HallwayTen years ago, candidates’ resumes were still stored in those huge filing cabinet, similar to the ones you might see when visiting a dentist’s office. Although some people still use the paper method, the advent of the applicant tracking system has helped a lot of recruiters become more productive. This was the beginning of not only increased productivity and efficiency, but also more accountability.

Several technologies have impacted the staffing industry in a big way, creating serious productivity improvements:


The applicant tracking system (ATS) was first used in the early ’90s. Since then, it has gained a strong foothold in the industry, thanks to its ability to digitize the recruitment process. With one central electronic database, it’s much quicker and much easier to manage resumes and find candidate information.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, it is estimated that 60 percent of all companies have some type of ATS — but that leaves another 40 percent still using those old filing cabinets.

Sourcing Technology Solutions

Aggregators, job boards, social media — they have all played roles in the quest to find the perfect candidate. These technology helped to make sourcing candidates much more time- and cost-effective.

However, with increased access arose a new set of challenges. Whether you’re sourcing through AIRS, Talent Filter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Monster, or CareerBuilder, it’s a numbers game. The sheer amount of available data is overwhelming.

Sourcing used to be a matter of “Who has the largest database?” When all our databases are in the millions, however, it’s now a matter of “How do we cut out the garbage?”

Matching Candidates (and Recruiters) to Jobs

Sourcing technology greatly increased the speed and ease with which recruiters could pair resumes and jobs — but simply aligning resume keywords and job descriptions leaves out an important aspect of recruiting: people optimization.

Matching a resume to a job description is not only hard, but impossible (the information needed is simply not found in job requisitions or candidate resumes). Keyword-matching through ATSs does not produce useful results.

Is there a better way to fill jobs? We’d say, “Yes!”

ChairThe future is using data analytics that match job positions to the right recruiter. That is someone who specializes — and has succeeded — in filling these types of jobs in the past. This type of performance-based matching brings jobs to search firms that they are great at filling, and it matches hiring recruiters with search-firm recruiters who specialize in filling relevant roles.

ATS, sourcing technologies, and performance-based matching have all paved the way for recruiters to work more efficiently. This latter innovation in particular promises to be one of the biggest productivity boosters for busy recruiters to date — and the most dangerous, in terms driving transparency and accountability.

Employer Responsiveness Ratings

Companies like Yelp, eBay, and Angie’s List are at the forefront of the rankings tend, allowing consumers to rate the services they receive. Eighty-eight percent of people trust online ratings and reviews as much as personal recommendations. Why? Because they work!

For example, riders can grade their Uber drivers on the cleanliness of their vehicles, their level of courtesy, the promptness of pickup, etc. All of this information helps other riders find great drivers.

The ratings can also be good for business: on Yelp, for instance, a one-star ranking improvement can translate to a 5-9 percent revenue increase.

Can such rankings be applied to recruiting? We at Scout think so, and we have applied this ranking concept to our recruitment marketplace. We think this is a huge step forward, a significant game-changer that drives accountability. Search firms now have a way of evaluating a company’s responsiveness.

For example, Scout rates companies based on their activity, including how quickly they respond to candidate submissions, whether or not they let candidates “expire,” and whether or not they provide useful comments when declining talent. A company that sits on an ideal candidate and then loses them to another employer would likely receive a low responsiveness rating.

Ranking acts as a motivational tool to encourage employers to take action more quickly and improve their scores. Recruiters have leverage when talking with hiring managers: The hiring manager’s actions (or lack thereof) can affect their rating — and that will affect the candidates they receive.

We believe in the power of ratings as communication, motivation, and improvement tools, and early indications are that the responsiveness rating feature is driving results for employers and search firms. Companies are becoming more responsive every day, and search firms are taking note and rewarding the most responsive companies with the best results. Forty-five days after the employer responsiveness rating was introduced, we saw a 22 percent increase in candidate submissions and a 16 percent boost in acceptances.

Search Firm Accountability

ClockRecruiters aren’t off the hook. Employers can rate their performances as well. For instance, if a search firm consistently sends in candidates who do not meet requirements, the recruiters’ rankings will suffer accordingly.

This level of accountability is more important than ever to companies who use search firms. The average direct-hire search firm fee rose by 6 percent last year. Given the rising costs search firms, companies wants performance, plain and simple.

Some call this form of ranking “enforced transparency.” You can’t control what is said about you or your company other than by providing the best solution/service and being proactive in response to negative trends. Embrace this transparency. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s not going away.

So far, user feedback to our ranking system has been enthusiastic. Recruiters and companies alike agree that this system of checks and balances holds them both accountable, making for a much more fulfilling way to work together.

And just think — if this doesn’t work, we can always go back to those big metal filing cabinets.

KenKen Lazarus has been a cofounder, CEO, director, and advisor for more than a dozen technology-based startups during his twenty-year career. Prior to joining Scout in 2013, Lazarus served as CEO of Lilliputian Systems, CEO of ACX, cofounder of DataXu and cofounder of Ekotrope. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.S. from Duke University. Lazarus, who is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, has served as an MIT Visiting Committee Member and holds more than 20 patents.


seanSean Bisceglia’s success began early in his career when he founded TFA, a marketing technology company that he sold to Leo Burnett Worldwide. Bisceglia, a serial entrepreneur, acquired CPRi with William Blair & Company in 2003 and achieved growth of more than 200 percent in less than two years, turning it into a nationally recognized staffing firm that he then sold to Aquent, LLC. 


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