Fueling Hiring Success

Peoples Natural Gas sees myriad benefits with a new ATS.
 

By Colin Day 
 
 
Talent acquisition software, once considered the purview of large corporations, is catching on with small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). More and more SMBs are beginning to take advantage of HR technologies that allow them to work smarter—not harder—for top talent. Recruitment is critical for business growth, but with many SMB’s recruitment departments already stretched thin, fostering that growth may seem daunting. Here is where technology can step in.
 
 
The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model has leveled the playing field for SMBs looking to streamline their hiring processes. SaaS solutions are web-based and charge a subscription per user. This pricing structure leans toward lower upfront costs and eliminates hefty installation or customization fees. SaaS providers also manage the IT infrastructure, which results in nominal—or in many cases zero—IT costs for hardware and maintenance to support the technology.
 
 
Peoples Natural Gas, a rapidly growing small business, sought a best-in-breed, SaaS-based applicant tracking system (ATS) to optimize its recruitment program. Here’s how they succeeded.
 
 
Since 1885, Peoples Natural Gas has been providing clean, safe, and reliable natural gas to approximately 360,000 homes and businesses in 16 western Pennsylvania counties. Peoples Natural’s recruiting was historically done by a team of in-house employees at its Virginia-based parent company, Dominion Resources. But the company was sold in 2010, and the responsibility for talent acquisition shifted to Peoples Natural Gas. The company needed an integrated, automated solution. Background screening is also pivotal to their business—employees visit customer homes—so an ATS platform that could seamlessly work with the company’s current screening provider was also a consideration.




The Implementation
After vetting five different solutions, Peoples Natural Gas chose the iCIMS talent platform for a variety of reasons: ease of use, robust reporting features, compliance capabilities, and customer service delivery explains Michelle Zappa, HR consultant at Peoples Natural Gas. The implementation was quick and painless, with the added benefit of seamless integration of the new platform with the company’s other business management solutions. Peoples Natural Gas now has the ability to automatically pass candidate information from its ATS to its background screening provider, allowing the company’s recruiters to screen out high-risk candidates and hire high-quality employees at a faster pace.
 
 
iCIMS’ applicant tracking system came equipped with tools to help Peoples Natural Gas gain maximum exposure for job requisitions with minimum effort says Zappa. With iCIMS’ ATS, recruiters can simultaneously post jobs to multiple third-party job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder. iCIMS customers also have the option to advertise open positions on hundreds of social media sites.
 
 
Effective branding and a positive candidate experience were also considerations says Zappa. For branding, iCIMS created a career site to match the look and feel of the company’s corporate site. Candidates can search for positions in several different ways: by location, job category, and keyword; and apply via a login and password. With iCIMS’ Social Apply feature, candidates can submit applications to jobs using their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles.
 
 
For onboarding, new hires have access to personalized portals where they can learn about the corporate culture and get all the necessary paperwork like state and federal forms (such as I-9 and W-4s) and corporate forms (such as payroll direct deposit and noncompete agreements). This is available prior to a candidate’s first day of work to improve the transition into the new position.
 
 
Peoples Natural Gas can now store all resumes in a centralized database, enabling recruiters to build a talent pipeline for current and future needs. If a candidate applies using the Social Apply feature and then updates his or her LinkedIn/Facebook profile, the changes will automatically be updated in iCIMS’ ATS. Recruiters can have visibility to the most current candidate information without leaving the system.
 
 
The SaaS model allows recruiters to access information anytime and anywhere they have an internet connection. They can electronically track the status of any job requisition, providing real-time feedback on where it is in the approval chain, as well as receive job activity updates once candidates begin applying. They can also monitor where employees are in the onboarding process with real-time updates, email notifications, and stakeholder dashboards.
 
 
Reporting tools have also proven valuable to for Zappa and the HR department. Personnel can now run job-posting reports for snapshots of where jobs are posted at any time, and track the success of job advertising outlets through source effectiveness reports. They can also run reports on metrics including cost-per-hire and time-to-fill. And they can even receive important data on Equal Employee Opportunity (EEO) compliance.
 
 
The Results
Peoples Natural Gas has experienced great changes and great results from iCIMS’ recruitment software. “We hired 200 employees in the first year after implementation,” recalls Zappa. “The integration also allowed us to automate our background checking, getting the candidates into the system five days sooner.” Overall, the time to fill open positions decreased 36 percent, from 65 days to 24 days.
 
 
By implementing an easy-to-use, scalable ATS that offered strong social media functionality and flexible reporting, Peoples Natural Gas is able to create a more efficient hiring process, keeping up with rapid growth in its industry.
 
 
Colin Day is CEO of iCIMS, Inc.
 
 
The 4 S’s for Software Solutions for SMBs
Simple. Software is meant to make the hiring process easier, not more complicated. And no small business wants to pay for features it doesn’t need. An easy-to-use system with an intuitive interface will ensure that recruiters and hiring managers actually use the system. Be sure to ask about its configurability, too—is it easy (and free) to modify the system fields, tabs, reports, etc. to work within your established processes?
 
 
Social. A solution that enables you to post positions to your preferred job boards and to connect with candidates via social media—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter—will extend your recruiting reach. Solutions with social media capabilities can also streamline the application process for candidates and present the most dynamic, timely applicant data to recruiters and hiring managers.
 
 
Scalable. If your business adds a new division, goes global, or merges with another company, your HR software should be able to scale easily and cost-effectively to support those changes. Furthermore, a solution that can integrate with other HR functions (such as onboarding) is also a sound business strategy, because it allows you to attract and retain top performers and improve business outcomes.
 
 
Supported. A solution that is backed by excellent customer service will enable you to solve problems, receive best-practice advice, and optimize your HR processes. If this is your first ATS purchase you’ll want to ensure your implementation goes smoothly and rely upon system experts for guidance and tips. Along the way your users will have questions: Make sure that your system provider offers free training, unlimited help desk support, and a dedicated support team.