Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Evolution of a SaaS Applicant Tracking System

I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane, and give a short pictorial history of myStaffingPro applicant tracking system.


Our first product as a company was DialApp, an interactive voice response system that companies could use to automatically collect job applications over the phone.


Within a year, we built a web portal for reporting the applicant data collected over DialApp. We called the web site I can still clearly picture the brainstorming meeting we had to choose the web application name. I don’t think that name lasted a year!


Here we are in 2001 with our expanded application – this is our Build a List of Applicants feature. Notice we’re searching for a new name already. Kind of looks like fashion from the past, doesn’t it. But hey, we were proud of it at the time, and the functionality was robust.


New logo – new name!


In 2003 we streamlined the look of Build a List of Applicants a bit, added some shading, made it less crazy. We’ve still got the Quick Tools. Of course, there’s a lot more functionality not pictured here. We added a Requisition module, Sourcing module, and enhanced Reporting module.


In 2004 we released our Fast Track Edition, a SaaS applicant tracking system that could be implemented by the customer with no technical support needed. Previously, implementations required support from our client services and technical departments.


Fast forward to 2006 – the same Build a List of Applicants feature is displayed. The design is better, but we haven’t gotten rid of that awful teal color yet.


We’ve replaced teal with blue – hooray! Build a List of Applicants:

Plus, a new logo:


And now, we have a SaaS applicant tracking system with 10 years of feature rich development that offers over 75 add-on modules.

Build a List of Applicants:

Build a List of Applicants


Convergence 2011 – It’s All About the Cloud, Baby

The Spot Party at Convergence

The Spot Party at Convergence 2011

Atlanta, GA – Everywhere you looked, everywhere you listened, you caught some mention of “the cloud” this year at Microsoft Convergence 2011.  While walking around the Expo Hall, I noticed about 4 times the amount of cloud application hosting providers over the previous year.  Most focused on their ability to deliver Dynamics software into a cloud environment.

As a SaaS vendor whose been delivering HR applications on the web since 1999, I was a little confused about the hype of “the cloud”.  To me, the cloud was something I would add to a flow-chart 10 years ago to illustrate the internet.  “What’s the big deal,” I thought?  This is old news.

Flowchart using the (old) cloud:

myStaffingPro ATS diagram

However, it isn’t old news to companies considering moving their entire payroll, HRIS and financial systems to a server hosted at a data center somewhere in the world.  It’s a big step when you consider the complexity of the software, and its centrality to a companies’ mission.  It’s a big step when you think about the feeling of a loss of control by companies who have entire departments dedicated to maintaining those systems.

The “private cloud” I learned, isn’t a term to describe a secure cloud application (although it could be used in that way), but rather it describes a company’s ability to reserve a specific server in a specific data center for it’s private use.  Seems like that should be rather standard, but I guess it’s not so much.  Many cloud application hosting providers do not dedicate servers to specific customers, but rather bounce them around as needed.  That doesn’t work for organizations, like Canadian governments, that have specific laws surrounding the location of their data.

All of this is very good for traditional SaaS application providers.  As IT gets more and more comfortable with having their applications online, not only does it get easier for systems to integrate, it means they’ll be taking advantage of online software even more.

And that means I’m thankful for the (new) cloud.

5 Hiring Process Time Killers (And How to Fix Them with Technology)

Sometimes it just feels like there’s a lot of waiting during the hiring process.  Does this sound familiar?  Applicants apply online.  Someone in HR reviews the applications and pushes them to the hiring managers.  HR waits for feedback.  HR calls the hiring manager to try to speed the feedback process along.  The hiring manager decides on an interview.  Now we need to coordinate schedules.  Got the interview scheduled – great applicant!  Submit a background check.  But wait, we need more info from the applicant.  Wait for the applicant to fill out the forms.   Wait for the background check to be complete.  Try to get a hold of the applicant to submit the offer.  Wait for the applicant’s response.  Wait some more.  You get the picture.

A good applicant tracking system has tools to help speed all this along, and that will make everyone involved happier.  Check them out:

Time Killer # 1: Waiting for Feedback from the Hiring Manager

OK, so you’ve got a great career site and the applicants are flocking in.  HR shares some great applicants with hiring managers, but getting good feedback can be painful.  To speed things along HR can use email and an online portal to automatically push the best candidates to the hiring manager(s) for feedback.  The hiring manager simply clicks a link in an email, reviews the applicant information, then fills out his feedback about the applicant on a web portal.  All the feedback is recorded, and immediately submitted back to HR.  If the hiring manager takes too long to reply, he’ll receive an auto-email reminder. 

Time Killer #2:  Coordinating Schedules for an Interview

At the same time the hiring manager submits her feedback about the applicant, she can also indicate if she wants an interview scheduled.  If so, she can immediately enter her scheduling availability into the feedback portal.  An email is generated to the applicant, inviting him to an interview, and asking him to pick the best time available.  He picks a time, receives directions, information about what to bring, and an email reminder.  Both HR and the hiring manager are notified via email about the appointment that has been scheduled, and can easily add to the appointment to their calendars by clicking a link.  Multiple days are shaved off the hiring process by automating the feedback and interview scheduling.

Time Killer #3:  Collecting Information for a Background Check

Getting a signed background release form can be a major time killer, but it doesn’t have to be.  Upon scheduling an interview with the applicant, ask him to complete an online background check collection process before his interview date.  The applicant can enter his previous addresses, contact information, date of birth, SSN, and electronically sign the background release form, all in a secure, private online repository.  The information is ready and waiting to electronically submit to the background vendor after an offer is made.  NOTE:  Depending on state laws, the information might have to be collected after an offer is made, but it can still be automated.

Time Killer #4:  Communicating the Offer

Now you’ve found a great candidate and you want to make an offer.  Sometimes it feels like a game of cat and mouse to effectively communicate the offer to a candidate and get an absolute response.   Solution = build an offer workflow into your hiring process.  Not only can you configure a more traditional internal Offer Approval Workflow, you can also deliver the complete offer letter to the applicant through an Offer Portal.  Simply give the applicant a call, letting him know you would love to bring him on board, and instruct him to expect the offer letter via email.  He can then review it at his leisure, contact you for a counter offer, or electronically sign the offer letter, saving a lot of time and voice mail.  Plus, you end up with a complete, signed offer letter attached to the applicant’s record.

Offer Letter Review 

Time Killer #5:  Ordering the Background Check

Integrate the background check ordering process into your ATS.  If you’ve collected the information ahead of time, it can be pushed to a background vendor without having to duplicate data entry.  Results can be imported automatically into your system, making the process even slicker.

These are just a handful of pain points in the hiring process that can be addressed with technology.   Be creative, research technology providers, and ask their support teams to help you solve problems.  Often software providers have built in solutions you haven’t even heard of yet.  Tackle one problem at a time, and one day you’ll realize you have shaved days or weeks off your hiring process!