02 June 2011

Taleo Business Edition is a Hideous Heap of Junk

Taleo Business Edition is a web based applicant tracking system that I can say with the utmost certainty is a hideous heap of junk. I've been a customer from the employer side and I've also seen how a close friend has recently experienced it from the job seeker side.

Although it was a few years back, I had the great displeasure of inheriting an installation of Taleo Business Edition at one of my former employers. It was only partially implemented. The hiring managers hated it. The recruiters despised it. I tried for three months to complete the implementation. Instead of making progress, I encountered serious bugs and severe shortcomings with the company's customer support function. I finally reached the decision the dump Taleo Business Edition because it was clearly a piece of useless crap.

My friend is one of the many millions of unemployed Americans who is actively seeking work. She has had to endure many different applicant tracking systems from various potential employers. She showed me one that left me aghast as to how terribly unfriendly it was to job seekers. The website URL clearly showed the employer was using Taleo Business Edition (TBE).

The job application form did offer a simple resume upload button, which seemed to be the easiest course of action. Like other applicant tracking systems, TBE attempted to automatically parse the resume data, starting with the contact info. Not only did it get some of the data parsing incorrect, but it then grabbed additional data from the browser's form completion function, resulting in many fields needing to be manually edited.  Then the true horror began.

Despite having had a full fledged resume uploaded, this particular potential employer had set up TBE to parse out each and every job listed on my friend's resume. The job title, start month, start year, end month, and end year, for each job, were required fields, amongst many other data fields for each job. My friend's personal cell phone number was incorrectly populated into each job's company phone number field. The system even tried to use my friend's overall career summary statement and parse it into it's own job listing.  It was one hot mess.

I understand from 15 years ago the search function advantage of having individual job data fields populated, but I had thought that approach was long since abandoned as a candidate sourcing best practice. The emphasis on a resume database's search function was declared dead by Hire.com way back in 2000. Evidently, TBE in 2011 makes it a major feature. That is, a feature for uncaring HR departments. A rather hideous, bothersome, discouraging experience for the job applicants.   

Taleo is the largest player in the applicant tracking systems industry. It's a publicly traded company that offers an enterprise level product used by many of the very largest of employers. I don't have any experience with the enterprise level product, although I've mostly heard complaints from recruiters who have used it.  Taleo's lower cost SMB offering is Taleo Business Edition, a piece of technology they acquired some 4 or 5 years ago, which they've been trying to make usable ever since.

I hope to never have to touch Taleo Business Edition again.