How your organization can benefit from an applicant tracking system

Hiring & Recruiting Three people looking at a computer in an office

The hiring process can be complicated and messy, particularly if you are part of a large company.

If your organization receives a lot of resumes and you haven’t considered an applicant tracking system (ATS), here’s why you might do so.

An ATS can:

Reduce the burden on HR. Years ago I advertised for an entry-level position and received hundreds of resumes. I remember spending hours combing through these applications, my eyes crossing as I tried to stay focused, regretting not demanding a PhD and ability to speak Esperanto  in the job posting – or something, anything really, that would have lessened the number. An ATS does all this preliminary work for you. An ATS will also simplify the process by keeping track of everything  in one place, from positions that need to be filled to top candidates to costs.

Because tracking systems use keywords for this process of elimination, there has been concern in the past about rejecting qualified candidates who don’t use the proper keywords or who use variations of them. While this is a potential problem, tracking systems have become a standard part of the hiring process over the past several years, meaning good candidates are aware of them and how they work, and will – and should – tailor their resumes accordingly. So, getting past the ATS is actually the marker of a good candidate.

Reduce cost per hire. Hiring is expensive, not least because of the man hours required to source candidates and read their application materials. Not only will an ATS do this for you, some even go a step further and will help take care of your on-boarding.

Improve quality of hires. Besides the obvious benefit of selecting the top talent for you, an ATS might also cut the time to hire, meaning that talent is less likely to get sick of waiting around for you to do everything by hand and snapped up by a competitor.

Help you learn what works. An ATS will send your job posting out to a variety of job boards and social media networks, and allow you to track the efficiency of each of these sources and see what works and what doesn’t, so you can stop wasting resources on what doesn’t.

Improve candidate experience. I’m always going on about how a bad candidate experience reflects negatively on your employer brand, and how one of the worst parts of candidate experience is never hearing back about a hiring decision. This is a candidate pet peeve, yet few employers seem to be willing or able to notify candidates who fall out of the running. An ATS allows you to automate communications, letting candidates know that they are no longer in consideration, so they don’t sit around waiting for a message that never comes. At the end of the day, you want candidate experience to be a good one, and this is one way to improve it immensely.

Not all applicant tracking systems are created equal, and some may not do all of these things. You have to find the one that is right for you and your organization.

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