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Recruiters As Service Providers
(September 21, 2007) Because there's no applicant tracking system, there's no administrivia. So goes the current thinking about transformations in recruiting. The system is broken because the tools are misaligned.
The skill set required to interact with a complex software system are not the skills required to interact with a complex network. Social savvy is not administrative skill. Sales people are social and upbeat while introverts do better with keyboards.
In other words, seeing an ATS as a recruiting tool is like telling shy people to build a vibrant network of connections. The two types of people are both necessary but unlikely to inhabit the same body.
This view is so true that an entire universe of "TPRs" (third party recruiters) springs forth every economic upturn. Seduction, the underbelly of great persuasive recruiting, is the tool of TPRs. For as long as I have been around the industry, there have always been voices that say "Recruiting should be done the way TPRs do it." These days, this pitch includes a heavy emphasis on CRM tools, service level agreements and a standard trashing of the ATS industry.
If only it were that simple. This is not a binary problem where something is good or it isn't. It's a complicated world where some things work in some places and some things don't. It's rare to find successful products that are as terrible as "experts" want to make them.
You can always tell the experts. They tell you that some things are good and some things are bad because, well, that's what experts do. Mostly, it depends.
An ATS is a fantastic tool in a variety of settings. If your recruiters need to be extroverts, don't use one. If you are doing a lot of repetitive hiring in a market flush with candidates, use one.
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