Unemployment rates are some of the lowest the United States has seen since 1969; while this is a sign of economic confidence, it’s not always good news for employers. The US Department of Labor reported there are 6.66 million job openings in the United States. But only 6.56 million people are searching for employment, creating a labor shortage for employers looking to hire qualified talent.
For quite some time, industries like nursing, manufacturing, trucking and IT have sounded the alarm about skill shortages. The recent low unemployment numbers in the US are not only exacerbating industry skill shortages that already existed, but also creating skill shortages in industries that haven’t previously experienced them.
According to some economists, this labor shortage will only worsen with time. This intensifies the pressure on recruiters and makes it necessary for them to employ more efficient and expedient methods to source and hire talent. Many of these staffing professionals are turning to recruiting technologies and applicant tracking systems (ATS) for assistance in sourcing, screening and hiring talent. Yet recruiters have a seemingly endless number of options and capabilities to choose from.
Because it can be difficult to select the right one, I recommend HR professionals consider five essential features when purchasing an ATS:
- Easy-to-use interface. A significant hindrance to identifying and hiring the right talent is an ATS that makes the staffing process complex and cumbersome. The best ATS solutions have simple dashboards where recruiters and hiring managers have access to all the information they need to source candidates, screen for top talent, schedule interviews and hire new employees.
- Torture-free application process. Most candidates are applying for multiple open positions. One way to make your organization stand out is by selecting an ATS that offers an easy-to-use interface that also supports the application process. You want candidates to have a positive experience with your company, and that begins with the technology that facilitates your initial interaction with them.
- Ability to source passive candidates. Given the gap between the number of job seekers and open jobs, recruiters must tap into workers who may not be actively searching for a new job. A powerful ATS can lessen the load for recruiters by using artificial intelligence (AI) to run queries that find candidates who are a good fit but may not know about or be seeking a new opportunity. This ability to source from a broader applicant pool allows recruiters access to top talent that can be difficult to find in this tight labor market.
- Collaboration tools that bridge gaps. If speed to hire is critical, look for ways to streamline the process between recruiters and hiring managers. The responsibility for hiring organizational talent can’t live within just one department – it must be a collaborative process in which everyone involved has access to the information they need to make decisions and extend an offer to the right candidate promptly.
- Automated communication with candidates. Today’s candidates are accustomed to having immediate access to information via text, instant messaging, apps, email and Google search. If a candidate doesn’t have timely information, you risk losing them to a competitor. Make sure the ATS you select provides automation that enables candidates to remain informed throughout the hiring process.
The tight U.S. labor market rewards recruiters who are quick, efficient and responsive. What’s the key to finding great candidates before others do? Emerging ATS technologies that simplify the hiring process for recruiters, hiring managers, and most importantly, for the candidates you want to hire.
As published in the Staffing Stream