Internet Recruiting

SmartSearch Online by APS

In my quest to keep The Fordyce Letter subscribers as up to date as possible regarding ATS solutions, I am happy to review SmartSearch Online this month, one I have reviewed in the past but not for a couple of years. Many changes and revisions have occurred since my last review for this industry-leading service so any of you who are on a hunt for your next ATS, read on.

SmartSearch Online (a product of Advanced Personnel Systems, Inc. APS) has been around a long time, since 1985, having been on the forefront of browser-based solutions and the entire industry in general. This product is marketed as a total Internet recruiting solution. In addition to all the basic requirements you need to run your business including candidates, contacts, job orders, etc. it has an extraordinary number of advanced features, many of which are completely customizable, that allow you to run your software the way you run your business. This is a 100% browser-based solution and does not require any software locally installed. No additional hardware is required although you will need an Internet connection. Broadband (cable or DSL) is recommended but not necessary as this service also works well on a dial-up connection.

Moving right along, adding a candidate is easy. Click ‘Candidate – New’ to add a new one. You can either paste the resume into the resume window or browse to upload a local file to the resume parser. You can also import a Candidate from an email. Once parsed, you have a preview of the candidate for your review. The resume parser captures primary contact info including name, address, multiple email addresses and phone numbers, SSN (if included), highest degree attained, source, years of experience, and the entire resume, which is indexed for searching.

Once reviewed, you can save the record and click on any one of a number of tabs including resume, profile, qualifications, tests, user defined questions, and hours (for staffing). Most of these candidate record pages have drop down boxes for ease of selection that are completely user configurable.

Searching for these candidates is also easy. SmartSearch Online offers a variety of ways to easily search your candidate database including searching by job title and/or job description, keyword searches (including AND’s, OR’s, phrases, date ranges, etc.), searching by profile (which is to search on any field in the candidate record), and note searching. Once a search is complete the results (lists of names, corresponding resumes and contact history) are displayed on screen. All search criteria are highlighted within the resume results in order to facilitate screening. By clicking on a candidate name in the search results queue you open the resume up and from there you can view other information on the candidate and also add them to a call list, a folder, email the resume to a client, add a note, or view a history of activity with that person.

To enter a job order you have the ability to link the order to both a company or a hiring contact. Once either is selected, your job order form is presented and ready for you to fill in. From there, you add the order specifics and, outside of the job description/requirements, are able to populate the form with easily customizable dropdowns.

Navigation and customization is definitely a great feature. All of your needs are met by a toolbar on the top of the page. You can access your candidates, contacts, businesses, jobs, projects (you can organize your work into projects if you like), searches, folders, tools, help, and emails all from this toolbar, which is always on the top of the page. Then, on the left side of the screen is another bar that gives you one-click access to all of your “work-in-progress” including you calendar, notes, recent searches, call lists, open jobs, submittals, interviews, offers, and other information as well. Part of the beauty of this system is that everything is linked to everything. You work flows smoothly as there is not a lot of opening and closing windows just to get to another item. You can access all of your data from almost any page you happen to be on.

They also have a very useful Folder tool for sorting and organizing candidate and client contact records that serves as an extremely flexible CRM tool. There are two types of Folders. Regular Folders are user created for organizing Candidates as well as Client Contacts into desired groups such as “hot” or by skill set. Each user can create or delete his or her own Regular folders, not unlike creating folders in Word or Outlook. Once a group of records are sorted into a Regular Folder, the user can enable a variety of group function tools such as Broadcast Email, Mail Merge or create Call List.  The other type of Folder is specific to a Job. A new Job Folder is created automatically when a new Job Order is opened. To match Candidates to a Job, the user simply files selected Candidates into the appropriate Job Folder. Once a Candidate is filed in a Job Folder, regular group function tools plus the Job Track toolset is enabled for tracking & status reporting on each step of the hiring process. Candidates and Contacts may be sorted in more than one Folder at a time, and Candidates that self-apply are automatically routed into the desired Job Folder.

They have at least a couple of dozen management reports. Accessed from the Tools menu, you can select a report and then there is some ability to customize the report results from there. You can either show the report on screen, or export it to Word or Excel. The Tools menu also has all your setup information, where you are easily able to customize the drop down boxes found throughout the program.

SmartSearch Online integrates directly to MS Outlook for all calendaring and scheduling. When Outlook notifies you of a schedule item originating from SmartSearch, it not only references the appropriate information in the actual schedule record but it contains a “link” which when clicked automatically opens the appropriate record. Another neat feature is the wireless access. Access your data from any net-ready cell phone and/or palm device. You can look up records, review activities and even get maps to your customer’s facilities. For non-Outlook users, the system supports virtually an email and calendar with the optional vCard and vCalendar tool.

With their Career Center, you can fully integrate your database and your website. Candidates visiting your web site can search for jobs and submit their resume. You can also allow them to create an account that allows them to apply for jobs and update their resume when needed. They can also create a job profile that messages them when a job meeting their requirements is entered. Employers also have the ability to log onto your site and enter jobs that they would like for you to work on.

Pricing: SmartSearch Online offers a scalable, moderately priced solution to serve one or two person shops all the way up to their largest multiple-office client, Adecco Technical.  The base system starts at $3,500 one-time set-up that includes initial user training for up to 10 users, and monthly hosting and maintenance cost from $100 per month per user or less depending on the number of users. Larger clients have a choice of add-on modules, additional training packages and customization services at competitive prices.

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As always, these reviews are not meant to cover every aspect nor feature of the product or service. SmartSearch Online has much more to offer than can possibly be described in the few paragraphs above. I would encourage anyone looking for their next ATS solution to give SmartSearch Online a look. I want to thank Sylvia Dahlby, National Account Manager for her help with this article. Anyone with any questions or comments can reach Sylvia via voice at 480-502-4513 or via email at You can also get more information at the SmartSearch Online website by visiting

I recently received an email announcing discounted job postings from this site. They call themselves the “National Leader in Women’s e-Recruiting.” I have not used nor do I know much about this service but for those with any interest they claim to have 100’s of women-friendly employers, 1000’s of women job seekers and are also a portal for women’s employment related news and information. They have a special on 60-day job postings for $199 down from $249 regular price. Check out their website at

TIP – Job Leads

I have recently given a couple of classes on finding job leads on the Internet. Thankfully, due to some great Internet resources, this activity is not nearly as technically oriented or time consuming as finding resumes. Although you can use Google or other search engines to locate job leads, it is not very productive compared to other methods. There are a number of FREE sites available to all of us called job aggregators that cull job leads from company websites, national career boards, niche sites, university and government sites, agency sites, free job sites, and other places as well. A few of the larger and well-known sites are:

Indeed –
SimplyHired –
Jobster –
GoogleBase – (click on Jobs link)
The Ladders –

Just to name a very few. Aside from being free, these sites are very simple to use. Usually, you just type in a job title or other keywords, a location if applicable, click the search button and you are presented with a search engine style results queue with clickable results that take you to the actual job posting. Most of the services offer additional filters for further screening and an advanced search page. Next time you have that perfect candidate and no job order, give one or more of these sites a try.

Mark E. Berger, C.P.C., AIRS CIR has been in recruiting since 1979. He is currently a partner in Ramsey Fox, Inc., an IT services firm and its predecessor, M.E. Berger & Associates since 1986. He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting and is an expert on recruiting and sourcing products, services available on the Internet and how these products add to the bottom line. Mark’s interests include successfully integrating both computer and Internet recruiting technology into a traditional recruiting environment. He has taken AIRS I and II training and has obtained the AIRS CIR designation. Mark is also on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Personnel Services. He can be reached at His website is: and we recommend you visit it to see archives of his articles and information offerings exclusively for recruiters.

Mark E. Berger, CPC has been in permanent placement since 1979 and has been a partner in Berger/Nowlin, Inc. since 1997. Previously, he owned M. E. Berger & Associates, a permanent placement firm. He has been heavily involved in internet recruiting since 1996 and has successfully attained the AIRS CIR (Certified Internet Recruiter) designation. He is on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Assn. of Personnel Services and can be reached via email at


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