Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Is the Online Job Application Experience Improving for Job Seekers?

October 17th, 2014

It’s always a good idea to periodically assess the state of any technology or system that your organization relies on to function efficiently. Widespread access to broadband has revolutionized how companies present job offerings as well as how individuals discover new jobs and apply to them.

HR professionals have found that applicant tracking systems make their workflow much easier. However, does this convenience come at a cost?

One often overlooked question is whether the online job application experience has been improving for job seekers.

Consider that many industries have taken to using online intake forms to make things easier for their clients and customers. It’s worth noting, then, that 60 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Kelton Global and Jibe indicated that online job applications are harder to complete than other typical online applications, including health insurance as well as student loans and mortgages, according to a recent post at the Fox Small Business Center. About 80 percent of those surveyed also said that their job search was stressful and took too much time.

You should take those sentiments to heart and make sure that you go with an online job application system that is easy and fast for your applicants to fill out. Completing an application shouldn’t have to amount to a technology test when you are trying to fill some vital positions in your organization.  This will not only improve the quality of the incoming candidates, but will also ensure that those that are turned down for the job don’t leave with a sour taste about your brand.

New cutting-edge ATS solutions such as Newton Software’s Cloud Apply, help small-to-medium sized businesses offer applicants a convenient way to upload their CVs, storing their resumes in a secure cloud site, while letting the data auto-populate into an online job application when the time comes to fill it out.  Most applicants will be quite satisfied when they learn that they don’t need to fill out another long application, especially after they’ve already answered all the pertinent questions in their resume.  The addition of support for mobile devices, such as with Newton’s ZenApp, gives applicants even more flexibility, enabling them to apply for positions while they’re on the go.

It’s clear that you need to select the best online job application system for your budget while also taking into account the fact that job seekers are growing weary at the amount of time they sometimes have to spend submitting their details over and over. The more efficient your online application process is, the better chance you have of recruiting promising new talent and promoting a positive image for your company’s brand.

Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try in Hiring. Or Is There?

September 19th, 2014

It’s not always possible to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit for a job in your organization, no matter how rigorous your screening procedures are. This is why human resources directors are turning to bringing in candidates on a trial basis, to see how they will fit into the company culture.

If you’re not already doing so, you might find it beneficial to begin arranging for contracted work on trial basis to help you evaluate potential employees, using a temporary-to-permanent status hiring process.

This tactic is appropriate for organizations that have particularly high turnover, especially those with smaller workforces, such as a 15-person shop where a single bad hire can be disastrous for team morale, according to a recent post by Sarah Max at the New York Times.

Contract Work Before Permanent Status

One important thing to keep in mind when considering offering contract work is to make sure it doesn’t interfere with candidates’ current jobs, assuming they are already working. In such cases, you could let them work on a specific project on a trial basis over the weekend or for a set amount of evenings.

A single project that lasts a week or two will give you a better idea of how a recruit will fit in with your team. When you offer them work on a contract basis, you’ll want to set specific goals, so that candidates can only advance to permanent status after they pass a series of milestones.

Max cited the case of website hosting firm Weebly, where nearly every one of the 150 employees went through a trial workweek before getting hired permanently. Approximately 75 percent of candidates who go through a trial period at Weebly wind up getting hired, according to company CEO David Rusenko, who told the New York Times that the remaining 25 percent of people would have either been fired or damaged team morale if they had been hired.

HR Managers, Pay No Mind to Yoda

If you grew up watching the Star Wars film franchise, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the diminutive master Yoda telling his trainee Luke Skywalker to “Do. Or do not. There is no try,” when learning the ways of the Jedi and how to control the Force.

The idea behind Yoda’s characteristic clipped expression is to trust yourself and to listen to your instincts when encountering obstacles and difficult situations. However, in the world of human resources, relying on your gut instincts alone is not always going to be sufficient when evaluating possible job candidates.

For example, whatever you hear during the initial interviews with a promising candidate, you won’t always be able to determine his or her organizational capabilities, noted Adriana Gardella in a recent New York Times piece about hiring on a trial basis.

She pointed out that HR professional Jennifer Blumin of the corporate events planning company Skylight Group doesn’t search for people with event planning experience. Instead, she keeps an eye out for intelligent candidates who solve problems creatively without getting stressed out under deadline pressure.

So, it seems clear that focusing on “doing” rather than “trying” can be detrimental to your organization. Hiring more or all of your future employees on a trial basis may be just what you need to improve efficiency and keep your teams stable and happy going forward.

RPO Performance Metrics: Recruiting Analytics that Matter

July 11th, 2011

Newton Software’s Joel Passen is a featured presenter at’s Recruitment Process Outsourcing Virtual Workshop on July 19th at 12:30 EDT.

Register Here

New Tech Page Image 6 10 (2)Due to current unstable economic conditions, an increasing number of companies have started to use recruitment process outsourcing as a way to eliminate the fixed costs of a corporate recruiting staff, software, contractors and the use of staffing agencies. In the procedure of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) an organization will outsource either all or part of their recruitment requirements to an outside company who concentrates solely on locating, approving, and delivering candidates for the hiring company to consider.

Given the development and buzz around the RPO industry, providers have been overpowering the market with information. Many of these vendors can and will give reasons to choose their service over that of their competitors. But in the long run, it’s really all about performance and reliability.

All service providers must be held accountable with performance metrics. Recruiting analytics are a necessary feature to the success of any RPO program. Vendors that use these metrics in their process are able to correct small problems before they become large issues. These metrics also allow for conversation that lead to improvements and bring the vendors to the front of the RPO industry.

During his presentation, Joel will present a guide to assist HR practitioners make sense of recruiting performance metrics. He will show the best practices and suggest certain vital metrics that must be captured as part of any RPO, regardless of size.

Joel Passen is a recruiting industry veteran and blogger on merging issues, innovations and trends in the recruiting industry. He started as a corporate recruiter and went on to co-found Gravity Technologies, a company that operates in the human capital management industry. Currently, he is the Head of Marketing and Co-Founder of Newton Software.

Newton Software is easy-to-use applicant tracking software and which offers a variety of features including EEOC/OFCCP compliance, intuitive recruiting processes and dashboards, and real-time recruiting analytics.  Find more information at

Applicant Tracking Software: 5 Trends to Watch

May 18th, 2010



I was recently asked to speak to a group of human resources leaders about trends in the applicant tracking software industry, a world that I live in daily. I think my audience was a little shocked when my outline didn’t include Twitter or any mention of social recruiting for that matter. As I explained to the HR professionals in the room that night, I’m interested in the bigger picture, the ideas that are going to connect the dots, ideas that will revolutionize talent acquisition.

I am interested in technologies that will integrate each phase of the hiring process (acquisition, assessment, interviewing, screening, etc.) so they are coordinated, connected, organized and online. And, I am interested in how new design concepts and business models will reduce the buying risks for the HR industry as a whole. Here are my trends to watch for.


1. Easy Does It.

I would have called this trend, “a return to simplicity”, but as far as I can tell, HRMS software has never really known simplicity. 90% of the people that I speak with are looking for a “simple and easy” system that offers them the capabilities to improve process, without headaches.

I believe that this quest for easy and simple is a reaction to stress created by people being asked to do more with less. No one that I speak with has time for complexity right now. They don’t have time to learn, tweak and teach others another new system. They’ve got a lot of other things on their plate, and they can’t relearn a software application when hiring is turning on and off every few months (or weeks).

Obviously the movement away from complexity and toward simplicity has been going on for some time, well before the recession. But the recession has really made us all focus on what makes us, and our businesses, more efficient. It’s kind of like stubbing your toe. The first time you stub your toe, it hurts. The second time it hurts 10 times more. The economic meltdown was the first stub, and anything that makes us inefficient or slows us down from here is likely to bring us to our knees. As we emerge from the recession, software vendors should be listening to their customers and innovating. In the end, this will be good for the HRMS software industry as a whole.

2. I Need this to Work, Now.

In 2007, when we started offering beta versions of our own product, “deep customization” was high on our customers’ lists of requirements. In the past year, this request has become nearly non-existent.

Now this is entirely contrary to a recent poll on ATS (applicant tracking software) I read, so I should explain. I would like to call it a little bit of the “tail wagging the dog.” If you sell software without a good process built in, then you MUST make it deeply customizable. If you’re a software company without HR people and recruiters guiding your product design, then it MUST be customizable, because you don’t know the challenges faced by your audience (your customers).

Most buyers that I speak with are being asked to spend less on consulting, staff, recruiting, etc, while still providing service to multiple teams that demand fast service. Clearly, the “here’s a tool, now build your own” approach won’t work for them. I believe that this trend is characterized by buyers seeking software that helps them do their job better, instead of software tools that they must “teach” how to solve their problems. “We need to fill these before we lose budget,” is a common refrain. These buyers I talk to don’t have time to wait for long customization process: they have a problem, and they need it fixed fast. Instead of a hammer, they need a house.

3. Improve the user experience for EVERYONE

It can hardly be debated that enterprise software is way too complicated and for the most part, pretty thoughtless when it comes to user experience. The expensive applications that businesses use to run their human resources are some of the least friendly, most difficult systems ever committed to code. If you work at a company that uses business software or you’ve ever had to do something that should be simple, like apply to a job — or, heck, even look at a job on a corporate careers site — then you’ve probably encountered some really annoying user experiences.

Up to this point, companies have designed business software almost entirely for what we might call a “Power User”, i.e. people that are going to use it day in and day out. For a business process like recruiting where 90% of the users don’t hire all of the time and therefore don’t use recruiting software day in and day out, this design focus leads to 10% user adoption. Casual users don’t have the time or usage frequencies that foster retention of complex features.

But, there is good news and yes, another trend. Users are starting to demand better design and vendors are responding and finally acknowledging that there are other critical users of recruiting software like hiring managers and even applicants. As vendors tart making software easy-to-use for every user, we may even start to see adoption rates improve not to mention efficiency and overall program performance.

4. Come On! Make it cost less and take the handcuffs off. I am a customer.

Captain Obvious at your service: The recent financial meltdown has put an emphasis on thriftiness. All enterprises, even oil companies, are looking for ways to shave costs. Buyers that I speak with have no choice; they are short-staffed, under-budgeted and forced to do more with less in the most uncertain conditions of their lives.

So what’s the trend? Economizing? That’s part of it and very well could be the biggest driving force. But, what I find really interesting is that some software companies are structuring their businesses to entice cost-conscious buyers. And, potentially even more interesting is how this trend may turn the business of enterprise software on its ear.

Many progressive software companies, across all industries, are offering “Friction-Free” buying programs to attract and retain customers. These programs are highlighted by simple tiered-pricing models, free trial periods, pay-as-you-go-contracts and non-punitive cancelation policies. The reduced risks help buyers get purchases approved easily.

(As a side note, this new model for software pricing forces vendors to build better software because they don’t force people into long term contracts: if the software isn’t good, you cancel.)

Convoluted pricing hides the elephant in the closet behind long-term contracts. “With our current software every time I want to do something, like add a user, or increase our job limit I’m forced to call someone and pay a fee.” Or, “We tried to lower our user limit because we aren’t hiring as much, but they wouldn’t let us. When our term expires we’re going to cancel.” I hear these complaints almost every day, and the recession will be the end of this: the elephant has charged and is bowling over these anti-customer business models. Fair pricing is coming, for some buyers it has arrived, and it will benefit all consumers long after the recession is over.

5. Systemization- get lean

In most companies, applicant acquisition, assessment, interviewing, feedback mechanisms and pre-employment screening are a series of disjointed manual processes. This is changing. Modern recruiting software vendors are finding ways to systematize talent acquisition. Along with key partners, ATS vendors will finally act as a platform to integrate each phase in the hiring process (acquisition, assessment, interviewing, screening ,etc) so they are coordinated, connected, organized and online (finally).

The timing couldn’t be better. Job advertisements in industries like manufacturing, hospitality, retail and transportation are up 46% over last year alone and the “digital divide” in the US is shrinking at a remarkable rate. Thanks to the accessibility of broadband internet, $400 dollar personal computers, affordable hand-held computing devices and the widespread presence of computers in public spaces like libraries and state employment offices, more and more Americans are able to and prefer to conduct their job searches online. With more applicants online, companies that require manual, hourly, seasonal and unskilled labor must take steps to move recruitment processes online.

Watch for some progressive ATS vendors to offer a systematic approach to recruiting that increases overall productivity by eliminating wasted steps and periods of inactivity, maximizing resources and promoting consistency. Oh yeah, and they’ll get everything online for you too. It’s about time.


As you can imagine, most trends are interconnected. Fatigued by complicated products, failed implementations, disjointed processes, low adoption rates and archaic pricing methods, buyers of recruiting software are seeking innovative products delivered with dynamic terms of service. Some applicant tracking software vendors are responding. With better access to information and the creation of easy-to-use products offered with friction-free buying programs, consumers are more empowered than ever to shift allegiances from one vendor to another. And with modern systems, companies can easily move information from one system to another without incurring significant IT headaches and extended service outages.

Lean Hiring: Isn’t Time You Started Optimizing Recruiting?

May 8th, 2010
Newton Promotes Lean Hiring

Newton Software, the makers of popular, easy-to-use applicant tracking software, are bringing lean hiring to a reality near you.

Worst Types of Interviewees

April 21st, 2010


GravityPeople, a technology recruiting firm based in San Francisco, shares their list of the worst type of interviewees.

How to Improve Applicant Experience: The DO’s and DON’Ts

March 16th, 2010

Dr. John Sullivan’s recent post on, “How Candidate Abuse Is Costing Your Firm Millions of Dollars in Revenue”, really got me thinking about applicant experience. Dr. Sullivan raises a great point early in his blog post; job applicants are often times customers and ultimately brand influencers. Today, too many employers are still oblivious to the concept of building a community around their applicant pools. Even some of the most respected companies ignore the majority of applicants that submit resumes. Other organizations treat applicants like circus animals requiring them to jump through burning hoops just to complete an interview process.  Dr. Sullivan characterizes this behavior as applicant abuse and ultimately ties it to, among other things, lost revenue. Would you want patronize a company that ignored you or treated you poorly?

The fact is, lousy applicant experience remains one of the most widespread diseases in corporate recruiting.  Poor candidate treatment is the result of companies not managing recruiting the same way they do other critical business processes. Would you ignore the majority of your technical support requests? Would you ever drive customers to a shoddily designed or poorly maintained page on your website for product information? Would you ask your accountants to use email and spreadsheets to manage corporate finance?

Listen, most companies don’t intentionally create a lousy applicant experience. In fact, I believe that most companies actually mean well.  But, many don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to create a more positive experience for job seekers. So, how can you improve how your company treats applicants and help convey a positive brand image with limited resources?

Here are some DO’s and DON’T’s that will help you improve your applicant experience and won’t break your budget in the process.

DO periodically survey applicants to learn what it’s like to be a candidate at your company.  The survey should be short and should ask insightful questions. Use a free or nearly free online survey service like SurveyMonkey or Wufoo.

DON’T go run out and lobby for a new CRM system. While Dr. Sullivan mentions this as a potential remedy, I don’t agree with him here.  Most CRM systems are hard to use and they won’t integrate with the rest of your recruiting program. You’ll end up creating more work for yourself.

DO make it easy for applicants to apply to your jobs via an online careers page. Choose applicant tracking software that will immediately thank applicants when they submit a resume.  Modern recruiting software should only cost a couple of hundred dollars a month.

DON’T require applicants to create a user name and password to submit a resume.  Applicant portals are more frustrating than useful. They create significant drop-off rates during the application process. Applicants, especially the A-players, are never going to log in and check the status of their application.

DO have a mechanism in place to automate the rejection of applicants politely.  Use this as an opportunity to reinforce your company’s brand.  Communicate with everyone that submits a resume and / or interviews at your company.  Applicants appreciate status updates. Here’s the best “thank you letter” tool on the market.

DON’T try to emulate that great company you read about in FastCompany by copying some 20 step recruiting process. Invest your energy in simplifying your recruiting process and train your interview teams to be more efficient. Applicants appreciate companies that are not afraid to make decisions.

DO involve the corporate recruiting team in the business units as much as possible.  The more integrated your recruiters are with the teams they service, the more accurate information they’ll be able to convey to applicants.

Have You Tried Creating a Document With

February 5th, 2010
Issuu is the leading digital publishing platform delivering exceptional reading experiences of magazines, books, catalogs, reports, and more. In just a few seconds users can create beautiful digital editions simply by uploading their publications. It’s our mission to empower individuals, companies, and institutions to publish their documents across all digital platforms.
Issuu is also a popular destination site visited by millions every month. It’s a dynamic library where people are drawn to and engaged by great publications and where publishers find and build targeted audiences. Issuu is free to use though professional publishers opt for our Issuu Pro solution with enhanced customization.

If you’re into digital publishing, it’s time to check out Issuu. Issuu is a digital publishing platform that delivers exceptional reading experiences of just about any sort of digital document. In just a few minutes you can create beautiful digital documents by simply uploading them to the site.

Issuu is also a popular destination site visited by nearly 6 million visitors a month. The basic Issuu service is  free but, they charge for their  Pro solution with enhanced tools and distribution options.

Here is an example of a Issuu document that I created in just a couple of minutes for Newton, a provider of easy-to-use recruiting software

Choose Recruiting Software that Facilitates OFCCP Compliance

February 2nd, 2010
I published a blog post today “How to Choose Applicant Tracking Software to Ensure OFCCP Compliance”. As a former corporate recruiter, I was often asked to investigate ways to capture, store, and analyze an employer’s EEO/AA information. Over the years, I evaluated dozens of applicant tracking systems without much luck. Most vendors either ignore EEO/AA data collection or worse, offer incomplete systems that expose employers to risks they weren’t even aware of.
With the Department of Labor and EEOC slated to receive a record amounts of new funding in 2010, there will undoubtedly be an increase in employment litigation and thus, more focus on how companies are collecting EEO data. Also, as a result of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there’s going to be a record number of new government contractors in the market, many of which unaware of their OFCCP obligations.
But there is good news. Tracking the information that can help your company stay in compliance, perhaps even reduce hiring discrimination, has really never been easier as long as you choose the right recruiting software.
So, I’ve written a guide reflecting what I’ve observed over the past couple of years with some helpful advice for those trying to get their arms around managing EEO and OFCCP compliance.
Uncle Sam and OFCCP Compliance

Uncle Sam and OFCCP Compliance

Ever been through an OFCCP audit?  They’re not fun especially if you’re not prepared.  The biggest part of being prepared for any sort of OFCCP “event” is capturing and tracking the right data – all the time.

Recently, I wrote  a blog post titled “How to Choose Applicant Tracking Software to Ensure OFCCP Compliance“. As a former corporate recruiter, I was often asked to investigate ways to capture, store, and analyze an employer’s EEO/AA information. Over the years, I evaluated dozens of applicant tracking systems without much luck. Most vendors either ignore EEO/AA data collection or worse, offer incomplete systems that expose employers to risks that could have been avoided.

This year the Department of Labor and EEOC are slated to receive a record amount of  funding. There will undoubtedly be an increase in employment litigation and thus, more focus on how companies are collecting data to ensure OFCCP compliance. Also, as a result of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there’s going to be a record number of new government contractors in the market, many of which unaware of their OFCCP obligations. But there is good news. Tracking the information that can help your company stay in compliance with the OFCCP and perhaps even reduce hiring discrimination, has really never been easier as long as you choose the right recruiting software.

Interested in reading more about OFCCP Compliance and how to choose recruiting software to keep you out of hot water?  More….

Don’t Miss This Friday’s HRchitect WebMingle with Joel Passen of Newton Software

December 9th, 2009

The weekly HRchitect WebMingle is designed to give you some insight into the puzzling world of HR technology, discuss news from around the world that we find interesting, talk about upcoming events in our industry, and provide insightful interviews with people of our industry – who they are, what they do and why you should care. The WebMingle has become the most popular live weekly Internet show in the HR technology industry!

This Friday’s guest will be Joel Passen, Co-Founder and Vice-President of Marketing with Newton Software.

Newton is easy-to-use, web-based applicant tracking software that uses smart technology to simplify and improve recruiting.

Listen live on Friday, December 11th at 1pm CST to the 47th show in our WebMingle series, and the final show for 2009. If you missed any of our previous WebMingles, you can also access them from that page.

Below is a list of some of our upcoming guests:

Jan 7 – Rosette Cataldo, VP of Business Development with KMS Software, an Onboarding Systems vendor

Jan 14 – Morne Swart, VP of Product Management with CyberShift, a Workforce Management vendor

Jan 21 – HRchitect will provide a look back at the world of HR Technology in 2009 and a look ahead to 2010.

Jan 28 – Tim Giehll, CEO of Bond Talent, a Talent Management Systems vendor and Author of “Human Capital Supply Chains”