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Where did you hear about this job? Tracking Candidate Sources

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 1:07am Friday 03 July 2009    Print Article

Do you track where your candidates have come from? If you are using some sort of application tracking system (ATS) in your recruitment process; more than likely you have the ability to automatically track where the candidate has come from.

A white paper released by Jake Firth from in October 2006 claimed that 83% of ATS Sourcing Data is Inaccurate

"Having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), HR Executives wrongly assume that the sourcing data has some resemblance to reality. Yet 5 out of 6 Candidates enter inaccurate data."

We all know it is very important to collect and generate periodic reports comparing the performance of our marketing channels. But with the evolution/improvements in technology why do I have the feeling that since the Oct 2006 survey, not much has changed?

Wherever possible, you should use URL “tracking tags” to correctly track the referral source. The predominately US based ATS Report Card compares various ATS providers.

There can be many other reasons that candidates do not provide the correct source when asked:
  • They don't remember (some ATS’s ask "where did you hear about this job" on the tenth page of the application) and some companies rely on information gathered during an interview, which can be several weeks later.
  • Some ATS's don't even have the site in their drop-down list. One major corporation listed the board as "Jobs and Logic" for months before the recruiter persuaded the ATS to make the necessary change. It was subsequently changed to Jobs in Logic.
  • Some ATS's have a confusing drop-down list with dozens or even hundreds of sources, sometimes not even in alphabetical order.
  • Some ATS's require a primary drop-down list followed by a secondary drop-down list, making it very difficult for the candidate to even find the site they were last on.
  • Some ATS's expect the candidate to type in their source - the first instinct for many candidates is to type in "internet" or "online", not a website name.
  • As the completion of the drop-down box is not mandatory on some ATS, the candidate may simply skip this question.
  • Many candidates will assume their "source" was where they started (such as Google, Yahoo, MSN)
  • Some candidates may search on multiple job boards and not remember which one they were just on last.
  • Some candidates do not want to reveal their source, so will often opt to choose no source or friend/associate, etc.
  • Some candidates want to pander favor by appearing dedicated to the company. So they choose the corporate name. After all this is where they are applying on the ATS.
  • Some candidates choose entirely unrelated sources (such as Highway Billboards), and nobody knows why.
  • Apathy prevails - instead of wading through dozens of options, which to them are irrelevant to applying for a position; they may simply click on "other" or the first source that comes to mind.

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Article Tags: ats applicant tracking system application tracking system sources of hire tracking statistics jake firth sourcing data job boards recruitment marketing metrics sources of hire sources of talent

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