From academic vacancies to campus catering staff, the diversity of university recruitment is staggering.

We also know that hiring the best talent is essential to upholding an outstanding reputation.

Where does recruitment software fit into this? It’s easy for us to claim that an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will make your internal recruitment more efficient, cost-effective and innovative.

But instead, we’re going to focus on three specific features of recruitment software that can make a difference to you.

You can automate your reference collection process

We know that collecting references can be a significant drain on time and resources, particularly for academic positions. It’s an admin-heavy process, centered on emails between your recruitment team and referees.

With recruitment software, you can trigger the reference collection from within your ATS. This automatically sends a reference request to the referee’s email address.

The referee can then complete the reference via an online form, which feeds back into your Applicant Tracking System. All communication and data takes place within the ATS, so it’s efficient, connected and secure.

“[Automated reference collection] has saved us about 0.5 fte resources, whilst improving the customer experience for referees…I can’t now conceive how we ever got by without it!” – University of York

We work with a diverse range of organisations, including a number of universities and educational establishments. In 12 months,* Hireserve ATS recruitment software…

  • Saved customers 15 minutes of admin time per reference.
  • 16,373 automated reference requests were made.
  • One organisation using the feature saved over £16,000.

A tool like automated reference collection can deliver tangible results and benefits.

Recruitment software can enhance your screening processes

With a diverse range of vacancies, a university needs to be able to configure application forms and screening methods to suit a number of different roles.

Some vacancies might often be oversubscribed and overflowing with unsuitable candidates. To avoid an influx of CVs, you can use ‘Killer Questions’, which are pre-screening questions you set in your ATS. An example might be: ‘Do you have the right to work in the UK?’

A candidate will be asked this at the beginning of their application process – and if they do not answer ‘Yes’, they cannot progress to the next stage of the application form.

Other positions, such as academic roles, require certain documentation and evidence. To avoid under-qualified or unsuitable candidates applying for niche roles, ‘Job Specific Questions’ may hold the answer.

These do what they say on the tin. You can set certain questions in your ATS that relate to a specific job – for example, a teaching qualification. These questions display as part of the application form, so you can easily capture the essential information you need for the role in question.

Features such as Job Specific or Killer Questions help a university team to filter, search and screen candidates more effectively. Some Applicant Tracking Systems also offer the ability to score Job Specific Questions, so that you can see at a glance where candidates have performed well.

You can ask candidates to select their own interviews

Interview administration can be a burden on internal recruiting teams. Again, it’s admin heavy, juggling candidate and hiring managers’ diaries, and scheduling interviews over email and the phone.

You can automate this process with recruitment software.  After you have created an interview schedule in your ATS, candidates will be sent a link asking them to pick their slot out of a range of times and dates. This is then confirmed in an automatic email to the candidate and all interviewers.

This feature significantly reduces administration time. We’ve calculated that in 12 months…*

  • An average of 12 minutes of administration was saved per interview
  • 7,309 interviews were self-selected
  • And one customer saved over £10,000 by using this feature.

Ultimately, the aim of recruitment software…

…is to alleviate the administrative burden on university recruitment teams.

If you automate recruitment processes, it frees up time to focus on other more commercially valuable or strategic tasks. And if you enhance your screening processes, you should be able to reduce the number of unsuitable candidates and experience better applicant screening and shortlisting.

As a university, you’re going to have unique and potentially complex recruitment needs – and budget is likely to be a key consideration too. When looking for recruitment software, focus on questions about flexibility and support.

If you’re a university and think you need recruitment software, why not talk to us? We work with Higher Education providers such as the Cranfield University, Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Aberdeen and many, many more.

*March 2015 – 2016

Find out more

How you can transform your graduate sourcing strategy

Find out what happened at Hireserve’s first Higher Education recruitment clinic

Recruitment data: This is why manual methods aren’t working


About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.