Applicant tracking with evernote

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Applicant tracking with Evernote

I work in Human Resources and recruitment is an important part of my job. Even from my first interviews I felt the need to have a system that can help me to remember the most important facts from the candidates but that would not require much work from my side.

Applicant tracking with evernote

The problem with most applicant tracking systems (ATS)

I had the chance, working in diferent companies, to see multiple ATS and I think that I identified a commom problem. They require a lot of work from the recruiter, you can spend days filling in interview reports.

I am a lazy person, I don’t like hard work without a clear purpose, that is why when I started my own recruitment business I wanted a ATS that:

  • Does not make me waste my best years filling in reports
  • Provides relevant information about my recruitment projects

No more data entry

There are people that can take the time to fill in a 2 page report after each interview. I don’t know about you but I don’t have the luxury. So I said: why don’t I just write on the CV as I am having the interview and just scan it after instead of filling in reports for each interview.

Let’s compare:

  • scanning: 3 seconds / page
  • writing a report after one interview: maybe 10 minutes

The math is clear for me. There are days in which I have up to 5 interviews, that means I should take an extra hour for filling in reports, no thanks.

The questions is what to do with all that scanned docs, if I just put them into a folder things will get messy, for each person that I interviewed I would have at least 2 documents associated, the original CV and the scanned one with all my observations on it.

Meet Evernote

For a while I used Google Drive as a ATS, however I keps looking for alternatives because of the paragraph bellow, and then I rediscoverd Evernote.

evernote logo

Because notes in Evernote are containers for text, attachments and other stuff, this made me think about a ATS based on Evernote that could actually work. In this article you will find a description.

All CVs into one notebook

Wait a minute, you mean that you decided to put all your CVs into one notebook? that seems pretty random, but why?

Evernote has both notebooks and tags. I decided to use a single notebook as a container for all the CVs and tags to help me keep track on the recruitment project and stage for each candidate.

If you are puzzled about what a recruitment project or stage is, let me explain. The recruitment project is the job I am recruiting for, for example IT Engineer. The recruitment stage represents the point in which the person is at a certain time, bellow you can see how I defined my recruitment stages.

The recruitment process – in tags

When I was still using Google Drive I figured out what is the recruitment process, in my case it has 6 steps:

  1. All: all the CVs for a recruitment project go here
  2. CV Screening: some of them are selected and further reviewed, the ones that are not end up in stage 6
  3. 1st interview: some make it to the 1st interview, the ones that are not end up in stage 6
  4. Shortlist: some are put on the shortlist for the client, the ones that are not end up in stage 6
  5. Offer: some are even chosen by the client, the ones that are not end up in stage 6
  6. Rejected:
  7. Other information: a lot of times I put here supporting information about the recruitment project, client, etc

You may have another interview flow defined and that is ok, we are talking about a system that can be adapted, Evernote is flexible enough. I created a tag for each one of these interview steps and put them under a master tag, like this:

Applicant tracking with evernote 2

The recruitment project – also in tags

Each person, besides having one of the 7 tags above (only one) will also have a tag with the recruitment project, like in the image bellow.

Applicant tracking with evernote 3


And what you do with all these tags?

It’s simple really, as people are going through the recruitment process, I am changing the tags for the notes that contain the CVs and other notes. So, Mr. John Doe will first receive the 1. CV Screening tag and step by step receive the 4. Offer tag.

Using these tags I can for example:

  • See all CVs for a recruitment project
  • See all CVs from a stage for a recruitment project
  • See all CVs from a stage for all recruitment project
  • And much others using advanced search

Adding lots of CVs

I had almost given up the idea for this system when I realized that it is not feasable to add lots of CVs one by one without going crazy. But then I discovered the import folders feature in Evernote.

This allows me to add 10, 50, 100, whatever CVs at a time, problem solved, we are back on track.

Yeah but how do I find the right people

This is about using the full power of the search options in Evernote. You can search in the notes you typed and in the attached documents (premium feature).

For example, if I am searching for .NET developers I can easily search for .NET, C#, ASP. Chances are that they listed these technologies in their CVs.

But I don’t know how to use Evernote

If this is the first time you’ve heard about Evernote, implementing this system can be a challenge. I can help here, I have an online course on Evernote published on Udemy that teaches you the essentials in about 1,5 hours.

A time saver

Yes, if you are working on recruitment, having a proper applicant tracking system can help you save a ton of time. If I would to compare my system with a classic data entry one I think it is a real time saver.

Let’s do the math, if you are doing 10 interviews a week and instead of taking 10 minutes for each candidate to fill in the proper information you take only 3 (maybe you have a slow scanner :)) that means you just saved 70′, from my point of view that is HUGE.

Thanks for reading this, let me know what you think in the comments section.

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  1. The “import folders feature in Evernote” is very helpful for me. I didn’t know this feature until I read this article, and I did drag about 100 files one by one to create 100 notes for each file last time. I won’t do that again haha. Thanks 😀

  2. Great article, thanks a lot for sharing. I am also thinking about a little twist. Why don’t you do an email where you fwd all resumes you gets on the go, and then have this email account automatically forwarded to your Evernote account (that might require you to un-link your email account to evernote or have a dedicated Evernote account for that – i would go for that one personally).
    With the automatic fwd you can make sure to send them to a specific notebook (“to review”, or sth) and then spend sometime every week to tag those CV accordingly.

    Let me know what you think.

    Great article !


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