Why is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for Staffing and Recruiting Agencies different from typical Recruiting Software
Recruitment as a process is getting automated universally, whether it is being executed in-house, via a staffing, placement, recruitment agency or via an outsourced recruitment business process. With lots of software options available, and advances being made on a regular basis, implementing one is a no-brainer. It just needs to be done, otherwise you are going to lose out with respect to competition. To find the right software is the next problem, and a good way to reduce the list to what is relevant to your process is to check if the software was developed for in-house use, outsourced use or for use by staffing or recruiting agencies .
The difference in the software will be apparent and obvious when the difference in functional processes are identified. At the macro level the processes seem similar, but the God (or the devil) is in the details. Some of the more important differences between in-house recruiting needs and staffing organization recruiting needs are expanded here
An in-house organization does not deal with client acquisition, contracts, repeat business and contacts. Job openings are approved and are automatically assigned to them internally. Staffing companies however place a great deal of emphasis on acquiring clients, obtaining additional and repeat jobs from the same clients, penetrating to more contracts and options within other functions of the organization. The software needed for acquisition, nurturing and tracking clients, contacts and opportunities require powerful CRM like functionality, which is a zero or low priority for in-house organizations.
An in-house organization focuses a lot on evaluation and its related workflow of co-ordination. Being ultimately responsible for the choice of the candidate, the emphasis is to find the right methods and people to evaluate the candidate that fits the organizations culture. A lot of emphasis is also placed to provide the right evaluation tools to complete the assessment. Staffing companies pay more attention to the search process for obtaining candidates. They reach out to more options, store candidate banks, build relationships with good candidates and focus on giving their customers more, but accurate options, delivered quickly. The emphasis therefore is to link up to more sources, handle more volumes of candidates, leverage tools to make good shortlists, validate the match of the candidate for the job at the first level and to meet customer deadlines or priorities. The in-house organization would choose products with more applicant tracking capability in evaluation, while a staffing agency would look for depth in the search/ longlisting and speed capabilities of the software.
An-house organization does not have to worry about commercials of the effort. A staffing agency has emphasis on maximizing its revenue and its margins. Commercial terms, timeframes, priority of clients and candidates based on revenue potential are subtle but critical features for staffing companies, but find no place in the needs on in-house recruiting organizations. Staffing agencies complete a recruitment but tracking the terms of hiring and follow it up by billing while executing the process is critical. Contract and augmented staffing companies have additional processes in terms of recruiting these candidates, tracking their time and presence and billing clients based on actual work done. The recruitment processes of staffing agencies need to consider these downstream activities early enough to be effective for the organization.
An in-house organization does not worry about replacing candidates, or finding a suitable opening for a candidate that is going to coming out of contracts. Building longer time relationships with candidates is crucial as more and more candidates (and organizations) prefer to contract out work to complete a particular project. As the gig economy plays out candidates get more specialized and re-placing candidates is a crucial capability. Tracking the availability of candidates and checking availability during a period of time is a crucial capability.
If one asks the head of an in-house recruiting team what his/ her KRA’s are, the answer would be on aspects like number of positions filled vis a vis target, and the satisfaction of end user departments on the quality and speed of hire. Ask the same to the head of a staffing agency and the answer would be in terms of margin per recruiter, growth over the previous year and client satisfaction. When KRA’s are different the reports, alerts, notifications, trend indicators and other analytics of the software would be geared differently. The software needs here are considerably different.
From a collaboration and security perspective an inhouse agency would like to have staffing agencies as a collaborating partner, and candidates needs to stay at arm’s length – until evaluation. The staffing agency however must balance the client needs as well as treat the candidate as a collaborating partner. Staffing agencies have larger teams because they deal with multiple clients. The organizational, security, portal access and transaction keys of the software are significantly different.
As Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence step in, the optimization choices in the software will different. In-house AI/ ML will focus on satisfying end user departments or ensuring longevity of hires, while agencies will include the business value of providing the services to their customers into the intelligence equation.
There are many more such detailed capabilities. Yet there are numerous respected Recruitment and Applicant Tracking System providers who claim that their software is applicable for end user organizations as well as recruiting agencies. Given the above variations, that’s a tall order, and even if accomplished will make the software bulky, difficult to configure and difficult to use.
In the past, staffing agencies and in-house organizations compromised on their true needs in terms of software because of the lack of availability of software specific to their needs that is available at the right price points. With the availability of the cloud, software vendors are clearly focussing their products on one of the two – either staffing or inhouse. They realize that if one software is developed for both, it is a compromise which harms both parties.
At www.StaffingDigitized.com we identified very early on that this difference is very vital – so we are consciously focusing on the needs of the Staffing side of things. We decided not to use names like recruiting or hiring because we want to clearly serve the recruitment, staffing, executive search and placement agencies. Our processes are blatantly oriented to the agency side of things. We believe that with the arrival of the gig economy, staffing agencies are not going to reduce because of technology innovation, but increase it. Our road map will also be this way. The implications to our customers are obvious – if you are a staffing or recruiting agency our goal will be to delight you. If you like what you are hearing, do get in touch with us and experience this difference in our product range at www.StaffingDigitized.com