How Our ATS Helps Us Improving the Candidate Experience and Data Flow
NOTE: We based this article on our experience and insights.
Applicant Tracking Systems have become irreplaceable tools for recruiting and hiring. What is ATS? It’s a piece of software used by HR departments to sort and collect large quantities of applications together with the management and support of candidates during the recruitment process.
If the ATS is set up correctly, it can also have a positive impact on the perception of the employer brand by making the entire process smoother for a candidate. Our recruitment process of software developers is custom – which we covered in our article How to Design a Recruitment Process that Saves Weeks on Hiring Remote Developers. As a tech recruiting agency, we are using Recruitee as our Applicant Tracking System.
However, it’s important to mention that among the many features of Recruitee, we have never used it to search for resumes that contain keywords also found in the job description. Why? It may seem that such a function makes the recruitment process faster, but in reality, you lose many talented professionals just because of a missing word.
Our recruitment process in the ATS Recruitee
Companies often report that most of the time that is devoted to recruitment tasks can be partly replaced or accelerated through automation. Our recruitment process in Recruitee is semi-automated and straightforward. Firstly, for each position, we manually create a pipeline with stages, then, when a candidate applies for a specific IT position, the whole process is set in motion.
In Recruitee, the profile of the candidate is created automatically and sits within a specific stage in the pipeline. As mentioned earlier, we don’t allow the ATS to do the initial screening instead of our recruiters. We decide whether to proceed with the candidate or not and either manually move them onto the next stage or cut from the list. The stages are assigned to particular automated actions such as adding a task for the team members or sending an email to the candidate.
Also, we create an account in Recruitee for our clients at the beginning of each hiring process and link it to the specific job offer campaign. It is another way, besides Slack or other channels, for communicating up-to-date information to everyone involved. It allows our clients to view the pipeline and track both the progress of software developers and our progress as their RPO partner during the entire recruitment process.
How we turned Applicant Tracking System into our custom tool?
Among many ATSs, we chose Recruitee because of its possibility to be adapted to our needs and workflow. As a tech recruiting agency, we focus on hiring software developers, and we create our stages within the pipeline – this includes preparing a tech assignment.
We take into account the candidate’s experience and client’s time constraints and ensure a commitment to provide feedback in 3 business days at the latest. Hence, the candidate stays informed throughout the process. That’s why we try to automate at least a part of the recruitment processes to help us meet this ambitious goal.
Besides Recruitee, we use the Zapier tool – that allows picking a trigger that sets a Zap into motion, and that enables integration with other web apps. As a result, it gives us the ability to connect all recruitment process components into a single operational system. Before the recruitment process starts, we set up the specific stages in Recruitee and create a job questionnaire in Typeform. Typeform sends candidate applications to Recruitee with the help of Zapier and webhooks.
The applicant’s journey starts by reading a job ad and applying for a job position. The candidate’s application is sent automatically from Typeform to Recruitee, including the uploaded CV and social profiles (ex. LinkedIn, Github, StackOverflow). Recruitee also creates a profile of a candidate in the system.
With prior consent from the candidate, data is also transferred to ActiveCampaign – a CRM used by our marketing team. When candidates apply, we receive the notification on Slack, which helps us react faster. We also receive a notification when a task is created or completed on the candidate’s profile. We see who finished the task and when.
What data from Recruitee and other resources do we present to a client?
After interviewing our client and utilising a tech survey to dig into their goals and requirements, we establish the type of software developer required for their internal development team.
Before preparing a job offer containing all necessary information such as experience, skills, and responsibilities – we create a detailed Mission, Objectives, Competencies document. A MOC is a list of responsibilities, expected outcomes, and competencies; soft and hard skills that an IT specialist should possess to achieve them.
Our questionnaire in Typeform delivers primary data like CV, salary expectations, preferred programming language, availability, etc. Every time a candidate shows up in our Recruitee pipeline, we manually conduct the initial screening and decide to move them to the next stage, or reject. If we believe we’ve got a rockstar, we speed up the process because nobody wants to miss out on this type of employee. However, we never skip the actual interview and tech assignment stages of the recruitment process.
We present our clients with a full profile of a candidate – usually a list of the top 3 – 5 software developers that have completed our technical assessments. It contains our comments on the candidate’s solution, their potential team fit, and an evaluation of the technical skills from a competencies spreadsheet and home assignment score.
If you are looking for tips on how to find a professional technical recruiter, check out what we wrote in the article Technical Recruiter – What Shouldn’t You Miss Before Hiring One?
The candidate’s profile also contains expected salary, termination date, and information about the most exciting project the candidate has worked on, plus the candidate’s preferred tech stack.
Example recruitment process in Applicant Tracking System
We want to avoid being labeled as the next ‘bot-like’ company that sends general and automatic messages to candidates. That’s why we created custom communication every step of the way. Automations support our recruitment process, for example, when we reject a candidate Recruitee automatically generates a “send rejection email” task, which is displayed on the candidates’ profile.
However, we never send the email to the rejected candidates with a general copy. It would not deliver any feedback and value. We use the evaluation card feature and attach a specific reason manually. We do this simply because we honestly want our candidates to do better next time. We’ve also automated such tasks as presenting the candidate to our client, creating intro call documents, reminders to invite candidates to repositories, to evaluate their homework, etc.
Below is an example of an automated email sent to candidates after they agree to a scheduled call with us. It contains general information that each candidate needs to receive.
How do we calculate if our ATS is worth the investment?
First off, an ATS is a great time saver. Before Recruitee, we were using Streak and also checked a few trials of other Applicant Tracking Systems. Our recruitment team has highlighted that Recruitee is paying off because it saves them time and as a tool allows them to create more customized recruitment process stages.
With an ATS, our recruitment team can create a bigger talent pool automatically, schedule interviews in the calendar, and create tasks for each other. What is also essential, thanks to the well-organized process and the integrations is it creates a positive impact on the candidate’s experience. Plus it shortens our time to hire by one week.
Another measurement is functionality. The most significant advantage Recruitee holds over Streak is the use of advanced Boolean search filters to quickly identify previous applicants and their data who could potentially be great fits for current openings. With the Recruitee tool, we are also able to generate reports.
It helps us improve our internal processes, check and compare candidate sources – where are they coming from, and generate statistics that we use for future recruitment.
After getting familiar with all the features of Recruitee, we judged if the price we pay for the tool was fair. When using Streak, we paid $59 (€53) per user, per month. Other ATS tools have much steeper pricing options – often requiring the purchase of yearly plans, these pricing models are rarely presented on a transparent basis on their websites.
With an ATS service, it is necessary to run our own careers page that is advanced enough to add and close job offers constantly. We previously spent an additional €19 per active job opening per month in the Homerun ATS; this didn’t provide us with two-thirds of the functionality offered by Recruitee. We were paying up to €150 just for Homerun. Recruitee costs us around €149 per month, and the careers page is included in its ATS plan.
In Randstad Employer Brand Research from 2019, 78% of candidates confirmed they consider that the overall candidate experience they receive represents an indicator of how a company values its employees. The most often neglected area of employer branding is the communication that recruiters have with their candidates.
If you don’t track the applications that come in, don’t reply on time and don’t inform your potential candidates about the next steps, your company can quickly get out of the game. That’s why we value all kinds of tools that can help us with that.