Continuing my Buyers Guide rant from yesterday - if you missed that, go find my thoughts on buying HR software in the comprehensive Suite vs. Best In Breed here...
Let's say you're in the market for a recruiting solution. The first thing you need to do is what's referred to above - are you a Suite buyer or are you going the Best in Breed route? Once you get that done, you need to find a solution - whether Best in Breed or part of a Suite - that has critical features that are going to drive business results and eliminate excuses recruiters have for not getting things done.
What are those features? I think there are 3 primary things that drive business results and recruiter efficiency:
1. Ability to view any job, recruiter and the recruting practice as a whole through a "funnel", much like sales managers drive the performance of any sales group. One of the reasons I'm not positive on the Suite providers out there who had their origin in core HRMS is because they don't understand the sales mentality that any good recruiting practice has to have. Any funnel-based ATS/recruiting solution has to have a funnel that looks like this - applies/phone screens/interview 1/interview 2/offer/hire. You can argue about the best components of that funnel, but you can't argue that good recruiting departments don't manage the business like a sales organization. Recruting is enough of an afterthought with some of the Suite providers that you can't customize the view in the recruiting module via the way YOU define the funnel. That's weak.
For an example of a Best in Breed that does an incredible job with Funnel-Based requisition management, look at Newton Software. It's money on the funnel front.
2. The best recruiting solutions will also understand the importance of being able to quickly/easily create candidate profiles via information available on LinkedIn. If they really care, you can drag a passive candidate off of LinkedIn into your recruiting system in about 5-10 seconds. If the recruiting solution you're looking at doesn't have this type of integration or at least something that helps you scrape LinkedIn, you can expect your recruiters to be farmers, not hunters.
Bill Kutik breaks some of this down in his most recent HR Excecutive Column:
"Today, recruiters using Taleo, BrassRing, PeopleFluent and Lumesse have special rights to view LinkedIn from within those applications, rather than toggling between the two.
Doesn't sound like a big deal to you and me, but go ask a recruiter who's gone cross-eyed from toggling all day long.
The point is LinkedIn is the single most important resource in salaried recruiting today (with a nod to Gild, Entelo and TalentBin, which do it differently for software engineers). Recruiters would sooner stand at their desks all day than give up the special functionality of their $8,000 seat on LinkedIn (last price I heard; your rate may vary).
Any recruiting app that gets truly favored integration with LinkedIn will have a huge advantage.
Cornerstone has actually done a fair amount with LinkedIn just using the public API's with no friend at the company. For instance, it can fetch full LinkedIn profiles from within its application, instead of the abbreviated version supplied when someone "applies with LinkedIn."
3. The best recruiting systems will also make the interviewing scheduling process easier via Outlook, which is still what American email runs on. If there's not a way for recruiters to work in the solution and schedule interviews via Outlook without a bunch of BS, then you're taking hours out of a good recruiters work-week.
For its part, Cornerstone Recruiting Cloud has niftily solved the interview scheduling process. Other apps, like Taleo, have to open Outlook for scheduling. Cornerstone can simply pass the confirmed appointment to Outlook. Again, not much of an issue unless you have to do it dozens of times a day.
Looking at recruiting software/ATS or recruiting functionality in a HR software suite? Look for sales-like Funnel Management, LinkedIn scraping and Outlook integration. If you don't get at least two of the three (either now or in the very near term roadmap), recruiting is an afterthought to you - and them.