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Why should I use an ATS?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How your business can benefit from applicant tracking systems

As a small business, you know the struggles of hiring for your business’s needs. Typical hiring practices can take a long time. There’s posting the job in the appropriate places, sorting through applications to find qualified candidates, interviewing multiple candidates and then making the hiring decision. And whether you’re handling hiring yourself or you have an internal human resource worker, it can be a time consuming process. One solution to help you manage the entire hiring process is an applicant tracking system. So in this article, we’ll take a look at what it is, the benefits of ATS and how one can be helpful for your company. First, let’s get familiar with ATS.

What is an ATS?

ATS stands for applicant tracking system. An applicant tracking system works to help your company track applicants for jobs you’re hiring for. This recruiting software gathers information about potential candidates and then helps to organize and present the best candidates for the given criteria. It can automate many tasks typically performed by the hiring manager or other HR employees. And it can also allow the user to search and filter applicants to hone in on the best talent for the job.

The best ATS solutions implement technology like natural language processing and artificial intelligence (AI) to help you screen and sort candidates’ resumes. This technology can help with candidate assessment by looking for important keywords in resumes while using algorithms to analyze data.

ATS systems also can provide other features and functionalities to help your productivity. They allow for the ability to share job postings on multiple job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn and the company's social media pages, all with one click. They can include integrated email templates to use when conversing with job seekers. They can also produce reports that focus on key recruiting metrics. Robust ATS programs can even help with interview scheduling and new hire onboarding policies and procedures. Some ATS solutions can even help manage employee referral incentive programs or integrate with other HR software, including HRIS programs. Now that you know what an ATS is, let's talk about the benefits.

The benefits of automated tracking systems

There are many benefits to using an ATS for talent acquisition. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

Saves time

One of the most important benefits of an applicant tracking system is that it saves time. While recruiters, small business owners, and anyone else involved in the recruitment process used to have to sort and review stacks of resumes, the ATS now does that for them. This helps everyone save time – from the talent acquisition managers to the applicant. For the hiring team, there’s no longer a need to sift through hundreds of resumes. And for the applicant, an ATS is an online form that they can fill out from anywhere. That saves them time on their job search.

Improves efficiency and productivity

As your business looks to make staffing decisions, the process can drag on and on. But with an ATS, your company can optimize the recruiting process and streamline the workflow necessary to post job openings. In addition, it allows others at your company to view the full talent pool in real time and give their feedback on specific candidates. This helps to eliminate constant internal back-and-forths when conversations can be put right in the software.

Another way ATSs help improve efficiency is the ability to sort candidates in various ways. From sort categories like work experience to location to skills and education, a recruiter can quickly narrow in on the type of hire they’re looking for. All applicant tracking systems parse and store resume information in ways that make candidates easy to filter and search by keyword. This resume parsing helps recruiting teams sift through to find the best candidates quickly.

Applicant tracking systems can also boost productivity. From the ability to post job openings on multiple websites at once to in-software collaboration, your company can have more productive conversations and get more done with ATS.

Increases applicant pool

One hurdle in hiring at a business is having enough qualified applicants. And if your company has a difficult-to-navigate application process, many candidates may choose not to apply. Some top talent will also quit a job application if it takes too long to complete. Therefore, providing the best application process possible can help you attract more applicants. ATS software helps you by providing a frictionless application process, and some providers also include mobile app capabilities so that applicants can even apply on their smartphones. ATS software also tracks time-to-fill data and the volume of applications, so you’ll be able to see how long it’s taking potential hires to fill out your application and can alter the process based on that information.

Improves quality of hire

While it’s important to make sure your company has enough applicants to choose from, another issue some businesses face is having too many applicants. Often, someone is left to sift through all of the candidates’ profiles to match their qualifications to the job description. But this can be time consuming and prone to human error. However, an ATS helps your company sort through and match applicants to the job descriptions, so you’ll be able to screen out unqualified applicants more quickly. That leaves you with a better list of candidates from the start, helping you find the right fit for the job much more rapidly.

Improves employee retention

When you hire the right people for your company, chances are they’ll stay longer. And with ATS, you’ll find candidates with the right skill set, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be satisfied with the work they’re doing, and you’ll be satisfied with them. In turn, better employee retention can help you lower your recruiting costs because the right hires will stay in roles longer.

Enhances the recruitment process

Another benefit of an ATS is a better experience for applicants throughout the entire hiring process. From the time it takes to fill out applications to the ability to fill out those forms on their smartphones, giving applicants a positive experience with your business is key.

Think about it. When you’re applying for a job, one of the worst parts is waiting to hear back from the company. How your candidates feel about your company can also play a role in their acceptance or rejection of a job offer, especially if they have multiple offers on the table.

However, an ATS gives your company the ability to contact candidates at a variety of stages. From the time they submit their application to notifications that they’re moving from one stage to the next, keeping applicants updated on the interview process is easy with ATS. Some providers even offer pre-written emails to make the process easier for small business owners like you. This connectivity helps you increase your employer brand while improving the candidate experience.

Now that you’ve seen the many benefits of ATS let’s talk about customization.

Can I customize my Applicant Tracking System?

One of the key components of any ATS is that it can be customized to your business’s needs. How someone in one industry hires employees can be vastly different from a company in another industry. Even within industries, many processes are not standardized. That means you’ll want to look for a tool to help you by fitting your specific needs.

One of the easiest ways to customize your ATS output is to ensure a consistent brand identity. This brand identity comes through in the fonts, colors and logos you use on your application and other materials. So it’s important to make sure it’s set up the way you want it. If not, it’s easy to change it to reflect your brand.

Another customization is to set up alerts that work best for your company. For example, some may want notifications when a new candidate applies for a specific position. In contrast, others may want to get notifications when someone that closely fits the job applies. Depending on your needs, an ATS can help dial in those notifications and customize them to your preferences.

You can also implement various statuses and stages of the process at your company. Perhaps you move candidates on the dashboard from one tab to another based on the stage they’re in. This makes it easier for you to quickly get a broad view of the hiring happening at your company.

In conclusion, when evaluating the best ATS for your business, you’ll want to make sure it can accommodate your specific needs while also providing you with a return on your investment. However, as you’ve seen, the benefits are undeniable. From saving you time to helping you find more qualified applicants to scheduling interviews, an ATS can streamline your entire hiring process, letting you shift your attention to running your business.


Ready to work with a partner who can help you with the hiring process?

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us.