruiting organizations.
That said, the ATS providers continue to feed the recruiting masses the same old Elmer Fudd "tracking" approach, which only further erodes the value of recruiting to the organization they serve. The blame for this doesn’t lie with the ATS providers. Nope, it lies with the recruiting masses that keep accepting it and implementing it.
Wake up people! Did Fudd ever kill the wabbit?