If you are an employer, what’s the most important kind of data you should be getting from your applicant tracking system (ATS) other than the applicants themselves? In our opinion, it is the source of those applicants – i.e. which websites your candidates come from. That’s the only way you can effectively evaluate your recruitment advertising campaigns. To calculate the return on investment from your postings on CareerBuilder, for example, you need to know both how much you spent with CareerBuilder and which applicants you got from that source.
If your applicant tracking system isn’t providing this information to you, you should ask for it! Sometimes the data is there – somewhere – but not surfaced unless you request it. You also need to check the quality of this data. If it derives from candidate self-selection using drop-down menus – of the “which website did you find this job on?” variety – it will be inaccurate to the point of being useless. At least one survey has shown that candidates simply do not pick the right source when faced with these menus – they tend to pick the top one, or the brand with which they are most familiar, rather than the site where they really found the job. To be meaningful, tracking the source of candidates has to be done automatically. Luckily, the technology to do this is simple.
At Indeed, we encourage all companies to add a tracking token to their jobs so they can see which applicants come from our site – both from our unpaid (organic) results and our sponsored results. Please contact us to get this set up at no cost, then talk to your applicant tracking system provider to make sure you can access this information. You should also do this for all the other websites you advertise your jobs on. There’s no better way to figure out the ROI of your recruitment advertising campaigns.