Your People. Our Passion. How Strategic Automation Can Improve Your Hiring Success

Most employers know that talent acquisition is a mission critical part of business. They recognize that finding the right people impacts overall success, but also see that as the talent acquisition landscape has evolved, it has become exceedingly competitive. Forty percent of employers said they struggled to find qualified candidates in 2016.1

Employers have used applicant tracking systems (ATS) to meet hiring challenges for years, automating manual processes and digitizing the hiring experience. Seventy-six percent of large companies use some type of applicant tracking system today.2 However, automation has progressed just as rapidly as the talent acquisition landscape itself and applicant tracking systems can now go beyond basic automation. Technology providers are serving up software that automates in more innovative and proactive ways. Through configurable, cloud-based software, it’s possible to be more strategic about the end-to-end recruiting process than ever before.

Yet, many employers choose to stick with applicant tracking systems with limited automation, or which are a part of legacy ERP systems not intentionally built for applicant tracking. These are the systems that haven’t quite kept up with the latest revolutions in recruiting, like social, mobile, video, and recruitment marketing. Employers that prefer to maintain these systems for the sake of convenience or out of fear of automation replacing jobs, may be missing the point: getting by is getting left behind. The reality is that strategic automation is at the core of hiring success. Employers that invest in it set themselves up for long-term success. Here’s why.

Talent acquisition ranks number one among all HR topics for having the highest impact on revenue and profit margins.

– Boston Consulting Group

The Business Benefits of Better Automation

Employers that prioritize recruiting automation are in a better position to increase their overall returns on investment. 76% of HR professionals said they receive a strong ROI.2

The additional benefits of better automation include:

The Benefit: More Employee Referrals for Faster Hiring and Lower Turnover

It’s widely known that employee referrals have a positive impact on hiring. That’s because referred employees tend to perform better and stay longer: forty-three percent of companies said their best candidates come from employee referrals, and fifty-six percent of referred employees have been in their current position for more than five years.3 With the right automation, employers can increase their intake of employee referrals with the ability to automatically post job openings to employees’ social networking feeds. Recruiting software features like iCIMS Social Distribution make this type of “set it and forget it” automation possible, and gives employers the ability to track which applicants came from an employee’s social job post. Asking for employee referrals is no longer a word-of-mouth initiative or repetitive email blast—it’s automatic.

The Benefit: Better Candidate Communication for Stronger Branding and More Applicants

Sixty-seven percent of job seekers have a positive impression of a company if they receive consistent updates throughout the application process.4 But it’s difficult for recruiters to provide those updates to each candidate when there are hundreds of applicants to manage and recruiters lack automation. Consider that the average job attracts two hundred and fifty candidates.5 When recruiters don’t communicate with these candidates though (and about seventy-five percent of job seekers say they never hear back from employers6), sixty-nine percent say they’re less likely to buy from the company again, while forty percent say they’ll never apply at the company again.7 Poor communication can mean fewer future applicants and customers.

An applicant tracking system with email automation makes it possible to create and send email templates in bulk, triggered when a position is filled, or when a group of candidates do or don’t make it on to the next screening round. This not only makes it easy for recruiters to keep candidates informed, but because these automated emails are still personalized by first name and the job applied for, they also work to support positive employer branding. 

The Benefit: Automated Candidate Profile Creation and Searching

Automated candidate profile creation goes a step further when applicant tracking systems can automatically pull and organize information within those profiles based on requested search terms. For example, you want to find out which candidates that applied to an opening note they’re proficient in Excel. Forget visiting each candidate’s profile individually and making a list—just enter the term in your system’s search bar and generate query results organized by a candidate’s relevancy to the search term. This not only saves time but contributes to more effective screening. 

The Benefit: Real-Time Reporting for Smarter Investments

Talent acquisition teams that used data to inform their recruiting strategies were two times more likely to improve their recruiting efforts and three times more likely to reduce costs, while improving efficiency.8 Companies with a high level of HR analytics also had twenty-four percent higher net operating income.9

Top performing companies don’t just invest in the infrastructure needed to perform analysis at a high level: they drill down metrics to a deeper level and communicate to decision makers more effectively. As new tools become more powerful, lagging companies will fall further behind.

– HRO Institute

Applicant tracking systems with robust reporting capabilities make it possible for employers to not only automate data aggregation and display metrics on real-time dashboards, but provide the ability to easily create and export reports from multiple hiring systems (ex: metrics from your applicant tracking system, your candidate relationship management software and your onboarding software).

The Benefit: Automated New Hire Onboarding for Increased Retention

When digital onboarding is used in the hiring stage, new employees are more productive in their first few weeks of work.10 The right automated onboarding solution makes it possible to offer new hires online portals that are specific to their job type and that provide electronic resources and forms that can be reviewed before their very first day. Automated reminders can also be sent to new hires and internal stakeholders to ensure tasks are completed on time. Seventy-seven percent of employees that went through formal onboarding met their first performance milestone.11 Better onboarding can make for better hires.

Automation to Unify All of Your Hiring Tools

Strategic automation also means pulling together all of an employer’s hiring systems, through integrations. Integrations make it possible to consolidate for even better efficiency and greater returns on investment.

For example, when your background screening solution is integrated with your applicant tracking system, screening results are automatically imported into the candidate’s profile in your ATS. Reports on background screening (like the number of background screens you carried out in a month, or the percent of candidates who failed background screening) can be created from your ATS, too. Because these systems are integrated and can talk to each other, recruiters no longer have to log into separate systems or re-enter information. It’s all automatic. And when you have integrations with all of your talent acquisition solution providers (your reference checker, your job boards, or even your payroll system), you gain an entire view of your operations, including the ability to review aggregated data and make more strategic decisions. iCIMS UNIFi
is one such Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) option that brings together companies’ hiring tools through integrations.

In a nutshell, a hiring Platform-as-a-Service solution can provide key benefits like:

  • Automated data sharing between systems
  • Consolidated log ins for easy user access
  • Holistic views of recruiting operations, for better resource allocation

Recruiting technology that can pull together all of an employer’s hiring solutions are what progressive companies leverage to stay ahead of their hiring competition, and they’re what companies with legacy systems need to consider if they wish to keep up. As the Brandon Hall Group notes, “The landscape for talent acquisition has evolved into a multi-faceted end-to-end process that requires a well thought out strategy. Organizations today need to seriously reflect on the notion that in order to have the most efficient and effective talent acquisition strategy they must think about their technological choices in terms of a platform.”

The iCIMS integration is key to what makes this work so well. Without it you won’t get the efficiency, real-time data, or metrics that come with having a strong integration partner.

-2020 Companies

Since complete automation and integration with iCIMS and SHL, DeVry has saved an average of $100,000 yearly on mail costs, and averages a 30-50% decrease in time to fill positions.

-DeVry University


What About Automation of the Future?

There’s every reason to believe that recruiting automation hasn’t reached its peak. If we judge by the ways in which automation is advancing in other areas of business and consumer technology, there may be miles to go. While we can’t know for certain if artificial intelligence or machine learning will be an important part of recruiting in the future, the automated information sharing and data aggregation already offered by some recruiting technology providers suggests it’s a possibility.

Artificial Intelligence is a huge market, predicted to surge  from $8 billion this year to $47 billion by 2020.


For example, imagine a scenario in which your unified talent acquisition platform automatically aggregates and analyzes troves of data from your own hiring records and those of all the companies it connects to. With that information, it can then tell you which job title is the associated with the position that you’re hiring for, or it could note that if you were to raise a position’s salary range by $2,000, you’d have a sixty-seven percent greater chance of filling the position within ten days. Or, it could use historical data to determine which candidate characteristics best predict success in a role at your company.

Or, imagine a recruiting system that’s intelligent enough to coordinate scheduling in full with candidates—no email creation and deployment required by the recruiter. Think that’s not possible, or that candidates would know it’s a computer? Successful models are already in use.12

Ultimately, this type of automation could mean:

  • Predictive analytics for better candidate matching and resource allocation
  • Increased ability to analyze risks and course correct effectively
  • A more seamless view of your holistic recruiting operations, for better returns on investment

Today’s executives can plan for recruiting automation of the future by progressing with the pace of technology today (opting for solutions that make the most of the automation we have available). Those that don’t keep up with automation advances (and let that mediocre ATS be “good enough” or stick with the provider that only thinks about the here and now), will one day have to leap to catch up to competitors that seem light years ahead. Making that leap will probably mean highly disruptive change management within the organization, as teams go from minimal collaboration with automation to full interdependence that might require taking on new job responsibilities.  

So consider:

  1. Are you taking full advantage of the recruiting automation that’s available today?
  2. Is the automation you’re using poised for future innovation?

Recruiting technology that uses automation strategically, brings together all hiring tools, and has a vision for continued advancement is here. It’s what progressive companies leverage to stay ahead of their hiring competition, and it’s what employers with outdated systems need to invest in if they wish to keep up.

Investing in strategic recruiting automation isn’t just about convenience for the individual recruiter or championing the HR team, it’s about better outcomes for the entire business.

How iCIMS Can Help

iCIMS is the leading provider of talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent. iCIMS empowers companies to manage their entire hiring process within the industry’s most robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Built on the foundation of a best-to-market talent acquisition software suite, iCIMS’ PaaS framework, UNIFi, allows employers to expand the capabilities of their core talent acquisition technology by integrating with the largest partner ecosystem in talent acquisition to help them attract, find, screen, and manage candidates. Offering scalable, easy-to-use solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service, iCIMS supports more than 3,500 contracted customers and is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition solution providers. 

1. ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey | 2. Hiring Insights | 3. iCIMS Hiring Insights | 4.  Ideal | 5. ERE Media | 6-7. CareerBuilder | 8. LinkedIn | 9. MIT & IBM | 10. Talent Board | 11. Urban Bound | 12. Fortune