What to Look for in an Applicant Tracking System
April 13 2020
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a vital tool that offers a variety of benefits to any business. Understanding and evaluating HR tech can be intimidating or even overwhelming; with hundreds of options to choose from, you probably have a lot of questions to ask about an applicant tracking system and it can be difficult to determine which one is best suited to your company’s needs. To help, here’s a brief overview of what to look for in an ATS and how to decide which is the best fit for your business.
Why Do I Need an ATS?
According to Paycor, 75% of businesses utilize an ATS. But why? The reason is simple: applicant tracking systems make recruiting and hiring faster, more efficient, and easier for businesses and candidates. Some of the advantages of an ATS include:
- Managing every part of your recruitment process, from job ads to pre-employment screening
- Automatically posting to free and paid job boards
- Communicating directly with candidates from within the ATS
- Asking customizable questions to get the information you need about every candidate’s experience and skills
Each applicant tracking system comes with its own set of bells and whistles, and these key features give employers a steep advantage over their non-automated competitors. It creates a streamlined and efficient recruitment process, saving your business time and money. The cost of implementing an applicant tracking system is offset by the optimization of your company’s hiring. But how do you evaluate which ATS is right for your business?
Essential Features of an ATS
Post to Free & Paid Job Boards
One of the most important features an ATS should offer is the ability to quickly and easily post to multiple job boards at once. The vast majority of today’s candidate utilize the internet for their job search, so it’s essential that your job ads are appearing on the sites they’re using. Many applicant tracking systems offer direct connection with hundreds of job boards, both paid and free. This gets your position in front of as many eyes as possible, netting your business a wide and varied pool of candidates.
It’s not enough to just be online, however. We use our phones for everything—shopping, paying bills, and, yes, even job searching. Your applicant tracking system should offer a mobile-optimized career site and application process. This allows potential candidates to find your listing and apply no matter where they are or what they’re doing—expanding your company’s talent pool even more.
Quality, Not Just Quantity
Any HR professional worth their salt will tell you that it’s not just about the number of candidates you attract; it’s also the quality of your applicant pool. The ATS you choose should have some measure of quality control. Whether this means utilizing a two-step application process or customizing application fields with specific questions, you’ll need some way to determine who has the qualifications you’re looking for. This prevents your business from wasting time reviewing or interviewing applicants who don’t have all the skills or experience you need.
Direct Communication with Applicants
Once you identify which candidates you’re interested in, you’ll need a way to easily schedule interviews. Your ATS should offer direct communication with applicants via email and text. (Remember—mobile optimization is a must!) By storing messages directly within the applicant tracking system, you minimize the risk of communication mishaps and make interviewing simple for your managers and your applicants. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to save candidate information for future use; if they’re not the right fit for a current position, you can always reach out again if a better opportunity becomes available.
Onboarding and Tech Support
Another important criterion to evaluate is your applicant tracking system’s tech support. If something goes wrong within your ATS, who will help you address the issue? Onboarding into a new system can be onerous and expensive; look at what kind of support the ATS offers for new clients transitioning to the system. A strong support team that understands the needs of your business is a vital and often-overlooked component of any applicant tracking system.
Secondary Features to Consider
Above are the core features of any robust ATS. While they provide a strong basis for evaluation, you’ll also want to consider what sort of bonuses an applicant tracking system offers. These bells and whistles might not be considered necessities but can still save your business time and give you an edge in hiring. Some examples of additional features include:
Integration with other systems and services is one of the biggest value-adds an ATS can possess. Sometimes the nature of business requires you to utilize multiple services as part of your hiring process. By choosing an ATS that can integrate with those easily, you can keep your recruitment funnel centralized as one comprehensive platform. TalentASAP, for example, comes pre-integrated with InfoMart’s background screening services—allowing you to manage every aspect of hiring from job ad to employee screening without ever leaving your ATS.
Employee referrals are one of the best methods of sourcing candidates. Your employees are already industry experts, and they likely know other qualified professionals. Some applicant tracking systems come with a built-in referral portal and tracking system. This makes it easy for employees to share job postings via social media and email, and simple for employers to track which referrals came from which employees. Referral programs can be lucrative ways to find and hire quality candidates, especially when incentives are offered to current employees.
Signing on the Dotted Line
Finding and evaluating the applicant tracking system that works best for you can be a challenge, especially for a growing business on a budget. But an ATS provides a clear hiring advantage and obvious ROI. Once you’ve chosen the applicant tracking system that fits your business’s hiring and budget requirements, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty details. These can include your expected implementation timeline, your payment schedule, and the level of support your business can expect from your new provider.
Committing to an ATS may seem like a big leap for a growing business, but the benefits—happy recruiters and new high-quality employees—are too important for any company to ignore.
About Tammy Cohen
Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.
InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.