One of the biggest complaints we get from college students and grads is that they need to fill out long applicant tracking system forms when applying for jobs. This becomes a bigger issue for students when they’re applying to 10-plus different employers (the norm these days) with each organization using a different system. These systems may help employers stay organized, but they also hurt the candidate experience and can even scare away good applicants.
If you’re talking about students and grads in computer science, engineering, and allied health, you can bet that these students will most likely forgo applying to your organization and will take one of the many offers that are already being put in front of them.
Here are some factors to consider when telling entry-level candidates to apply to your organization:
Use email address instead of your ATS. It’s much easier for someone to email you their resume and profile than to have them fill out a cumbersome form. Consider creating email filters for each job for which you receive applicants. Email platforms come with more search functionality these days, making it easy to organize and forward candidates to others in your organization.
Offer ATS integration. As an organization, you’re most likely using two or more media partners (e.g. us or Facebook) to attract and source candidates. If so, offer the ability for your vendors to integrate with your ATS in order to provide a seamless application process for users. A good ATS will offer tools for third-party vendors to pass candidate information to them. If the media vendor is able to integrate with your ATS and pass candidate information seamlessly, make sure you have an ATS that is willing and able to integrate. The burden should be on your ATS or on your media vendors to do the work.
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Career fairs and info sessions. These on-campus venues are very popular with students, and are two of the top ways students like to connect with employers on campus. When meeting students, especially top prospects, offer to accept their resume if they have one on hand. The worst thing you can do is tell them to go online and submit their resume via the ATS. IF you’ve put in the effort to show up on campus, you should take those resumes and make sure they go where they need to go.
Even in a soft job market, competition for top college talent remains fierce. Make it easy for college students and grads to apply to your jobs. Use an email address instead of an ATS to get applicants. If you need to use an ATS, offer seamless integration to your media partners that will be delivering the candidates. If you’re on campus, take the opportunity to collect resumes. First impressions count, so make your application process a welcoming experience.