April 12, 2007   view past issues

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Feature: One Industry’s Dirty Little Secret is Another’s Denial of Service

Feature: One Industry’s Dirty Little Secret is Another’s Denial of Service

It’s happened to all of us. You get a job posting contract with a prestigious employer and deliver a strong flow of candidates for each of their openings. Then, you go back to renew your contract and are told to pound sand. Why? Because the employer believes you haven’t delivered the beef. According to their applicant tracking system, the job postings on your site failed to provide an adequate flow of candidates. You know exactly the opposite is true, but the data from the ATS makes it impossible for you to prove it.

And that’s the dirty little secret of the ATS industry. They use circa 1995 technology-drop down widows-and the memory of job seekers to identify where candidates actually saw the job posting to which they applied. As a consequence, the data they provide to their customers are wrong more often than they’re right. Indeed, in one study conducted by, 83% of 60,000 retail candidates improperly identified the site from which they applied for a job. That would be bad enough if the only damage done was to our bottom lines. But this inexcusable malpractice is also misleading employers and causing them to make poor investments with their recruitment advertising. Ultimately, they fail to source the quality talent they need and deserve.

So, what’s to be done? I think you have at least three possible courses of action:

  • First, use the tools available to you. Make sure your site is included among those to which job ad distribution companies post their client’s openings. Companies such as Bernard Hodes Group, Arbita and GO Jobs use technology to tag applicants at the source so that employers know exactly where they are capturing candidates. Not every employer, of course, uses these products, but those that do receive the kind of accurate data you need to prove your site’s performance.
  • Second, join the chorus. The International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) has launched an education program to make sure that employers know that their ATS vendors are letting them down. I’ve talked to the executives at several ATS companies and they acknowledge the problem but say they won’t move to fix it until they hear form their customers. The IAEWS effort is designed to make sure they get the message loud and clear and soon. If you’re not yet a Member of the Association, become one and help it to educate employers.
  • Third, help find a universal solution. It would, of course, be a step forward if the ATS industry began to address this issue, but it might also be a headache if every ATS vendor comes up with its own solution. That’s why the IAEWS has empanelled a Working Group to try and find a single technology-based standard that it can propose for employers. That may be beyond our reach, given competitive realities, but at least we’re going to try. The Working Group is in contact with the HR-XML Consortium and with potential technology providers to try and find an acceptable solution. Given that your site will have to interact with whatever evolves in the marketplace, the ability to influence the thinking on this matter is yet another reason to be a Member of the IAEWS.
  • Talk to 100 recruiting managers today and virtually 100 of them will tell you that the most pressing challenge they face is spending their limited budget wisely. That’s impossible as long as ATS vendors continue to abuse their customers’ trust and report inaccurate data on the source of candidates. This situation also affects us, of course, and leaves us with only two options: We can complain about it and risk having our organizations abused, as well, or we can take steps to fix it and, as a result, earn the trust of our customers and, ultimately, their business.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep the WEDDLE’s Job Board Newsletter to yourself. If you like our publication, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    News You Can Use

    We at WEDDLE’s have recently revised the resources we offer for reaching potential customers among recruiters and HR professionals. These include:

    Sponsorship advertising in WEDDLE’s Newsletter for Recruiters & HR Professionals. During the first and third week of every month, WEDDLE’s delivers one of the most popular publications in the online employment industry. It’s Peter Weddle’s online newsletter about Best Practices in talent acquisition and leadership. Over 35,000 recruiting and sourcing professionals and executives read Peter’s insights and ideas and pass them along to their colleagues. When they do, they also see and share information about a single company-the newsletter’s exclusive sponsor. That organization is highlighted not once, but twice in the publication, providing extraordinary visibility for its brand and product and service offerings.

    A Virtual Flyer in our Marketing Messages to Newsletter Readers. During the second and fourth week of every month, WEDDLE’s e-mails a marketing “folder” consisting of three sections to its newsletter readers. Traditionally, all three sections have contained content from WEDDLE’s. Now, however, your message can be included in this publication. Thanks to a brand new format, two of the folder’s sections will continue to contain content from WEDDLE’s, but the third will be available to vendors and job boards seeking to reach recruiting and HR professionals. Their message-a virtual flyer-can be used to promote specific products or services, build an organization’s brand or announce a special event. Best of all, the virtual flyer program is priced to fit everyone’s marketing budget.

    Training for current and/or prospective customers. WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, is one of the most popular trainers in the industry. His sessions are always packed with important insights, good humor and lots of practical, take-home value. Peter’s programs cover the full range of topics that represent Best Practices in online sourcing and recruiting. Now, you can arrange for Peter to present to your current and/or prospective clients, either face-to-face or via toll-free telephone hookup. These sessions are a great way to build relationships with key advertisers and to impart the knowledge they will need to make best use of your services.

    For additional information about these and other advertising options with WEDDLE’s, please call us at 203.964.1888. We’re based in Connecticut, so on Eastern time.

    Announcements & Other Important Stuff

    WEDDLE’s Publications

    WEDDLE’s 2007/8 books are now off-press and on their way to bookstores, public and academic libraries, career counseling centers, and college placement offices. What’s been the response so far? Consider this review for our Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet from the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal:

    “WEDDLE’s ongoing commitment to providing real-time, real-world career industry information has resulted in an indispensable resource for the 21st century workforce and those who seek and secure talent.”

    Our 2007/8 books include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • To order your copies, visit our 2007 catalog and secure server here or call 317.916.9424 right away.

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS)

    The IAEWS is the trade association for the global online employment services industry. Barely more than a year old, its membership now includes over 175 organizations operating over 850 sites worldwide.

    The purpose of the Association is to promote our industry by contributing to the success of the companies in that industry. How does the IAEWS do that? Its activities include:

  • an annual Member Congress-in 2007, we’ll have two-that provides access to thought leaders and opportunities for building business partnerships and alliances;
  • Member mini-meetings around the country, promoting Member dialogue and input;
  • Direct contact with and information from key government officials (e.g. OFCCP);
  • Priority access to industry research from other Members and the Association, itself;
  • Special Member benefits, including discounts on exhibiting and attending select recruiting conferences; and
  • Much, much more.
  • Membership is open to any of the following organizations that operate an employment site or sell products and services to those sites:

  • stand-alone enterprises,
  • professional associations and societies,
  • newspapers and other publications,
  • affinity or special interest groups, and
  • radio stations and other communications firms.
  • If your company or organization is not yet a Member, you’re missing out on some of the most important contacts and information you can have. To learn more about the Association, please visit its site or call the founder and Executive Director, Peter Weddle. You can reach him at 203.964.1888 or