The Need for Speed

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You’ve probably heard the adage “time kills all deals.” No place is that more true than in IT recruiting. Successful recruiting is as much about getting the candidate to the client quickly as it is about getting the candidate with the best fit to the client. Speed is crucial for the client – you need to be first. But relationships are equally crucial – only if you can cultivate a bond with candidates can you actually make placements. Doing both of these things well separates the adults from the kids.

In an increasingly competitive industry like recruiting, our ability to recognize and cultivate human talent separates us from the machines. What many recruiters don’t want to acknowledge, however, is that recruiting technology – the “machine” – is what enables us to be first, to get paid, to thrive and grow. Speed to placement, especially in contract IT staffing, Optomi’s specialty, is table-stakes at this point. If you’re not first, don’t bother showing up.

Understanding how to be fast is about understanding what makes you slow. Constant interruptions, unexpected calls, slow response times from your technology, and disorganized data can all conspire to make you unacceptably slow. Applicant tracking systems that are poorly designed or require a tremendous amount of clicks to execute simple tasks also make you slow, and if you’re a new recruiter, not being able to get to speed quickly and produce can derail you.

Then there are relationships. Yes, you need to get to the best talent before anyone else does, but you also need to identify the right talent for the job. We all build our candidate databases in different ways – we populate it from in-person networking events, online networking via social media, article writing, commenting – but all databases are not created equal. The advent of the Internet and social media in particular has made building a large database of candidates much easier, but in some ways it’s reduced the quality of these databases. Anyone can go on a social network and find basic info on a candidate, but that basic info won’t help you seal the deal and make a placement. How do you know the candidate is the right fit?

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Often times, the client demands not only a skill-set match, but also a cultural match. Optomi is an IT staffing company founded on building genuine relationships, so the ability to get to know candidates and record information about them is important to its recruiters. It’s all about the details, like a candidate’s favorite sports team. Going above and beyond. In order for candidate conversations to turn into placements, you need to track them. This requires recruiters to enter in notes about conversations into candidate records, and track emails and phone calls easily. Ultimately, if it’s hard for a recruiter to add details and enter notes about a candidate into their record, they won’t do it. And that does you no good.

This is where having an easy-to-use, centralized, super-fast applicant tracking system becomes exceedingly valuable. A great ATS helps us, as recruiters, work more efficiently, identify the best talent faster, and get up to speed as quickly as possible. A great ATS tracks candidate communications and makes it easy for recruiters to enter notes so that we can spend more time doing our jobs and less time on busy work. That’s why I’m happy to give Bullhorn a shout out for its new product called S Release. As a recruiting practitioner for more than 20 years, I can say it is the best ATS I’ve ever used.

At Optomi, we take being the best very seriously. We’ve never been a fan of the old-fashioned paper and pen style of recruiting. We run the entire business on Macs, not PCs, and all of the software we use is cloud-based because we need to be able to work 24 hours a day from anywhere.

We know that we need to be both the first and the best to succeed. That’s where a great ATS becomes critical. You need lightning speed and efficiency that makes it very easy and convenient to search candidates and keep track of activity. Systems that  allow for automated searching, key skill-set matching, and full field search capabilities give recruiters fast and efficient search results in a community where “data mining” for specific skill sets are required.

From a relationship perspective, an ATS should make it easy for recruiters to enter notes in the candidate’s profile regarding career objectives, company culture, and technology trends that help with the making perfect technical and cultural match for client and candidate. A great ATS also will enable us to record personal details about candidates, like hobbies, professional networking interests, family, and other personality, to help build not only professional but long-lasting personal relationships.

I could go on, but at the end of the day, from sourcing to submitting, an efficient ATS tool is essential to getting that placement in a timely manner and making both your client and candidate happy. No one ATS can make us great recruiters. We’re great on our own – we’ve got the goods. What the right technology does, though, is prevent anything from getting in our way. For us, that ATS is Bullhorn’s S Release. It helps us work faster and smarter and do more, and with growth and tremendous client service as our mission, that’s nothing to take lightly.

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Daniel Guelzo
Daniel Guelzo is Director of Talent Development at IT contract staffing company Optomi LLC. Upon entering the staffing industry 18 years ago, he excelled in both sales and recruiting before moving in management to run branches, regional groups, and startups. While at Spherion from 2007 to 2012, he supported top executives in driving recruiting and sales proficiencies.

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