Q&A with Rob Felicetta: Using Automated ATS Reminders to Drive Efficiency

Rob Felicetta is the director of talent innovation for Informatica, a leader in Enterprise Cloud Data Management that helps global organizations become more agile, realize new growth opportunities and create inventions through data and intelligent disruption. Within Global Talent Acquisition, Rob oversees a team that manages all aspects of Informatica’s talent experience, recruiting process and technology across the entire hiring lifecycle. He shares his expertise and insights regarding the implementation of automated reminders to improve hiring outcomes at a global level.

What initially led you down the path of using automated reminders to improve Informatica’s recruiting outcomes?

Essentially, in examining the overall recruiting process, we found that recruiters were spending a significant amount of time following up with hiring managers and interviewers in order to gather the feedback and approvals needed to move a search forward. We were even able to quantify the implications given that our tracking showed the recruiting team was spending 30 to 45 minutes per open job on these particular follow-up activities. On the surface, this may not seem like a lot. But when you think about it within the context of annual hires, it adds up quickly. Based on the number of FTEs we hire per year, we spent roughly 700 hours gathering feedback and approvals. It’s the equivalent of a part-time team member.

We certainly recognize that there will be hiring process delays due to someone being on vacation or perhaps facing a very demanding deadline on a major initiative. Plus, Informatica has the added complexity of operating across multiple time zones, so that can also stack additional days on top of approvals. However, we knew that we could do more in terms of driving compliance around interview feedback and approvals, especially since any delay can exacerbate an organization’s hiring challenges.

The reality is that you can’t move a candidate forward in the process without the associated feedback and approvals. So, the question we felt we needed to answer was this: How do you engage your hiring managers and interviewers in the process and encourage them to respond in a timely fashion so that everyone can move forward?

What drove your thinking in terms of how best to tackle the challenge?

We were committed to the idea that if we uncovered areas of small wins that could potentially decrease time to fill, then those wins would increase exponentially. Historically, if you think about a 50- to 60-day time to fill average, you’re not going to find a magic bullet that saves you 10 days of time. From my perspective, when that is the case, it points to a process problem. But when your overall process works well, the approach comes down to figuring out where you can shave a day off here and there and realize strong results without having to make too many changes.

What did you and your team do next?

We focused our efforts on identifying all the opportunities within the GR8 People talent platform to set reminders that we can send ourselves or apply automation at either the workflow level or the system level to drive the desired behavior.

For example, in looking more closely at hiring manager behaviors, we identified a couple of issues. Hiring managers are in the ATS, but if they miss the initial email requesting candidate feedback—maybe they’re traveling or attending offsite meetings—we decided to send an automated email after 48 hours to remind them that we had shared a resume that required their review and input or that we were still waiting on their interview feedback.

What were your initial results?

Our tracking reveals that 80% of individuals act after receiving that automated reminder. Among the 20% who still haven’t responded, we escalate the outreach when we hit 96 hours. This often includes emailing the individual as well as following up directly. Often, we’ll find that the individual is out of the office, and we need to delegate the required action to another team member. Regardless of the underlying issue, our new approach leads to the discussion that ultimately resolves whatever the issue is without a lot of extra work. And, most importantly, the automation takes the task out of the recruiters’ hands so they can move forward and keep recruiting.

If you look at how the GR8 People reminders have impacted our average time for feedback received, it’s pretty dramatic. Depending on the global hiring region, we’ve shaved anywhere from 1.5 to nearly 2.5 days off the average time for feedback.

And that’s just for time for feedback. We’ve implemented automated reminders across all aspects of our recruiting workflow, from trigger emails that recruiters receive if a referred candidate sits too long in the system without action—a scenario we absolutely want to avoid—to reminders for approvals on offer letters so that we can finalize a new hire. If you leverage your ATS to do this kind of heavy lifting, not only do you free up your recruiters to recruit but you also deliver a much better experience to candidates.

What “lessons learned” can you share with readers?

One of the most important lessons learned is that sometimes hiring managers, interviewers, and other important stakeholders, such as finance and our HR business partners, forget what’s expected of them or how to provide their feedback. To help, we built a one-page, quick-reference guide that lays out the next steps we need them to take and who to contact if they still have questions. We’ve found this to be very effective in driving response.

The other thing we learned is that people actually respond more quickly to a branded email reminder than a plain-text reminder. So, we set up a template within GR8 People that includes a branded Informatica header along with the action required and action past due details. It looks clean and professional, and it presents nicely from any device.

What do you suggest organizations facing similar challenges keep in mind?

I think the most important thing is that without any additional work or cost, we’ve been able to take time-consuming tasks off the recruiter’s plate and save a tremendous amount of time in the process. If we look at our use of automated reminders across all workflows, we’re picking up an average of five to six days in terms of time to fill. And, in doing so, we’ve been able to accomplish what we set out to—translate areas of small wins into major improvements in our talent acquisition processes and related outcomes.