Applicant tracking systems (ATS) aren’t new on the recruitment scene, but they have typically been employer-focused in terms of usability and user experience. In fact, candidate end-users have historically reported that ATS systems can be clunky and unintuitive for them to use.
However, many next-generation ATS solutions are focused on bringing together both end-user experiences that improve candidate experiences while still benefiting employers enormously. This new focus on employer and candidate user experiences makes the ATS a fundamental tool in any hiring team’s arsenal.
Why do you need an applicant tracking system?
ATS solutions support the entire recruitment process, from attracting, engaging, and nurturing applicants to scheduling interviews and extending offers.
Since publishing just one job posting can lead to hundreds of applications, it's crucial to find ways to increase efficiency. That's why your recruiting team needs an ATS to help optimize and automate the routine processes involved in recruiting and hiring, which in turn helps save time and money.
The right ATS will:
- Help you communicate easily within recruiting and hiring teams: There are a lot of people involved in each open position, and an ATS gives you the ability to send messages, create workflows, adjust statuses, and assign tasks to different people.
- Centralize applicant and open position information: Having all relevant information in one place prevents the risk of duplicate tasks, and gives everyone on your team an up-to-date view of all workflows.
- Generate actionable reports: ATS systems are great for automation, but you need to know exactly how your efforts are benefitting the recruitment process and areas where you can improve. Modern ATS systems provide insight into your KPIs, such as time to hire, to help you pinpoint areas for improvement.
These are just some of the reasons you need an ATS to support your recruitment efforts. However, any ATS worth it's salt should also be able to provide you with the following five benefits.
Reduces time and money spent on manual tasks
One of the ATS system’s most powerful benefits lies in reducing time and money spent on repetitive manual tasks.
For example, an ATS can:
- Reduce the time spent posting on individual job boards by providing single sign-on posting to multiple job boards
- Parse and screen resumes automatically, ensuring only qualified applicants reach your inbox
- Standardize applicant scoring
- Auto-schedule candidate interviews
- Provide structured interview templates
- Provide stage change email triggers to applicants and candidates.
All of these automated features help hiring teams focus more on hiring the right people and less on time-consuming administrative tasks.
Build your talent pool in advance
An ATS can help you build and cultivate a talent pipeline in advance, which saves time on sourcing.
Candidates or applicants can be compiled over time, and their details can be stored within your ATS. They can be qualified and categorized based on their skills, location, and work experience, which creates a candidate database that you can draw from when the time is right.
Don’t discard highly-skilled, quality candidates just because they might not be the exact fit you’re looking for to fill a current position. Use an ATS to keep their details on file, and re-engage them when a role opens that fits their profile and your candidate profile.
When you already have a pipeline of "warm" candidates to source from, your chances of finding the right applicants will increase.
Provide unique branding for your careers page
ATS systems are not just tools for managing applicants, but attracting them too. We’ve previously explored how strong employer branding attracts the right candidates.
Your careers page can make or break an applicant’s first impression: use an ATS to curate a place where you highlight what makes your organization unique and worth spending time applying to.
ATS systems can help you create a fully-optimized, branded, and customized careers page that encourages candidates to apply and provides an enjoyable candidate experience.
Think about all the dull careers pages job seekers come across. An ATS can help you showcase your organization’s personality on your careers page and individual job postings. This will set your company apart and help motivate applicants by providing them a glimpse of your company identity.
Unify your HR tech stack
System integration needs vary based on the organization and recruiter. However, integrations are a powerful way to streamline and centralize candidate information, making it easier to work with different tools.
Depending on the tools you use, you’ll want an ATS that integrates with:
- Job boards
- Candidate sourcing platforms
- Pre-employment and candidate testing tools
- HR systems
Of course, while each system’s specific features will be important for your business, you’ll also need to know how it plays with your existing tech stack. Before you start evaluating ATS solutions, make a list of your current recruiting tech stack, and confirm with ATS vendors that the system offers integrations with your existing tools and can provide case studies of other clients using these integrations.
Integrating your ATS with your other critical systems will provide a better user experience and ensure that your tech stack is making you more efficient.
Manage candidate applications with ease
Last but not least, ATS systems help do exactly what they say on the label—manage and track applications. The main purpose of an ATS system is to make the tracking and management of candidates a breeze: features such as ATS dashboards provide up-to-date views of jobs in the hiring pipeline with filters for location, department, etc.
A dashboard can also help rank incoming applicants, by assigning them scores based on their information, saving you time on manually sifting through a mountain of applications. You can also import scores from candidate pre-assessments that will help you narrow down your pool of applicants to the most likely fits for your open position.
ATS dashboards also help you understand how successful your recruitment process is by allowing you to track KPIs, applicant sources, and recruitment marketing efforts.
Modernize your hiring process with an ATS solution
The latest ATS systems are engineered to maximize your efficiency and many of them are affordable and accessible no matter the size of your organization. That said, it's important to select software that is compatible with your hiring process. Choosing the right ATS will not only modernize and optimize your hiring process, but simplifies it too. That way you can focus on hiring the right people instead of tedious, repetitive tasks.