Applicant tracking system (ATS) platforms simplify the tedious processes of collecting resumes, reviewing job applicants, and tracking referrals.
To enhance these primary functions, an ATS can offer extra functionality through software integrations. For teams who are more tech-savvy, some ATS systems even provide API access for creating ATS integrations to new or proprietary software solutions.
Integrations might come directly from your ATS vendor or third-party developers who want to address certain issues, introduce automation, or enable improved efficiency across the wider HR software stack
In this article, we’ll explore benefits, examples, and tips for choosing ATS integrations that will boost your hiring efficiency.
Benefits of ATS Integrations
Benefits of ATS integrations include standardization of more stages in the hiring process, as well as potential time and cost savings.
Many choose to bolster their ATS with integrations in order to save time. There’s no sense in switching between several different apps when you can put all of your functionality into one, centralized location.
While it typically only takes a matter of minutes to switch from one app to another, these minutes really start to add up over time. When you extrapolate the minutes saved each day across multiple employees, departments, and projects, it’s easy to see how much time can be consumed by using multiple apps on a daily basis.
For example, copying employee data over from an ATS to HR software while onboarding a new hire takes time, and creates room for error. With an integration, this information would automatically get transferred once an offer acceptance prompt is given to the ATS.
Many ATS integrations are available at no additional cost to you. Depending on the ATS pricing model, others might require a one-time fee or a recurring subscription but these are usually affordable enough that their benefits easily outweigh their costs.
The ROI of integration can be measured in increased organizational productivity (because there is no manual data transfer between apps) and increased accuracy because it largely eliminates opportunities for human error.
Today’s job seekers expect a certain amount of standardization within the hiring process. You don’t need to have the exact same structure as everyone else, but – generally speaking – most hiring processes should follow a similar workflow.
If your process deviates too much from these expectations, you’re likely to get abandoned applications. For example, an ATS that integrates with job boards to offer one-click applications takes a major barrier away from applying— time.
Employers who offer an intuitive, user-friendly, and straightforward hiring process will often receive a lot of applications and resumes from top talent in their industry.
Examples of ATS Integrations
There are countless examples of ATS software integrating with other tools to add to their overall usefulness. These integrations might provide simple tweaks to the ATS’ user interface (UI), add support for exporting data into different digital formats, or provide connectivity with cloud-based services.
Other integrations might introduce full-scale recruitment CRM software functionality – it’s really only limited by the developer’s imagination and the ATS’ technical capabilities.
HRIS platforms make it possible for your human resources department to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Some common features of HRIS software include:
- Benefits administration
- Learning management
- Regulatory compliance
- Scheduling, employee absences, and PTO
- Productivity analytics
Whenever a new hire is onboarded, their employee data needs to be captured to create a profile and self-service portal on the HRIS. Finding an ATS that integrates your chosen HR software will spare your human resources the task of manually adding the employee, and removing them from the candidate database within your ATS.
If these two platforms are integrated, the person can be shifted from one to the other automatically once they graduate to employee status.
Employee Background Checks
ATS background checks and academic verifications are sometimes included as standard features. Fortunately, when this is not the case, many market leaders in the candidate background check service industry offer ATS integrations.
Practically speaking, these integrations allow your recruitment team to order background checks via their ATS with the click of a button. The results of the background check are then loaded to the candidate’s profile in a manner that complies with data privacy laws.
Background checks are commonly used to verify degrees and certifications or to scrutinize a job seeker’s criminal history, but some modern screenings have expanded to investigate the applicant’s social media history — including sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re also used to confirm prior employment when verifying candidate experience.
With so many verification processes that may be applied to every single applicant, it’s important to find an ATS – or an ATS integration – that handles all of these processes automatically. It will save you time, money, and the headache of having to deal with various employers, academic institutions, and investigative agencies.
New Employee Onboarding
While some ATS and recruiting software offer native support for employee onboarding, others rely on third-party integrations. Generally speaking, this covers numerous orientation and onboarding processes, including:
- Bank account verification
- Internal testing
- Employee contract signing
- Setting up employee profiles in internal systems
- Workplace policies and procedures
An onboarding tool sets up a workflow to complete these processes and stores the data in a centralized location— simplifying the entire recordkeeping process. If the onboarding tool is integrated with an ATS, the process is triggered by simply giving a prompt to the ATS that the employee is hired.
Data Storage and Privacy
With so much emphasis on digital data and recordkeeping, it’s crucial that applicants’ data is stored in a safe and secure manner. However, the data also needs to be easily accessible by those with the appropriate permissions – and this is exactly where your ATS comes in.
When candidate information must be moved or copied over to a different system (for example, from the ATS to an HRIS when a candidate is hired), the tried and tested way is to export it as a data file and then import it at the other end. Because this data file exists outside of either of the systems’ security parameters, it is at risk for mismanagement.
There are a myriad of different integrations to choose from when trying to bolster your ATS with online data storage and management. This means entering or updating employee information into one system automatically reflects everywhere else.
There are a lot of ways to connect with potential candidates. Not only can ATS platforms and ATS integrations automate the process of listing new job postings on online job boards, but they also make it easy to host long-term hiring campaigns or run ads to fill sudden, unexpected openings. Naturally, this generates a lot of touchpoints where job seekers and candidates will want to communicate with your organization.
ATS integration with online messaging platforms (like Slack or Teams) makes it easy to track these conversations. You can further optimize candidate conversations by integrating your ATS with a recruitment chatbot that is trained on critical information and FAQs.
While the concept of digital signing has been around for decades, it’s only recently caught on amongst employers, businesses, and governmental entities. As a result, we’ve seen a plethora of third-party integrations that are focused on collecting and securing digital signatures.
In many cases, these integrations can be applied to offer letters and onboarding documents. Using a third-party ATS integration to collect and store digital signatures not only adds some more standardization to your internal processes but also helps keep them secure in a manner that is compliant with current laws and regulations.
Tips for Successful ATS Integrations
The successful implementation of an ATS integration involves more than downloading and installing a new piece of software. If you want to make the most of your ATS and its integrations, it’s important that you set them up properly and monitor results.
Setting Up Your ATS Integration
Taking the time to properly set up your ATS integration can mean the difference between success and failure. Start by reviewing any documentation or directions provided by the integration vendor.
Review the integration’s options or customizations before adding it to your workflow. Test, test, and test again to ensure the setting you’ve applied and the integration itself are doing the job they’re meant for. This may involve running some dummy data through the software integration to calibrate and confirm you’re getting accurate results.
If an integration requires custom programming or highly technical insight, consider asking the vendor for technical support.
Ensure Employee Knowledge
Make sure your team is familiar with the new integration. They don’t necessarily have to demonstrate expert-level proficiency at this point, but it’s helpful if they all know their way around the software before making it a part of their daily responsibilities.
Try to field any questions they may have and, if necessary, refer them to the integration’s customer support team for any questions you can’t answer.
You definitely want buy-in from your HR team and hiring managers to avoid them sidestepping or overriding the data sharing of your ATS integration. These practices may lead to inaccuracies from human error or, at the very least, mess with any data analytics captured by the integration.
Don’t forget to monitor your team’s productivity when using the new ATS integration. Compare this to productivity levels before the integration was installed to understand its value and ROI (or lack thereof).
Ask your team members for their input, too. Knowing what they like or dislike about the integration is instrumental in deciding whether it should be a permanent addition to your HR Tech stack.
Final Thoughts on ATS Integrations
ATS integrations come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Whether it's developed by the ATS vendor, the integrating platform (such as an HRIS), or a third-party developer, these integrations can seriously expand the functionality of your ATS.
But with so many ATS integrations to choose from, it’s important to find ones that match your organizational goals and priorities. Installing too many integrations will only complicate the hiring process and make it harder to realize the value of the most important add-ons, so you’ll need to find the proper balance in order to make these integrations work for you.