Every week, the jobs churn creates hundreds of new roles, which will be eagerly snapped up by any one of the surfeit of candidates that the recession has created. Much has been made of the quality of the candidate pool, where mass unemployment across every level has meant that there are more than enough highly qualified candidates to go around – but this has, ironically, meant that employers and recruitment agencies may have to work harder to sift through the stacks of suitable (and occasionally unsuitable) candidates who may be applying.
Obviously, technology has made a considerable difference over the years, and one of the most valuable weapons in a recruiter's arsenal is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is a sort of central repository of recruitment information. It can be used by both enterprise and by recruitment agencies to significantly streamline the process, and while it can't make decisions for them, it can make the process far more straightforward, which gives a better chance of finding the right person for the right job.
The usage of ATS is already having a profound effect on the business of recruitment, which has experienced a number of peaks and troughs over the past decade and a half, and which is currently languishing at a relatively low ebb. Cash-strapped companies are looking for ways of hiring that don't cost the Earth, and the availability of real and targeted data offered by ATS is taking many of the costs out of hiring. Indeed, with a fully-functioning ATS in place, companies can often find suitable candidates without going through recruiters at all – and that could save them tens of thousands of euro on a single position, depending on salary and seniority.
Still, pure recruitment is not the only function of some modern Applicant Tracking Systems, which often incorporate CRM and talent management. Like practically every other form of technology, integration is the buzz word of the day, and while ATS systems can exist in isolation, there is a trend towards integration that is being pioneered by some innovators operating the field.
Leading this trend towards integration is Irish company Caliber, which is currently offering levels of flexibility heretofore uncommon in the ATS field. It has developed its own architecture which allows for huge volumes of data, coupled with fast delivery of that data to the end user. But in perhaps its most innovative move, it has successfully integrated its product with Google Apps, which allows for unprecedented levels of communications and collaboration – essentially, it will allow for everything from contacts to calendars to e-mails to be shared from any computer anywhere in the world, all over the one system.
"No other product in ATS offers this level of integration," said John Phelan of Caliber. "You have some CRM products out there that come with significant detachment between mail, calendars and CRM functions. But in modern business everything needs to be integrated."
The integration offered by Caliber includes such innovative elements as searches through LinkedIn, the business communication website which offers about 55 million searchable profiles of professionals. And this sort of on-line networking is changing the way companies approach the whole business of recruitment.
"In the current economy, recruiters are advertising less and less," said Phelan. "Now, they are more likely to be headhunting in LinkedIn. But we have incorporated a specially filtered LinkedIn search, where you can plug in the criteria of the job spec and you will get back people with specific skills sets. We also have a clever e-mail guesser facility, because LinkedIn does not supply contact details. But our system can guess a candidate's e-mail quite easily – in fact, around 95% of e-mail addresses conform to a limited number of formats.
"We're following a new trend, which is recruiting on social networking sites," he continued. "People are paying attention to new technological advantages, and we have put the whole lot together on a single cloud offering, which can be accessed from anywhere, on any device – and that means that you can even save on server costs."