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July 18, 2002
Choosing a Staffing Management Solution
by Susan Van Klink, Director, Solutions Consulting

Basic Features and Functionality are Important, but Choosing a Well-architected Staffing Management Solution is what Really Counts

In my years in the staffing industry, I have seen many companies work through the difficult but important process of selecting a staffing management solution. Given the importance of human capital to the success of an organization, this selection could be one of the most important decisions that a company will make. So what is important when making this crucial decision for your organization? Architecture. Basic features and functionality are nice but, alone, they’re not enough if the right architecture is not in place to support and employ them.

Key Constituents For Effective Staffing Management

The first item to determine when assessing a staffing management solution is: Is it a fully-integrated, end-to-end solution.

This means that the solution is architected from conception with the front-end (the candidate experience) and the back-end (the applicant management capabilities) successfully integrated on the same platform. As a result, actions can be processed in real-time. Likewise, a position posted to the career site is instantly available to internal and external candidates to apply to. And once a candidate has applied, his or her file is instantly available for review on the back-end.

The second item to determine is: Is it a profile-based system?

This means that the solution is architected in such a way that each candidate has one unique file in the system to which all of his or her job-specific applications and history are attached. In a non profile-based system, each time a candidate applies a new record is created. Over time it would be conceivable to have multiple records for every candidate in your database. For this reason, if a system is not architected to be profile-based, benefits such as candidate relationship management, reporting and EEO metrics, searching of the candidate database and tracking of candidate history becomes very difficult, if not impossible.

Profile-based System Enhances Communication with Candidates.

Candidate relationship management is the key to turning your talent pool into an ongoing source of qualified candidates for your organization. In a profile-based system, it is possible to send invitations to candidates inviting them to apply to jobs as they become available, which is known as a ‘job-agent.’ Or invite candidates to a seminar or open house that is relevant to his or her backgrounds. Or contact candidates who haven’t visited your site in a while and ask them to update their profiles. The key to really capitalizing on your talent pool is the capability to continually reach out and touch your candidates and keep your employment brand in front of them. It stands to reason, then, that in a non profile- based system where there can be several instances of the same applicant, candidate relationship is virtually impossible. Imagine searching your database for all candidates who are interested in engineering at your company and inviting them to apply only to find out that some candidates received 10, 20, 30 or more versions of the same email because they exist in your database several times. Rather than impressing the candidates in your database, you’re creating a negative impression, and one that could be negatively impacting your organization’s brand in the process.

A third item to determine when assessing a staffing management solution is: Is it a skills-based platform that enables automated candidate prescreening?

This means that the solution is architected from conception with the ability to define, in a structured way the skills, certifications and interests required for a given position; all candidates on a requisition can then be sorted against that criteria for efficient pre-screening. And the company, rather than the system, should have control over how the candidates are sorted as some requirements will be more important to your company than others. In a resume-based solution, each individual file needs to be reviewed before it can be determined if the applicant is a potential candidate for the role. In a skills-based solution, candidates will be automatically sorted and filtered by the tool, saving hours of manual pre- screening work. The resume then is a supplementary piece of information that may be reviewed when it is verified that the candidate has the correct skills. Ultimately your time to fill metric will improve, as will the quality of hires made; and, your legal risk regarding candidate screening will decrease, therefore enhancing compliance with OFCCP regulations.

A fourth item to determine when assessing a Staffing Management solution is: Is it a global, enterprise-wide solution?

This means that the solution is architected from conception to support everything from localization and multi-lingual needs to multiple staffing processes for your organization -- worldwide. Additionally, such a staffing management solution will offer different tools to allow the participants in the process to easily interact with each other, including hiring managers, in real time.

A fifth important item to consider is workflow that will allow your organization the ability to support various hiring processes globally.

Different business units, countries, and regions within those countries can all have substantially different hiring processes related to them. A well-architected solution will support multiple, configurable candidate selection workflows based on the individual company’s needs. This workflow makes it possible to deploy consistent staffing processes enterprise-wide and globally; and a consistency of process leads to better hires within your organization.

Finally, how will your solution be delivered?

A staffing management solution is only effective if it is constantly accessible to the organization. Selecting a solution that is delivered through the ASP business model is the only way to ensure scalability across a national or international organization. In choosing a provider who will deliver an ASP-based solution, it is essential to ensure that they have audited uptime numbers of 99.95 percent or better, quarter over quarter.

A Quality Process that Cuts Across Business Silos.

Self-service with online collaboration. Online collaboration among the different participants in your staffing organization is a key benefit of implementing a staffing management solution. If your solution is only accessible to the recruiters in your organization, staffing cannot become an enterprise-wide function. An easy to use, intuitive tool that integrates your hiring managers into your staffing process will help your staffing team to be more effective. Information that can be exchanged between your hiring managers and recruiters online in real time will speed the hiring process and reduce your time to fill. And hiring managers and recruiters can become more collaborative in defining the needs of the organization on the front-end, when creating the job requirement, and on the back-end when assessing candidates and moving them through the selection process. Additionally, candidates can be notified about his or her status in the hiring process. Enterprise-wide staffing management solutions using the self-service model deliver higher quality processes and enhance productivity for the entire organization through enhanced hire quality.

Cost and time.

Another key benefit of implementing a staffing management solution is the ability to find good candidates that now exist in your database without having to spend sourcing dollars on each new position you have. In a profile- based system, the search tool can help locate candidates that will only contain unique candidate profiles to review. Matching these candidates to the appropriate requisitions or sharing them with hiring managers within your organization can then happen with a simple click of a button and also result in a greatly reduced time to fill.

Relationship Management.

The right staffing management solution will bring an organization the ability to capture and retain a complete application history on each applicant in the database.Each time an applicant interacts with the system, whether he or she is applying on a job or updating a profile, activities are captured in the file. And as recruiters (and even hiring managers) move the candidates through the hiring process and make notes in the system, these changes in status and comments are captured and kept on file for future information and reference by other users of the system. The value of this candidate history grows over time and helps reduce redundancies in the staffing process.

Reporting.

One of the key benefits of implementing a staffing management solution is the ability to report on key metrics and EEO statistics. The ability to generate accurate sourcing effectiveness reports, applicants to interviews / offers / hires reports, reports on new candidates based on areas of interest, EEO stats and many other reporting metrics becomes impossible in a non profile- based solution because there can be multiple versions of the same candidate record. A profile-based solution ensures a one-to-one ratio of candidates to candidate files and guarantees accurate reporting.

In summary, given the importance of human capital to the success of an organization, the selection of your Staffing Management solution will be one of the most important decisions that your company will make. It’s essential, then, to keep the four components of a well-architected solution in mind when making your decision. Choose a solution that is a:

  • fully-integrated, end-to-end solution;
  • profile-based solution;
  • skills-based solution that enables automated candidate prescreening; and
  • global, enterprise-wide solution.
The human capital assets of your company continue to be a key competitive advantage for every organization. The four components discussed above will bring a complete solution that offers an organization competitive advantages in today’s marketplace by improving the quality of hires and reducing the time it takes to bring value-added contributors on board. Having a well-architected Staffing Management solution will get you there while basic features and functionality alone will not.


  About the Author
Susan Van Klink, Director, Solutions Consulting of Recruitsoft
Van Klink has significant experience in both the implementing and managing human resource and staffing management solutions for large global organizations. She has also held positions as director of consulting at Recruitsoft, manager of client solutions at a staffing firm, manager of technical recruiting at a telecommunications firm as well as a technical recruiter. During her career, and especially during the Age of the Internet, she has watched, contributed and consulted with recruiters, human resource generalists, hiring managers and other professional at various companies around the world to bring business process efficiencies and improvements made possible by advanced technologies and business process engineering.

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