Applicant Tracking System Buyers Guide
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What's an Applicant Tracking System and why is it important?
An applicant tracking system should be much more than a repository of applicants and profiles. The right ATS will set you up for success with a hiring process that uses technology to manage the most administrative intensive tasks and weed out poor fits so you can focus your time on great applicants.
An applicant tracking system also enables you to manage all hiring activity – including writing job descriptions, posting to job boards, administering candidate skills assessments, scheduling and conducting interviews, and running background and reference checks – in one centralized, user-friendly platform.
In this applicant tracking system buyers guide, we’ll outline the challenges associated with a manual – or nonexistent – hiring process, the business impact of partnering with an applicant tracking system and what to look for in a partner.
The Power of Process: A Smarter Way to Hire
For many small- to medium-sized businesses, a hiring process either doesn’t exist or it’s broken, posing a risk for missing out on quality candidates.
Here are several key challenges your business will face if you don’t enlist the help of an applicant tracking system:
1. You’ll spend a lot of administrative time on hiring:
Many businesses today receive each resume and application via email – or even paper – which get piled up on the HR manager’s desk or clog the email inbox. With either outdated process, your team will end up spending a significant amount of time and resources reviewing each and every application. The average time to review a single applicant is 1 minute and 44 seconds, which adds up quickly and takes your staff away from spending time on other tasks to move the business forward.
2. You’ll waste time on unqualified candidates:
When your staff is reviewing every application manually, much of your administrative time will be wasted reviewing applicants who aren’t a fit for the role or your business. From our research, upwards of 90% of applicants would ultimately make poor hires. With no way of automatically weeding out bad applicants, you might even waste time interviewing applicants who aren’t qualified for the role. Your business could also make the mistake of hiring an unqualified applicant in an effort to fill an open role quickly, which will result in more losses – to both profitability and productivity – in the long haul.
3. You might overlook star candidates:
With a full email inbox or pile of resumes, in an effort to speed up hiring, you might be tempted to interview and hire one of the first strong applicants that stands out. But if you don’t review all applicants, top candidates can slip through the cracks – and you could end up instead making a bad hire.
4. You risk losing top candidates to the competition:
A manual hiring process not only takes up a significant amount of your staff’s time, but it can leave your top candidates waiting to hear back once they’ve applied, to schedule an interview or receive a final offer. During this time, your most qualified candidates might get hired by a competitor who has a more efficient hiring process in place. And moving quality applicants efficiently through your hiring process is incredibly important, as 82% of hires are made from applicants who are reviewed by a hiring manager within 24 hours.
What to look for in an Applicant Tracking System
To make your hiring process as efficient as possible, look for the following key criteria when selecting an applicant tracking system:
1. One-on-one training:
Your applicant tracking system’s customer success team should walk you through training and implementation to ensure each user feels confident and empowered by the ATS. During training, you can work with customer success learn about the platform in detail, establish goals and resolve any questions you may have. Training will also give you the opportunity to complete mock tasks, such as job postings.
2. A centralized hiring process:
An effective hiring process should include sourcing through a career site and job boards, centralized applicant data, pre-screen surveys, interview guides, email communication templates and in-app scheduling capabilities, and skills, background and reference checks.
To identify quality candidates without spending the time manually reviewing each applicant, make sure your applicant tracking system includes pre-screen surveys.
3. Insights to measure the health of your hiring efforts:
The right applicant tracking system will provide a glance into critical stats you need to determine the health of each location or manager’s hiring efforts – such as hiring velocity (time to hire) and process adherence. For example, Hireology Insights can answer key questions like: What is the total hiring velocity for each new hire at a given location? Are candidates getting held up in a certain hiring step? Are certain managers missing steps in the hiring process? And, which sources give me the most quality applicants? Using these insights, you can take action to identify areas of improvement across locations and managers, and ensure your business is hiring its best team in an efficient manner.
4. Integration with a talent management system:
By integrating your applicant tracking system with a talent management system, you can manage the entire employee lifecycle – from hire to retire – in one centralized platform. A talent management system centralizes onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance, tax information, and all other relevant employee information, rather than using countless different HR systems.