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How To Improve Your Hiring Process With an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Did you know there’s a better way to recruit? A faster way to move through the process, bring the right people into the business and keep everyone involved in alignment. Introducing – the applicant tracking system (ATS).
Published 13 Jan 2022
8 min read
How to improve your hiring process with an applicant tracking system (ATS)

Recruitment is one of the most difficult tasks that sits on the to-do lists of managers and HR professionals. A multilayered – and often frustrating – process, it’s hard enough to find the best person for a role without managing the masses of admin that come along with it.

Did you know that the average cost of one bad hire is almost $15,000? With so much at stake, this is something you can’t afford to get wrong – especially when we’re on a windy and unclear road post-Covid.

As the world begins to reopen, it’s likely that you’re contemplating the need for additional headcount. But, how can you be sure that you’re bringing the right people on board?

Now, there’s a better way to recruit; a faster way to move through the process, bring the right people into the business and keep everyone involved in alignment. Introducing – the applicant tracking system (ATS).

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system is a piece of software used to help hiring managers manage recruitment and open roles within an organisation. The software can assist with screening potential candidates, scheduling interviews, checking references, and managing the end to end hiring process – from attracting star talent right through to paperless onboarding.

A good ATS (say, Employment Hero’s) will be cloud-based and built into HR platforms, seamlessly integrating with things like onboarding and employment management. Through your ATS, you will have full visibility and easy control over each part of the recruitment process.

Think of it as an all-purpose software tool to solve recruitment’s challenges. By accelerating the hiring process, an ATS will boost your recruitment capacity to new heights.

What are the main challenges of recruitment?

Recruitment these days is not an easy task. Some of the ongoing challenges that will see HR and hiring managers pulling their hair out are:

1. Getting job ads in front of great candidates

When you’re hiring for a position, you want to have as big a pool of candidates as possible. It’s often a numbers game – the more applicants you have, the better chance you have of striking gold. But getting your job ad in front of a big group of the right people is a time-consuming task. After you’ve uploaded your ad to your 10th job board, the urge to throw your computer out the window really sets in.

Throwing a computer in the bin - improve hiring ATS

2. Endless spreadsheets

Have you ever looked at a hiring spreadsheet and just thought, why me? You’re not alone. This is where a high volume of candidates can start to make your eye twitch. Trying to keep track of CVs, shortlists and interview feedback can lead to crowded spreadsheets, leaving you wide open to confusion and human error.

3. Candidate experience

In such a tough talent market, it’s crucial to get every point of the candidate experience right.

More than ever – it’s important to sell the business to the candidate, rather than the candidate having to sell themselves to the business. If someone has a bad experience during recruitment, they may think that reflects the inner workings of the business. This could sway their decision making if they’re offered roles in multiple companies.

4. Moving parts

Did you know that the top talent is off the market in just 10 days? Call us dramatic, but recruitment often can feel like a race against time. When you’re dealing with screening candidates, competition, offers and a thousand other moving parts – time is not on your side. If you don’t have the most streamlined approach possible, you’re at risk of losing talent, human error and consequently – major stress!

How can an ATS improve your hiring process?

Let’s drill down into the details of how an ATS is your best friend in recruitment.

It’s integrated with major job boards

Log in to a job site, upload your ad, log back in everyday to receive applications, repeat. An ATS cuts through this tedious routine by integrating with the world’s most popular job platforms. Instead of taking 10 minutes to create one listing, you can create several listings with just one click.

From there, every application that rolls in via those job boards will be imported directly into your ATS, ready for screening or review. Can you hear that? It’s your to-do list sighing a breath of relief.

Put your job ad in front of the right audience

When you think of posting a job ad online, you probably jump right to the most popular job board in your country. But how do you know if the most qualified people for your open role are actively searching for open roles on that platform?

With an ATS, you’ll have the ability to post to many different job boards with ease. Hiring managers, have one goal in mind – to find and fill the open role with the best possible candidate out there.

An ATS allows you to do just that; cast the widest net possible by seamlessly posting your job ad to multiple job boards across the country or world, putting your job ad in front of the eyes of many more than one single listing.

It can intelligently screen candidates

So the candidates are rolling in from your job board ads, it’s time for the daunting task of sifting through CVs and cover letters to find those that best fit the role, right? Think again.

An ATS has a feature known as ‘resume parsing’, a tool that can extract data from CVs and cover letters. Based on an analysis of keywords, the ATS can identify standout candidates from large pools of applicants. This can be a major timesaver, especially when recruiting for non-specialist roles.

Black cat typing on a laptop

It provides a single source of information for hiring teams

Remember that interview last week? We challenge you to find all the feedback about that candidate in under five seconds.

HR managers will often be left flicking through spreadsheets, emails and instant messages to find and distribute various pieces of information and feedback. Wouldn’t it be better if this information was instead stored in an easily accessible place?

An ATS provides this single source of truth that everyone on a hiring team can access and contribute to. No more asking for information or updates, the platform boosts transparency and empowers each person involved to source the information they need, when they need it.

Manage applications with ease

To sort through applications manually, you might opt for a spreadsheet as your hiring tool of choice, or bookmark emails from promising candidates.

It’s time to get back those hours from this tedious and clunky process. Imagine the ease that would come with viewing your candidate pipeline and seamlessly moving them from stage to stage, which leads us to our next point.

Easily move candidates through the recruitment pipeline

When you’re using an ATS, you can easily design a recruitment journey for your candidates. HR managers will know that this looks different for every type of role – you wouldn’t have the same process for a Chief Financial Officer that you would for a Junior Accountant. When you’ve put together your preferred pipeline, an ATS can ensure a candidate for a role moves through the same process.

An ATS can also display where any given candidate is in their recruitment journey, and allow you to easily move them from step to step. When they get to the end of the recruitment pipeline, the ATS moves the candidate straight onto onboarding. There’s no waiting, no extra admin and no confusion.

Instant contracts

So your dream candidate has landed in your onboarding pipeline, you’ve sailed through the recruitment process. Without an ATS, you’d now be looking at a mountain of paperwork to send through to your new staff member. You have to get their contract to them and have them send it back to you for you to import and file.

With an ATS, they can receive their contract the second they accept the job offer. You can get them signed on in a matter of minutes, then digitally deliver policy contracts and training details. They can also start submitting their own onboarding HR information immediately.

Collaborate with those involved in the hiring process like never before

Hiring is a collaborative process. It involves different managers, departments and teams. The reality is that trying to be collaborative when it comes to hiring without an ATS can be a nightmare.

Information is coming from every direction and this could feed back into the candidate experience. And if the candidate is constantly getting asked the same questions at every stage of the hiring process, it can make them question how organised the business is as a whole.

But it’s not just the candidate that could find a manual process frustrating. Hiring could end up being extremely frustrating for those working at the business. Imagine sharing notes and feedback over emails, forwarding PDF CV’s around the office or sharing multiple calendars – it’s one heck of a headache, and it’s tasks like these where an ATS can really help.

The ease of having everyone’s notes and feedback on the same candidate profile, together with their resume, application form answers and relevant history – it couldn’t be easier. No more running after hiring panel members to gather interview feedback!

Clearly define the stages in the interview process

Designing your interview strategy is a critical part in creating a standout hiring experience. It requires time, consideration and flexibility. It’s also important that different roles are going to look different from each other – i.e. a Junior Designer compared to a Director of Design.

It’s important you map out each stage and what will be required of the candidate. Will you start with a phone call, then have multiple rounds of interviews and a task? Or will you opt for one interview and a presentation? Whatever you decide, this is a great opportunity to find out more about your candidates and if they can walk the talk on their CV.

To get you thinking about your interview process, consider the following:

  • Determine the number of interview rounds
  • Clearly define who the potential candidates will be meeting with
  • Have a list of non-technical questions to ask during the interview process
  • Determine whether a task will be required to be completed by potential candidates
  • Determine whether a presentation will be required and who will involved
  • Create a list of technical questions that are specific to the role

From here, an ATS can allow you to seamlessly move the successful candidates through each stage. The best part? You can move the successful candidate right through to the onboarding stage. Using an ATS is hiring, just simplified.

Ready to bring your hiring in-house?

Recruitment and hiring can be a time-consuming process. It can eat into your valuable time so it’s no surprise that having the opportunity to outsource makes sense for many.

However, we know that for many small and medium-sized businesses, external recruiters are expensive. They might charge an upfront fee and then take a percentage of the successful applicant’s salary. And while they’re experts in finding the right fit, it doesn’t always work out.

An ATS gives you the power to confidently bring your recruitment function in-house. It takes away the manual admin associated with hiring, freeing up your time to focus on other business priorities. Not only this, an ATS can provide you with the most suitable candidates, and allow others in your team to review, write notes and progress applicants to next stages.

See us in action below ⬇️

 

Thinking about other ways to improve your recruitment? Download our Recruitment and Onboarding Guide now.

 

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