5 Ways an Applicant Tracking System Can Improve the Selection Process (and how to select an ATS)

Written by: Endouble Endouble
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The hiring process can be a tricky thing to manage.

When you have new applicants submitting applications every day, interviews to schedule, and sensitive candidate materials to manage, using simple spreadsheets or documents usually doesn’t cut it.

Items can easily become lost or applicants may fall through the gaps, resulting in a missed hiring opportunity. Without the right systems in place, you could unintentionally create a negative hiring experience for your candidates – hurting your chances of hiring the best talent.

Luckily, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can put everything you need right in one place.

An ATS can help organizations of any size and industry

  • Streamline their recruitment process
  • Improve their candidate experience
  • Hire new talent more efficiently.
But, how do you know if an ATS is right for you and your organization? Let’s take a look at what an Applicant Tracking System is, how it helps, and how to know if it’s the right software for your organization.

Download: Checklist - What to look for in an ATS system


What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System is a recruiting tool that helps to organize, automate, and oversee the recruitment and hiring process. The software can make the recruiter’s job easier, helping them stay in touch with the right candidates at the right time.

Applicant Tracking Systems collect applications and resumes, then score each candidate to show who best fits your needs. An ATS can also help you keep track of where different applicants are in the hiring process.

Keeping all your hiring information in one place makes the processes much easier on your HR department. Here are some signs that it might be time to implement an ATS into your organization.


1. An ATS Helps Hire Quickly and Efficiently

The average time to hire can be anywhere from about 13 days to 49 days, depending on your industry.

While this time can fly by when you’re actually in the hiring process, any time left with an open position can cost your organization money and productivity. If team members are working overtime to cover that opening, it can also take a toll on your team.

It’s always important to hire a new employee as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, if you’re rushing to get someone in your open slot, you may not have time to properly interview and select the right candidate.

An Applicant Tracking System can help you reduce time with an open position, as well as help you find the right candidate to hire.

There are a number of things that can pop up during the hiring process that can slow you down and extend the hiring process. From lost emails to poor communication, any time there is a problem, you’re adding time and money to get the system back on track.

However, an ATS eliminates a number of those problems, helping the system run smoothly. By keeping all your information in one place, you can reduce friction and easily move between recruitment funnel phases.

Adding an ATS can also allow you to automate some of the most time-consuming recruitment tasks. Your ATS is able to comb through resumes to find your best applicants, helping your HR team avoid spending hours and hours weeding out unqualified candidates.

You can also use the Applicant Tracking System to post job listings, send interview requests, and track responses. When you’re working from one dashboard, you can quickly knock off to-do list items without needing to waste time switching between platforms.

Overall, an ATS can help you get a new, highly qualified employee in your open position without needing to rush through the recruitment process. Instead, the right software will allow you to streamline the process, removing any extra weight, mistakes, or tasks that can slow you down.


2. An ATS Improves the Candidate Experience

The candidate experience seems to be discussed a lot when it comes to the interview and hiring process. While it may seem like the new buzzword in the HR world, it actually does have a major impact on what candidates choose to accept an offer.

To a candidate, the interview process is their first glimpse at the day-to-day operations of your company. They’ll be looking for any kind of red flag that might identify internal problems at the organization, such as lack of communication or disorganization.

In order to convince the best candidates to work for you and your team, you want to make the hiring process as positive as possible. Unfortunately, if you’re unorganized or lacking a clear hiring system, this can be difficult.

A poor candidate experience can have lasting effects. Of individuals who had a negative candidate experience, 63% would not accept a job offer and 83% would never apply to the company again. More than that, almost 50% said they would also encourage others to not apply.

An ATS can help you eliminate some of the disconnect and frustration to improve how candidates feel about your organization – whether or not they ultimately get a job offer.

Using an ATS allows you to stay on top of all your candidate’s information. You can easily see where each individual is in the process, whether or not you’ve contacted them, and if they’re due for an update. This system ensures no candidate gets lost in the application process.

An ATS can also help you personalize content to your candidates. When going through the interview process, each candidate wants to feel special. If you’re sending mass emails that are too generalized, your candidates may not feel valued.

Show your applicants you care by personalizing emails, scheduling follow-ups and check-ins, or even sending your candidates text messages. While the systems may still be automated, the little details can improve your candidate’s perception of your company.


3. An ATS Helps Manage Organization

Disorganization can cause major headaches. Nothing screams “red flag” quite like needing to ask an applicant to resubmit documents or information they’ve already given you.

Not only can losing important documents turn candidates off to your organization, but it can also put your applicants’ at risk by exposing their sensitive data. When things like addresses and phone numbers are located on their resumes, you don’t want their information to fall into the wrong hands.

An Applicant Tracking System can not only give you a secure place to keep your applicants’ documents and information, but it also allows you to track your candidates more efficiently. When everything is in one place, you don’t need to jump around different documents or spreadsheets to find the information you need.

Within your ATS, you can store everything from resumes to interview notes and rankings. You can even add tags or labels to your candidates’ listings, helping you better categorize the individuals you connect with.

Most ATS programs integrate with the other apps and tools that you use, such as your calendar or email. Keeping everything under one dashboard means you can reduce time jumping back and forth, as well as keep an eye on all your appointments and correspondence for each candidate.

Using an Applicant Tracking System is great for staying organized during the hiring process, but the benefits of this kind of organization can continue past the hiring phase. An ATS can also give you a database of past applicants, potentially saving you time when you need to hire again.

By properly organizing and labelling candidates, you can easily refer back to qualified individuals who may have been beaten out by a candidate who was just a better fit at the time – potentially cutting down your hiring time and cost.


4. An ATS Improves Your Job Posting Reach

The quality of your hire depends on the quality of your applicants. In order to hire the best talent, you first need to attract them and convince them to apply.

However, an average of only 2% of candidates actually makes it to the interview process.

This usually means you need to spread a wide net when posting your job opening. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly time-consuming to manually upload. If you choose to try and save time and only upload to a few sites, you risk not getting many high-quality applicants.

An Applicant Tracking System can automate this system for you, taking the busy work off your hands. With a number of job boards already integrated into the system, an ATS can make it easy and efficient for you to post your opening across multiple job boards and social media accounts.

Certain ATS tools can also help you save money with job boards. If they have partnerships with the sites, they may offer discounts for postings. This can save your organization a decent chunk of change.

An ATS also helps to streamline the applicant organization process across these various job boards. When you use the ATS to post your opening, your applicants will automatically be sent to the system.

By compiling all your applicants in one place, you don’t need to worry about transferring data or organizing multiple spreadsheets. Instead, all your information is already in the system and you’re ready to begin your hiring process.

Your ATS can also make it easier to manage a high number of applicants. Because the system automatically classifies and categorizes applicants based on how well they fit your description and keywords, you can easily weed through a high volume of applicants to find the best candidates without adding extra hours to your workload.


5. An ATS Compiles Your Recruitment Data

Hiring data and analytics can give you insight into your recruitment process to help you attract better candidates, connect with the best applicants, and put the right individual in your open position more efficiently.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can give you important information about how to improve your recruitment process, but they can be difficult to manually track and calculate. Even with the help of spreadsheets, you’ll waste dozens of hours just inputting data.

However, the alternative of not using data can leave gaps and problems within your recruitment funnel. If you’re not paying close attention to the number of individuals you’re interviewing, how long it’s taking you to hire, or the cost associated with each candidate, your recruitment process may be inefficient without you even realizing.

An ATS can make data tracking easier, automating the process so you and your team don’t need to worry about crunching the numbers yourself. Certain systems will even generate reports for you, allowing you to get an overview of your most important recruitment KPIs.

Using an Applicant Tracking System also allows you to house all your different metrics in one place. By integrating your ATS with the other productivity tools you use, you can collect data across the board.

You can then use your data to start making more strategic goals or to identify problems in your recruitment funnel. Through refining your recruitment process, you can identify better quality candidates and help encourage them to become a new hire.


Conclusion

Whether your organization is large or small, an Applicant Tracking System can help you streamline, improve, and manage the hiring process to ensure you’re putting the best candidate in your open position.

Let’s recap how an ATS can make the selection process easier for your organization: 

  1. An ATS can make your hiring process faster and more efficient.
  2. Adding an ATS can make the candidate experience stronger for applicants and potential hires.
  3. Using an ATS can improve the organization of important candidate files and documents.
  4. An ATS can help automate posting the job opening, saving you time and money.
  5. An ATS can put data and analytics in one place, helping you identify important KPIs. 

When selecting an ATS that works for your organization, you need to understand your company’s unique hiring needs. Download this free ATS checklist to help ensure you’re selecting the right ATS for you!

Download: Checklist - What to look for in an ATS system

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