Using the Power of Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to Pre-qualify Your Applicant Pool

By Russ Vickstrom, Director of HR (Retd), Worcester State University

In the days before online Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), responses to recruitments came by postal mail or email with all application materials like resume/CV, cover letter, list of references and in the case of faculty, statements of teaching philosophy, letters of recommendation, research summary and sample publications from peer reviewed journals. Certainly a laborious task to acknowledge, manage, file and review. If only there had been a way to separate the qualified applicants from the rest of the pool and then request only those to send all required documents needed for reviewers to make effective decisions on whom to include for further review.

Fast forward to today’s electronic communication and paperless systems such as automated Applicant Tracking Systems – we no longer need the reams of paper and manual processes that come with handling the influx of applications documents. However, we still have the constraints related to reviewing what at times amount to huge applicant pools filled with potentially unqualified candidates. We expect our reviewers to separate these unqualified candidates from those who meet our minimum qualifications. Is this the best use of their time? Wouldn’t it be more effective for HR and reviewers if only those candidates deemed qualified were invited to forward supporting documentation such as letters of recommendation, teaching philosophies and research publications?

Hirezon’s Interview Exchange Applicant Tracking System designed for Higher Education anticipated this need and has included a series of qualifying questions called COREquisites (Comprehensive Occupational Requirements Evaluator) that help to separate those who meet minimum qualifications from those that do not. This is a series of up to ten questions which are designed to be answered as either “yes” or “no” and can be coded as “required” or not. If someone answers “yes” to all of the required questions, they are deemed “qualified” and can be invited to forward additional documentation in support of their application.

If any of the required questions are answered “no”, they are then marked with “not qualified”. This does not mean that they should not be reviewed or considered. It simply acts as a suggestion to the reviewer that additional documentation may not be needed at this time from those not qualified candidates.

Although the Interview Exchange ATS supports multiple attachments from all applicants whether they are qualified or not qualified, Search Committee’s may take advantage of using COREquisites feature to collect multiple documents only from qualified applicants.

View details about Hirezon’s HR software solutions for higher education:



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