Hiring is hard, especially for organizations that need to move quickly to secure in-demand talent. While small businesses may track applicants through Google forms, spreadsheets, or their email inboxes, the complexity of multiple roles, multiple interviewers, and a multitude of candidates makes that setup untenable.
How do companies solve these problems? Many turn to an Applicant Tracking System.
What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you ask? It’s software that helps companies collect job applicants’ resumes, coordinate the interview process, and extend job offers to fill job requisitions. This software can deliver insights through analytics and tracking metrics to tell hiring teams what a company is doing right in their candidate experience, and flag areas of improvement to tackle with automation and integrations.
ATS package pricing varies depending on the features offered, and the scale of hiring it’s intended to track. However, free applicant tracking systems are available and offer completely adequate solutions for some businesses. The benefits of using recruitment software are almost countless, but I’ve listed 20 benefits you definitely want to consider when deciding whether or not to implement an ATS at your company.
1. Empowered Hiring Managers
Recruitment is not a solo endeavor, it takes a team to successfully place a candidate in an open role. One of the most important collaborators in a recruiting process is the hiring manager, who is often the eventual manager of the incoming employee.
An ATS can allow the hiring manager and every other stakeholder to take an active role in the hiring process alongside the recruitment team. They may review and approve resumes independently, leave comments and feedback to ensure the recruiter understands the experience necessary for the role, and add candidates they found through their own outreach to the talent pool.
Recruiters are typically managing multiple roles along with internal responsibilities, so any tool that decreases their workload is a worthy investment. Along with alleviating pressure on a recruiting team, empowering the hiring manager to actively help select top candidates leads to high-quality hires. With an ATS, everyone can reliably add their input and be accountable for their contributions from application to onboarding.
2. Accurate Tracking of Recruitment Metrics
Recruitment can be a high-cost activity, and executives are rightly curious to understand the return on investment of those efforts. With an ATS in place, recruiters can proactively share reports and key metrics on their progress with executives and the board of directors.
ATS systems, like Ashby, have pre-built reports with data relevant to your organization, and many allow custom reporting so you can create real-time dashboards that are relevant to your hiring goals. This data helps human resources make informed decisions on future job openings and retention strategies.
3. Access to a Large Pool of Qualified Candidates
In a competitive market, it’s important to post jobs in front of a wide audience. The best applicant tracking system vendors will automatically share your jobs with multiple job boards. This automation allows your job posts to reach more eyes than they would on your company website alone, or if you had to manage posting manually.
With paid job ads, you can expand your candidate pool even further. Applicant conversion tracking pixels give a granular understanding of which sourcing expenditures are successfully reaching ideal applicants.
4. Standardized Data Collection
If you’re looking through job descriptions, it probably won’t take long for you to find one that proclaims the importance of “data-driven” decisions at an organization. Most people would agree that who they hire is of incredible importance, and yet they may make these decisions with messy or inconsistent data in place.
Using an ATS can help standardize data collection for incoming candidates as well as interviewers throughout the recruitment process. With clean, consistent data, recruiters’ data analysis can gather relevant insights into where an organization may be spending too much time or money without a return in the form of hiring success.
5. Tracking of Candidate Opt-In and Consent
Consumers have privacy on their minds now more than ever before, and the same goes for job seekers. An ATS can help alleviate concerns about candidate data management, and compliance to privacy laws.
The system you choose should have clear privacy protection policies in regard to the candidate information you collect. If this is in place, your ATS can also help the organization inform candidates how their data will be used and get their consent in the process. Native compliance is a great help in setting candidates’ minds at ease about how their information is collected. In turn, therefore, transparency about employee data management boosts your candidate experience and employer brand.
6. Access to Communication Templates
Recruiters are often repeating the same messages over and over, and the time cost of drafting an individual response for each application adds up.
Creating templates for the entire recruitment process can not only save recruiters time, but ensure consistent communication. This gives employers certainty that candidates are offered equal support throughout every stage of hiring.
7. Automated Workflows
Administrative tasks and manual procedures slow down the entire recruitment process. ATS software supplies automation and workflows to streamline transitions through each stage of the recruitment funnel.
This functionality saves time for internal staff, allowing them space to focus on recruitment strategy instead of time-consuming activities. Integrations with LinkedIn and other social media platforms help lean teams advertise and interact with top talent and place the right candidates.
HRIS or HCM software integrations that feed directly from your ATS can facilitate a smooth onboarding process for new employees.
8. EEO Data Collection, and More
Beyond legally required data collection for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recruiting teams may want to gain an expanded understanding of the candidates interviewing at their company.
Most ATS vendors have standard questions and dropdown answers companies can use to collect this data, along with customizable data collection forms.
9. Tracking and Understanding Diversity in Your Hiring Pipeline
A homogenous candidate pipeline will not result in a diverse workforce. With an ATS in place to confidentially collect data points on race, gender, disability, and other areas, recruitment leaders have more information to assess the reality of bias in decision-making.
Strategic measures to support DEI in your hiring funnel is only possible if you know what your candidate pools look like. Perhaps there’s a lack of women applying for a specific role, prompting recruiters to use paid job postings and other outreach efforts to increase the representation of women in their pipeline. Or maybe Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) candidates are well-represented in applicants but aren’t well-represented in the offer stage, prompting an internal investigation into how candidates are being evaluated during the application process.
10. Clarified Roles and Permissions
Like I said earlier, recruitment takes a team. An ATS can help manage the contributions of different team members and ensure valuable input is captured in the hiring process.
With customized permission sets, interviewers will only be able to see the data they need to evaluate the candidates they’re in contact with. Hiring Managers can benefit from better visibility into applicants and the overall pipeline. Recruiting coordinators may be able to see candidate contact information, but not be able to access confidential notes about the candidate.
This customization allows the organization to both protect candidates’ data appropriately and enable employees making hiring decisions to have the insight they need.
11. Information on Best Practices for Interviewers
Job interviews can be rife with bias, unprofessionalism, and discrimination. This is why interview training and shadowing are important for companies to implement early on. With an ATS in place, you can highlight best practices at every stage, reminding interviewers of their responsibilities in representing the company.
12. Effective Note-Taking and Interview Records
Businesses are legally required to maintain records related to the recruitment and selection of employees, and an ATS can help store and manage those records for the sake of compliance.
With interview scorecards and automated reminders about submitting feedback in place within your ATS, you’ll be able to confidently follow a trail of documentation about hiring decisions when needed.
13. Selected Rubrics for Measurement
It’s easy to get distracted from the core competencies of a role in the assessment process, but rubrics can help center candidate evaluations on the established competencies of the role. Many ATS systems feature the ability to make custom rubrics, prompting interviewers to highlight which competencies the candidate excelled in or didn’t meet.
These data points can help mitigate bias in hiring decisions and highlight what each interviewer is expected to evaluate in the recruitment process.
14. Flagging Blocks in the Recruitment Process
Bottlenecks in the hiring process are frustrating for job seekers and hiring teams alike. These blockers can hurt the business long-term if needed positions aren’t being filled. The data from an ATS system is a goldmine for investigating blocks in the recruitment process and providing clues as to how to solve them.
15. Channels to Receive Feedback on Candidate Experience
Anyone who interviews with your company possesses an outside perspective on what’s working well and what needs to be improved. An ATS can help capture that feedback with candidate feedback surveys.
With the automated workflows native to an ATS, you can send each candidate who interviews with your business a feedback survey. This gives your invaluable data on how the team’s communication and follow-through are being received by candidates and new hires. Some ATS systems, like Greenhouse, will even compare your results with other companies so you know how you stack up against the competition.
16. Ability to Identify Successful Sourcing Investments
Understanding where the best candidates are sourced from can point to areas you may want to continue investing in. With an ATS tracking the source of each candidate, it’s easy for recruiters to understand what sources are building the highest ROI candidate pipeline, from application to final offer.
17. Smoother Interview Scheduling and Time Management
Calendar coordination and schedule snags aren’t usually accounted for in the projected time-to-fill for a role, but this area can quickly add days and weeks to an interview process. An ATS will help identify the necessary steps in the interview process, and sync with internal calendars to make scheduling less painful for everyone involved.
There’s also interview scheduling software that will integrate with an ATS to make it possible for your team to move quickly and efficiently.
18. Faster Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill
With these tools in place, your time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics are likely to improve. Candidates can smoothly apply, recruiters can easily review applications, interviews are set with minimal back-and-forth communications, and interviews can quickly submit feedback, all contributing to a faster hiring process.
Smaller organizations and start-up companies can especially benefit from this streamlined process. These companies are usually spread thinner than enterprise organizations, and every role opened can have a major impact on the day-to-day operations and expansion of the business. The best applicant tracking systems for small businesses are specifically geared toward hiring for smaller teams where each addition to the workforce has a proportionately large impact.
19. Customizable Application Questions
Many recruiters are ditching cover letters and instead opting for custom application questions to help screen candidate profiles. These application questions are easy to set up in an ATS, allowing you to capture specific information from the candidate that’s relevant to the role.
20. Incorporated Employer Brand Strategy
Prospective hires may be interacting with your company for the first time via a job application, or be familiar with your brand and eager to jump on new opportunities. Every landing page, email message, and interaction with current employees they encounter contributes to your employer brand.
With an ATS in place, you can make sure recruiting operations are aligned with the company’s talent acquisition strategy. Email templates should reflect your brand’s voice, open job requisitions can be featured on a dynamic careers page, and company blog posts can highlight the experiences of employees across the organization to give a unique candidate experience.
Over the past few years, a lot of myths have formed around applicant tracking systems. Frustrated candidates might find it easier to believe an unjust robotic system is parsing and rejecting the 100+ applications they’ve submitted rather than 100+ humans disqualifying them without any feedback on why.
While AI is changing HR, it’s still a burgeoning field. At its core, an ATS is simply a database to store candidate records and help automate processes much like a customer relationship management system (CRM) would. In the end, your hiring success is dependent on a hiring team consisting of people, and an ATS can make them more successful at their job.
This software investment is crucial for recruitment efforts, and optimizing the system with the above benefits in mind will help your team hire the best talent quickly and confidently.