Three years ago, Great-West Life & Annuity's cost-per-hire reached $5,500, which includes print advertising, agency fees and relocation costs. Last year, after implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS), the Denver, Colo.-based insurer reduced cost-per-hire to $1,600.With 1,700 positions filled annually, these reductions have added up to $6.6 million in savings.

"Most people call this an applicant tracking system, but I look at it as a full life-cycle recruiting system," says Tony Blake, senior manager, corporate recruiting, at Great-West, describing iRecruiter, from iCIMS, Hazlet, N.J.

The system makes the process of applying online for a job at Great-West fast and easy, according to Blake. "Applicants enter their information once and they never have to enter it again-even if they are returning users." Previously, the company's online application process took 20 to 40 minutes to complete.

For Great-West recruiters, the system provides a centralized repository for applicant and recruiting data. "With one or two mouse clicks, we have access to a lot of information," says Blake. "We can see the details of the job. We can see the approvals for the job. We can see details about each candidate, such as contact information, resume, and job application history."

Because the system automates the internal approval for new hires, Great-West has removed two to three days from the overall process. The technology also enables the company to automatically screen online applicants with "knock-out" questions, so recruiters are only looking at candidates who fill the minimum qualifications for the job.

Great-West uses iRecruiter for all its hiring-and at press time, the company had filled 106 IT positions through the system.

IT candidates appreciate the system's feature that enables them to set up a job search agent, which alerts them when a job opens that meets their criteria, says Kristen DesPalmes, recruiting consultant, at Great-West.

They also notice Great-West's responsiveness, she says. "The system has a communication center, which makes it very easy for us to let candidates know where they stand in the process-whether it's a declination or a request for an interview," she says. "We get a lot of comments from they saying, "Wow. My resume isn't in a black hole. I'm actually getting a response."

And Great-West has saved thousands of dollars in search fees for IT candidates, says Blake. Since implementing iRecruiter, the company has paid only one search fee to an outside agency. Previously, more than half its IT jobs were filled through third parties, he says. "We're not paying search fees anymore."

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