Why You'll Never Meet Your Best Candidate

Are your A-level candidates getting trapped in a digital "black hole"?

Many candidates blame digital applicant tracking systems for blocking their resumes from ever being viewed by the eyes of an actual human -- and a recent article in the Wall Street Journal confirms their suspicions.

So if your company is like most, the best candidates may never actually make it into your office. Here's how to ensure they do.

Who Hired Frank N. Stein?

Every year, recruiting consulting firm CareerXroads submits a candidate's resume to the Web site of every entrant on Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The candidate sports a stellar education, an ideal work history, and an impressive mastery of the keywords required to catch the attention of any applicant tracking system (ATS) software.

The candidate in question is also imaginary -- a fact noted in the final line of the one-page resume.

Here's the response this year's fake candidate, Frank N. Stein, received:

  • 64 of the 100 companies to which "he" applied provided no response whatsoever.
  • 28 of the companies sent him a form notice when the position was filled or he wasn't in consideration.
  • Six hiring managers called to schedule an interview with him. Only two of the 100 noticed that he didn't even exist.

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According to CareerXroads, the most shocking part of this year's results isn't that 98 percent of companies failed to have a human being read Mr. Stein's entire resume before making a decision. It's that a 28 percent response is the highest response rate that any imaginary top candidate has ever received.

If real flesh-and-blood top candidates are receiving a similar "silent treatment" from employers, it's no wonder that they are taking their job hunt elsewhere. Here's how to become the "elsewhere":

Tips for Connecting With Top Candidates

  1. Use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to stay in touch.
    Nearly all ATS systems allow for automated email responses to be programmed into the system. Ask your HR team to use these to notify candidates that their applications have been received, to auto-update them on the timeline, and to give them the "in/out" response they're looking for. You'll keep top candidates interested -- even if the answer is "not this time" -- by demonstrating that your company cares about their time and effort.
  2. Never rely solely on the ATS.
    Applicant tracking systems can help human resources departments sort and organize a great deal of information about candidates in a very short time -- but they should never be used in place of human connections or insight. Instead of relying solely on the ATS's assessments:
    • Instill a human reviewer.
      Don't be among the 98 percent of companies who failed to identify a fake candidate simply because no one read to the bottom of the one-page resume.
    • Implement and use an employee referral system.
      When your current A-players recommend candidates, they're recommending people whose skills they know and trust, and whose personalities are likely to be compatible with your company's culture. In other words, employee referrals are likely to be exactly the top talent you're looking for.
    • Connect to your preferred candidates personally.
      Even if the response is a "no, not this time," if a candidate shows promise, send that notice via a phone call or personal email. By making a human connection, you demonstrate your interest in top candidates and encourage them to reapply at a later date.

Want to Catch Top Candidates? Your Staffing Partner is Your Strongest Ally

When you work with a staffing partner on a direct-hire job opening, you gain access to a number of benefits, like:

  • Expert recruitment and candidate assessment. Staffing partners specialize in building relationships -- which means they never let a computerized system get in the way of making a human connection. A staffing firm succeeds when it can match the right person to a client's particular needs, so recruiters take the time to ensure a candidate is the right fit before forwarding his or her application.
  • Use of a variety of source tools. Human resources staff often limit their search tools because their time is limited. With so many tasks on their plates, they simply cannot devote the same amount of time to recruiting and assessment as a staffing firm. With more time available to prioritize the search, your staffing partner can leverage a wide range of tools and relationships in order to find the best candidates.
  • Better hires in less time. Companies implement ATS and similar systems in order to reduce the time spent on sorting resumes and considering candidates. When you work with a staffing partner, however, your company gains the benefits of saved time while preserving the high-quality candidate assessment only a human connection can provide.

Never miss out on another top candidate again! Trust Here's Help Staffing and Recruiting with your hiring and staffing needs. Contact us today to get started.