The Gaping Hole in Applicant Tracking Systems

By Posted in - Interviewing on April 9th, 2013 0 Comments

Plateau of Productivity – Where to Go?

Gartner has characterized human capital management technology as following a predictable cycle which is referred to as the HCM Hype Cycle. As new technology is introduced, there is excitement and heightened expectations which, when not met, leads to a “trough of disillusionment”. This is followed by gradual enlightenment and improvement until the technology reaches a “plateau of productivity.” Different HCM components are at different stages of the cycle. However, applicant tracking systems are characterized as having reached the plateau of productivity. This implies that they are fully mature.

There are certainly a number of capabilities that have been added including requisition approval, job posting, candidate management/workflow and onboarding. The focus on has been more on efficiency and automating the recruitment function. Candidate evaluation has been less of a focus with connections to assessment vendors and screening questions at time of application. I would like to point out a gaping hole in ATS capabilities.

The Missing Component

ATS providers provide limited interview support. They typically support scheduling and tracking interviews but do not actually provide support in carrying out an effective interview process. What is missing is a complete interview management system that provides “soup to nuts” support. The elements of such a system would include:

  • Rich competency models – structured interviews based on competency requirements require rich content. Pre-existing competency models for different levels of leadership and individual contributors are critical.  Each competency in the different models should have a number of proven interview questions associated with them.
  • Interview guide creation – the system should allow subject matter experts or hiring managers and recruiters to use the competency content to select competencies and ideal questions for any given opening. This would allow for a fast and easy way to create professional interview guides.
  • Interviewer facing interface – The system also should  provide an interviewer interface where interviewers could access the interview guides as well as candidate information and provide comments and ratings.
  • Track interview/candidate performance – Recruiters should be able to monitor interview progress and performance and easily make progression and status decisions.
  • Integrate data across interviewers – There should be a thoughtful way for interviewers to share their ratings and rationale to arrive at a consensus decision on the level of performance for each required competency.
  • Decision-support reports – The system should generate decision-support reports that allow for candidate comparisons and quick views of relative performance as well as provide various compliance reports.
  • Self-study interviewer training – The system should provide well designed just in time interviewer training to build interviewing skills such as building rapport, collecting good behavioral information, evaluating responses accurately, and how to effectively manage the interview process.


Filling this gaping hole in ATS systems would bring a number of benefits including:

  • Better support for interviewers
  • Better support for structured interviewing process and workflow
  • Better support for compliance and risk mitigation
  • Improved accuracy and consistency in hiring

ATS providers should be adding interview management to their candidate evaluation arsenal. OMNIview is waiting to hear from you!

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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