Pending State Legislation Could Restrict Job Application Questions


New state-level legislation regarding “the salary question” on job applications could affect some employers as early as the fall of 2017.

In 2016, The Pay Equity For All Act of 2016 was introduced to Congress to make it illegal (federally) for employers to ask job candidates to disclose current or previous compensation.  If the bill becomes law, the US Department of Labor (DOL) would enforce regulations for the entire nation with the power to cite term violators up to $10,000 in fines.  Currently as of this writing, the bill is pending Congressional review and approval.  However, in some states like Massachusettes, legislation has already been accepted that mimics the federal bill.

20 states and cities have introduced or passed similar legislation at the local level:

  • New York City, NY: The New York City Council passed a bill this month that bans employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. (Set to go into effect October, 2017).
  • Massachusetts: State-wide law banning compensation history questions to go into effect July 1st, 2018.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Current legislation set to go into effect May 2017 is facing legal challenges and is expected to be delayed.
  • Other states: In 2016, 36 states introduced at least one bill that mirrors the federal legislation.

So far, Massachusetts and NYC are leading the way for these changes to become a reality.  Without legal challenge, job applications in both areas must reflect the new rules dictated in the local law or employers will risk hefty fines and lawsuits.    Time will soon tell which other states will follow suit – stay tuned!

One Business Tool To Improve Customer Support

live chat

Live chat is utilized by many industries as a customer support and sales tool, yet in more recent times, businesses have put an increased focus on adding it to improve customer experience and increasing profits.  In fact, according to Technavios, the live chat software industry is set to grow at CAGR of 7.98% within the next 5 years.  Live chat is an innovative addition to businesses that provides customers instant access to help in real-time while providing companies an in-depth look at their processes and customer behavior.

Benefits For Business

Live chat software includes analytical tools that provides key insight into customer behavior.  Live chat can track website visitor activity including the pages they view, what they search for, what they are interested in buying, and what customers are struggling with.  Questions that are often asked to chat representatives show businesses what they can improve and the processes they can tweak for better results.  Live chat can serve as the main source for frequently asked questions so companies can build a knowledge center based off of those questions and provide answers to questions before the customer asks them.  Chat can also help keep track of employee success and ability to help customers and answer their questions.  Most chat software includes business performance tools and reports that analyzes chat session quality, time of the session, customer service skills of your employees, and their ability to assist, investigate, and solve problems to satisfy the customer.

Benefits For Customers

These days, it’s no secret that people like instant gratification.  With a live chat option, users visiting company sites have a convenient way of receiving instant assistance.  Some people simply do not like talking on the phone or are hesitant to call support lines assuming they will be put on hold or outsourced.  With chat available, there is virtually no wait time, (depending on company responsiveness), and customers can expect communication with a chat agent immediately.  Here is some data stemming from a recent e-commerce study that surveyed US and UK customers:

  • 1 in 5 shoppers preferred live chat as a main communication method
  • 79% say live chat resulted in their questions answered faster
  • 51% preferred live chat so they could multi task
  • 46% believe it is the most efficient communication method

In regards to this specific study, the most common scenarios that triggered a live chat session included the visitor having trouble, inquiring about a general question, comparing products of interest, or asking about promo codes.  Yet, whatever niche your business serves, you can be sure customers will always have questions and expect answers.  Satisfying your customer base is a top priority and will make or break your company’s reputation.  If your business needs an innovative and savvy way to service clients, chat software might the one tool needed to improve customer support!

2 Powerful Applicant Tracking System Tools To Remember…

applicant tracking system

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were created to streamline recruitment and hiring processes for HR professionals. There are many platforms that perform the common tasks and automation expected within an ATS, however sometimes recruiters will realize too late that a system lacks certain functions they deem necessary. Two of those functions include a job approval and offer letter approval process.

What Are Job Approval & Offer Letter Approval Processes?

Job Approval: Some businesses require hiring teams to create jobs in an applicant tracking system and send it to certain individuals to review before making it live. The typical process consists of recruiters building jobs using an ATS including drafting the descriptions, location, job category, salary, etc; then sending it off to the appropriate players to review, accept, or reject the job requisite.

Offer Letter Approval: Once a hiring team has decided to hire a candidate, some companies require them to create an offer letter summarizing the position’s key information and sending it to upper management for approval. Offer letters include data such as the job title the candidate will fill, salary or hourly pay, agreements, and other custom fields a company wishes to capture.

A smart applicant tracking system will include these processes standard and allow teams to seamlessly create jobs for approval and build offer letters to send through a pipeline of reviewers.  ATS platforms like this one send alerts to ping selected reviewers once they are tasked with a job or offer letter approval.  If members begin to fall behind in reviewing their approval tasks, the ATS will automatically send email reminders for a set amount of time until it is complete.

If you are performing these approval tasks using an applicant tracking system, you MUST also have the ability to report on them! The ATS should have the ability to pull job approval and offer letter approval reports on individual jobs plus break it down into specific criteria depending on what you need to focus on.  ATS platforms like Pereless Systems includes a report that can break down specific ATS users job/offer letter activity and response time.  Reporting and analytics are critical for companies who are keeping track of employees and ensuring they are utilizing their applicant tracking tool to the best of its ability while completing the necessary tasks to hire talent in a timely manner.

Job approval and offer letter approval processes are crucial for workflow and company growth.  Using an innovative applicant tracking system is a great way to execute these tasks and keep record of performance and successes; but just make sure the ATS you use can actually do it!

The Number One Question Job Candidates Ask…

applicant tracking system

What is the number one question job candidates ask technical support after submitting an application?  According to the support team at this Applicant Tracking System (ATS) company, the top inquiry is: “Was my application received?  I didn’t get an email confirmation.”

Many job candidates are aware that Applicant Tracking software has now replaced the traditional paper resume; making some feel weary that their resumes will be missed or ignored.  When candidates are applying for open opportunities online, not receiving an email confirmation increases this doubt, despite the applicant receiving a “success” message.  In today’s modern tech world, email confirmations are standard for almost all online transactions as a courtesy.  Companies now using electronic applications need to ensure that this piece is included within the process to keep a positive experience and reputation.

One survey showed that there was an increasing amount of unhappy job applicants due to a lack of communication and responsiveness after they submitted their resumes.  This can be highly detrimental to a company’s reputation and result in them missing out on talented individuals.  When it comes to the U.S. top Fortune 500 companies, you’d think these giants would have all of their ducks in a row.  But one recent analysis from SmashFly graded 23% of corporations with “Ds” and “Fs” for recruitment due to shortcomings like not cultivating leads “with consistent, personalized communication.”

One easy way to solve this issue is to utilize an ATS software that allows recruiters to setup automatic email confirmations once a candidate submits an application.  These can be sent either immediately or delayed depending on the specific ATS capabilities available.  Not only will this confirm that their application was submitted, but candidates will be assured that an actual human will review their resume before selecting them for an interview or rejecting them.   This automatic process will not only help recruiters communicate with their entire talent pool, but also assist ATS support teams in tending to actual issues.

Looking for an Applicant Tracking System that includes this capability at no extra cost?  Check out this cloud-based ATS that has been assisting HR professionals for over 15 years!





Automation Is Key For Applicant Tracking Systems

applicant tracking systemSorting through candidate resumes can be a tedious task for HR professionals despite the fact many companies have now automated the process with software like an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  Although recruiters who are using an ATS don’t have to worry about piles of paper on their desk, they do still have to toggle through electronic files which can be just as time consuming.  That’s why it is so important to use an applicant tracking solution that not only automates the apply process but also streamlines candidate review and automates disposition.

According to one study, an average corporate job posting attracts about 250 resumes.  Out of all of those submissions, only four to six candidates will be called for an interview and only one offered a job.  That’s a lot of applications to review for such a small minority that is likely to be deemed qualified.  Another report focusing on small businesses revealed that 48% cited their biggest obstacle to be few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.  In both cases, it seems companies are capable of sourcing resumes but struggle to find a qualified talent pool.  So how long does it take recruiters to sift through all of those resumes just to decide on a select few?  According to a 2015 study, it takes an average of two months to fill available positions.  Perhaps this is because recruiters are spending most of their time reviewing unqualified candidates-or maybe it’s because their ATS just isn’t innovative enough.  Either way, it is dire that businesses improve time-to-fill for the sake of their success, and luckily, there are ATS solutions that can do this and more…

A superior ATS makes job applications smarter and allows businesses to capture a candidate’s true essence and qualifications through customization.   For example, Pereless Systems ATS includes Prescreening Question capability that allows recruiters to build job specific questions that can be applied to applications and setup to “knock in” or “knock out” candidates into workflows based on their responses.  Setting these questions as required answers will ensure that applicants who are not qualified are not sourced into recruiter pipelines so they can instead spend more time focusing on applicants who qualify.

If your current ATS technology doesn’t make recruitment easier, it’s time to re-evaluate your system.  You need a solution that not only automates workflow but speeds up recruitment and gets top talent into open positions fast.

One Solution To What Job Candidates Hate The Most…


What is one of the top complaints job candidates have when it comes to online applications?  No communication or follow up from the employer once it is submitted. For smaller start up companies who lack the manpower or resources, this may be something that is unavoidable. But for companies utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), there should be standard tools that help to avoid this issue and in turn create a positive experience for candidates; whether they are hired or not.

In 2015, Talent Board conducted a survey that concluded an increasing trend of, “less personalization…less responsive trends overall,” in regards to online applications and employer feedback.  For example, candidates were less likely to receive confirmation messages once their application was submitted.  This can easily cause frustration and concern since the job seeker went through the entire apply process only to feel uncertain if it was actually received or if a human will actually review it.   This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your current ATS but that simply you need to, “make it smarter,” as co-founder of Noel Webb said.  An ATS operating on “smart” mode will allow you to set up functions like automated letters that can be sent out to candidates once they apply.  This not only puts them at ease and confirms their application was received, but can also provide additional information on what to expect moving forward.   This is a great way to begin initial introductions, show consideration towards candidates, start off on a positive note, and begin building strong relationships with your talent pool.  After all, one study of 1,200 workers found that 1 in 4 applicants severed ties with a brand after having a negative experience during the apply process.  Not only that, 33% of candidates shared their negative experiences on social media.  That can get ugly for your brand fast.

The bottom line: make sure to communicate with job candidates and ensure you have an ATS that has all of the functionality to do it for you automatically.

“The way a company treats a candidate during the hiring process can either be a huge competitive advantage in a very hot market when trying to attract hard to find candidates, or it can be a major reason why candidates run from a particular company.” – Robert Byron – (Partner/Manager WinterWyman)


Need Applicant Tracking? Choose A Vendor That Does THIS…

If you were in the market for a new car, would you purchase one without test driving it? Of course you wouldn’t! The same goes for purchasing recruitment software such as an applicant tracking system (ATS).  Applicant tracking is a business software solution utilized by HR professionals to automate recruitment and hiring processes. It is estimated 75% of businesses currently use some form of applicant tracking software and spend thousands of dollars each year using it. That’s why it is so important the ATS vendor you are interested in offers a free trial allowing you to explore and review the system prior to making a financial commitment.

1. Free trials help determine ease of use: When buying a software product, one of the most important factors to consider is how easy it is to navigate the system.  Often times, several team members of a company spanning from all technological capability levels will be utilizing the ATS for everyday tasks.  If employees are frustrated or confused while using the system, they won’t use it, and money and time will be wasted!  A free trial will allow employees to try out the ATS and determine if it is user friendly for all and a good fit considering company needs.

2. Test system functionality & capability:  Speaking of company needs…what does your company need from an applicant tracking system?  Are you a small to mid-size company that requires only simple automation and record keeping?  Or do need more advanced recruitment and hiring tools?  A free trial can help ensure that you are purchase an ATS that does everything you need it to but also doesn’t overwhelm you with modules you don’t need.  Make sure that during the trial period you are granted full access to all of the essential tools expected and that all team members can participate in testing o each functionality for themselves.  You don’t want a product that will add work and frustration to your team’s effort–make sure the system relieves the pressure!

3. Discover the candidate perspective: An important part of sourcing the best talent is building company reputation.  One way to do that is to create a positive candidate experience that begins at the career page and continues beyond their hire date.  Incoming job applicants who have negative experiences (i.e. the apply process is too long, they experience technical issues, they don’t receive confirmation emails, no follow ups etc) are not likely to apply again.  In fact, according to this survey, 33% of candidates who had a bad experience share it with social media (NOT good for company brand)!! Other research suggests that 1 in 4 candidates will sever ties with the company altogether.  During a free trial, you can explore the candidate perspective and apply as a test candidate to ensure the apply process is seamless and won’t frustrate candidates that can cause them to quit the application altogether.  It is also super important that career sites and the apply process are mobile friendly.  When one of the world’s largest career boards CareerBuilder cites one-third of their traffic as mobile users, you can’t leave that massive chunk of candidates out of the running!

4. Make sure your team is happy: Engage your team before, during, and after the applicant tracking system trial period.  Ensure that the entire team agrees the ATS will be beneficial and provide value to their workflow in efforts to solve pain points.  Otherwise, you might end up purchasing a software that no one can use; resulting in a massive loss of time and money. As Josh Bersin from SHRM states in his article:

“I talk with HR software buyers all the time, and more and more they ask, “How useful will this be for employees or managers to get their jobs done?”  If the answer is “not very useful,” the chances are that the system won’t be utilized very much.”

An applicant tracking vendor willing to provide a free trial with full access is a great signal they are confident in their product.  Take the Pereless Systems Challenge and test drive the ATS for 30 days absolutely free!

Pereless Systems


Snag Quality Job Candidates With THIS ATS Feature…


The success of a company depends on the people you hire.   That’s why the top priorities for job recruiters are finding and hiring top talent fast while having confidence they will remain long term.  Companies utilizing talent software like applicant tracking systems have an advantage because the recruitment process is automated and jobs are posted to career sites instantly.  But does the ATS go a step further by providing employees a referral portal so they can recommend professional colleagues and friends who would be perfect fit for an open position?  If your recruitment software lacks the ability to manage employee referrals, you are missing out on what 88% of employers say are the number one source for above-average applicants.

Here’s are 5 key data points

  1. Employee referrals make up a minority of incoming candidates:  According to a survey conducted by Jobvite, referrals make up only 6.9% of job applications versus 42% that were sourced via job boards.  Yet still…
  2. Employee referrals are more likely to be hired: Although the amount of employee referral applications were slim, about 40% of those candidates were hired.  Another source cites that the applicant-to-hire ratio for employee referrals is 1 to 3 compared to 1:10 for non-referrals.  
  3. referralEmployee referrals are more likely to stay long term:  HR professionals reported an annual average retention rate of 46% compared to 33% via career sites and 22% from third party job boards.
  4. Referrals can save the company money: The average cost for standard recruitment efforts range between $4,000 – $18,000 dollars.  Employee referrals can reduce those numbers massively to $1,000 or less.

      5. Despite the myth…Referrals do not have a negative impact on a diverse work culture.  According to this survey, 55% of respondents said employee referrals were “somewhat” to “very              productive” sources for diverse hires.



With all of this promising data, you can’t waste another minute or dollar on an applicant tracking system that lacks the ability to manage and track employee referrals and incentives.   For 30 days absolutely free, you can test drive our best-in-class ATS that includes a fully loaded Employee Referral Portal.

Pereless Systems

The Salary History Question: A Thing Of The Past?

New legislation passed in Massachusetts will change the hiring game for HR professionals in 2018.  On August 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed the “Act to Establish Pay Equity,” making it illegal for employers within the state to inquire about job applicant’s previous compensation or ask salary-related questions prior to a job offer.  The law was enacted to end the gender gap while paying men and women equal wages for “comparable work.” The Massachusetts law was the first of its kind at the state level, however municipalities like New York City have already instituted similar legislation, and lawmakers are working to institute it nation-wide.

In NYC, a mandate banning federal agencies from asking job candidates about benefits, wages or other compensation prior to a job offer went into effect on December 4th 2016-signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio through executive action.  Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are also working to make changes on the federal level, introducing a new bill to the House of Representatives titled, Pay Equity for All Act of 2016 (H.R. 6030). The authors of the bill also wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to sign an executive order preventing all employers, not just federal contractors, from asking about salary history.

“Even though employers may not intentionally discriminate against applicants or employees based on gender, race or ethnicity, setting wages based on salary history reinforces the wage gap.  Members of historically disadvantaged groups often start out their careers with unfair and artificially low wages compared to their white male counterparts, allowing any disparities to be compounded from job to job.” 

With Obama’s term ending in less than 2 weeks, it is unlikely he will sign the executive order into law.  However, if H.R. 6030 is signed into law through the legislative process, the U.S. Department of Labor could fine employers up to $10,000 who violate provisions that include asking job applicants about their wage history.  The bill is expected to be re-introduced during the upcoming congressional session starting January 2017.

The Truth About Video Interviewing & Discrimination

video interviewing

Is it true that video interviewing will open the door for discrimination? Companies looking to incorporate it into their hiring process will often pose this question.  The topic of virtual interviews and discrimination is nothing new, yet in recent times it has reemerged as businesses look for better recruitment strategies.   For those compliant to EEO-1 and OFCCP laws, it’s important to understand how video fits into the hiring equation without risking legal trouble.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, two federal agencies [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] (EEOC) and [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs] (OFCCP) were founded to enforce employment discrimination laws and ensure workers were never denied opportunity to work based on things like race, religion, disability and gender.  In 2015, a study found that 11.7% of businesses based in certain states faced higher risk of lawsuit due to workplace discrimination.  New Mexico had the highest rate with a 66% chance compared to the national average and Washington D.C. was close behind with 65%.  The reason for these particular states having an increased risk is due to local state laws that build upon federal discrimination law.

“Many of the higher-risk states observed in the study have laws that go beyond U.S. federal guidelines, creating additional obligations and risks for employers. It is important for companies, especially those operating in these high-risk markets, to be keenly attuned to any legal developments that may affect their exposures.” – Bertrand Spunberg, practice leader for Executive Risks Hiscox, USA.

Understanding the importance of keeping up with state and federal law, businesses regulated by EEO and OFCCP standards must be vigilant when it comes to introducing new interview strategies like video.  In 2010, the EEOC was asked directly to respond to the inquiry. In response, an informal discussion letter was released to the public by Carol R. Miaskoff, an Assistant Legal Counsel representing EEOC:

“The EEO laws do not expressly prohibit the use of specific technologies or methods for selecting employees, and therefore do not prohibit the use of video resumes.  The key question under the EEO laws is how the selection tools are used.”

As with in-person meetings, employers were reminded of the usual EEO standards while using video such as restrictions on asking applicants about disabilities prior to employment offers and to be sure candidates are not rejected based on visible religious garb.  Some experts believe using video platforms actually reduces the risk for discrimination.  Video provides transparency and is a source of proof when it comes to compliance.   Content remains consistent and ensures that certain candidates are not asked different questions from others.  It can also remove any chance of having off-topic discussions with applicants that could possibly lead to claims of discrimination down the road.  For OFCCP compliant employers, video provides a great system of record keeping and is effective in managing the required 2 year limit of storing applicant interview data.

When it all boils down to it, if employees are properly trained and knowledgeable of state and federal law, you can prevent legal issues.  Employees should understand exactly what is and isn’t appropriate to ask while interviewing job candidates, whether in person or virtually, and is the responsibility of the employer to make sure everyone is on the same page.  As Bertrand Spunberg suggests:

“Prevention is the best defense against lawsuits…simple preventative and mitigation measures…are essential to minimizing risk and protecting your business.”

In conclusion, hiring teams using video interviewing can follow the same process just as they would if meeting applicants in person.  The only difference is that video adds innovation and even reduces the risk for discrimination.  With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirming it is a safe practice, businesses looking to use video as a new way to interview have the green light!