An irritated sourcer? Is that a good thing for an ATS vendor?

Kelly Dingee Executive Search, Kelly Dingee, Recruiting, Sourcing

I am so irritated. Over 96 characters. 100 if I’m lucky.

I almost always tell recruiters to search their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) first when seeking candidates.  My advice isn’t new and I get really grumpy when people say they don’t want to or there’s nothing of value in there.  I think there is and I think they just can’t find the value because the search feature sucks.

And I’m irritated with mine, because the search box limits me to 96-100 characters.  See, I’ve been making a whole hearted effort to follow my own advice; I know incredible people are in that ATS, maybe they responded to an ad applied on their own or were sourced.  But I know they’re there.  And I do have a few hires from the past year that we sourced from our ATS…they’re some of the best hires for me….because we found them a month or month(s) ago, started a dialogue and then eventually we had a client that was the right match.  Those hires feel great!

Now back to the ATS search debacle, let me say I do get options…like all word and any word searches and there’s a plethora of drop down menu boxes because I think they think a monkey is doing this. And thank goodness there is Boolean.  Only 96-100 characters of space to work the bool, but it is an option.

I was so happy to hunt down the Boolean help sheet which, bless their heart, wasn’t embedded in the search page for easy reference but hunted down through the help menu.  And it was awesome to find my ATS had gone old school with commands written out instead of implied or any syntax shorthand (let’s say “-” for “AND NOT”).  I am just so stunned with such great support and options that people aren’t fighting for a chance to search their ATS.

And I get a bit more irritated because while I’m afforded the luxury of my favorite command Near (it is why I keep using Bing), that has four characters, “AND” has three, “OR” two, and “AND NOT” has seven. So my great big keyword budget of 96-100 characters is slowly being eaten away by commands and syntax.  Quotes, parentheses, etc., all eat into what I can build as well.

Here’s what I want…double, yes double the space.  I want the ability to create search strings that can flex their muscle and search by title and skills and degrees and employers …if I  want to. I want a search box bigger than what Google offers.  And I want it to display my whole search string as I write it.  Why do I want double? I’m not searching LinkedIn or other social media profiles where I have to play keyword bingo.  I may have a few of those in my system but I have resumes that should be title and skill and company keyword rich.  So let me build a bad ass search string….give me the space to do what I need to do without limits.  I’ll take a 1000 character search box if you’re bold enough to go there.

I also am just going to offer some advice.  Google launched this product a bit ago..maybe you’ve heard of it? Well look at all their great training videos on YouTube…there are a ton of real life users you could get to do the same thing for your ATS.  Do it publicly, set up a private channel or….and this is really wild……embed them on your own website.

As for me?  I’m going to continue to fight the good fight, and search what seems like the unsearchable. And I’m going to keep nagging my rep.  And If I have to build my own search materials and training videos I will.  But seems like that’s something that the customer should be supplied with, hell, it might even be a selling point!  (I consult by the way…)

Kelly Dingee

Kelly is an HR Pro focused on recruiting Temp and Executive Talent in the Hospitality Industry and a 10 year writing veteran on FOT.