If you are old enough to remember what it was like to search for a job before there was an internet, you also know how far we have come over the last 30 years. Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are completely different nearly two decades into the 21st century.
Two technologies are particularly helpful these days. The first is something known as the applicant tracking system (ATS). Although applicant tracking does offer implications for hiring and onboarding, its biggest benefits are realized during the recruiting process.
The other helpful technology is electronic onboarding. Electronic onboarding replaces legacy systems for filling out paperwork, making new hires comfortable with policies and procedures, handling initial training, and so forth.
Engineers have been working on applicant tracking for quite some time. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that it matured to the point of being viable. Today, a good ATS is non-negotiable among companies committed to competing for top talent.
So what is an ATS? It is an electronic system that provides the foundation for recruiting. It includes a number of different modules that bring order and efficiency to the process. An ATS system:
- collects resumes and applications
- screens applications according to qualifications
- ranks applications according to suitability
- presents HR managers with a short list of candidates
- collects candidate information for use after hire
- maintains a database to facilitate more efficient future hiring.
Applicant tracking enhances the experience for applicants by making the process extremely efficient. By applying initially through an ATS, applicants do not have to chase down HR managers, visit employers in person, and make multiple phone calls to follow-up. An ATS also reduces the chances of a candidate being matched to a job that is not suitable.
As much as an ATS can enhance the experience for job applicants, it does not offer applicants nearly as much as electronic onboarding. Suffice it to say that the onboarding process can sour new hires before they ever work their first shifts. Electronic onboarding seeks to prevent that from happening.
In the old days, the first couple of hours of the first day at work were spent sitting in the HR office filling out what seemed like a mountain of paperwork. They were tax forms and insurance applications to complete. There were employee manuals to read and sign off on. It was all rather tedious.
Once the paperwork was done, new hires were sent off to their managers or trainers and put right to work. There was very little time to actually learn anything. Back then, being tried in the fire was normal for new hires.
With electronic onboarding, a lot of that has changed. A good system interacts with a company's ATS to collect candidate information so that new hires do not have to submit it all over again. Any new information they do need to submit is done using an online portal or a mobile app at some point before the new hire's first day at work.
Electronic onboarding also affords the opportunity to get initial training done before that first shift. Training videos and quizzes are just one example of how this might work. New hires who complete their 'book learning' before actually sitting down to do the job find getting to work less intimidating than being thrown into the fire on day one.
Combining an applicant tracking system with electronic onboarding makes for a better experience for job candidates. Not embracing these two technologies just makes the recruiting and hiring process more difficult than it needs to be.