Verbal Summary: Just Another ATS or More?

We’ve all been suffering from ATS overload for a few years now, and hearing about yet another product that promises a “unique twist” on candidate presentation is enough to leave us dizzy.

And mention “video resume” and many recruiters start running for the hills. But what about adding a less-threatening audio clip to accompany your candidates’ resumes?

After checking out a new tool called Verbal Summary, some might view it as just the technology recruiters need before they make the leap into full-fledged video resumes. In fact, this audio-first approach might be a harbinger for how video resumes could one day be formatted.

Now before you start grumbling about poorly produced video resumes, consider that audio interviews are pretty simple and might make you look better by having the candidate speak with passion about their skill level, experience, etc.

Not surprisingly, Jerry Albright, founder of Verbal Summary, says this tool is “designed for every desk in the staffing world” and allows for “effective and powerful presentations” to clients. Albright says this tool can save all parties the time typically spent scheduling first round interviews.

Is it that simple? Pay a monthly subscription fee ($50/month) and the addition of a call recorder, and voila?

As with any new tool, it’s only effective if all recruiters embrace a new approach. So, in hoping to find out more about these audio-produced clips, we recently chatted with Albright to learn more:

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  1. When did you go live with this product?
  2. The service has been live for the past few months, at first in a beta test mode and now for use by recruiters. Official “kick off” was a series of webinars beginning July 16. Since then, we have been conducting demos on a more personal approach. We already have recruiters in all parts of the country using it. We are signing up new users every day.

  3. Why is the investment worth it?
  4. What investment do we make in ensuring a value-added service to our client? Up until now, there has been nothing available. We all do absolutely the very same thing our competitors do — attach the Word resume and hit the send button. Sure, we’ve all got our “branding/logo/contact info/letterhead” on the top, but that’s just it, we ALL do that. Using Verbal Summary gives you an actual advantage over your competitors when you’re making a presentation to a new client I won’t even touch on the power of sending the actual job order audio to your candidate pool! The impact of that is astonishing.

  5. What about people who aren’t so hip to technology? Should they be afraid?
  6. They simply record a conversation with their candidate creating an MP3 file and then easily upload the resume and audio to the website. The profile is then turned into a link, which is sent to the client, who can listen to the candidate’s audio interview while reviewing the resume simultaneously.

  7. Why should TPRs care about this?
  8. Good question! TPRs should care about this because this tool is a huge time-saver for the hiring manager. They get to hit the play button and listen to a conversation with the candidate.Just picture that for a moment. No longer are we left “hoping” our clients see something on the resume. Our clients listen to our candidates discuss the specific background/strengths/skills our clients require. It separates their service in a unique way, beyond their competitors. Any way that recruiters have to save their clients time and provide a better level of service is something all TPRs should care about.

  9. What is the best compliment TPRs have given you?
  10. It would be hard to pick out just one, but the best compliment is what they are hearing from their clients and that is, “Wow — this is very helpful.” I’ve heard everything from, “Would you mind if I tell your competitors about this?” to “This is the most brilliant approach I’ve seen in 30 years of hiring.” The list of compliments is quite long.

  11. What is the best “constructive criticism” TPRs have given you?
  12. Well, I’ve been in recruiting for over 21 years now so my real expertise is in staffing, not software. So, the criticism has been more in terms of “invited” criticism. Verbal Summary needs to function and flow for the users. Our first attempt was pretty “clunky” and had a non-intuitive user interface. We’ve taken our user community feedback, and the software now has an almost self-explanatory navigational flow. How about some actual criticism though? Well about the only thing is from the people who have seen it and then not signed up. They just don’t know for sure if their customers would like it. My guess is those are the same folks who didn’t get the Internet when the rest of us did. I don’t know for sure though.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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2 Comments on “Verbal Summary: Just Another ATS or More?

  1. This is an interesting concept – my question is how do candidates feel about being recorded and having those conversations sent to prospective employers? As far as they know, they are having an open conversation with a recruiter. In comparison to a video resume, the candidate in this case knows what is being sent to the employer.

    Other than that, I think it’s a great tool, not only for employers (who can communicate directly with candidates and give them a feel for the job opening) but handy for recruiters to recall conversations and get a true “feel” for their candidates by listening to their voice and personality.

    Why not take it one step further and include video? Seems like everyone should at the very least have a webcam these days…

  2. Good questions Donald. Many have the same concern “How do the candidates feel?”. They think it’s great! Finally there is a tool allows them to put forth more than the standard 2-page resume. The typical VS user simply lets the candidate know that adding targeted parts of their conversation audio to the resume is part of their process with their clients. They then realized that their profile will be looked at much quicker by the client rather than getting lost in an endless stack of resumes.

    Video is an interesting topic as well. Just because we have the technology doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. We’ve had the “technology” to simply send our candidate into the clients office (in person) since time began – but that is clearly NOT an option.

    Quite frankly I see video as the wrong direction. Once you interject how someone LOOKS you have started a beauty contest. No way around it. Also while it may be true many of the younger generation professionals are likely to have webcams – in reality most still don’t. Verbal Summary was designed to capture conversations whenever and wherever they occur – could be in the car, maybe the unused conference room or even a quiet park bench.

    So that is the reason for using audio only. The candidate and client do NOTHING different. You just talk with the candidate as usual. Send candidate to the client as usual. But now they get to HEAR the work you have done for them.

    They love it!

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