My son was recently applying online for a department store job. He took care in his selection and brought his options down to four retailers. In discussing the outcome of his pursuit in the hunt for a coveted job, I found it interesting when he told me he applied at only two companies. When asked why, he said that two of the companies required him to print the application, sign it, scan it, and send it back. This wasn’t something that made sense to him and he regarded it a waste of his time. 

Wow! A teenager eager to find a job is foregoing two opportunities because it was not worth his time to spend a few minutes downloading a scanner app on his phone to scan a signed document. That was eye-opening and it made me wonder… how many good, qualified job seekers are rejecting the same process in their job search? How many companies are losing good candidates, because they are performing 2015 HR work using 2005 practices?

I made an assumption based on my organization’s software product which comes with an online application, and we even extract most of the information for the job candidate from his/her resume saving the candidate time. But this interchange with my son really hit me, so I started looking at trends, and was not really surprised to see that one of the biggest trends we are seeing is that more and more companies are moving to online document signing to streamline sales, simplify onboarding, support compliance, provide great candidate experience and enhance the employer brand. And all for very good reasons and a great way to reach all of the following objectives:

1-It is more secure, reducing who has access to a candidate’s private information. With the old printed copies, it’s easy to lose, accidently destroy, or to be stolen.

2-Easier to track. If you send out 15 paper documents to 15 people to sign, follow-up is a real task. Any good online system will have reports, alerts and notices. A good ATS will have these tools, and will allow employers to build signing needs into their sales, recruiting, and onboarding processes through automated tasks.

3-With online signing, expiration dates can be set. A well-designed system will not let the end-user sign after the expiration. Employers don’t want an offer acceptance letter signed long after it was offered.

4-It creates a better experience for the user. Most signing services now allow the end-user to sign from a phone or tablet using his/her finger, or just by typing a signature.

As is not the case with my organization, many of our competitors will integrate with only one document signing service, but we actually offer a few for our clients to choose from.

So, as you’re shopping for an applicant tracking system, or any HR software that will require integration with other software suppliers, ensure the ATS provider does not get a finder’s fee or revenue share based on the software integration. It’s important to know that your providers only integrate with companies that have the clients’ best interest in mind.

However, regardless of which system you use as your applicant tracking system, having online document signing is a great investment and one that will more than pay for itself in many ways.


About the author

LJ Morris is the President and Chief Technology Officer of SmartSearch. LJ holds an MBA in Finance and a BS in General Business and Computer Science. As a strong advocate of the agile development environment, he believes the secret to survival in the technology world is the ability to remain fluid, and adapt on a moment’s notice. An admitted technology junky, LJ enjoys bridging the gap between technology and people.