by Karen McCandless
Published on 14 April 2016
We're sure you've heard time and time again about how your staff are the lifeblood of your business, how without the right hires you'd have gone bankrupt and be living in a cardboard box already. If this is such an accepted truth, why is your business still using a mishmash of Excel spreadsheets to manage your incredibly important recruitment process?
If you're fed up of manually tracking job adverts, never being on top of the pile of CVs cluttering your desk, forgetting about interviews until the interviewee arrives on your doorstep, and losing the contact information of your next hire, then it's time to ditch the spreadsheet and rejuvenate your hiring process.
Here we provide our top ten Excel alternatives for managing your recruitment process that will have you hiring like a pro, and cutting all the unnecessary manual processes so you can focus on your key business and keep the cardboard box at bay. It's important to note that our criteria for selection was based on reviews from GetApp users across broad HR and more-specialized recruitment software.
Manually keeping track of applicants and new hires using a database and/or Excel spreadsheet means you miss out on a ton of features that can not only simplify your recruitment process and save you time, but also allow you to hire better candidates and ensure that they are brought on board in a smooth manner. ICIMS includes features such as applicant tracking for both hourly and salary workers, internal job transfers, a portal for new hires, job board posting, onboarding, reporting, employee referral programs, social recruiting, and CRM.
Edith Smith, corporate recruiter at Diamond Healthcare, says: "Our HR department used ICIMS for a year and raved about it. Then our company moved to an "all in one" package to connect the functions between billing, payroll, HR and more. During this two year period, HR simply had a database of applicants …. not a recruiting tool. We came back to ICIMS specifically for it's ability to match our varied hiring flows, customize requisitions for each facility, hiring manager access, and the ability to capture metrics.
Many small businesses start off with Excel spreadsheets for managing a plethora of processes, whether it be accounting, sales management or recruitment. But as your business grows, you'll want to streamline your processes and make them more efficient. BambooHR makes it easy to migrate from spreadsheets to cloud-based recruiting technology, and is especially competent at on-boarding new hires. It not only comes with a built-in applicant tracking system, but also offers a whole host of other HR features as well.
GetApp reviewer Helen May says: "The transition to Bamboo has been easy. It's gotten things more organized around here. The software is user-friendly and intuitive and has provided the fields we need to track our employees. The on-boarding and set-up of an employee has been the biggest advantage so far. It's something we've needed to take us from spreadsheets and "too many cooks in the kitchen" to all-in-one place."
With LinkedIn recruiter integration and the ability to create a brandable recruitment portal on your website, Workable is as quick to get up and running on as an Excel spreadsheet. If your team is too small to have its own specialized recruiter, you can give access to external recruiters to help you find the right hire.
Joe Pych, founder and CEO at Bionic Advertising Systems, says: "In just one week of use, I can say already that Workable is the right solution for us. We've already received dozens of quality applicants. More importantly (and the reason we are trying it), we're finding the process of managing the applications much easier and much more effective. Compared to the old way (manually keeping track in Excel and file folders), it's night and day."
Leah Taylor, director of communications, Bandsintown, says: "With limited staff and resources, we needed an easy to implement recruiting tool that would seamlessly integrate with our new website. Workable has proven itself to be, hands down, the best investment we ever made. It automates the manual process of finding and recruiting top talent and is perfect for our growing business."
Maybe you aren't using Excel, maybe it's even worse and you're stuck in the environmentally unfriendly world of paper (think of the trees). But if you're worried about your staff switching from paper-based processes to the new world of cloud technology then Jobscience's ease of use and implementation can relieve these concerns and save time. Built on Salesforce CRM, this software includes CRM functionality that brings job sourcers and recruiters into the fold, and has features for interview management, reference sourcing, and onboarding.
Bruce Fong, IT analyst at CCC, says: "We had an old system where we still had paper forms for people to join us. It was more than long in the tooth. We looked for various vendors but when we got to Jobscience it looked right for us. They were there to help us each step of the way to get us on board with the app and what configurations will be needed for our business. They have been very supportive of us as we use the app in the second year now. The app has been very easy to use for people. The staff really loves the reporting functions available to them. Moving to an online system to get applicants has boosted our applications over 400% and the people we have hired is over 200%. This has been a great boon to us."
One area which could put off small businesses from moving away from the Excel spreadsheet is the hassle of implementation and user adoption, an area which Breezy HR makes easy. It's also a collaborative solution, giving multiple team members access to different parts of the process.
Johnny Meagher, founder of Signal Education, explains: "We had been looking for a solution for our recruitment process. Until we came across Breezy we had been using Excel to manage our candidate list, this had become messy disorganised and hard to manage. Breezy was so simple to set up and allowed us to manage our recruitment process effectively with everyone in the team able to review and manage the potential candidates."
Everyone knows how to use Excel (although not everyone knows how to use it well) so a key concern for any company adopting a new app for the hiring process is how long it takes to get up to speed. Jobvite is not only easy to get up to speed on quickly, but it allows you to better collaborate and see all communication between candidates and different members of your team.
One GetApp reviewer explains: "Jobvite is a great system to integrate for a recruiting team. Previously not using a system at all, and a set of online sharing systems, using this system gives a team a lot more time to keep organized. It is great to keep all information in Jobvite, instead of trying to workout of two systems. Jobvite keeps track of who is in and out of a candidate's profile. It helps everyone on the team when there is full transparency on all emails sent to a candidate."
Greg Curran, director of production for The American Wedding Group, says: "Jobvite is an excellent way to organize everything about your recruitment campaign and allow you to be able to always access it from any computer at any time. It is easy to learn and use and the support is excellent! The way you can run recruitment can mirror a similar marketing campaign."
If you're using Excel to manage your recruitment process, chances are you've also got some other manual, possibly paper-based processes going on. Greenhouse is a good option if you want to streamline all this information into one system that can adapt to your specific recruitment needs and is customizable.
Instead of spending hours creating specific job adverts and then posting them on different sites, Greenhouse automatically publishes your adverts on sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Facebook, and Glassdoor. It also allows you to create structured interview plans and keep scorecards based on these interviews to enable you to provide better feedback to candidates.
Lois Sakerka, director of recruiting at Health Systems informatics, says: "Our company moved from a total manual recruiting workflow (stacks of folders on the floor, Excel spreadsheets, résumés on various hard drives, candidate notes in different files) to Greenhouse's sophisticated software. No longer do I have to look in four to five different spots to find complete information for one candidate; the time savings are phenomenal. Now I work daily with a system that is easy to configure, flexible and adaptable to our style of recruiting, has all candidate information in one spot and with features that optimize our process."
Tracking candidates through the recruiting process can get messy if you're still using a spreadsheet. Jazz allows you to set up hiring workflows with customizable recruiting stages and then assign these to team members so you know where each job vacancy is at any time. The app's top notch reporting and analytics capabilities also allow you to use data to optimize your process.
Meighan Pallone, human resources assistant at Oberg Industries, says: "I was the sole owner of our recruiting function at my company, and we were using Excel spreadsheets to manage all of the critical information that needs to be documented. We were referred to Jazz in the summer of 2015 and have been loving it ever since. It is easy to use, tracks just about anything you could ever want to report on, and is constantly making improvements."
By switching from a manual way of managing your recruitment processes in Excel to automating them in a cloud-based app can save time and money. If you don't want to completely ditch the spreadsheets then an app such as CATS, which integrates with Excel is an ideal solution for your business.
One reviewer explains: "When we implemented in 2009, we had a paper/spreadsheet system in place. CATS streamlined all of this for us and brought sanity to the hiring process. We love the email triggers that can be set up to automatically be sent when certain actions are recorded in the system. This has saved many hours for us."
Talent sourcing consultant LeQuay Marsh, says: "CATS has made various plug-ins available free of charge to its subscribers. These plug-ins allow you to do everything from edit résumés within the system using a Microsoft Word Plug-in, leverage WordPress, and even send LinkedIn profiles and résumés from job boards directly into the CATS system. You can easily move data from other recruiting systems to CATS. You can either upload large batches of résumés or even upload a CSV document from Excel directly into the system."
Emailing spreadsheets back and forth and opening CVs as attachments (think about compatibility issues, and what format the document will be) is an inefficient way to manage your recruitment. And while Excel spreadsheets (or Google Sheets for that matter) are definitely not a scalable way to manage your growing business, some recruitment apps are the same, being only suitable for small businesses. Recruiterbox is a scalable solution that removes the admin headache of spreadsheets and attachments, removing document version issues, as well as enabling better collaboration.
One GetApp reviewer says: "For a startup like ours, our hiring needs were limited at first. Recruiterbox was completely free to use for two postings. Whatever our hiring intensity, recruiterbox has saved us a lot of time and removed the pain of opening email attachments and manual tracking of candidates in spreadsheets. Highly recommend it for small and medium companies who are looking for long-term internal processes. Efficient and scalable."
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of recruitment software, so if there is a particular app you favor, let us know in the comments below or by reaching out on social media. If you're looking to purchase a new piece of hiring tech, then our top app rankings for applicant tracking and human resources is a good start. There you can get more information on user reviews, as well as integrations, mobile apps, and security data.