Ditch the Animal Tracking System – How to Move from ATS to TRMS…

A few weeks back I wrote about how the ATS (Animal Tracking System) adds no value to recruiting. There was a pretty robust set of comments around some of my assertions and the esteemed Kris Dunn of FOT tried to fire me. While we are still in negotiations over my reinstatement here at FOT, Kris threw out a challenge of sorts that would allow me to return to FOT under probation. He asked me to outline the top 5 configurations you can make to your ATS to capture more meaningful information or data, and actually drive recruiting related results. In the event you missed it, here is the money quote and gauntlet “throw down” from KD:

MH – if the ATS doesn’t normally capture the right info, give me the top five things I  should configure my Taleo system to capture. The most useful tweak I made was current/goal salary just so I could cut through the BS. Give me more items, and maybe, just maybe, you can come back on under probation.”

So, how can you convert your compliance driven, HR focused, process managing, ATS into a true Talent Relationship Management System? Never one to shy away from a challenge, here are 3 things you should consider customizing your current ATS to accomplish so that you can get better recruiting related results.  I would give you 5 right now, but here at FOT we like to keep a little suspense in the mix. Plus, I am so long winded that the word count is going to get ridiculous, and KD is going to censure me (or fire me again).

1.  Capture Decision Making Criteria – I don’t care how good of a recruiter you are, you will never get a high performer to leave company A to go to company B, unless they have a career wound. One way to uncover the career wound(s) of a candidate is to identify the key decision making criteria they will use to make a career change. You can ask the question a lot of ways using the candidate profile or candidate question aspect of your ATS (if you don’t have this functionality you are pretty much screwed and need to find a new vendor partner). Here is one suggestion: “what are the key decision making criteria you will use when deciding upon your next career opportunity or situation?” We recommend providing a drop down list of common DM criteria for the candidate to choose from. Besides the obvious advantage to gathering this information on specific candidates, the recruiting engine will begin to formulate DM criteria by geographic location, industry, job category, position etc.   Recruitment branding, advertising, messaging etc. can all be tailored as a result to maximize recruiting effort and attract the right candidates. This data can also be used to identify trends and make adjustments to your current employee culture to acquire better talent.

2.  Identify Who Influences The Decision – No one makes a career move or career decision in a vacuum or on their own. We all have colleagues, friends, family members, mentors, advisors, pastors, rabbis (the list is really endless) with whom we consult when making a big decision. A career move is a big decision. Identify and capture, early in the process, who influences the career decision for the candidate. The obvious use of this information is to influence the influencer. Suffice it to say that you have to have a strategy to educate and influence those that have the ear of your candidate. The more passive or higher performing the candidate is, the more important this becomes. A side effect of having this data? You can identify which groups of people are most influential to candidates in certain job categories and set your recruitment brand in front of these groups, so there is more awareness about your organization within the pockets of people who influence the majority of candidates in your industry. By the way, most utilize someone in their company or in their industry space to bounce ideas off of. This becomes a great networking source for you, as well as another possible prospect.

3.  Get RAD – RAD stands for Recruiting Activity Development. Recruiters need to stay focused on recruiting , not HR activities, in order to be great at what they do. At BFC, we teach and train recruiters how to focus on being RAD, even helping recruiters with how to plan their day in order to get better results. Because most ATS systems are designed to manage and track information and process, rather than help recruiters with executing recruiting activities, it becomes necessary to rethink and redesign how your ATS is used. Take a deep dive into the activities that are tracked in your system and ask “why does this activity exist?” If the answer is not directly related to achieving a recruiting related result, then you need to abandon it, re-label and refocus it, or turn it over to someone who handles process and administration. A great example is call tracking of passive prospects, suspects and candidates. Monitor how often you are touching the high performing talent you are after using your ATS systems. This is usually best accomplished using the contact/call/communicate functionality of your ATS.

Those are the three (3, tres, drei) for today. I will provide you with two (2, dos, zwei) more in a later post. In the meantime, feel free to email me, if you want some help with executing these ideas. I have to get back to making recruiting calls, catching up on all things ESPN and rocking out to some 311 so I will see you all later!

FOT Background Check

Michael Homula is the founder of Bearing Fruit Consulting, a national recruiting consulting firm based out of Michigan. Prior to founding BFC, Michael served as a Director of Recruiting/Talent Management for multiple companies in the Financial Services industry. Like children in Sparta, Michael was cast out into the wilderness at age 7, and was only allowed to return after he had made his first 100 fills as a full life-cycle recruiter..

5 Comments

  1. Jessica Lee says:

    hmmm. interesting post. and quick! better get some of these ideas patented.
    i’ve honestly never thought too much about #2, who influences decisions. this certainly comes out in my chats with candidates and you can begin to learn who turns to his wifey or her mother for consultation… but i’m going to think about how to get this info early on and better leverage it. dumb question on my part – do you just ask directly, homula? is there a more tactful way to approach this? i think i could come up with some “clever” ways to get this info, but just wondering how you go about it.
    looking forward to #4 + 5.

  2. Thanks JLee. Most recruiters don’t think about who influences the decision. Once you know who influences the decision you can influence the influencer…especially when it’s a spouse. A while ago I was being recruited by Starbucks and the Director of North American Staffing at the time, Jason Warner, found out my wife loved Starbucks and harbored a dream of being a barista. He sent her a package in the mail with a Starbucks green apron, some coffee and book on making coffee creations. Good stuff!
    As far as how to ask. I find that direct is usually best. After I have identified the DM criteria I would normally ask “and who influences your DM criteria for your next career opportunity…who do you turn to for advice and guidance for your career?”. You can’t ask that question unless you have already built some rapport or have a some relationship with a candidate and that is why most transactional recruiters are afraid to ask or there is an uncomfortable moment when they do ask.
    Hope that makes sense!

  3. Moving from ATS to TRMS Over at FOT

    Is that enough of an acronym tease for ya? Just a quick note to alert you all to one of my latest posts over at Fistful of Talent on converting your ATS to a TRMS. I provide some guidance on

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