Episode 026: Using OnBase for Tracking HR Applicants


Tracking applicants for Human Resources is a challenge for organizations especially because it involves a broad matrix of people. How do you manage all the applicants and track all the interviews and stages of the process? Instead of using the typical Microsoft Outlook, Excel and pre-set cloud options, ImageSoft’s recruiter, Christy Schultz and OnBase administrator, Nathan Armaly share how they added applicant tracking capabilities to their existing OnBase HR solution, making it a better experience for everyone.  

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Kate Storey: Welcome to the Paperless Productivity podcast, where we give you the tips, tricks and know how to solve your biggest workflow challenges, and bring great productivity into your workplace every day.

Today we’re chatting with Christy Schultz, one of our recruiters for ImageSoft, along with OnBase administrator Nathan Armaly. Welcome to the show.

Nathan Armaly: It’s good to be here.
Christy Schultz: Thanks.
Kate: Now, Nathan, you’ve been on the show before for episode 14 when we talked about using OnBase for human resources, but this is Christy’s first time on the podcast, so glad to have you here.
Christy: Thank you.
Kate: All right, so in this episode we’re taught that original concept of using OnBase for human resources and we’re going to get a little bit more specific. Christy and Nathan are going to paint us a picture of what life is like with a very small HR department and a rapidly growing workforce and how they manage it all. So to start, can you tell me what things were like before you put this new system in place? What tools did you use to track your applicants and what kind of online services are you using?
Christy: Well, so our HR department consists of Leanne Eastman, our HR manager, and myself, the sole recruiter, and we are now up to 130 employees. When I started with ImageSoft, we were simply using OnBase as a repository and tracking everything with an Excel spreadsheet.
Kate: Oh wow.
Christy: Yeah, written on …
Kate: That’s tedious.
Christy: Yes. I would have worksheets that I would have to email to the manager, wait for them to complete, get back from them, upload them into OnBase. So this process has really simplified and simplified my process.
Kate: A lot of color coded folders in Outlook.
Christy: Yes, there were. [crosstalk 00:01:50] … Exactly, they would have little folders that they would go into and color-code each candidate as to whether or not they liked the candidate.
Kate: I’m sure it was very nice to look at, but probably not so useful.
Nathan: Outlook … I’m not going to bash on Microsoft Office, but Outlook is not the best tool to do any kind of management like that.
Kate: Well and I would imagine especially as it grows, it’s harder to scale and keep all those systems. Then I would imagine if there’s … I know it’s a very small department, but if there is someone that needs to step in, someone might not know what that color coding means.
Christy: Exactly.
Kate: So yeah, there’s a lot of places where things could go wrong. Okay, so how did you start to engage managers or department heads to review resumes once you got this kind of system in place? How did you document their interviews and collect all of that information back with OnBase?
Christy: Well, with the new system, it is a one stop shop. Our managers are utilizing OnBase every day. So they go into the applicant tracking … and they get an email once I push a resume through … to go in and review that resume. Then from there they can choose whether they like the candidate or whether they decline the candidate, they can leave me notes, and then that flows back through to me. Then the process continues on from there. But OnBase is nice because I don’t have to send emails to the managers anymore, OnBase does it for me.
Kate: Oh that’s nice, kind of automates the process.
Nathan: Yeah, they would always … they would tend to lose the emails previously and be like, “Christy, can you send this to me?”
Christy: Yeah, “Can you send the resume to me again? I can’t find it.” Even if three days later they want to go back and re-look at the resume for candidates that they’ve talked to, they can go back and look at their prescreens, or if they’re talking to four different candidates, they can go back and compare the notes. It’s all right there.
Kate: Okay, great.
Nathan: Yeah, no more searching through email, there’s just filters we’ve got set up. Within three or four clicks, maybe two or three, they can get right to everything they need to see. If they’re recruiting for Position A, they can search by position and say “These are all the candidates I have for here. Let me review all the resumes again.”
Kate: Okay, great. Okay, so you mentioned the department uses OnBase, which is, for those who don’t know, an enterprise content management system and that helps to store all the documents. Just for full disclosure for everybody listening, ImageSoft also sells OnBase, but other than the obvious benefit of knowing the solution so well as a reseller, what made you guys in-house decide to want to build an applicant tracking system with an OnBase rather than subscribe to like a cloud solution or something?
Nathan: I think I can probably take this question. When we looked into … me personally when we looked into making some enhancements and some big changes to that applicant tracking system we did have in place, I looked at a lot of cloud solutions. They’re really good, but it’s another application you have to manage there. They offer A, B, C, D, and E, and you may only need A and B. It’s a little bit cumbersome, we can’t make quick changes if we need to.

Whereas OnBase, we literally built the entire application from the ground up. So it wasn’t like, “Okay, let’s find a cloud solution that has most of the features that we want, but we’re going to pay for a whole bunch that we don’t need,” it’s, “Let’s build exactly what we need and then we can make quick, rapid changes.”

A good example of that is a few months ago, Christy came to me with a complaint and says, “I really don’t like how this part of this solution works.” So I said, “Well, let’s rip it out and rebuild it in a whole new way,” and we got it up shortly. It would have been faster, but I had a baby, so I was kind of out of the office for a little bit. We were able to rapidly get that out within a couple months and roll out training to the managers. As Christy said it’s … I mean, you can talk to it a little bit more, but it’s made your life a whole lot easier.

Christy: Oh, it’s great. Why use another tool when you have a tool that you can customize the way you need it? It just really is the best of both worlds.
Nathan: Even if you don’t have something like OnBase, I would still advocate for it because it really is point and click, configure, make anything I want to make.
Kate: Yeah. So actually that makes me wonder, if you don’t have someone … I mean, I think a lot of businesses have some sort of like an IT, but if you don’t have someone in-house who feels real comfortable with customizing like that, does the solution have options that where it is kind of a little bit out of the box, but you have the option to change it up if you need to?
Nathan: They do have some solutions like that, but they have a lot of resources. Hyland who makes OnBase has a lot of resources online for training and they’ve got forums and stuff to learn. There’s a week long course you can, take instructor led, very good, very thorough on the exact tool that we use to build the solution. I can say with confidence if you do that, just a little bit of self training, you can probably build what we built.
Kate: Okay. Yeah, so it sounds like it works for a lot of different scenarios whether you have a full in-house IT department that can make those custom changes or it’s fairly easy to be able to start off on your own and then get fancy later if you want to with the customization.
Nathan: Yup, exactly.
Kate: That’s great. Okay, so how has the recruiting process now changed with this in place? How do you keep the resumes? You talked a little bit about how you keep the resumes organized, but what are some of the other nuances that have changed since bringing this solution on?
Christy: Well, we have a whole workflow, so once the resume is uploaded into the system, the managers, like I said, have the ability to go in and review resumes, decline a resume if they don’t like it, if the skill set isn’t there, and then if they do like it that they can push it through to me and everything just flows to cues.

So every day I come in, I open up OnBase, and I look at my queue where we have candidates. So if someone has a resume that they like, they push it through to prescreen. I will call and do my initial prescreen. If I think that the candidate still meets the qualifications that we’re looking for, I’ll push them through to a phone interview. The manager gets an email that the phone interview view has been scheduled.

I do also schedule it in their Outlook calendar. We haven’t integrated that just yet, but I know that that’s something that I think Nathan has said that we could potentially do in the future. I still do it outside within Outlook. But once the interview gets scheduled, they go right in, they click on their phone interview object, they complete the phone interview worksheet right there. They can do it while they’re on the phone with the candidate. Then they choose their disposition and again it just flows through the process. If they want a phone interview then they go to schedule phone interview queue. I get the email that I need to reach out to the candidate and schedule an in-person. So it just all flows with the workflow. It’s great.

Nathan: It’s not like you’re manually moving anything either. It’s really I’m going to click a button that says schedule prescreen, it displays your prescreen, you type in the candidate, you click save and then it goes and moves on to the next step in the process. It makes it easy on the managers, too. You probably have the hardest job in terms of using the system, the most interactivity. The managers, when they’re complete with their interview, we have some core value stuff and whatever your organization may have that can be put in there as to what you evaluate a candidate on. But at the end there’s going to be a disposition, say, “Yeah, let’s move this person to an in-person interview,” or, “No, I don’t think so,” whatever that may be. But you just select that disposition, you click save, and then it does everything it’s supposed to do. So really we make it as simple as possible for the end users.
Kate: Excellent.
Christy: No more having to print a piece of paper, fill it in, send it back to me, upload it. It’s all right there.
Nathan: As much as some people at a paperless company still love their paper.
Kate: Well, old habits are hard to break.
Nathan: So hard.
Kate: Yeah, but I imagine if anything, even if they do want to print out that paper, whatever, it doesn’t hold up the whole process.
Christy: Correct.
Kate: By them wanting the print those out or anything like that they’ve got to have for their own reference.
Christy: It’s nice because I’m not having to track them down for that. We have it set up so that they have, I think, a day to complete their interview worksheet. If it’s not completed within a day, they start getting daily emails from OnBase. “Hey, you need to go in and complete this interview worksheet. Hey, you need to complete … ” So I’m not having to do that, OnBase is doing it for me.
Nathan: If they wait long enough, then the HR manager gets copied and then the CEO gets copied.
Kate: Oh, there’s levels.
Nathan: Occasionally, they’ll face the wrath of Christy when they still won’t do it. She’ll go kind of whop their hands with a ruler to get what she needs.
Kate: But it can be the bad cop as much as possible.
Christy: Correct.
Kate: … and help to make sure that those awkward conversations, those awkward lunch room conversations happen less frequently, I imagine.
Christy: Yes.
Kate: Okay, that’s good. Okay, so we talked a little bit about engaging the managers and how they can get some of the information that they need and making sure that it’s properly tracked and all that. So can you tell me again or help describe, what does it look like when they’ve made a decision, what does it look like from there? How do they notify you and what is the next steps?
Christy: Again, like Nathan mentioned, it’s when they complete their interview worksheet, they simply select a disposition, which is a dropdown. Then that’s right within their interview worksheet in OnBase. If they’re conducting a phone interview and they want an in-person interview, then they’ll just choose in-person interview in there. I get notified through OnBase, I get an email sent to me from OnBase that says, “Christy, you need to call the candidate and schedule an in-person interview,” whatever the next step may be. For some departments, after a phone interview they do a technical review, so I send out the technical review. But it’s all by clicking that disposition, that’s all they have to do. When they have in-person interviewed the candidate, and typically that’s the last step, if they want to make an offer, they simply choose make an offer. They have to fill in what they want that offer to be. But once they hit save and close, all that information gets sent directly to me, which allows me then to go into OnBase and I create the offer letter right there in OnBase.
Kate: Oh, excellent.
Nathan: We have several templates preloaded, so depending on if it’s an intern and exempt or non-exempt employee, it will put different language into that template. Then it also asks Christy to go through background information.
Christy: Yep, I can send out background screening from there and it allows me to customize the offer letter. So if there are certain language that we need to include in there, it allows me to still customize it.
Kate: That’s wonderful.
Nathan: Yeah, so as easy as possible. Based on the podcast I did with Leanne previously, the managers have a lot to worry about as we talked about during there. So as easy as we can make this, and I think we’ve achieved that.
Kate: So they can get right back to handling what they need to and look at what that person’s going to do to help grow their team and grow their role. So that’s excellent. All right, so at any given point you could have a number of different departments looking at candidates. So how do you keep track of all of them and make sure everyone is receiving the appropriate follow up? How do you make sure that everybody is lined up, that the right candidate is with the right manager, and everything like that? Other than color coding.
Christy: No more color coding.
Kate: No more color coding.
Christy: No more color coding. That’s the beauty of OnBase, it keeps me organized because everybody is attached to a requisition. So there is no way really for me to make that confusion because everything’s attached. Every single candidate or applicant is attached to a requisition which has the position that they’re interviewing for, the manager that is responsible for hiring for that position. So it’s all based on that.
Nathan: We make it very visible throughout the system. So when Christy’s looking at an applicant, there’s going to be a little filter on there that says, “Okay, Kate, you’re attached to a marketing specialist,” or whatever. Then we have other scenarios where somebody may go through the process as one candidate and then isn’t a fit, but Christy identifies, “Well, maybe they’re a fit for this other open position we have,” so then we’ll attach them to that position or requisition or job order or whatever your organization may call it. You’re not only going to have visible everything they’ve ever been attached to, but you’ll have the history of everything, all the interviews, all that stuff, documentation. So it’s very visible. I think it’s impossible to lose track with the amount of stuff we’ve got in there to make it easy to keep track of.
Christy: Yes, and I can tell you there have been times throughout … recruiting is like a roller coaster. You’re very busy, then you slow down, you’re busy, you slow down. Even in the busiest times that I have had, it’s just nice to know that everything is in one spot and it truly is all organized. It almost makes it foolproof in a way. Somebody could come in and … you mentioned earlier about what happens if I’m not in. My HR manager and my director, they have been trained on the system so they, too, can go in and see, “Oh, okay, we’ll schedule a phone interview. So I guess I need to reach out to these people and schedule phone interviews if Christy’s not going to be here. “You know? So it’s easy for someone to come in and see where people are in the process.
Kate: So when you go on your month long trip to Europe, everybody will still be handled, people will still get hired.
Nathan: That sounds great.
Kate: That’s excellent. So that actually made me think about Nathan when you were talking about if one candidate maybe isn’t the right fit for one area, but is identified for another, what about how do you guys keep track of if someone applies, but maybe you don’t have something open at that time. You get that as an applicant that whole, “We’ll keep your resume on file.”
Nathan: Thank you for applying.
Kate: Yes, exactly. So how do you know and has this process made it easier for you to actually be able to truly keep tabs on someone and have things set up? So that way when an a position does open up, you can say, “Oh, you know what? We got a resume a couple months back from someone who would be a great fit for this.” How do you keep track of all that?
Nathan: It’s pretty similar to tying it to the requisition. Actually, the major design change we talked about is we used to tie people … This is getting technical, so I apologize to everyone. We used to tie a person directly to a position, and then we switched that around to tie them to the job order, which makes a lot more sense processing wise. But we kind of just reused that, the tying them to the position. So if somebody does apply, we link that to say, “Okay, they’ve applied for the OnBase administrator job. Okay, they’ve also applied for the HR recruiter job.” We can track that, they’re marked as future consideration, which is another feature of the system. Then if Christy ever wants to go back and look at future consideration, we’ve got a huge list of people that yes, they’ve applied for these four positions that they may or may not be candidates for, but we know they applied for them. So we can look that up at any time really and then contact them again as needed.
Kate: That’s great. It’s nice to be able to have that feature. And like you said, especially if someone comes across your desk or it’s someone who would be a really good fit maybe for the company. Maybe they have some skills that the company could really use, but maybe there, just at that point, isn’t an opening. You know, I think every company comes across that at some point, maybe for whatever reason they just can’t hire at that moment. But to be able to not lose sight of that excellent applicant, be able to follow up with them later I imagine is very valuable.
Christy: It is, because that’s one of my responsibilities as a recruiter is to make sure that I keep a candidate pipeline at all times. So that is a nice aspect of the solution that we have built is that I do have those folks, that when we have a solution architect available, I have my future consideration that I can just go to and pull from.
Nathan: We do have the ability if somebody applies, if we don’t have an open position, but they’re such a strong candidate, we do have processes where we can just elevate it right to a director and say, “We need to take a look at this person.” So it doesn’t just kill the whole process if we don’t have an open requisition for them.
Kate: Okay, you can fast track that person right up to a director and say, “Hey, I think you really need to take a look at this.” Okay, great. So I think you both mentioned at different points of the discussion a couple of things that were coming down the pipeline for your particular department and different additions that you’re going to make to the solution, but are there any other things that you’re thinking of for the future that would really make great enhancements for the hiring process at ImageSoft or anything that that you’ve really been considering and have seen a need for?
Christy: Well, I do a lot of reporting for our leadership team to keep track of the positions that we have and what have our efforts been. So Nathan is in the process of building me a really nice, shiny dashboard.
Nathan: I think as of like 10:30 today it’s complete.
Kate: There you go.
Christy: Yeah, that’s been exciting. So I’ll be able to give the information that I need to my leadership team with just a click of a button and not have to go through and count and …
Kate: That’s wonderful.
Christy: … look at several different filters, just [crosstalk 00:20:22].
Nathan: No more Excel spreadsheet.
Christy: No. Yeah, because that’s what it is again, an Excel spreadsheet, but yeah, it’ll be really nice. It will also give them the ability even at any given time to go look for themselves. It may be something that I don’t have to send them that they’ll just have the ability and say, “Well, I can go in and look at it at any time.”
Nathan: The reporting is very powerful. I think that’s important for applicant tracking, because you do need to look at your metrics and say, “Are we recruiting from the wrong place? Are we recruiting the wrong types of people?” So the report that I built is not just a bunch of data slammed on a screen, it’s organized into … On one screen charts, we’ve got pie charts, we have bar graphs, like counts, like little gauges that show counts. It is really at a click of a button, so you can lay out the data however you want. I built it 100% from scratch. So that’s another reason we kind of went with OnBase, to go back 50 questions, is that it has this reporting capability that lets us … If Christy wanted a different report tomorrow, we could start building that report tomorrow and make it as graphically amazing as we wanted to or we could just throw a bunch of data at a screen, whatever we decided to do.
Kate: There’s options, that’s the point.
Nathan: There are options, yes.
Kate: There’s options.
Christy: There are options.
Kate: Well, that’s pretty exciting. It sounds like there will be some really good capabilities coming up, and maybe even when you get back to your desk, Christy, it sounds like.
Christy: Yeah, I know.
Nathan: Yeah, we also want to do online resume submission, because Christy now will troll through … Well, that’s not correct, you put the positions out on like Glassdoor and LinkedIn and then get candidates who apply to that.
Christy: Right. Right now I’m putting resumes in that I know I want to push through the system. So I don’t literally put in every single resume that we get, I only put in the resumes of those that I know that meet the qualifications of the positions that we’re looking for or have qualifications for future opportunities. But we’re looking at developing a system where we are putting in a URL where applicants will be able to, from the job description, go ahead and click on the URL and create their applicant object and upload their resume directly into OnBase. So I will no longer have to do that.
Kate: That’s great. Wow.
Nathan: Because we’re 130 some odd people. If you’re talking about an organization with 5,000 people, maybe they have … Even if they have a team of recruiters, that’s really hard to add all those, so it is easier for them to just passively collect resumes. So this’ll be a good solution. We actually had something .. I had something completely built, but it kind of got a little …we got a little feedback at the end to change it. Again, to get a little techie, this was 100% developed through OnBase modules and functionality. There is no web development, no coding, none of that. So we can create …
Christy: It might be in the future, but …
Nathan: Let’s not talk about that. So if you did want to do an online resume submission portal, you can do it out of the box with the tool that we have.
Kate: Okay. Maybe this is going a little bit outside of the applicant tracking process, because we were talking about when you received them and everything like that, but Christy, do you find … are there options for you to use OnBase to be able to do that kind of proactive recruiting? You said you put positions out there on Glassdoor or LinkedIn, but if maybe you come across somebody or as you’re searching … I don’t know if you’re doing proactive searching and looking for people that have a certain skill set. Is there a way for you to track those people before they even put in an application?
Christy: I guess I’m not …
Nathan: Maybe not through OnBase.
Christy: Not through OnBase. Through those different LinkedIn or Glassdoor, but not in OnBase. Now I can … like if I’m sourcing for a position that like, say, a software developer, I may be looking through LinkedIn. If I see a candidate that I like, I can upload their information into OnBase to have the manager review it. Now I may not have talked to this person yet because the manager hasn’t given me the okay as to whether or not they feel that they’re a fit, but yes, I do put passive people in there as well.
Kate: Got it. Yeah, that’s what I was … ,hat’s perfect. Yeah. Because I imagine that’s because your job is two fold, right? It’s not only … it’s managing the entire process of when people come in applying for an open position or maybe just submitting their resume when there isn’t one open, but also when you’re coming across qualified applicants.
Christy: Correct.
Kate: There’s more to your job than just managing what comes in.
Christy: Yes, yes, it’s sourcing outside.
Nathan: Yeah, headhunting is an important part of it. The success rate isn’t that high, but when you do get those people, they’re really good people.
Kate: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes, that’s excellent.
Christy: That sparks a little note in my mind, though. That is one of the things that we track in OnBase is when I do upload a candidate into OnBase, I am putting the source of where their resume came from so that the manager knows. Okay, if this came from LinkedIn, did they apply through a job posting or is it a passive candidate? So I am able to set the resume source so that the managers know that hey, this person applied or no, this person hasn’t applied. Then they can come to me and say, “Well, okay, they didn’t apply. Let’s talk more about them.”
Kate: Yeah, and I imagine that would set the tone for the type of conversation …
Christy: Correct.
Kate: … that the manager would have with that potential candidate.
Nathan: It’s just another data point that we could report on so it helps us develop better techniques maybe. If we see, okay, software developers with skill set A, for whatever reason none of these passive people are willing to talk to us. What can we do to change that? Kind of thing. In my opinion as somebody who does a lot of data analysis, the more data the better.
Kate: Okay, excellent. So if somebody wanted to try to figure out how to implement OnBase for their organization to manage their HR process with that, what would be a good place for them to start?
Nathan: Lots of demos online on their website.
Kate: So you can kind of get an idea of what it looks like and how it might work for them.
Nathan: Yeah, and we did a demo of this … I think the last podcast I was at, we did. It was just before one of our big events where we demoed a lot of this stuff. The Applicant Tracking 3.0 is what we called it, that was on display there. It got a lot of positive feedback from it. So I’m always willing to give a demo. If you want to see a demo of this, I will give you the best demo you’ve ever had.
Kate: I’m going to have to hold him to that. So definitely it sounds like we could get in touch with ImageSoft and our team would be able to help anyone listening that wanted to learn more about how it might be able to be implemented. So I imagine the website imagesoftinc.com is probably a good place to start. There’s a lot of human resources’ resources … human resources’ resources on the website. I know there’s a lot of white papers, there’s some videos, things like that in addition to the OnBase resources on Hyland’s website, I’m sure.
Nathan: Correct, yup.
Kate: Excellent. Okay, well, thank you both for coming in today and for sharing the applicant tracking process and how others maybe can look at how to improve the process, make it a little smoother for their own organizations. We appreciate it.
Christy: Thank you.
Nathan: Yeah, it was fun.
Kate: Yeah. Thank you again, everyone, for joining us today. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to paperless productivity where we tackle some of the biggest paper-based pain points facing organizations today. We’ll see you next time.

Thanks again for joining us today for this episode of Paperless Productivity. This podcast is sponsored by ImageSoft, the paperless process people, which you can learn more about at imagesoftinc.com. That’s ImageSoft I-N-C dot com. Join us next time where you’ll learn how to harness the power of technology, supercharge efficiency, and accomplish your organization’s goals.

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