Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software is software designed to make recruiting easier for companies. ATS software can process dozens or even hundreds of applications in a small fraction of the amount of time that it would take for a recruiter or hiring manager to process applications.
Additionally, ATS software uses algorithms to help hiring managers select the person that will fit best in the position being filled based on the information provided. ATS software can also help hiring teams coordinate with one another, streamlining the hiring process and improving the experience for everyone involved.
Why Use ATS Software?
Applicant tracking software can help companies to save time and money on recruitment. The application process becomes paperless with an applicant tracking system, so it’s simple to store, recall, or purge applications from the system with just a few clicks. This helps to ensure that no critical information is lost and all necessary information is readily available for reporting purposes.
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Reduced Time to Hire
Time to hire is a critical consideration for any company.
Vacancies can impact customer service and potentially company image. Labor hours spent reviewing applications and working through the hiring process are labor hours not available for more lucrative endeavors. ATS software may help companies reduce time to hire, restoring some labor hours and filling vacancies more quickly.
Improved Applicant Experience
ATS software can help to improve the candidate experience. Careers pages can be fitted with links to applications, making it very easy for candidates to apply. Candidates can also find out about company origins, values, and the next steps in the hiring process, which can help garner excitement about working for the company and make the hiring process seem smooth and painless.
A smooth hiring process speaks well for the company. This may prompt top talent to apply, as well as making current candidates feel good about working for the company if they are hired on.
More Coordinated Hiring Efforts
Hiring managers, recruiters, and other hiring team members may not always be on the same page. Motivations and schedules may be different, causing one hiring team member to be more “in the know” when it comes to certain candidates or certain hiring phases.
ATS software can be updated with notes and hiring status of candidates, used for messaging between peers, and equipped with a schedule for interviews to keep everyone working together. This can keep the behind the scenes work humming along so that candidates only see a well coordinated team as they move through the hiring process.
How Does an Applicant Tracking System Rank Applications?
Systems may vary slightly depending on the vendor, but most applicant tracking systems utilize keywords to sort and rank applications or resumes.
The keywords that are used may be controlled by the hiring manager or may be synced up to job postings and historical job description information. In some cases, programs may also highlight applications for certain “unique” keywords that may distinguish one applicant from the rest.
Interview Guidelines and Scoring
After the initial application phase, ATS software continues to help hiring managers. The interview phase is often seen as the most important step of the hiring process. ATS software often comes equipped with video interviewing features and guidelines for interview questions that can help to shape interview methods and structure.
Additionally, some ATS software comes with scoring systems for interviews. This assigns numerical values for interview responses that can then be used later on to distinguish one candidate from the rest. While the numerical values shouldn’t be a leading factor in hiring, they can be helpful when candidates are similarly qualified for a position.
Integrating ATS and HR Software (HRIS)
Some HR software packages come with applicant tracking systems, making it convenient to store and view all applicant and employee information in one place and move information seamlessly around as needed. Even applicant tracking systems that are purchased separately from other HR software can usually be integrated smoothly with other systems. It may be necessary to check with the chosen vendor to ensure integration capabilities.
The Importance of Selecting the Right Applicant Tracking System
With the right ATS software, companies can easily post new job ads, sort through applications quickly, and hire employees that are more likely to fit and stay in the position for a reasonable amount of time.
However, a system that is difficult to use or that does not sync well with other systems may waste time as hiring managers struggle to transfer information from one place to another. Some systems may also use application sorting criteria that rejects qualified candidates’ resumes.
Selecting an Applicant Tracking System
When selecting an applicant tracking system, it’s important for companies to establish expectations and budget, then work to find a system that meets these needs and is compatible with the company culture.
After these important points have been decided upon, companies should research applicant tracking software vendors thoroughly until the most compatible system is clear. Vendor matching companies and charts comparing vendors side by side may help with selection.
After establishing criteria and narrowing the vendor list down to a few top picks, it is important to meet with a vendor representative and review the software first hand. You should be able to review the job posting process and see what job ads look like afterward, see what an applicant will have to do to submit an application, determine what hiring managers will see, and get a realistic feel for how easy the software will be to use.
This type of demo will allow you to truly get a feel for how useful the chosen system will be before committing. Demos and even free trials can be scheduled directly with a vendor or through a vendor matching service that will be more likely to provide unbiased information about several vendors.
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Applicant Tracking Systems for Your Specific Industry
Finding the right applicant tracking system for your industry means understand your direct needs. Take a look at these industry specific ATS software articles.