ATS Report (2021)

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), love 'em or hate 'em they're the core technology of life as a Talent Acquisition and Recruiting professional. The diversification of different ATS brand visions are finally taking us past the days of tech debt heavy dinosaurs like Taleo and VirtualEdge.

Madeline Laurano, Founder of Aptitude Research shares information from newly published research entitled Talent Acquisition Systems Mapping a New Path.

In this episode we dig into areas many ATS vendors have never gone like:

- Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion just fluff in an ATS?

- AI matching technology become priority

- All CRM's are NOT created equal

- Getting serious about "Candidate Communication"

- Why is Internal Mobility still an unknown?

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INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.irls.

Chad (22s):

Welcome everybody to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I am Chad Sowash. If you listened before you already know that one thing you're going to notice though, is we're going to have a lactose free podcast today because we have drum roll, please. Madeline Laurano, she's come back! She's the heavily acclaimed industry, expert analyst and founder of Aptitude Research. How are you doing?

Madeline (52s):

Hi Chad, thanks for having me back. I'm glad I didn't spoil it last time and you wanted me to come back?

Chad (57s):

Oh, you were a hit. I don't know if it was because Cheeseman wasn't on the podcast or just that you're so delightful. I think it's the latter or it could be a combination of both. I don't know. What are you feeling? A little deja VU.

Madeline (1m 9s):

I am, I am. And it's been a lot of change since we last talked and we talked about programmatic and all the new announcements to Seek Out and some of the other providers and much more has happened since then!

Chad (1m 21s):

Before we jump into today's research, tell me how was the programmatic research received?

Madeline (1m 28s):

Very well. I was very happy with it. I think, you know what we talked about last time and I think it still holds true is that I think a lot of people don't understand exactly what programmatic is. And they think that either, as you said, it's just job distribution or they think of it as something that just is going to be an added expense. And I think, you know, what we really tried to show is that this is something that can help reduce costs and streamline advertising. So I was happy with how it came out.

Chad (1m 53s):

Oh, you don't know how many programmatic companies and agencies. I mean, they were all over it. There were texting me. They're messaging me. They're like this research is lit. I don't say that my kids say that, but anyway, I mean, it was, it was awesome. So if you haven't seen the programmatic research go to, right?

Madeline (2m 16s):


Chad (2m 17s):

And it's available there, but today we're going to be talking about your new research and this is, programmatic was big, but this is like the grand daddy, grand mama of them all. So what are we going to be talking about today?

Madeline (2m 33s):

We are going to be talking about the good old ATS market. And it does feel like a child because it took so long to put this research together. It feels like it feels like another child or grandchild for me. So it's been a big report. We really studied the ATS market to look at what's changed? What these providers are doing, and we profiled 13 of the leading providers in the market that met a certain criteria.

Chad (2m 56s):

Now, are you picking these or are these companies who are saying, Hey, we want to be involved or is it kind of like a combination of both?

Madeline (3m 5s):

That's a great question. It's a combination of both. I think a lot of, you know, I'll put out some tweets earlier at the end of last year and said, you know, we're going to look at doing this again. A lot of providers called right away and said, when does this start? And to me, it really had to meet a criteria and they have to be providers that come up in the interviews I do with corporations. And there were some, unfortunately that just did not meet that criteria.

Chad (3m 27s):

Ah, gotcha. Gotcha. So it's actually entitled Talent Acquisition Systems 2021: Mapping a New Path. What the hell does that mean? Mapping a New Path?

Madeline (3m 39s):

Well, I think it's interesting because I always try to think about what's the main theme and I've said it before and you know, it's always kind of been ATS is not enough. You know, the ATS itself has just a tracking engine, a workflow engine. It's not enough. We need CRM, we need onboarding. But this year the theme mapping a new path is really that every provider is going in a different direction. It's not apples to apples anymore. It's not this commoditized market. Some providers are going into talent management. Some providers are sticking with TA. Some providers are trying to do this whole skills framework, currency type of scenario. So it's, to me, it's looking at this market that's been in place for so long and seeing how everyone's trying to go in a very unique direction right now.

Chad (4m 21s):

So can you say, cause I can definitely say that the ATS market right now is probably the most exciting since maybe when it actually launched back in the early oughts?

Madeline (4m 33s):

I think so. And also I think in the 2005, 2006 timeframe, when all those acquisitions happened, Virtual Edge, Brass Ring, that was exciting too, just because of acquisitions. This is bang for another reason it's companies are spending more money. They're looking at their providers more strategically and they're replacing tons of companies, are replacing their ATS systems this year. It's crazy. Yeah.

Chad (4m 54s):

Yeah. Well, it's interesting that you say that back in 2005, around that timeframe, all the acquisitions had happened. They went to much larger organizations where they literally just went to die.

Madeline (5m 5s):

Just to die. It was like where ATS is going to die. They go to big companies and then nothing happens. And what we're seeing right now, and this will come out in the report is a lot of those larger companies that bought ATSs are and have redone them in a very significant way. I mean, ADP and Oracle are two examples. What you're going to see from their ATS is with Orr and with what ATP ADP's offering. It's really impressive. I was very impressed with bot.

Chad (5m 33s):

But they're a total new platform. They're not using the old plumbing at all. That technical debt is way too heavy. So they're flushing that shit that they bought down the toilet and they're actually creating from the ground up.

Madeline (5m 46s):

Completely. Goodbye, Virtual Edge, goodbye Tulio, we're rebuilding this whole thing and hoping to retain the Tulio-Virtual Edge customers in the process.

Chad (5m 56s):

It might be easier than keeping them on the same old that they are right now. Right?

Madeline (6m 2s):


Chad (6m 2s):

So we're going to tease, like we did the programmatic research. We're going to tease the ATS research with just bits and pieces. You have a top 10 trends, which I have a scaled down, boiled down to Chad's top five.

Madeline (6m 16s):

That sounds great. Okay. Okay.

Chad (6m 17s):

So, so I'm going to hit you with these, my top five from your report, and then we can dig into it a little bit deeper. So number one, DEI is the new AI, but DEI is a differentiator. It's never been a differentiator in ATS before. Why is it a differentiator now? And truly, is this just more of like a vapor kind of DEI? What's going on here?

Madeline (6m 41s):

Yeah, I think it's, I think it's all of the above. It's certainly never been a trend in the ATS market. I mean, I think I never talked about it. We'd probably always should have been a trend, but it wasn't. And I think what's happening now is you're seeing a lot of organizations. They have budget for D and I, and they're looking at their talent acquisition technology to spend some of that budget. So the ATS providers are saying, aha, let's start to market a little bit more of this into our messaging and what I mean by a differentiator, is there some providers where it's just marketing, it's just saying, this is a priority we can help you with your diversity needs. We can help you, you know, improve diversity hiring. And then there are others and it's not all of them that have really taken a strong stance to say, we're going to start internally.

Madeline (7m 26s):

We're going to look at our own culture. We're going to look at the diversity of our leadership. We're going to look at having a chief diversity officer. We're going to start there. Then we're going to look at the services that we are customers and partner with them. And then we're going to look at our product. And I think when you think about the product, everyone thinks matching is like these, the be all end all in diversity, it's like this, this solves the diversity question, but it's not. To me it's the analytics it's are you able to show really powerful insights that companies can see and say, wow, look what we're doing when we attract people? We're not doing enough. What can we each, how can we look at the job descriptions? How can we look at the interview process and make this more fair and inclusive?

Madeline (8m 8s):

And that that's very powerful. So you'll see in the report, there are some providers that are really called out for the work they're doing there.

Chad (8m 16s):

I have to say that in this area, there is so much vaporware number one. And then number two, if an organization, if a vendor has not eaten their own dog food, if they haven't actually started to boost their own diversity hiring efforts, they shouldn't even be talking about DEI overall. So I think from this segment, and I'm not sure that you put those disclaimers on there, if they are not really focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in their own organization, how badly do you think they really want it for you in their technology?

Madeline (8m 52s):

Exactly. And you know what? I'm starting to see more and more RFPs from corporations to include those questions, to say, we don't want to just know about the product. What are you doing as a provider in your company to address this? Do you have dedicated roles? What is your leadership team look like? What does your board look like? And those are appropriate questions.

Chad (9m 14s):

Yeah. So DEI number one, AI is my number two. AI matching is a priority and we all know that AI matching is an incredibly heavy lift. And if you're talking to an applicant tracking system one day and they don't have AI matching, but then the next day they do, they probably don't have AI matching unless they acquired somebody. So what did, what did you find in the report?

Madeline (9m 38s):

Yeah. I mean the, you, we both love the matching space. I mean, I think we can talk like hours and hours. We can do a series of podcasts on matching. So I love the matching space and it's very interesting to look at the ATS market right now because you've got these matching providers, like Hired Score, and Eightfold and Seek Out now that are really putting a lot into their thought on ethical AI or thinking about candidate consent. They're trying to figure out public versus internal communities of how they look for candidates. Then you've got the ATS is where it becomes more of an efficiency AI model. It's saying, Oh, we just want to, to move people across and help you make faster decisions. It's efficiency and it's free.

Madeline (10m 19s):

It's included in the ATS versus an investment. So I think it's becoming a very interesting area right now where some of the ATS is have made a little bit more investment in AI matching than others have, but you still have these standalone providers with very robust, you know, matching capabilities. And I think we're going to really see something happen in the next few years as to is this something that should be in our ATS and are these providers really going to make more of an investment here or is this going to be a standalone market?

Chad (10m 50s):

That's, that's a very good question. Because as we've seen over the years, when a bigger platform buys a point solution, does that point solution generally get better? So I'm going to say for the most part, not so much, right? So is that really the way that we should be going or much like the, a Mapping a New Path, maybe it's a, it's a, it's a new way for applicant tracking systems to start to become accountable and take responsibility for things that should be a part of a core system, much like diversity, equity and inclusion. Right?