Allyn Bailey and Tracey Parsons recently recorded a new episode of The RM Rebelcast which I really liked and want to share. The episode is titled RMs Dirty Little Secret – The Application process Su**s and We Know It. This episode is filled with lots of wisdom about the apply flow experience provided by applicant tracking systems (ATS). I’ll call out and comment on some of the key moments in the podcast, but really, the whole show is worth listening to on your own.

(3:40) “We have become nose-blind to how stinky, cr*ppy, [and] smelly the applicant process is”.

After spending countless company resources on cultivating an attractive and desirable company brand, it is far too easy to send candidates through an application experience that will tear all that hard work down. Allyn and Tracey remind us that the applicant tracking system (ATS) your company has in place was carefully selected and implemented with the hopes that it would be the solution you needed.

You might feel stuck with the ATS you have but there are ways you can transform it so it provides the experience you actually want it to.

Why is an ATS so important to candidates?

Your ATS is the first point of contact where candidates will judge your company’s words against its actions, making it incredibly important to make this experience count. If you claim to be modern, fresh, and dynamic with a great careers site only to push your candidates towards outdated relics to apply, the disconnect between your brand identity and your ATS is obvious and jarring.

The Cause

(5:24) “We are serving the wrong masters when we are implementing [ATS software]”.

It’s true. Companies can fall into the trap of creating an application process that serves HR’s or Legal’s needs, forcing candidates to labor through arduous questionnaires, often with the sole purpose of collecting quantifiable data used solely to prove that the team is doing their job. This creates an experience that leaves candidates feeling disconnected and frustrated.

We know that candidates do not respond well to out-of-date, clunky and repetitive application processes. Is the only option to tear out and replace your existing system? No!

How InFlight can really make a difference

(5:19) “It is possible to make an ATS an elegant process”.

Just because your current ATS software is giving you standard out-of-the-box feelings, doesn’t mean it can’t be shaped into a more powerful tool. This is where InFlight makes a difference. InFlight empowers companies to transform their existing ATS into a user experience that perfectly aligns with their employer brand. Which simplifies the application process, and provides a positive candidate experience. InFlight helps to reinforce organization’s recruitment marketing strategies through their ATS with better branding, better data, and better candidates. Seamlessly integrating with your current software so you can do more with what you already have.

Checkout this Rally guide on the 50 ways you can amp up your employer brand.

Common ATS Headaches

One of the most common issues with out-of-the-box ATS solutions is account creation. The account creation process is usually such a pain that it turns candidates away and is a barrier that causes up to 90% of candidates to abandon their job application.

(7:35) “If I come across having to put a login into a system, I walk away. Oh yeah, its the greatest barrier of all time!”.

Instead of asking candidates to create an account, InFlight starts the apply flow with a basic information request and defers the account registration to the end of the apply flow. Not only does this remove the up-front barrier, but it also reduces information input redundancies. Once the application has been submitted, candidates are asked to create an account so they can easily check their application in the future.

Allyn and Tracey also discuss how inaccurate resume parsing leads to candidates forgoing optional fields out of frustration, leaving applications partially finished.

(6:32) “[To] have them upload their resume, [then] have it parsed like cr*p into the application form [makes no sense]”.

It’s frustrating for candidates and it means recruiters often miss out on critical information.

Resume parsers are imperfect. InFlight parses resumes in real-time and shows candidates the areas with missing information so they know exactly which required fields need their attention. Integrations with Google address autocomplete and interactive fields, like sliders for expected pay, encourage candidates to provide accurate answers.

Finally, Allyn and Tracey discuss how candidates that don’t get the job are affected by the application process. By combining your employer brand with your ATS and making the user experience a priority, you can create positive brand associations and experiences – even if they didn’t get an interview. This increases the likelihood of candidates applying for future positions, and even spreading the word to others that your company is worthwhile.

Case Study

Allyn and Tracey discuss how only 8% of candidates who press the apply button, finish the application process. A statistic we are all too familiar with. Schneider was experiencing a disconnect in their candidate application experience – they had a beautifully on-brand careers website, but users were dissuaded by the stock Taleo apply process. This resulted in low top-of-funnel numbers and reduced candidate conversion when users hit the Taleo account creation step.

By implementing deferred account registration, candidate drop-off at the registration page was reduced by 48%. Schneider’s InFlight enhanced Taleo applicant experience is now fully mobile, cohesive, and is improving funnel conversion rates with more completed applications.

Is your ATS holding you back?

Candidates often apply for multiple jobs, which means they are experiencing multiple companies ATS’. Is yours competitive? Will your ATS be enough to convince candidates that your company is the best choice?

While the future of work may not be clear, one thing is: candidates need to be the focus of the recruitment process.

Want to learn more? Take a look at our talent acquisition and apply flow overlay solutions to see how the InFlight Employee Experience Platform allows you to take complete control of the look, feel, and interactions a candidate has with your ATS.



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