Why You Should Use an Applicant Tracking System

why you should use an applicant tracking system

If you are still fine tuning your recruitment engine or looking for new ways to improve your human resources process, you may have already considered the benefits of an applicant tracking system (ATS).

But, is it worth the cost? That depends on how important a highly qualified team is to your company’s success. Some companies rely on workers to complete tasks that require very little former training or experience. Recruitment requires finding applicants who are simply trainable. Others, like those in the industrial and manufacturing industry, rely on a workforce with years of experience, a long string of degrees and certifications or all of the above.

If your company falls into the latter of these two categories, then the recruitment process likely costs a lot of time and money. According to Forbes, on average, companies spend $4,129 and 23.8 days per new hire when looking for top talent. The more technical the job and the higher the position, the more expensive it becomes. In fact, 76% of hiring managers reported that attracting the best possible candidates for vacant positions was their greatest challenge.

If recruiting experienced personnel is a financial burden for your company, then consider how an ATS may help you lower costs to make your business more efficient and competitive. Applicant tracking systems collect, store and then analyze thousands of resumes to make your job easier. Here are some specifics on the many benefits you may enjoy from automating the recruitment process at your company.

Keeps Companies on Par With Fortune 500s

The last thing you want is to lag behind your competitors in any area of business management. If you’re not currently using an applicant tracking system, then you’re already a few steps behind. According to Medium, 90% of Fortune 500 companies rely on ATS for their recruitment process. Other sources, such as Recruiter.com, put the estimate as high as 98%.

Two-thirds of larger companies and a little over a third of small businesses also reportedly use ATS. Because of this, companies that fail to employ technology in their recruitment process may ultimately lose the industry’s best candidates to their competitors, while spending more time sifting through lower-quality applications.

Automates the Recruitment Process

It may often work out to be otherwise, but posting job ads and doing mundane tasks should take as little time as possible for a recruiter. This frees them to focus more intently on deciding what makes an ideal candidate for each position and then trying to find the best qualities that reflect this.

To ensure their time is well-spent on the tasks that require human intelligence, top recruiters enlist the assistance of artificial technology. By harnessing the power of AI, applicant tracking systems can post job ads onto multiple job boards with just a click of a button. It can also automate sending emails of acknowledgment, acceptance and rejection to individual candidates throughout the screening process.

Faster Screening Process

Millennials are now officially the largest living population in America. As more baby boomers retire, millennials also make up the bulk of consumers and the workforce population. According to Forbes, one of the habits of millennials in the workforce is job-hopping. Because of this, recruiters of today receive a larger than before number of applications for job positions.

To reduce the time spent manually reviewing each application, applicant tracking systems rely on algorithms to decide which resumes and cover letters may provide the best possible candidates. Recruiters can then focus on the few applications that already meet the basic requirements for the job.

Makes Collaborative Hiring Possible

Sometimes a company uses one recruitment firm, department or manager to handle the recruitment process. When every department works under one roof, collaborating with other departments to help them find the right candidates is fairly simple. But what happens when these teams are spread out geographically? ATS makes it easier for recruiters to overcome these obstacles in the most efficient way possible through real-time online collaboration.

If your company does not yet use collaborative hiring techniques, Forbes provides a few reasons for you to reconsider. For starters, you get more diverse viewpoints. The best possible feedback on what a department needs in a new hire that will fill a particular role comes from the department itself. Thus, these department heads or team leads can provide priceless information throughout the hiring process.

Creates a Great Fallback Plan

Sometimes the candidate that gets hired is not the best candidate in the end. After a few weeks on the job, they may believe they are not a great match for the work environment, or you may find that what was on paper did not meet your expectations in reality.

So now, after a previously successful recruitment process, you must once again look for a replacement. One of the great benefits of an applicant tracking system is that you can always pull the next-best candidate from the pool of applicants you already interviewed and possibly even tested for the job.

Encourages Ideal Candidates to Reapply

A candidate that was a poor choice for one job may be ideal for another. However, unless that candidate reapplies for the second job, a recruiter may never get the opportunity to hire them. If a candidate did not receive so much as an acknowledgment of their application, much less a response regarding the hiring decision, they may decide there is no point in reapplying for another position at your company.

Some recruiters may think, “Well, wouldn’t I already have their information, anyway?” No, you might not. Here’s why. When people apply for different jobs, they may leave off information that is not relevant to a specific position, or that may cause them to look overqualified. For example, the resume of a recent computer science Ph.D. graduate may use to apply for a technical support job might not be the same one they use to score a job in programming.

Assists With Internal Promotion

A wise company advertises for job positions internally before looking for external talent. In an internal ad, which may be a simple email, recruiters can encourage existing employees to update their information in the online database. After a few years with the company, the employees not only gained additional experience, but they may have earned a degree or have a side-job gaining experience in the position you are looking for.

Even when they are not qualified for the job, they may know a friend, family member or former colleague who is. Referrals are one of the best ways to gain access to high-quality workers who may not currently be looking for a new job. All of these factors combine to save a company time and money on finding new candidates.

May Merge With Other HR Systems

Some applicant tracking systems may integrate well with other platforms, such as onboarding software. These platforms allow candidates to fill in all additional information needed to complete the hiring process. This includes uploading copies of degrees and certificates, completing a Form I-9 or setting up direct deposits. Some systems even include training and orientation.

This helps to reduce duplication while saving HR professionals time and money they would have other spent on tackling these tasks manually. For example, manual training requires pulling experienced workers from their full-time jobs to focus on a candidate. Even when candidates only shadow other workers, stopping to answer questions and teach the reasons behind various steps slows down the work process. Online learning can help to reduce how much time companies need to invest in this.

Provides Good PR Opportunities

Even when candidates do not get the job they applied for, their perception of the company and its brand depends on that interaction. If the candidate received no correspondence after applying, they may begin to think twice about any pedestals that company previously occupied. If the candidate was a customer, some may even reconsider doing business with you.

In contrast, when a company uses ATS to communicate efficiently, candidates may continue to have a good opinion of the company even after a rejection. Any hurt feelings regarding the rejection for the position may also be appeased by recruiters asking for permission to keep their information on file and asking them to reply if something else becomes vacant.

The Bottom Line

Despite the cost-efficiencies of applicant tracking systems, managers should not rely solely on them. After all, algorithms are not all-knowing. Recruitment is an interpersonal skill, and unfortunately, algorithms do not have genuine people skills. This can make it difficult to recognize appropriate alternatives to the strict requirements a recruiter may have in place. Because of this, sometimes the best candidates fall through the cracks after failing to use the right keywords in their resume. To avoid possible issues, recruitment should be a team effort between the ATS and the hiring team.

The benefits of an applicant tracking system far outweigh any potential errors that may arise from using it. When a hiring team utilizes the power of an ATS they streamline the recruitment process and save money at the same time. For more information on how using an ATS can improve your recruitment process, contact Momentum today.

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