How Applicant Tracking Systems are Helping Recruiters
March 15, 2016

An applicant tracking system is a type of computer software that helps Human Resources professionals better manage the recruitment process.  This software sorts through resumes searching for keywords to help determine which resumes are the best fit for the position for which they were submitted.  Many are also capable of using social media as a means of recruiting potential applicants for a position by scanning these sites for keywords regarding someone’s education, skills, and work experience.  Another nice feature is that they can be used to store an applicant’s resume for a long period of time and search it later on, should a position that person is better suited for become available.

Applicant tracking systems serve a variety of functions that can benefit a company.  First, your Human Resources team will not have to spend time filing and/or shredding paper resumes, or printing resumes sent through individual emails.  Next, they eliminate the risk that an employee will accidentally overlook or delete an email with an applicant’s resume.  Finally, they provide a streamlined way for your Human Resources team to communicate directly with applicants throughout the hiring process.  For example, it would allow someone to email all applicants no longer under consideration with the click of a button.

Which applicant tracking system is right for your company?

How can you be sure if an applicant tracking system is right for your organization?  Jobvite offers some ways to know that your company is ready for this software.

Your business is in growth-mode.

As small companies grow larger, a lot of additional pressure is placed on the Human Resources office.  Applicant tracking systems can help improve communications between departments, allowing all of your company’s teams the ability to collaborate and make the best hiring decisions.

Your Human Resources staff does not have enough hours in the day to complete their work.

Consider that in the current job market, one job listing can result in hundreds of applications.  When your team is already stretched to its limit, the time it takes to sift through these resumes while keeping up with your other required work can be difficult to find.  An applicant tracking system can greatly speed up this process.

You are having difficulty tracking and reporting your Human Resources legal compliance.

Applicant tracking systems help both Human Resources and management staff quickly and easily monitor legal compliance, generate reports, and guarantee that all required documents are in place should your company ever be subject to an audit.

Your company has a high rate of employee turnover.

Naturally, a high rate of turnover means positions are vacant at all times, and your company is constantly in the process of hiring.  Not only can an applicant tracking system help your Human Resources staff fill vacancies more quickly, it can help your team find the very best candidates who are more likely to stay with your organization for a longer period of time.

How to convince your CEO the company needs applicant tracking

Are you trying to convince upper management that your company needs an applicant tracking system?  Small Business Opportunities magazine has some tips for you.

1 – First, do your research and determine which features of an applicant tracking system are needs versus wants. For example, integration with your email system may be an absolute must, but video interviewing capabilities may not be. Most basic applicant tracking systems offer resume database and candidate searching, job application management, interview management, workflow management, Human Resources and legal compliance management, job board postings, applicant profiles and filtering, and resume pre-screening.  Some more advanced applicant tracking system features to consider are employee on-boarding, background verification and screening, referral management, integration into your current Human Resources software, social networking tools, offer letter generation, automated interview scheduling, intelligent candidate matching, mobile accessibility, and reporting and analytics features.  Once you have determined the musts, take note of several companies with software that offers these items, as well as the price points, customer technical support, and customer reviews for those companies.

2 – Talk to experts in your Information Technology department about the software. They will likely be the ones helping to implement it, and may need to provide some level of technical support with it, so their buy-in of your endeavor is key. They will also be able to assess the ease of use of a given product, as well as determine if the system is scalable as your company grows.  Additionally, they will be most informed when it comes to matters of data security.

3 – Be prepared to articulate how investing in an applicant tracking system today can benefit your company long term. For this, you will need to determine the actual amount of time in hours that it currently takes your company to fill a vacant position. This would include the time spent reviewing resumes, writing emails, and scheduling interviews.  Next, estimate how much time these tasks would take using an applicant tracking system.  Arrive at a figure for determined time savings, and provide upper management with some ideas about how your Human Resources team could fill that saved time in a way that is beneficial to the company.

4 – Demonstrate the insights applicant tracking software can provide to your company over time. For example, the data contained within that system can provide your company with statistics to help you determine the sources of your best referrals, where your advertising budget is best spent, what bottlenecks you may have in your hiring process, and real-time candidate source metrics.

5 – Remember to focus on your presentation on the benefits of an applicant tracking system to your company and its future job applicants, rather than to you personally. Examples include a shorter time frame for filling open positions, a more user-friendly application process, the ability to quickly identify top talent in a large pool of candidates, and more.

Benefits of an applicant tracking system

If you would like to better articulate the benefits of an applicant tracking system, training and support company Top Echelon has summarized a few of them nicely.

  • Applicant tracking systems provide enhanced data entry.  Systems can cull data directly from a resume, rather than having a staff member enter the information manually into a database.
  • Applicant tracking systems include social media integration.  This allows your Human Resources team to seek out the very best candidates for your job openings online and encourage those individuals to apply.
  • Applicant tracking systems allow you to easily post your position vacancies online on your company’s website. A prospective employee may be enticed to apply by viewing your company’s website and learning about your company’s culture and offered benefits.
  • Applicant tracking systems allow for mobile recruiting.  With so many people glued to their mobile devices these days, this may be one of the most effective ways of reaching prospective employees. In fact, Jobvite reports that 43 percent of all job seekers have used their tablet or smartphone to apply for jobs, and 42 percent of all job seekers spend an average of ten minutes or more engaging in job searching activities on mobile devices each day.
  • Applicant tracking systems can be accessed by your recruiters and researchers while they are off site.  This offers your employees the flexibility to work from home, as well as allowing your Human Resources staff to access information while they are traveling to various recruitment fairs.