3Sixty Insights

3Sixty Insights

#HRTechChat with Nate Smith, Founder and CEO of Lever

July 25, 2021

Nate Smith, founder and CEO of San Francisco–based Lever, joined us for this episode of the 3Sixty Insights #HRTechChat. Lever's technology for talent acquisition, as well as the vendor's philosophy behind finding new hires, helps employers facing complex challenges in reaching their strategic goals identify and woo future employees whose skills are essential to the related tasks at hand. As you can imagine, this made for an interesting podcast.

Nate and I first spoke last summer and openly wondered whether it might have been one year exactly to the day that we recorded this episode -- which was Monday, July 19. Being a calendar pack rat, I did a search, and it turns out that we were off by just one week. Imagine that.

Many organizations today wrestle with antiquated, clunky or inadequate functionality to assist and facilitate talent acquisition. At the very least, it's the last two of these that make it seem like all three anyway. The thing is, the very idea of an applicant tracking system (ATS) is ill-matched to helping employers keep tabs on potential new-hires in today's recruiting environment. Long in the tooth, the concept of an ATS was so-named at a time when the workflow and scope of recruiting would have been nearly unrecognizable to today's talent acquisition professionals.

Specifically, the vast majority of ATS functionality struggle to account for today's environment. The word "applicant" itself assumes that the only job candidate worth tracking is one who's elected to apply for a job. This is simply short-sighted. Social media and the evolution of recruiting technology have finally brought us to a point where employers can target new-hire prospects with accuracy and treat them as leads to manage and nurture over the long term.

In other words, the length of the journey of a potential new-hire today is akin to that of a potential customer -- perhaps longer, if we're talking about consumer products. Truth be told, customer relationship management systems have facilitated long nurturing cycles, for sales, for many years. Talent acquisition is catching up.

For example, a recruiter may have a conversation with a high-value person who doesn't apply for a job as a direct result or any time soon. The last thing he wants to do is request this person enter her curriculum vitae into any conventional ATS whatsoever. Instead, he'd want to enter notes of the details of this contact and the attendant conversation into a candidate relationship management (CRM) system, marking the record for follow-up when and if an opening suitable for her opens. Only once she becomes an actual applicant does her CV enter the ATS.

Most organizations solve for this issue by deploying their ATS and CRM (candidate relationship management) applications separately, contending with nearly impossible integration challenges. Lever combines the two as one application running a single data set governed by a single rules engine. We've heard of single applications for multiple functions before, and it's often a very good idea. It's almost silly to call such a sophisticated, purpose-built thing an ATS, frankly.

Nate and I explored so much more. I urge you to view the entire podcast.