Want A Leg Up In Recruiting? Make Sure Your Applicant Tracking System Does These 10 Things

Make_Sure_Your_Applicant_Tracking_System_Does_These_10_ThingsRecruiting great people is a top priority for all organizations. Leveraging professional networks, using social media, and developing a hiring brand are all ways to attract the best talent. However, a company needs the right process and technology in place to effectively evaluate candidates, ensure a great experience for candidates and employees, and keep things moving forward.

An applicant tracking system has long been the best way to store resumes and schedule interviews for your hiring team. But the right applicant tracking system will do a lot more than help you track candidates; it will empower recruiters and hiring managers to be great at hiring.

10 Things Your Applicant Tracking System Should Do

1. Enable a process

A structured interview process has several benefits: it ensures you collect more meaningful candidate information from interviewers, gives each interview a purpose, allows you to assess candidates objectively, and provides a clear picture of what’s ahead.

You may already know the importance of having a hiring plan for each role, but your applicant tracking system should be built to enable your process, not simply serve as a filing cabinet. You want to spend your time on what's important – hiring the best talent – not chasing people down to get their feedback. You should rest assured that your ATS moves them along and collects the information you need from interviewers.

2. Facilitate easy communication and collaboration

To keep your process on track, everyone needs to be informed and prepared. Your applicant tracking system should help prepare interviewers for their conversations with candidates by giving them the background and information they need. Getting this information should be easy. Your ATS should automate the delivery of this information to your hiring team by including it in the calendar event - within the calendar they are already using.

Interview preparation shouldn’t simply be a link to a resume. Rather, an interview kit should provide all the things needed to conduct an effective interview: purpose, background, context, questions and feedback. This way, interviewers are informed of any relevant conversations and know what to look for in their own conversation.

You ATS should also allow for easy communication straight on a candidate profile. Whether interviewers are mentioning a specific colleague or noting private information, you should have options to make it easy for your team to communicate their thoughts and feedback.

3. Create Action

Each application requires action - pass, fail or reject, for example - and your applicant tracking system should notify you of what needs to be done. Following up quickly ensures a great candidate experience, and moving quickly improves your chances of grabbing top-talent. But sometimes it’s hard to manage so many candidates in your pipeline, and often candidates fall through the cracks.

Your ATS should provide a dashboard and email notifications of tasks that need to be completed. Because you have already created a plan, your ATS should be able to identify what tasks need to be completed before a candidate advances to a new stage. Do you need to schedule an interview, send a take-home test, or get interviewer feedback? Your ATS should spark action from both hiring managers and interviewers. This way, your pipeline is fast and efficient, and you have all the information you need.

4. Surface the right candidates

Finding and connecting with high-quality candidates is challenging; it requires trying lots of different things and doing them consistently. Your applicant tracking system should have a range of tools to make it easy to coordinate multiple sourcing activities and marketing campaigns.

For example, it should be easy for agencies to suggest candidates, to cast a wide net across many job boards, to post to social media, and to import candidates directly from the web.

Your ATS should also provide a single view that summarizes all of your sourcing activities - from job boards and events to prospecting and campus recruiting.

5. Save you time, money, and headache

Recruiters aren’t just making decisions about which candidates to move forward or reject, you are constantly deciding where to spend everyone’s time and money throughout the sourcing and interviewing process. Your applicant tracking system should provide robust reporting that provides clear visibility into what’s working -- and what isn’t.

Your ATS should help you understand the performance of your job postings and sourcing efforts to know where to invest, and where to cut costs. It should be easy to see where candidates come from, and the quality of those candidates as measured by their progress throughout your pipeline.

6. Help you improve

Because your applicant tracking system supports a consistent process, you have benchmarking data in place to help you understand how to improve.

Your ATS reporting should allow you to see the health of your interview pipeline and how it’s changing over time. Where are candidates getting stuck for too long, where is the most time being spent by your interviewers, and where are people dropping out in the process?

In addition, you should have visibility into the performance of each member of your team. For the recruiting team, this may be how many candidates they’ve found, scheduled, moved through the pipeline, and hired. For the rest of your team, this includes how many referrals they’ve made, interviews conducted, and speed for filling out scorecards.

Most importantly, your reporting should be customizable to fit your needs.

7. Support an effective referral process

Referrals are the most reliable source of high-quality candidates, so it’s important to make it easy for everyone to contribute to the hiring process. However, simply spamming employees’ social media accounts is not the best way to tap into their networks.

It’s not enough to just know who submitted a referral - you need to know how that person knows the candidate, if they’ve worked together before, and why they think the candidate would be a great fit for your company. For every referral candidate, your applicant tracking system should capture the essential background information:

  • relationship with referrer
  • when they’ve worked together
  • how they’d rate the candidate overall
  • and if it’s ok to mention the referrer’s name to the candidate when reaching out

Finally, when someone makes the effort to submit a referral candidate, it’s important to keep them informed about how that person is doing in the process. Every employee should be able to easily see what stage of the hiring process their referrals are in and ultimately if they get hired or not.

8. Consolidate the evidence

With the right applicant tracking system, you shouldn’t have to rely on gut feelings. Your ATS should provide a complete picture of every candidate and should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Where are the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are there any hiring criteria we said were important, but don’t have any information on?
  • Do we need to follow up on anything?
  • Where do we have agreement and where do we have disagreement among the team?

All feedback should be accessible in a single view - making it easy to see what everyone on your team thought about each candidate. When you gather your team for a huddle to consider a candidate, it should be easy to find the information you need to have a useful, data-based conversation rather than relying on people’s memories or the loudest voice in the room.

9. Allow you to be yourself

The recruiting process is a time to showcase your awesome company - so your applicant tracking system should allow for as much customization as you need.

Whether it’s your interview questions, a step in your process, or the look and feel of your careers page, it should be really easy to own and change, so it’s all about you.

10. Root for you!

Recruiting is all about people - odds are, you’d like an ATS that is too! Expert support should be accessible via multiple channels, providing quick, convenient access to help and guidance. Your applicant tracking system should offer support via account management, live chat, and online forums. They should help you get the word out about your company and open positions through their own channels - social media, newsletters, events, and more.

Don’t settle for the software alone - make sure you are tapping into all resources available to create an effective recruiting process.

Applicant Tracking Software Buyer's Guide

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Talent Operations