Where the Truth Lies – Excel trackers v Reporting Accuracy

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Case Study

Where the Truth Lies – Excel trackers v Reporting Accuracy

For a long time, Excel spreadsheets were the standard for recruitment data management in companies around the world. And for good reasons: easy access, storage and they responded well to basic needs. That is, the basic needs of a recruiter working in a less digitised environment, where technology was considered difficult to master and cohesive reports were not the focus.

However, with the recent digital acceleration and shifting business priorities, it’s fair to say Excel trackers are considered to be part of a past era. Why? The difficulty of managing your tracker grows exponentially with the number of your recruitment process steps. And with 93%of Excel users seeing combining spreadsheets a very time-consuming chore, it unequivocally affects productivity.

But do these trackers help recruitment teams in the current climate or are they a necessary evil? And if so, what steps can companies take to support their HR functions in giving Excel spreadsheets a makeover fit for today’s requirements?

Are Excel trackers part of a Recruiter’s everyday life?

Microsoft Excel has been the go-to solution for professionals since its inception. There are a profusion of functions that can be used to streamline daily recruitment activities, without getting too technical. They can enable recruitment teams to keep applicant information at their fingertips, whilst making it easy to check on status, feedback, or red flags. However, there’s a constant debate on whether they’re still as useful, regardless of how often they are used.  

All in all, despite the familiarity of working with a well-known application, Excel trackers have been reported to bring inconsistencies, inaccuracies and essential candidate details risk getting lost in translation. This in turn causes suboptimal experiences, for both candidates and stakeholders. But this is just one side of the coin.

Reporting and data analysis
Is this impacting strategic decision-making?

Looking at the grand scheme of things, at company-level, fora long time, Applicant-tracking Systems (ATS) have been marketed as the solution to the above issues. And they are to some extent. The key reports that inform strategic decisions within the HR and People functions are based on the activity and trends within a company’s ATS.

Here’s where a key issue is highlighted by Rethink’s Centre of Excellence Director, Laurence Mottram: “A widely recognised problem within recruitment, especially Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), is that we often only report on what’s in the ATS system. And based on what we’ve seen working with clients across Media, Broadcast, Entertainment and Professional sports, recruiters still use their trackers. This data is therefore missing and leads to inaccurate decision-making and activity tracking.”

This in turn creates the need to supplement the existing information and a vicious circle is created: Tracker, ATS, Tracker, … In the United Kingdom, one of the key hiccups when it comes to system efficiency is that global organisations may have their ATS system configured for use inAmerica. And even with significant implementation processes and support from providers, time zone differences of sometimes 13 hours from the States to the European continent bring inconsistencies and inaccuracies that are not fixed timely.

Another common issue is that a lot of ATS systems are configured for input, but it’s very difficult to get data out of them. Furthermore,ATS implementation partners who lack recruitment reporting experience, are behind the trend in terms of the key data extracts required to provide insightful analytics. The reports required to understand the evolution of key metrics that guide decision-making are therefore not easily available. And the situation gets exponentially more complicated when global companies are using multiple recruitment systems or when businesses are undergoing a migration process.

How is the market responding to these needs?

 Full integration with LinkedIn and job boards has been highlighted as the key for recruitment teams’ productivity. And when significant investment in an ATS system is not yielding expected results, it’s time to have a look at solutions that are readily available on the market. Over 55% of organisations find themselves in a high-risk, inaccurate recruitment data bubble. So, what can be done about it?

One solution is to implement an enterprise tracker – a web-based form that standardises and replaces excel trackers. The form feeds a database and in turn can be made visible and joined to other data through reporting. The other element to such a solution is a data quality-focused dashboard, that brings together all the pieces of the puzzle: Excel spreadsheets, reports from one or many recruitment systems used and any additional stored data. Getting an accurate view of everything that’s happening within the HR and People functions at a specified time or geography enables businesses to have a single source of truth.

 LookingGlass byRethink is the recruitment data insights platform that does just that. It enables TA and HR leaders to make better strategic decisions in their hiring process. It brings reports that fit stakeholder requirements to life, through an interactive and fully customised delivery. Interested in finding out more? Get in touch today and book a free consultation with one of our experts.

LookingGlass dashboard

To sum up, one clear thing is that the recruitment world is evolving faster than ever – new ways of working, technologies and sets of requirements. And in this evolution process, Excel trackers are still a trusted tool, used by recruitment teams across the globe. With added layers of functionality coming from Applicant Tracking Systems, progress is shown by streamlined candidate experiences and acquiring the best talent on the market. But when some of these systems don’t communicate as well as we’d want them to, or we need better reporting – there are solutions on the market. These can bridge the gap between slow, overloaded spreadsheets and data stored all over, generating a detailed view of everything happening across your organisation.

Authored by
Andra-Bianca Muntean
Digital Marketing Manager

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