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Take Control Of Your Complex Recruitment


The term ‘complex recruitment’ is commonly used in reference to the way recruitment marketing is carried out in the following sectors:

It came about for no other reason than that’s exactly what it is. It’s usually multi-layered and more complex than private sector recruitment marketing processes.

This is unsettling when you bear in mind that many organisations in these sectors are suffering skills shortages. These skills shortages are a result of a lack of new talent coming on board and a loss of existing talent to the private sector.

Rebecca Clarke, the research adviser at the CIPD, made this statement about the problems with public sector recruitment in 2012, almost 10 years ago. She describes, “…an ongoing struggle for employers to find the skills and experience they need to drive their organisations forward. This is a particular issue in the public sector where, now more than ever, they require talented and experienced individuals at senior levels of the organisation to help steer them through times of change. The image of the public sector is putting off some new recruits. This… makes jobs in public sector organisations less and less appealing to those individuals who have the skills required for the vacancies.”

This statement sounds so familiar that it could have been made this week.

There’s an image problem in these sectors. So, when it comes to recruitment marketing, it’s all the more important that the candidate's journey wows not reinforce doubts.

But wowing can be easier said than done when you’ve to navigate a complex recruitment process that lives up to what it says on the tin.

We’re going to address key issues with complex recruitment one by one in this article. In addition to the challenges, we’re going to look at how an Applicant Tracking System can help you can take control, streamline the process and ensure it’s aligned at every touchpoint.


Control and Consistency

It’s difficult to keep your recruitment processes controlled and consistent when budgets are tight and multiple site recruitment might come under your banner.

It takes longer to just advertise your vacancy when there’s a multi-layered hierarchy needing to rubber stamp requisition requests.

Front end Applicant Tracking System integration with your careers site provides you with all the tools you need to tailor the application process role by role.

It’s speedy and simple to create a job description in your Applicant Tracking System. You can get a job description approved by all the relevant signatories quickly with your system. And you can then use Vacancy Filler’s multi-poster functionality in your system to convert your request to a job ad in a click.

The time-saving alignment continues, automatically posting the job ad to your careers site, preferred job boards, and social media channels. Candidates who see your job ad on any external channels are directed to your careers site, where they can search all your job vacancies.

So, all applications go through the same process for complete consistency.


Different Access Levels for Different Stakeholders

Complex recruitment can get even more complex when different internal stakeholders and user groups need different permission structures to access various parts of the process.

But it’s much less hard work with an Applicant Tracking System. You can set it up to follow your specific process, automating who can see and do what at which stages of the process, for example:


  • Central Services Team – Access to the entire system.
  • Site or School Office – Restricted site-based access.
  • Senior Leadership or Onboarding Team – Different access to different features for various stakeholders.
  • Hiring Managers – Administrative access to determine who needs to see what across all touchpoints.


Complicated Application Process for Candidates

Beyond a simple CV upload, candidates can be expected to complete tailored application forms and answer behavioural and skills-based questions, besides minimum criteria killer questions.

Your application process can realistically require considerable time and effort on your part. So, it helps them and avoids putting them off completely if you make a complex application process as palatable as possible.

You can design your own application flow across on a role-specific basis in your Applicant Tracking System.


This application flow should present your candidates with a clearly itemised journey that might include some or all of the following stages:


  • Mandatory information.
  • CV uploading and/or Application Form.
  • Cover Letter or Personal Statement.
  • Employment History.
  • Education Details and Qualifications.
  • References.
  • Equal Opportunities Form.
  • Emergency Contacts.
  • Convictions Disclosure.
  • Signature.

(The Vacancy Filler Applicant Tracking System has an option for ‘wet signatures’ where candidates can sign on touch screens rather than just type in their name and the date).

Irregular Recruitment Processes Compared to Other Organisations

An Applicant Tracking System that’s 100% configurable doesn’t dictate or hamper your recruitment process. On the contrary, it allows you to design your process flow and matches your internal language.

So, the sector-specific irregularities of your complex recruitment process are pulled into alignment, saving you time and removing room for error. For example: -

  • Application Form – It’s not unusual for a CV and an application form to be required in a complex recruitment process. When this is the case, an Applicant Tracking System can pre-populate application forms through CV parsing. This helps save applicants time by removing the need for unnecessary duplication.
  • Because the application process can be lengthy it’s good to give the option of returning to partially completed applications at a later time. If you take up this option, you can send automated notifications to potential candidates who haven’t completed and submitted their applications as the deadline approaches.
  • Employment history – Your Applicant Tracking System can automatically carry out a career gap analysis on applications for roles with strict safeguarding measures. Plus, it can flag to candidates with employment gaps that they’re unable to continue with their applications without accounting for their gaps.
References – Educational establishments and local authorities often ask for references at the application stage. References can be requested through the application form and fed back into it. This saves you time, effort, and keeps everything together in one place. Rigid_ShortlistingRigid Shortlisting Against Justifiable Criteria

When candidates pass the initial killer question stage it’s often relevant that they’re also panel screened and scored against your pre-defined justifiable criteria.

You might choose to use checklist questions for the panel screening stage, e.g. skills-based questions such as:


  • Desired level of management experience.
  • Minimum of 3 years of role-specific experience. 

Panel members can score on a 1-5 sliding scale against your pre-selected criteria. Besides numerical scores, you can also include a notes box for them to justify their scores with further insights.


The Vacancy Filler Applicant Tracking System puts a broad range of screening tools to help with rigid shortlisting at your disposal. It includes an in-built assessment suite from accredited testing provider iCEVonline, offering:

  • Behavioural and skills-based assessments – Suitable to use for remote recruitment or in-person assessment days.
  • Video screening sessions.
  • Video interviews.

It’s worth noting that the use of video screening and video interview sessions has gone through the roof since March 2020, when recruitment became completely remote. And it’s completely FREE with Vacancy Filler’s Applicant Tracking System.


Compliance and Safeguarding Requirements

Jobs in education, local authorities, and charities involving contact with children and vulnerable adults are understandably subject to intense screening.

The ease of carrying out checks and obtaining references in this area mirrors the ease of requesting references from current and past employers.

All requests are made through your Applicant Tracking System and all references are fed seamlessly back into it.

A recent exciting development is that Vacancy Filler has partnered with Experian, further ensuring you’re able to obtain the information you need about candidates at pace. This partnership is really ramping up the process for recruiters with complex needs.Accessibility_And_Inclusivity

Promotion of Accessibility and Inclusivity

It’s difficult, even impossible, to track accessibility and inclusivity if you can’t capture and compute data in one place. This is exactly what an Applicant Tracking System does.

When a candidate indicates a disability when they’re completing the Equal Opportunities Form they’ll automatically be asked for further information about their disability.

The system will flag these candidates, so you won’t miss them, and you’ll remain forearmed to understand and instigate any necessary provisions for them.

Throughout screening and shortlisting, it’s your call to choose which areas of application forms and/or CVs are presented for panel scoring. You can redact any information, from minimum criteria questions right up to complete blind shortlisting.

 Tailored_ReportingTailored Reporting

Without automated help, the prospect of designing and compiling your own reports can be bleak.

Not so with the Vacancy Filler Applicant Tracking System, which includes a suite of 35 different report templates. The suite includes key reports you’d expect to see, such as:

  • Candidate source data.
  • Diversity and inclusion.
  • Job source data.

But standard-reports might not quite fit your specific needs. If that’s the case, you’re able to create custom reports.


You can even export the data captured in your Applicant Tracking System into your own HR platform or a third-party system like Excel if that matches your processes.


At Vacancy Filler, it’s our vision to digitaliserecruitment marketing to empower businesses to locate and convert talent more efficiently. It’s critical to all businesses. But it’s game-changing to organisations with complex recruitment processes. Take a look at some of our amazing ATS features.

We offer tailored demonstrations of our market-leading Applicant Tracking System. We’ll be delighted to set time aside to take you through it in detail and discuss how it can evolve and adapt to your complex recruitment challenges.

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