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Applicant Tracking and Technology Terms

November 2, 2000
Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Featured Article, Technology
From ASPs to Wizards - everything you've always wanted to know about applicant tracking systems and related technology.

Application Service ProviderApplicant Tracking System
Applicant Flow LogBoolean Search
Client/ServerComputer-Assisted Structured Interviews
Cost Per HireData Warehousing
Equal Employment OpportunityE-mail Client
Enterprise SystemsHuman Resource Management Systems
Intelligent SearchImport/Export
IntranetJob Board
NewsgroupOptical Character Recognition
Federal Contracts ComplianceProgramsOpen Design/Architecture
Operating SystemPerpetual License/Rental License
Proprietary Design/ArchitecturePrivate Candidate Pool
Request for Proposal/Request for BidReal-time
ScanningStand-alone System
Time to HireUNIX
User InterfaceUtility
Application Service Provider (ASP)
Term given to companies who design and manage software-based services forcompanies from a central location rather than provide software or othersolutions for the company to manage on their own.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Any system, whether in paper or software form, that manages both anorganization’s job posting and data collection (i.e., resume/applications)process to efficiently match prospective candidates to the proper positions.

Applicant Flow Log
A chronological listing that records each applicant who applies foremployment or promotion. Data includes applicant's name, race, national origin,gender, referral source, date of application, job title applied for and whetherthe person was hired or denied.

Boolean Searches
Boolean searching is based on a system of symbolic logic developed by GeorgeBoole, a 19th century English mathematician. Most keyword searchable computerdatabases support Boolean searches. Boolean search techniques may be used toperform accurate searches without producing many irrelevant documents.

When you perform a Boolean search, you search the computer database for thekeywords that best describe your topic. The power of Boolean searching is basedon combinations of keywords with connecting terms called operators. The threebasic operators are the terms AND, OR, and NOT.

A type of network setup that is composed of 1) main computers (servers) thatcontrol file storage (file server), printer control (print server) and networktraffic and 2) individual computers or workstations (clients) that allow usersto run programs that use the server’s resources. A client/server setup isgenerally visualized as a computer in the center, with individual PC’sbranching off of it in a wagon wheel fashion.

Computer-assisted structured interviews
An initial screening interview that a potential candidate completes on aremote computer or over the Internet that consists of basic "yes/no"or "choose one" types of questions regarding a certain position. Manyof today’s applicant tracking systems provide this capability for companieswho collect applications online or in a paperless fashion.

Cost Per Hire
A common measure used in human resources used to evaluate the average costsincurred in recruiting and hiring new employees. Generally the equation is totalrecruitment costs divided by total number of new hires. Typical components ofthis measure would include relocation costs, advertising/job board fees,interviewing expenses, referral bonuses and recruitment staff compensation.

Data warehousing
The process of collecting and storing data in an organized manner so that itcan be accessed for analyzing at a later time. Companies will often collect vastamounts of data on business operations and then design flexible databaseprograms to access the data in any form required.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
A system of employment practices under which individuals are not excludedfrom any participation, advancement, or benefits due to race, color, religion,sex, national origin, or any other action which cannot lawfully be the basis foremployment actions. These practices are covered under Title VII of the CivilRights Act of 1964 and apply to any employer with 15 or more employees. Inaddition, if you have 100 or more employees (50 or more for federal contractorswith contracts exceeding $50,000), you need to file an EEO-1 report with theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission annually. This report shows a breakdownof an employer’s workforce by race, sex, national origin and job group.

E-mail client
A software application that allows users to send, receive and organizee-mails either from an individual PC or network workstation. Some popular e-mailclients are Eudora, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook and Group Wise.

Enterprise systems
Large computer applications that handle multiple operations for a company orbusiness unit. An example is large human resource information systems, such asPeopleSoft, that have the ability to handle general human resources information,payroll processing and corporate financial and accounting management.

Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) a.k.a. HumanResource Information Systems (HRIS)
Software-based systems that manage all or part of the human resource functionfor an organization. Typical parts include employment demographics,benefits/compensation management, training, payroll and reporting.

Intelligent Search (a.k.a. intelligent agents)
Automated searches of programs, or more recently, the Internet that areestablished under certain parameters by the user. For example, a person can tellthe intelligent search program to look for all instances of the word"programmer" at a certain Web site and perform this search every eighthours. This relieves the person from doing this search manually each time.

The function within a software program that allows it to read and use datafrom another system or application (import) or format its own data for use byanother application or system (export). For example, an applicant trackingsystem may produce a report that shows applicants and their itemized hiringcosts. This report could be exported to a spreadsheet program, such asMicrosoft Excel, for further analysis that would not be possible in theapplicant tracking system. Likewise, resumes can be scanned, and its informationimported into the applicant tracking system.

A private network inside a company or organization that uses the samekinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that isonly for internal use. As the Internet has become more popular many of the toolsused on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example, manycompanies have web servers that are available only to employees.

Job Board
Any formal, organized place where jobs can be posted for prospectiveapplicants to view and apply. Examples include bulletin boards, Web sites (i.e., and recruitment agencies.

In general, this is any person who is searching for a job. In the applicanttracking environment, this could pertain to external persons with or without ajob, or internal employees who wish to be considered for certain positions whenavailable. Many applicant tracking systems will provide a place for a job-seekerto place their resume/bio for future reference.

A booth or independent structure that performs a computer-related function.The most common type of kiosk is an automated teller machine (ATM). However,many companies are turning to kiosks to be able to communicate with theiremployees and collect information from them from remote locations. In applicanttracking, kiosks are being used to collect online applications for jobs.

A service that individuals can subscribe to in order to share and receiveinformation via e-mail. The unique features of "listservs" are thatthey are delivered by e-mail and only available to those who subscribe to theservice. Messages sent to a "listserv" are automatically broadcast toall subscribed members.

Short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions,a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent overthe Internet. Many e-mail clients now support MIME, which enables them to sendand receive graphics, audio, and video files via the Internet mail system.

Newsgroup (a.k.a. Forum or Message Board)
A place on the internet where individuals can post discussion items orquestions and answers on a literally thousands of topics. Generally, users ofthe newsgroups need to have an identification name and password to beginsubmitting discussion to the group.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Relatively new technology that can read paper text and manipulate it forviewing and editing in a word processing program. Saves extraordinary amounts oftime in retyping data into other formats, such as databases.

Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
Division of the Employment Standards Administration in the Department ofLabor responsible for enforcing three statutes for federal contractors andsubcontractors: Executive Order No. 11246, the Rehabilitation Act, and theVietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act. OFCCP enforces the three lawsthrough the use of compliance reviews, complaint investigations, administrativeprocedures, and judicial procedures. Generally, federal contractors with morethan $50,000 in annual contracts and 50 employees need to comply with theprovisions of OFCCP through the filing of an affirmative action plan to meet itsrequirements. These requirements basically require that certain federalcontractors hire without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin,disability or Vietnam veteran status.

Open design/architecture
Software or hardware that has the ability to be modified by any userincluding the programmer. This has become a more popular design for today’ssoftware in that it allows third parties to develop companion software (i.e.,add-ons) to improve the original product. This allows maximum flexibility forbuyers to tailor products to their specific needs.

Operating System
This is the "engine" that drives the personal computer and providesthe basic framework on which the computer operates and software programs can berun. Popular examples in business include Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Linux andUnix.

Perpetual license/Rental license
An alternative way of purchasing a software or service. Under a perpetualagreement, a buyer would pay a larger amount at the setup of the system, with afixed monthly "lease" amount over a long period of time, say fiveyears.

Under a rental license, the buyer pays less at setup with a higher monthlyfee, generally for a shorter amount of time, say 24 months.

These purchase agreements are analogous to buying versus leasing a car andprovide additional options for financing.

Proprietary design/architecture
Generally refers to a software or hardware design that can only be modifiedby the original designer or programmer. Many vendors develop proprietary designsso that outside parties cannot copy or duplicate the design. It also allows themfull control, and pricing, over modifications made to the product.

Private Candidate Pool
A list of people with skills and abilities that a company may wish to use incurrent or future positions within the organization. The pool is generallyprivate only to the company and is a way to maintain information on passivejob-seekers (not actively looking for a job) who the company views as havingpotential to work in some capacity within the company. These pools focus more ondeveloping relationships with these candidates rather than collecting resumeinformation.

Request for Proposal/Request for Bid (RFP/RFB)
A document that is normally prepared by a buyer of a system or service thatprovides for a seller/vendor necessary information to make a formal bid orproposal for product/service. The document normally includes an overview of thecompany, the specific needs that should be met by the system or service,technical information regarding the company’s current environment and thetimeline for the seller to respond.

Input into a system that affects existing data immediately, as opposed to abatch-processed system that collects all data inputs and then processes them allat a later time. For example, if an HR person wants to change an employee’saddress, then the entry is made into the system and the address is changedimmediately. A common buzzword that indicates that data can be accessed oredited immediately.

A formal request by a hiring manager to fill an open position in the company.Generally, a requisition will include the title of the position, the requiredknowledge, skills and abilities, salary information and any other informationthat is pertinent to the performance of the job (e.g., location, restrictions).

The ability of a software program or piece of hardware to adapt to anincreased amount of demands. For example, if you only have one location butthink you may expand to other locations in the future, you will want to purchasean applicant tracking system that can handle your one location now and thenexpand to handle your multiple locations later.

Computer industry buzzword that refers to taking a paper format and puttingit directly into a format for viewing and/or editing on a computer. This usuallyis used in connection with optical character recognition (OCR).

Stand-alone system
Any machine or system that does not require another system to operate. Mostfrequently used in reference to a personal computer that is not part of anetwork and has its own file storage, printer control and e-mail/internetconnection (i.e., modem). When comparing certain software products, vendors willprice the product for a "stand-alone" version and a"network" version.

Time to Hire
A common measure used in human resources to evaluate the average amount oftime it takes to fill an open position. This is normally measured from the pointthe job request is submitted by the hiring manager to the point the new employeewalks in the door.

UNIX (pronounced yoo-niks)
This is one of the leading operating systems for companies with networks andworkstations rather than separate personal computers.

User Interface
The actual part of a software program or Web-based application that the useractually sees and uses. This is normally designed to be easy to use andaesthetically pleasing.

A program that performs a very focused task on a computer. For example,anti-virus software is considered a utility because its sole function is tomonitor for computer viruses.

A report required of all federal contractors with more than $10,000 incontracts that is produced in compliance with the Vietnam Era VeteransReadjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Under the Act, federal contractors need toshow that they are using affirmative action in employing disabled or Vietnamveterans.

A utility or sub-program within a larger software program that helps toperform a certain task. For example, in an applicant tracking system, a"requisition wizard" would lead a person through each of the steps ofproducing a requisition.

Recent Articles by William Dickmeyer, CEBS

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