According to legend an elephant graveyard is a place where elephants go to die.  For some unexplained reason over the centuries huge numbers of elephants have left their grazing grounds and secretly disappeared into the unknown never to be found again.

Many companies have successfully replicated this amazing legend by creating a confusing array of web pages that require candidates to navigate numerous mind numbing click-through's and gyrations before they reach the site of the actual graveyard; where ultimately they will die inside the ATS.

A  corporate ATS or applicant tracking system, also called a candidate management system, is a software application designed to help an enterprise to hopefully recruit employees more efficiently. But unfortunately most organizations have built a candidate graveyard where even some of the most promising candidates find an untimely death. Technology and process geeks mesmerized by the power of the ATS have worked with Human Resources to add numerous and often unnecessary candidate fields, added screening tests and even candidate survey’s. In their wisdom these experts make candidates fill out all their competencies and skills to the ninth degree, as well as a cornucopia of other mumbo-jumbo.

Some advanced ATS’s can strip candidate information and allow candidates to enter less information or even amazingly to port some information from their social networks but no matter, the average candidate is as good as DOA (Dead on Arrival). Corporate recruiters usually woefully trained but enamored by-product and vendor claims of amazing success enter keywords to find the best candidates. Unfortunately due to poor ATS design or lack of thought given to proper recruiting design many phenomenal candidates are never in the crosshairs of corporate recruiters.  For proof ask any experienced external recruiter how many times they have found a great candidate for a corporate hiring manager who wants to hire them only to be told by the internal recruiters that the candidate was already in the database. So why was the candidate not found and presented to said hiring manager? Why did the mighty ATS fail?

First an ATS can never replace the one-on one capability of a great recruiter who not only reviews the resume but talks and meets the candidate as well as does their candidate homework. The relationship they develop with the candidate and the manager trumps an ATS every time. Having said an ATS is a corporation requirement so what can a company do:


Technology is only as good as the people in a company who are:

1. Choosing the ATS or Technology Solution

Make sure its meets your current and future recruiting strategy. Choosing technology in a strategy vacuum is tantamount to corporate suicide.

2. Implementing it

Remember it’s recruiting technology. Your not trying to meet the goals of the IT, PR, Marketing, HR or Finance group. So make sure you have your recruiting guru’s work out the best recruitment process that will achieve your strategy. Then dont’ deviate.

3. Train their recruiters to Use it

An important but often missed opportunity. Just because they have used the technology in some previous role does not mean they know how to use it to meet your companies recruiting strategy. Here’s your opportunity to make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do to achieve success. Dont’ give them any wiggle room.

4. Who Re-enforce the Right Behaviours

Reward successful recruiters in how they use the system and listen to their advice in how it can better meet their needs. Address changes to the ATS based on your company's ability to recruit and in meeting the needs of your recruiting strategy.

5. Who Never Forget the Candidate

Too many companies have forgotten about the candidate. Treat everyone like you want to be treated. As you have heard me say many times, candidates are potential customers so treat them like they are. No matter if you hire the candidate or not, make sure their candidate experience is a great one, in todays connected world you can be sure, your company's reputation will be rewarded.

But beware if you send your candidates to the candidate graveyard as they may be lost and forgotten but believe me your company will not be because just like an elephant a candidate never forgets.

Views: 491

Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 11, 2011 at 12:36pm
This title reminds me of a bad recruiter/HR horror movie that I am sure we will all see one of these Halloween seasons. There are helpful tips/reminders for everyone. It is important to put yourself in the candidate shoes and respond to one of your own listings from time to time to see how the process works (or doesn't).
Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 12, 2011 at 3:00am
The ATS is the best and worst recruitment tool ever...dependent and depending on the users.
Comment by Francois Guay on October 13, 2011 at 7:27pm



You are so right on it being the best and worst tool. Unfortunately, it's often the worst. Trivia: Do you know that I was also almost named Valentino, since I was born on Valentine's day.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 13, 2011 at 10:12pm

@Francois--That's interesting how did you end up with Francois?

For me...I've always thought it to be a blessing and a curse...

...there is no comparison but at least I started out CUTE...

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 13, 2011 at 10:14pm

...a belated Happy Birthday to a Valentine's Day baby.

Comment by Francois Guay on October 14, 2011 at 8:24am


My mom loved it came close. Our descendants were some of the first to come to Canada in the 1600's and the earliest settler on my mom's side was named Francois. I am happy with my current  name although most people that hear my name expect a short, stocky mustachioed french guy with an accent vs. a clean shaven, six foot five, 230lb with zero accent in either language. So much for stereotypes. How did you get named Valentino.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 14, 2011 at 12:01pm


Good thing it wasn't April Fools could have been  Bubba!  Or Columbus Day...Columbo.  Or ...


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