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10 Rules For Choosing A Good Applicant Tracking System

As part of their recruiting regiment, most organizations understand the need to create job descriptions, post them to various job boards and social media platforms with the intent to get in front of a large and relevant talent pool. However, all this effort to catch the attention of top talent can easily go to waste when the organization is not equipped to handle incoming applicant interest in an organized way with a good applicant tracking system.

This is especially true for companies that either don’t take advantage of modern applicant tracking and recruiting technology – or might still be stuck with an old applicant tracking system that is hard to use for the applicants as well as the internal recruitment team.

A good Applicant Tracking System can boost a company’s recruiting effectiveness by helping to streamline sourcing, social engagement and the entire hiring workflow into one integrated platform. In addition, modern recruiting software would also make sure that the candidate experience is awesome and that the internal recruiting teams also find it easy and efficient to use the applicant tracking system. Nevertheless, making an incorrect decision when choosing your ATS is likely to have an adverse impact on your company’s hiring success. This could result in lost talent, unhappy management and a huge waste of time and money. It leads to a high degree of frustration for the internal team that can see that they could not successfully hire top talent due to problems with the internal systems and processes or lack thereof.

In this post we unlock ten golden rules for selecting a good Applicant Tracking System for your organization’s unique needs.

Here is the list of things that one must consider before choosing a good ATS for their company. It does require a bit of effort on the company’s part but is definitely worth it.

1. Your Company’s Unique Business Requirements

Understanding the business requirements of your company is critical to determining which systems would serve your organization’s needs best. This is certainly true in the case of selecting a good applicant tracking system for your specific needs. At a high-level in general, users can be categorized as small and medium, large enterprise with global operations or staffing agencies. While many vendors would try and fit their solution into every situation, the reality is that many of the current systems come short in terms of providing organizations with modern methods of creating effective recruiting practices. A cookie-cutter approach to recruiting is the last thing you want your organization to sign up for. Just because another company uses a certain system is not a good reason for your organization to select it. The prudent thing to do is to understand and define the needs of your particular organization in the same way you would create a job description – to make sure you look for exactly what your company needs. Find out if the vendor is willing to work with you to clearly understand your requirements and provide a recruiting platform with a good applicant tracking system that can be tailored to your specific needs.

2. Quality and Ease of Communication

One of the key advantages of using a next-gen collaborative recruiting syetm is that it allows the entire recruiting team work collaboratively on the platform.  All stakeholders in the recruiting process need access to the right information at the right time to be informed and prepared for the interview process that takes place. To ensure this, a good Applicant Tracking System must be able to assist the interviewers by engaging in conversations with candidates and by providing them with all the background information that is needed. The ATS you pick should automate the process of delivering this information to your recruitment team by embedding it in their events calendar. To do this, a good Applicant Tracking System must make it easy for all participants in the process to access the system easily and communicate with each other as needed.

3. Candidate Experience, Career Site and Employer Branding

A company is likely to end up with several lost candidates in case the candidates have a frustrating experience with their Applicant Tracking System. When applicants are subjected to a poor career site experience or slow performance, they are likely to abandon their application would be reluctant to return to your website. In addition, a poorly designed candidate experience that makes them go through various unnecessary steps to create a profile and enter redundant information contributes to the kind of bad user experience that is not acceptable to candidates. These are important factors that reflect on your employer brand and must be given a high priority when assessing a good Applicant Tracking System.

4. Social Media Recruiting

Modern-day recruiting is incomplete and ineffective if it does not leverage social media and the power of social networks. The top talent that you are looking for to fill your open positions is mostly hanging out on social platforms for networking, work and various other reasons. Needless to say, these social destinations are also the places where you need to be to get access to the best passive candidates that you are looking for. A good test of your free applicant tracking system trial is the level of integration it provides with social media platforms. Does it make it really easy for you and your entire organization to share jobs on social media and then track the success rate? Test the entire social media recruiting capabilities during the free trial to make sure you know what you are getting and how well it is integrated with the applicant tracking system.

5. Employee Referrals

Best-in-class companies understand that creating and managing an employee referral program is critical for sourcing some of the best individuals. In fact, employee referrals are one of the most effective sources through which companies hire top quality talent. While many companies understand the benefits and have some kind of the employee referral bonus in place, most companies lack the means to easily get employees involved in the hiring and referral process. Before you start, make sure that your free applicant tracking system trial includes integrated employee referral capabilities. Pay close attention to how the referral capability will allow you and your colleagues to easily share referral information through the system with minimum friction.

6. Quick and Accurate Candidate Search

A great part of getting your recruiting activity organized is to be able to mange your applicant funnel with the ability to quickly and easily search, screen and filter through the large numbers of incoming applications that your company receives. Unfortunately, many applicant tracking systems fail to provide adequate functionality for this purpose. A good Applicant Tracking System must provide quick and simple search functionality with great results that are displayed in a logical format and are easy to understand and comprehend. A good applicant tracking system would also provide excellent resume parsing capabilities to make searching easier and more accurate. Before deciding on the right ATS for your company, check out the search capabilities to ensure that it would help you drill deep into your candidate repository to find the people you are searching for based on keywords and other criteria.

7. Ease of Integration

Depending on the size of the company, the company might want to integrate the Applicant Tracking System with some other systems. In general, most organizations have a need to integrate their website with their ATS so they can source applicants directly from their corporate website. In the case of larger organizations with a website whereas larger organizations may want to integrate the ATS with another HRIS or in-house system. When choosing a good applicant tracking system for your organization, make sure to understand the product’s ability to quickly integrate existing systems when required. It is also important to find out of the vendor has the ability to provide custom integrations if needed.

8. Increased Task and Workflow Automation

Automation of tasks, in general, is an obvious expectation from a recruiting platform. However, the level of this expectation keeps changing over time. Companies want the ability to minimize friction in the hiring process. They want a system that helps them keep things on track and moving forward. A good applicant tracking system can help in removing unnecessary delays and obstacles from the recruiting workflow with the use of reminders and notifications to keep things moving forward based on deadlines and company objectives. When it comes to finding and hiring top talent, every company has its own unique requirements. Furthermore, it takes some time for a company to identify the sources and methods that work well for their talent acquisition regiment. A good applicant tracking system can help in determining these quickly by providing full visibility into the workflow. Hiring related analytics provide the necessary insights for employers to understand what’s working and which areas within the recruiting process may need more attention.

9. Data Migration

When migrating to a newer platform, companies often need to bring their candidate database from an older system to the new one. A good Applicant Tracking System should allow the user to easily import this data into the database. Make sure to inquire about this capability when looking for a new applicant tracking system. Regardless of the size of your database, your vendor should be able to help you quickly migrate to the new system without any hiccups. Many organizations receive applicant information from multiple sources and soon this information can pile up in emails and folders, making it difficult to transfer these into the ATS database. Make sure that you are able to bulk import data into your ATS on a regular basis. This will allow your company to consolidate all incoming candidate information into one recruiting platform.

10. Better Quality of Hires

A SaaS based and comprehensive recruiting software platform provides companies with the ability to drive multiple recruitment initiatives from one platform – with centralized applicant and resume tracking. The ability to leverage multiple sources to tap high quality talent and to collaboratively review applications provides an opportunity for valuable analysis and improvements.  A good applicant tracking system not only makes it easier for all stakeholders to store, organize, and access critical information at any time, but also offers insights into those candidate qualities that your company is seeking.  This information and the organized process around can help your company develop and implement a targeted recruiting and hiring strategy.  It not only helps improve the quality of hires but can also cut down on the cost-per-hire, resulting in a better, faster and cost-effective hiring process.

It takes some effort to go through the above due diligence to find a good Applicant Tracking System. However, the above checklist is intended to make it easier for you to quickly identify the right recruiting platform and a good applicant tracking system for your organization without going through a ton of product demos.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash