Are you stuck in the 90s?

5 min read
Fredrik Mellander

On March 10th,  Adway’s Senior Advisor of Digital Talent Acquisition, Sara Dasfelt, sat down with Fredrik Mellander, Head of Partnerships at Teamtailor, to dig deep on what exactly we’re getting (and not getting) out of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). 

ATS was created to make hiring easier. The only problem is: it didn’t. It has deviated far from its fundamental purpose and it’s time to evaluate whether it’s actually attracting the right candidates, helping hiring managers, and keeping the candidate first in mind. 

If you find yourself searching for ways to streamline your attraction and sourcing process so you can spend more time meeting the right people, this is the conversation for you! 

Guest Bio: More on Fredrik Mellander 

Fredrik Mellander is the Head of Partnerships at Teamtailor, a Stockholm-based recruitment and employer branding company that’s changing the way organizations recruit, brand themselves, and communicate with talent. Fredrik is responsible for forging allof Teamtailor’s strategic partnerships, exploring “unexplored” regions to chart new international growth, and educating the HR world on every nook and cranny of the “other end” of recruiting. 

The ATS of the 90’s: Have We Not Evolved?

The role of HR has changed dramatically in a short amount of time, and it’s only just recently that TA has been a key part of the process.  The traditional definition of an “Applicant Tracking System” is, simply put, a tool to help people manage applicant tracking. And its sole purpose hasn’t changed. It takes candidates from the initial inbox through the hiring stages, and it’s usually built to help in an administrative capacity. Right now, the TA space has changed so drastically, the traditional ATS of the 90’s simply can’t keep up. 

The Compelling Case For a Modern TA Suite

To hire great candidates, you have to make an important business case: we need a system that helps us cover the fundamentals of talent acquisition: attracting, engaging, converting and hiring candidates. Building up your talent ecosystem with niche systems will be the recipe to maintaining those fundamentals in the future and keeping the hiring manager on board through the process. 

Why are the ATS of the 90’s unable to accommodate our needs?

  1. They weren’t designed to find great candidates and can even prevent great candidates from applying. 
  2. They fail to cover key niches like marketing, converting and unbiased social advertising. 
  3. Some systems are so tedious, users start to hate the day-to-day recruitment process. This has a negative impact on the overall candidate experience.
  4. They’re not accessible, fun, or easy-to-use, so it’s difficult to train others on them.
  5. They make it difficult to get good data that can be used to drive decision making and further prove the business/ ROI case for TA to higher ups. 

Getting Passive Candidates to Notice Your Company

The vast majority of all candidates on the market are “passive candidates not actively seeking jobs. That’s because the best possible candidates are already employed (and probably thriving) at other companies. 

So how do you get them? By ensuring they know exactly what your company has to offer. Make it easy for them to click through your career page in less than two minutes and apply for the job in thirty seconds. A well branded career page tells the story of what it’s like to work at your company and is an enticing way to get passive candidates to take notice.

Getting Passive Candidates to Apply to Your Company

To get passive candidates to go the extra step and apply to your company, you have to make it simple and straightforward. Passive candidates don’t have resumes. They won’t spend hours putting one together or jump through hoops just to apply. Make the application “process” one in which they almost accidentally applied for a job. 

The Importance of a Smooth, Simple Application Process 

In the fine art of “candidate seduction,” it’s up to recruiters to make the candidate experience easy, fast and worthwhile. Outdated mindsets think making the application process complicated will ensure the most diligent candidates rise up to the task. This is another 90’s attitude, Today’s best candidates simply can’t be bothered. They value a process that’s easy, transparent, and lowers thresholds. 

Delivering an Easy, Engaging Candidate Experience 

It’s up to recruiters to lay out an optimized candidate experience:

  1. Communicate the why. What’s in it for the candidate? Sell the company and the role and deliver the “wow factor.” 
  2. Strategize for mobile and then optimize accordingly. Be as mobile-friendly as possible because, odds are, that’s where the best candidates are viewing information about your company and interacting with your TA team. 
  3. Ask a few filtering questions. Instead of going right in for the resume, guide the experience and keep it engaging. 
  4. Strip it down to brass tacks. Maybe you make it so simple, it’s just asking for the candidate’s name and contact info so the company can reach out. 

Why Mobile Optimization Matters

When it comes to why mobile optimization matters, it’s all about the data. It’s super important to lower the thresholds for mobile applicants in the application process because their conversion rates are low and their drop off rates are high. 

Here are a few interesting numbers around mobile optimization from Adway’s ads over the last six months: 

  • Conversation rate: the share of mobile career page visitors who registered an application was 47% lower than desktop users.
  • Drop Off rate: the risk of a mobile candidate abandoning an application halfway through was 31% higher compared to a desktop user.

Here’s how you can lower the thresholds of the mobile candidate experience: 

  • Make it easy to upload cover letters.
  • Don’t force unnecessary account creation.
  • Make descriptions readable and easy to understand.
  • Remember: you’re competing with the coffee machine, the evening. commute, the first relaxing after-work moment, and much, much more. 

Fredrik’s Top Two Takeaways 

  1. Think of this process as your New Year’s Resolution! You need to make sure you set a goal that’s achievable and actually enjoy doing it. That will make it easier for you to deliver an epic candidate experience.
  2. The aim of your ATS ecosystem is to focus on recruiters, productivity, hiring managers, engagement and deliver a world-class candidate experience. 

Closing Thoughts: Recruitment is a Marketing Function 

At the end of the day, recruiting is a marketing function. But, if you compare the toolbox marketing professionals are given with what recruiters are working with, it doesn’t match up. It’s time to empower everyone in TA to explore marketing-focused systems and solutions so we can win the best candidates, no matter where they are! 



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