In the past month or two, a few Staffing Talk readers asked us to do articles on a specific prompt.* Now, these aren’t the only questions or article requests we got during that time, but in a nice coincidence we could answer these three relatively quickly. While we’d love to tell you that this is the first part of a weekly/monthly series wherein you ask questions and we provide answers, it’s a little premature to celebrate this coincidental success. But if you continue to send in questions, we’d be happy to respond. Just email TrevorK@http://staffingtalk.com.

Can you use one word to describe the biggest challenge facing staffing in 2013?
I read a similar question on LinkedIn not too long ago and remember lots of people saying things like: honesty, complexity, overload, time, change, quality, skills, attrition, complicated, and talent.

But if you’re asking us, I’ve learned to answer any question that begins with “can you use one word” with either “yes” or “no.” Because 1) I’m a snarky jerk, 2) it’s always true, and 3) let’s face it, the person asking the question clearly doesn’t care about your opinion if they’re restricting you to a one-word response.

So, next time, give us at least three words and maybe we’ll tell you.

Is there anyone or anything in the world with the amount of ridiculous expectations that are demanded of recruiters?
Just off the top of my head … I’m thinkin’ A-Rod after $250 million contract in Texas, Jordan with the Wizards, Lucas’ prequel trilogy to Star Wars, and Obama’s first term in the White House.** You can be your own judge of the results for each.

But probably the best analogy is The Expendables. Like a good recruiter, Stallone gathered up the biggest names in action film acting over the past two decades and promised its nostalgia-hungry fanbase (the client) not only the long-awaited return of Reagan-era action, but THE action film to define all action films. *** As everyone in their heart of hearts should have known (given that these guys are fossilized empty shells of roided-out gun-toting bodies), it was a total let down. But it did make decent money, led to a crappy sequel that also made money, and is rumored to have a third installment and female spin-off in the works. So while the client isn’t totally happy, the recruiter did their job and got paid for it.

What is the best applicant tracking system?
Well my first reaction to this question is to inform you of what Staffing Talk has written in the past on ATSs. Here’s why so many are bad. Here’s five reasons why there’s so damn many of them … and Gregg’s creation of one in 10 minutes. And here’s an article wherein we review several of them.

But that’s kind of a cop out. Because that doesn’t really answer your question. Re-reading the above paragraph now, it seems like a back-hand way of saying, “There isn’t one.” And I don’t know if that’s totally fair.

What we can tell you is that it really depends on your company (what you do, what you need, your hardware, your budget, etc.). We’ve heard good things about Peoplesoft, Maxhire, Taleo, Bullhorn, PC Recruiter, and many others (iCims, RecruitmentForce, HireDesk, the list goes on), but you can only take that with a grain of salt. Companies with X budget, in X niche, and in need of X features may think X ATS system is the best; but you might have YZ needs than an X system won’t satisfy.

So without knowing your specific situation, I’m not going to venture a guess at the best ATS for you. Sounds like you’ve got to do your own digging on that one. Sorry.

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* Like a third grade teacher when their students returned from summer vacation – only not annoying and slightly less self-aggrandizing.

** Which you had to know was coming, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, given the amount of promises and a campaign that touted “hope” and “change.”

*** And the analogy is even better given the title. It says a lot about how recruiters feel about themselves when they’re not creating the results expected of them.

Tags: Bullhorn, Advice, Applicant Tracking Software, Applicant Tracking Systems, HireDesk, ICIMS, Mailbox, Maxhire, Peoplesoft, Recruiting, RecruitmentForce, Taleo