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The concept of using an applicant tracking system to help automate your human resource process is nothing new.

“Recruiting—the gathering of candidates—was long ago turned over to websites and software to simplify the process for finding good candidates in a tight labor market,” writes Peter Cappelli in the Harvard Business Review. “Starting in the late 1990s, employers facing what was then a shortfall in candidates tried to make it easy for candidates to apply by putting simplified applications online and then managing them with applicant tracking software. Then, as the labor market changed, automation was simply the most efficient way of dealing with a deluge of candidates. When the economy turned down first in the recession of 2001 and then massively so in the Great Recession starting in 2008, unemployed candidates flooded employers with applications, and companies had no choice but to use software to process and screen them.”

Beginning in 1994, COATS was developed to help recruiters and staffers track their applicants, manage resumes, and keep track of payroll – among a myriad of other staffing functions. COATS has been a pioneer in ensuring everything you need to know about an employee for job placement can be found.

The employee master record in COATS holds an employee contact information, skill set, resume, parsed skills, interview notes, availability, assignments held and related job performance along with pay history, deductions including ACA health insurance; and this is not an inclusive set.

By using software to track this data, job order searching discovers the employee based upon a myriad of items such as the client’s required skills; the employee’s past performance and interview notes permit you to dial into exactly the right candidate for the job.

This, in turn, saves a recruiting firm time and money. Instead of flipping through hundreds of applications or resumes, specific skills can now be selected and COATS will find the match.

Which leads to another very important point.

Software and technology in recruiting has been criticized because, to some, it doesn’t incorporate the soft skills or “human element” into its decision making process.

That mindset is not an issue with COATS. While some software companies may not offer the human interface, we do.

As mentioned above, COATS has the option for users to enter information on each and every one of their applicants and associates. This data is then searchable and ultimately ensures the right candidate is matched up with the right client.

Good recruiting and staffing remains a very human function. A computer will never replicate what a person can do to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for the company culture.

But not using technology as a tool is a silly premise itself.

Just like you wouldn’t necessarily want to type your time-sheets on a typewriter anymore, the benefits of using staffing software to bring value to a company and ensure the right skills and capabilities of a candidate are tracked, are numerous.

Are you prepared to go back in time and flip through hundreds of resumes to find the right fit? Probably not.

But, in the end, if you want truly good data, it still has to be entered, reviewed, and verified by a human.

A human being still needs to network with their clients and interview in depth their recruits, deducing from both the client and the employee their desires and needs.

In other words, someone has to talk to somebody!

An ATS will never capture everything via an online application. But a software application like COATS will capture the notes entered after the human enters them, after speaking with the client and recruit.

“If you are expecting an ATS to replace the human mind – hopefully it never will,” said Karen Connor, owner of COATS Staffing Software. “If you are hoping an ATS can contain data to help the human find the right candidate. That we always do.”

The bottom-line is that COATS and other staffing software programs are tools. What COATS does is give recruiters the best tool to make their jobs easier, more productive, and more efficient, while still incorporating the human element.

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