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Applicant management and recruiting: compare software

Applicant management is much more than applicant administration

Managing applicants should be part of the core competence of every HR department today. And in times of a shortage of skilled workers, it is no longer just about managing data, but also about getting hold of the relevant candidates in the first place and persuading them to apply.

Applicant management is an important part of the recruiting process. To effectively manage applications and optimize the application process, companies use applicant management software. This software helps human resources departments to simplify applicant selection and ensure that every applicant is treated fairly and transparently.

HRNeeds checks your requirements and finds the perfect software solution for you in a comparison

Applicant management and recruiting are two important aspects for any company looking for new employees. To simplify and optimize the process, many companies use applicant management software. However, it can be difficult to find the right solution for your own company. This is exactly where HRNeeds can help. The comparison portal compares a company’s requirements with the software solutions on the market and helps to select the right solution.

HRNeeds has developed a special analysis tool that helps to find the right software solution. Companies can tick their specific requirements in this catalog and HRNeeds then compares them with the available software solutions. Companies then receive a detailed list of the software solutions identified – including all the information that helps them make a decision. On request, HRNeeds can also help with the final decision-making process and advise companies on the right software solution.

The power structure on the labor market has shifted

Recruitment pressure on companies is increasing. This is the result of the “NEW HIRING Study” published in March 2022, which was conducted by forsa on behalf of XING E-Recruiting. In this study, 52 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they are facing greater challenges in recruiting than before the pandemic. Frank Hassler, CEO of NEW WORK SE and responsible for the Recruiting and Employer Branding business units, described the situation for companies in the publication as follows: “We are experiencing a turning point in the labor market. Companies now have to apply to talented people, not the other way around. This shift in power will permanently change the labor market.”

Against the backdrop of this development, companies are facing new challenges. However, the Xing study also reveals approaches to tackling these challenges. More than ever, companies should not only pay attention to the qualifications of candidates, but also to whether they are a good cultural fit. In addition, the use of intelligent methods and solutions for the world of work and a proactive and increasingly individualized approach, which also includes the monitoring of potential, are required. Intelligent tools provide effective support for this, the report continues. They can be used to record the different needs of employees and match them with the respective requirements profile.

“Companies need to modernize their recruiting. It’s no longer just about using tools, but also about focusing more strongly on the individual needs of talented people,” emphasizes Frank Hassler. Intelligent data analysis tools could specifically relieve HR departments by taking over time-consuming administrative tasks so that they can focus on their core competence – people and their needs. This is exactly what will be needed more than ever in the future.

How can I optimize my recruitment processes with applicant management software?

Using applicant management software can help optimize your recruitment processes and improve the application process. Here are some ways you can achieve this:

1. Centralize applicant data: Applicant management software allows you to collect and store all applicant data in one place. This makes it easier to access the data and manage applications.

2. Automation of processes: Applicant management software can automate many tasks, such as reviewing applications, scheduling interviews and communicating with applicants. This saves time and minimizes human error.

3. Improve communication: Applicant management software can improve communication with applicants. You can send automated emails to inform applicants of the status of their application or notify them of upcoming interviews.

4. Better tracking and reporting: Applicant management software allows you to track and report on applications, interviews and other processes. This gives you insight into your recruitment processes and allows you to identify areas for improvement. You can also collect and analyze data on the success of your recruitment campaigns.

5. Reduction of costs and time: By automating and centralizing processes, you can save time and costs. You can also increase efficiency and thus reduce costs by analyzing your recruitment processes in a targeted manner.

The advantages of digital applicant management

Intelligent solutions or tools, monitoring, data analysis tools and, in principle, a modernization of recruiting: Is digital applicant management a suitable solution for these challenges?

Daniel Strizeski, Account Manager SaaS at the software service provider softgarden e-recruiting GmbH, says: “In principle, applicant management software only manages applicants. However, we take a broader approach: we don’t just offer an applicant management system, but an applicant acquisition system.” The aim is to use the system to approach potential candidates, persuade them to apply and then manage them in the system. Strizeski explains: “In times of a shortage of skilled workers, SMEs, for example, have hardly any applicants. This is because these companies are not transparent about the application process. Candidates apply, but not to the respective medium-sized company.”

Kathrin Kirchler, Senior PR Manager at Personio GmbH, a specialist in the automation of HR processes, sees it the same way. She says: “A digital applicant management tool not only saves HR teams time and money. It also helps them to find the right candidates.” The employer branding effect should not be underestimated, as companies can make a modern impression on applicants by using a suitable solution. Above all: “Younger applicants in particular simply assume that they can apply online,” says Kirchler.

Matthias Frisch, CEO of HR4YOU AG, a leading provider of HR software, sums it up as follows: “A professional and transparent approach to applicants is one advantage of an applicant management solution.” But by no means the only one. Other factors include time savings and process reliability. This leads to the reduction in administrative tasks for the HR department mentioned in the Xing study. And a focus on their core competencies: people and their needs.

Jobcluster Deutschland GmbH with its product One-Click-Recruiter has specialized in the targeted approach of applicants. The solution can be connected to standard applicant management systems via appropriate interfaces. Alexander Baumann, Managing Director of the company, says: “We are taking an outward-looking approach and automating almost all channels, including employee recruitment functionalities through to future programmatic recruiting.”

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Selection criteria for a digital applicant management solution

As convincing as the advantages of digital applicant management may be – above all, finding the right applicants and then managing them directly via a system – every company should answer numerous questions in advance in order to ultimately find the right solution and be able to use it with the desired added value:

1. Are we looking for a complete digital solution for HR or a stand-alone solution?

There is no clear answer to this question. Or, as Matthias Frisch from HR4YOU says: “Both options have their advantages.” The pros and cons depend heavily on the reality of the company. However, Frisch sees a clear trend towards integrated solutions, as significantly greater economies of scale can be achieved with complete systems.

Daniel Strizeski from softgarden uses two examples to describe how different company realities and their effects on the selection of an applicant management solution can be. For example, an all-in-one solution is just right for a five-person company that processes vacation requests and maintains HR master data and hires one or two new employees per year. “The situation is different for a medium-sized company that hires ten employees every month and has ten, 15 or even more jobs permanently advertised. They can no longer achieve the desired results with an all-in-one solution because such solutions focus on the big picture. But if I need expertise, then I call in a specialist.” For Strizeski, the choice in such a case would clearly fall on a stand-alone solution.

Kathrin Kirchler from Personio, on the other hand, is always in favor of a complete solution: “The advantage is that everything comes from a single source and there are no interruptions in the process. For example, when the recruiting process is complete and an applicant is hired, the data is already in the system and does not have to be transferred manually.”

Alexander Baumann from Jobcluster, on the other hand, sees integrative solutions as a key feature of digitalization. According to him, it is about bringing together different solutions in such a way that a well-functioning overall process is created. He also says: “This model also leads to cost benefits for customers who may only book solutions on demand. It makes total sense to look at exactly what is needed.”

2. Are we looking for an on-premises solution or should the data be stored in the cloud?

All the answers from the software experts are the same here, there is unanimity: choose a cloud solution.

The question remains: Why?

Daniel Strizeski (softgarden) explains the recommendation as follows: “With a cloud solution, you don’t have to provide a server and hardware infrastructure, the technology doesn’t have to be maintained and you remain flexible: if a system no longer fits at some point, it can easily be replaced.” Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) adds: “The advantages of a cloud solution are already evident during implementation. It is comparatively quick, simple and cost-effective. In addition, the software can be maintained at any time and software updates can be installed without the customer having to do anything and without incurring any extra costs. And another advantage is the flexibility: if the customer’s needs and requirements change, for example if the workforce grows, these can be implemented in the software in the shortest possible time.”

3. Should the applicant management solution be linked to your own career website?

“Yes, definitely!” is the unanimous answer here too. “Whether directly through the software provider or the agency depends on the company’s website or IT infrastructure,” explains Matthias Frisch (HR4YOU). “I would recommend that the software provider delivers a data stream that is then visually implemented and integrated into the customer website by the website administrator.”

Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) lists the advantages of such a connection: “Job advertisements are displayed on the company’s own career page and with just a few clicks on a large number of job portals. Incoming applications then land directly in the software, from where HR staff can communicate with applicants and other parties involved, such as managers.” Finally, offers can be easily created and contracts sent for electronic signature.

Alexander Baumann (Jobcluster) addresses another point: “The starting point for the decision as to whether or not applicants send an application is made on the company’s homepage. The career portal functionality that the customer uses on their homepage must be set up so well that companies are able to display all information such as job vacancies and career information so strongly that it can already be found via search engines.” It is therefore important to develop the career page in such a way that it can be found quickly via search engines, is ranked as highly as possible there and attracts qualified candidates from the outset.

4. Is a multiposting function included in the digital solutions?

Kathrin Kirchler from Personio has already mentioned that job advertisements can be posted on a large number of job portals with just a few clicks. Many software providers also advise on suitable channels. This is made possible by the huge data streams available to providers thanks to their business models. “This offer prevents the practice of post & pray that is otherwise practiced by many companies,” explains Daniel Strizeski from softgarden. According to this, companies publish job advertisements randomly on job portals and then hope for incoming applications.

5. What about authorization concepts and who should have access? Who should have access to the applicant management system?

“All those who will be integrated into the recruiting process. This can be defined on a job-specific, company-specific or department-specific basis,” explains Daniel Strizeski (softgarden). Only then will the advantages of an applicant management system become noticeable, because all communication with the candidate and internally will run through the system. HR4YOU board member Matthias Frisch takes a similar view: “Everyone involved in the process should have access to the system. This includes specialist departments as requisitioners, HR and, of course, committees such as the works council.”

Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) notes: “Only those who really need it should have access. With clearly defined access rights, there are no salary leaks or other nasty surprises.” This is also guaranteed by the setting that employees can only view exactly the personnel information they need to work productively – without HR having to take action.

6. What data can be collected with digital applicant management?

A major advantage of digital solutions is that they can be used to collect data which, when intelligently linked and used, can form the basis for further and future decisions and bring transparency to processes. This is also the case in applicant management. Matthis Frisch (HR4YOU) sees no limits in this respect: “Anything that makes sense and supports the process can be collected and evaluated.” Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) mentions, for example, the possibility of identifying the most successful recruiting channels at the touch of a button. “This allows potential to be better utilized and weak points to be specifically addressed,” she says. Or, as Daniel Strizeski (softgarden) adds: “With a digital applicant management solution, you know how many applications you have received, how long it took to fill the vacancy and what costs were incurred.” With all this data, customers can also optimize their application process continuously and in real time, explains Alexander Baumann (Jobcluster). He adds: “We can add any data source that the customer considers relevant to the data we collect. It is no problem for us to interweave external data with ours.”

7. Do corresponding solutions take sufficient account of data protection?

Data protection is a fundamental issue and should be given the appropriate attention in every company. And it provides a further argument for operating recruiting software in the cloud, as the service provider assumes responsibility here. Personios, for example, states that data protection is a central component of its products and services. HR4YOU also states that GDPR compliance is essential. “The system should also support companies with deadline monitoring and the deletion and anonymization of applicants,” recommends Matthias Frisch.

Daniel Strizeski (softgarden) goes into even more detail: “It’s also important to know here: Where are the servers located? Is there an ISO certification or DIN standards? DIN EN ISO/IEC 27001 is the classic data protection DIN standard. This should be available in any case. In applicant management, a data processing contract is concluded between service providers, but our customers conclude a data processing contract with the candidates. This means that the company is liable to the candidate and the service provider is liable to the company. It must therefore be ensured that everything is secure.”

8. How are the workflows structured in the digital solutions?

There is unanimity on this question. Matthias Frisch from HR4YOU answers: “Very individual. They can either be set and changed by the user themselves or with the support of the provider, as not everyone wants to tinker with the processes themselves.” Daniel Strizeski from softgarden also says that the workflows in a good solution should be freely definable, as every company has different application processes. Changes to the processes can be made by the administrator, i.e. usually the main HR manager. And Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) explains: “In order to guarantee uncomplicated and smooth collaboration for everyone, we offer a workflow configurator in our solutions. This can also be used to create your own workflows.”

9. Is there a need for a target/actual comparison of incoming applications with requirement profiles?

This is probably the best way to answer the question: It is possible, the current software solutions can carry out the comparison. But does such a comparison make sense? Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) says: “Artificial intelligence in the recruitment process is worthwhile if a company can access a large number of applications for one and the same position, from which an algorithm can then learn and make recommendations. This can make sense for large companies; for our target group, small and medium-sized companies with up to 2,000 employees, it makes less sense.” Daniel Strizeski (softgarden) adds: “We recommend focusing on people. That’s why people should also look at the application and basically say: the candidate either fits or doesn’t fit. I think a decision based purely on data is almost negligent.”

10. Is it worth using a CV parser?

A CV parser is a technology with which CVs can be read automatically. This means that the CVs uploaded to applicant masks and the information they contain are recognized using semantic analysis and transferred to pre-structured data fields in the applicant management system. This eliminates the time-consuming creation or creation of profiles for HR staff. If the CV parser reads not only the master data but also additional skills from the applications, the target/actual comparison described in question 9 is also possible.

According to Kathrin Kirchler (Personio), the automated processes described above make the use of a CV parser worthwhile for anyone who wants to save time. Daniel Strizeski (softgarden) has a similar opinion, noting the advantage of a quick overview. And Matthias Frisch (HR4YOU) adds: “First and foremost, a CV parser is worthwhile for companies that ultimately generate candidate profiles from it (personnel service providers). For traditional HR departments, the added value lies in reading the address data and automatically completing the application form if a parser is connected upstream.”

11. And in the event of recruitment: Can the data from applicant management be easily transferred and linked to an onboarding tool, the digital personnel file and payroll?

Such interfaces, which make uncomplicated data transfer possible, should be part of the selection criteria, says Daniel Strizeski (softgarden). He adds: “The more candidates I have in the administration, the more settings I have. That means large data transfers. So it makes sense to work with interfaces.”

Matthias Frisch (HR4YOU) sees onboarding as a link between applicant management and HR management. If there are appropriate interfaces between the tools, checklists, personnel forms and much more can be processed digitally and all those involved in onboarding can be integrated. For him, interfaces are therefore clearly one of the selection criteria for an applicant management solution.

In this context, Kathrin Kirchler (Personio) once again emphasizes the advantage of holistic HR software: “Successful applicants are then created directly in the employee database and onboarding can begin. Depending on the role of the new employee, access, contact persons and information are provided automatically.” HR teams and managers can thus easily maintain an overview without having to take action themselves.

The advantages of a digital applicant management system summarized:

  • Clear presentation of the positions to be advertised in the company
  • Acceleration of the recruiting process during recruitment
  • Filling vacant positions quickly and efficiently
  • Simple and fast application process via the career website, including CV parsing
  • Satisfied applicants thanks to standardized templates and processes, including confirmation of receipt, invitation to interview, reminder functions
  • Building a talent pool with potential applicants
  • A well-structured applicant database based on skills and qualifications
  • Increasing reach by multiposting job advertisements on other job boards
  • Online application interviews, e-assessments
  • Access to applicant data for all parties involved in the recruitment process
  • Connection of the applicant management system to the digital personnel file for the transfer of data, keyword: onboarding

How can the HRNeeds comparison portal support you in your search for a suitable software solution for your recruiting?

HRNeeds compares the company-specific requirements with the software solutions.

HRNeeds has developed a special analysis tool for this purpose. It can be used to reliably find the right software solution.

In practice, it works like this: You tick your requirements in our analysis tool. Your company-specific requirements are then compared with the software solutions. This creates an initial list of providers. In a short telephone consultation between the HR experts from HRNeeds and you as the customer, we ensure that the customer’s requirements and wishes are met.

You will then receive a detailed list of the identified software solutions free of charge and without obligation – including all the information you need to help you make a decision.

If you wish, HRNeeds can also help and advise you in the final decision-making process so that you can be sure that the software solution you have chosen will also meet your requirements. In our many years of experience, the error is often in the detail. Due to the complexity of the situation, many companies only realize during the implementation phase that the chosen software solution can only partially cover the requirements or not at all. You can avoid this with our help.

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Find the ideal software with the HR software comparison from HRNeeds: HRNeeds uses a special analysis tool to compare the company-specific requirements with the software solutions and thus reliably finds the perfect software fit.

Do you have any questions about the software solutions?

We will be happy to advise you, free of charge and without obligation! Our expertise will effectively save you time in your search for the right tools for your HR processes. Our competent HR consultants are in constant contact with HR software manufacturers and are therefore always informed about current trends and innovations.