Designing a successful ATS implementation is as important as choosing good software. Are you switching from manual hiring processes to an applicant tracking system?
Congratulations! You’re going to love it. Make sure the transition is handled correctly.
5 Steps For a Successful ATS Implementation
Here are the steps for a smooth rollout:
- Get approval for a new system
- Choose your recruiting software
- Create an implementation plan
- Appoint an Implementation Manager (IM)
- The IM creates an implementation timeline
- Transition in stages
- Create redundancies until every process has transitioned
- Learn the system
- Train your hiring team
Let’s talk about each step.
1. Get Approval For an ATS
Find out exactly who must approve the purchase of an ATS. Your company might have a formal process—forms, signatures, budgeting, etc.
If you are having trouble persuading the decision maker, present a report. The report should detail how the system will improve recruiting metrics. Then show the second-stage benefits that will follow. Increased profitability. Higher quality employees. An improved company culture.
2. Choose Your Recruiting Software
Research features. Don’t settle for a sub-par system. Make sure it integrates with other software you are using.
The main focus of this article is ATS implementation. After we discuss the implementation process, we’ll describe important ATS tools.
3. Design an ATS Implementation Plan
A good plan is specific and realistic. Anticipate problems and include solutions.
Appoint an Implementation Manager
If your company is small, this might be you. If you have a hiring team, there might be a better person for the job. Your IM sets the tone for the rollout. They should be competent, organized, enthusiastic, and persuasive.
Set a Timeline
Your IM will create your plan. Transition processes in stages. Break it down to the steps and sub-steps.
Create a timeline. Depending on the size of your organization, two or three weeks per process should be sufficient. You can modify your timeline if necessary.
Build in an overlap period so you have backup until the ATS has fully taken over the workflow. For example, send manual emails until you are sure the auto-email triggers are set up correctly in the software. Test each workflow repeatedly. You may have to adjust ATS settings.
4. Learn How to Use the Software
When you’ve purchased your software, learn how to use it. Do this with your IM. This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how many hiring managers skip this step. Don’t assume you can figure things out while you teach your hiring team. For a smooth software implementation, know how to use the software inside and out. Your expertise will instill confidence in those who will use it.
5. Train Your Hiring Team
Augment your hands-on training with resources from your ATS vendor. While you are training, document the process. When you hire recruiters going forward, you’ll have documented training materials. Make it an onboarding workflow in your onboarding tool.
For the first few months, remind your hiring team to use the system. Old habits die hard. Sometimes people forego the quick and easy way for the old, familiar way. If you end up with an incomplete software implementation, you can’t use your ATS to its potential. Your hiring metrics won’t improve as projected.
Don’t Make It Optional
Don’t make using your ATS optional. Even if you encounter resistance. Pretty soon, everyone will be comfortable with the system. They will appreciate the convenience and ability to accomplish so much more in less time. (By the way, ApplicantStack clients report that their hiring teams embrace the system immediately, learn it quickly, and never look back.)
Make sure your IM is available to help during the transition and going forward. Show that you are dedicated to making the system a success.
Does Your ATS Have These Functions?
As mentioned previously, we’ve included a rundown of ATS must-haves. These functions are available in current generation ATSs.
Single sign-on posting to multiple job boards
It’s a hassle to remember login credentials for Indeed, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and the other job boards you post to. Single signon makes sure the posting process doesn’t slow you down.
Customizable pre-screening questionnaires
Many recruiters choose an ATS based on filtering powers alone. No hiring team has time to do a first-pass review of hundreds of applications. Automation lets your filter out the vast majority. Your time is best spent on the small pool of qualified applicants.
Standardized candidate scoring
Standardized scoring is more important than you might realize. If you treat candidates differently, bias will influence selection. You will miss great candidates. If you’re trying to add diversity, this will hamper your efforts.
Texting engages applicants. Plus, it eliminates scheduling confusion. And it speeds up the whole process. But texting needs to be documented and managed carefully. In-application texting saves a record of conversations.
It doesn’t make sense to re-enter information once an applicant is hired. Reducing tedious processes is one of the main reasons you are getting an ATS. If your onboarding has been unstructured up to this point, now’s a good time to automate it. You’re already making a major transition by automating the hiring tasks. Don’t disrupt everything down the line by waiting to implement onboarding software.
Candidates love picking an interview slot from a calendar. Self-serve scheduling makes everything easier for the candidate and your hiring team. Eliminate a common bottleneck.
Structured interview templates
Structured interviewing is a best practice used by successful companies.
Stage change email triggers
Let automation do its thing. Your ATS should send emails to keep your applicant informed and engaged.
Share hiring team feedback
Review the collaboration tools. Will they work for your team?
E-signature simplifies new hire paperwork and benefits enrollment.
The Right Software + The Right Hiring Techniques
To experience all the benefits of an ATS, consult our series How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee. Combine best practices with good software. That’s the winning combination for successful hiring.
ApplicantStack Recruiting Software
ApplicantStack has the tools described here plus many more. You can try it for free for 15 days. Let us help you have a smooth ATS rollout.
By Liz Strikwerda
That’s what it cost Bass Pro Outdoor World to settle an EEOC case in 2017. Bass agreed to pay a class of Hispanic and African-American applicants who claimed they weren’t hired based on their race. The EEOC agreed.
As part of the settlement, the EEOC ordered Bass to proactively increase diversity hiring. The chain of sporting goods stores agreed to recruit at minority colleges/trade schools and post jobs in publications popular with underrepresented groups. (Note that Bass didn’t admit wrongdoing.)
Hiring laws should be taken as seriously as, well…a $10 million check.
Why Do Business Owners Violate Hiring Laws?
It’s hard to imagine that a business owner would willfully violate a hiring law. But plenty of employers are penalized every year. Are they ignorant of the laws? Do they just not care?
If you fall into either of these categories, you are on thin ice when it comes to compliance.
But we get it.
Compliance is complicated. Requirements change as your workforce increases. You are busy running your business.
Let’s look at your legal requirements per size of workforce.
Keep in mind that we are focusing on laws that affect hiring. Some regulations have a hiring component as well as many other implications.
How Large is Your Workforce?
As your company grows, there are milestones along the way. Your compliance burden increases as you add employees.
We recommend that you retain competent counsel. Employment law experts can help you navigate the byzantine layers of regulation.
But it’s important to be familiar with the hiring laws that affect you.
Here is a listing of the main hiring laws that apply to all employers. Keep in mind that your state may have additional ones. Union and government contracts may have special requirements as well.
Cumulative Hiring Laws
Your compliance burden never decreases. You are responsible for all the regulations that apply to one employee. When you hire your 15th worker, you are subject to additional laws. And so on.
1. Employers With At Least 1 Employee
- FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)
- Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA)
- Don’t hire employees who aren’t legally permitted to work in the U.S.
- Keep I-9 forms for all workers on the payroll.
- EPA (Equal Pay Act)
- Male and female employees must be compensated equally for the same job role.
- The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (passed in 2009) expanded the EPA significantly.
- Uniform Guidelines for Employment Selection Procedures (under EEOC)
- You cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
- EPPA (Employee Polygraph Protection Act)
- You cannot use lie detector tests in pre-hire screening or while the worker is employed. There are some exceptions for incidents when an employee is suspected of fraud. Consult your legal counsel if you have such a scenario at your company.
2. Employers With 15 or More Employees
3. Employers With 20 or More Employees
4. Employers With 50 or More Employees
- AAP (Affirmative Action Program)
- You must take active measures to recruit persons in designated classes: women, minorities, disabled, covered veterans. You must keep records of AAP hiring programs.
5. Employers With 100 or More Employees (May Apply to Government Contractors With 50+ Employees)
Remember that you have many other compliance requirements. FMLA, ACA, OSHA, and COBRA are some of them. As mentioned, these are the laws that affect recruiting directly.
If you contract with the federal government, you are subject to another layer of laws. They are similar to the laws mentioned previously but may kick in at earlier thresholds. Consult the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
The following states have additional hiring requirements.
- New York—marital status can’t be a factor in hiring
- Washington D.C.—political affiliation can’t be a factor in hiring
Ban the Box
These laws are named for the ‘box’ on job applications that indicates a criminal history. Each of the following states have a law related to hiring applicants with a criminal history. If you live in one of the following states, consult your state department of labor for the details. Additional states have ban the box provisions for public employers.
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Protect Your Company
Are your processes compliant with hiring laws? We recommend that you:
- Provide compliance training for hiring managers and all members of your recruiting team.
- Use structured interviews with scripted questions.
- Consult your legal counsel when creating employment contracts.
- Stay on top of local and state laws.
- Maintain comprehensive records.
- Verify eligibility to work.
- Ensure applicants fill out I-9 completely, including signature, within 3 days of hire.
- Require supporting documentation for applicants with a temporary work visa.
- Review eligibility status frequently.
If You’re Serious About Compliance, Use An Applicant Tracking System
An applicant tracking system (ATS) makes it easier to comply with multiple layers of hiring laws. It helps you create compliant workflows with checklists to track progress and assign tasks. Manage structured interviews. Create compliant screening applications. Don’t sweat the recordkeeping requirements with powerful ATS databases and search functions.
An ATS protects your company from compliance violations as your workforce grows.
By Liz Strikwerda
In today’s post, we focus on manufacturing hiring.
The Great Recession took a heavy toll on this industry. U.S. production dropped 20% and 15% of manufacturing employees were laid off. Since 2008, the industry has had nowhere to go but up.
Manufacturing is Thriving
Despite outdated stereotypes, today the manufacturing sector is booming. In 2018, the industry added 300,000 new jobs. A study by Deloitte predicted an estimated 2.4 million manufacturing positions will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028.
While production has become increasingly automated, this hasn’t eliminated jobs. But it has changed the nature of skills needed. Yesterday’s factory workers need more advanced training for today’s manufacturing jobs. The net result is a critical talent shortage.
New Recruiting Methods for Manufacturing
Now’s the time to capitalize on the favorable business climate. Companies must adapt their hiring or fall behind.
The industry needs educated, skilled workers. Someone has to program those CNC routers and 3D printers. Someone has to set up fully connected IoT operations. And who’s going to troubleshoot the robots?
‘There are more computers on the manufacturing floor than machine tools and other types of equipment,” said Judy Marks, CEO of Siemens USA.
Last year, manufacturers advertised for software developers more than any other position except sales.
What does this mean for recruiters? You have to compete with many other industries.
Create Manufacturing Apprenticeships
‘Build a talent pipeline’ is always sound recruiting advice. An apprenticeship program goes even further. ‘Train a talent pipeline.’ An apprenticeship program can be a smart investment. Seek high school and trade tech students. Expose first-time employees to the opportunities available in your industry.
What if your manufacturing business is too small to afford a program? Partnering with local schools can provide a source of funding. There are also federal grants available. In addition, connect with local job re-training programs. They may provide funding as well.
Be the Manufacturing Employer of Choice
What do manufacturing employees want? They want what every employee wants:
- Competitive pay and benefits
- Work/life balance
- Advancement opportunities
- Better training so they can be more effective
- Recognition for their contributions
Companies that are great places to work attract great workers. Mutually-beneficial relationships last longer. Quality employees provide good job referrals. They help your business grow.
Improving recruiting methods will help get workers on your factory floor. Creating a first-class company culture will keep them there. This is especially true in rural areas.
If you’re not sure where to start, ask your experts—your employees Find out how you can improve. Conduct ‘stay’ interviews. Plus, create a way for employees to give suggestions anonymously. They will be more candid.
Spend the time and resources to create a better working environment. There are no downsides. It will help your recruiting efforts. You will experience lower turnover. Happy employees are more productive. Increased productivity means greater profitability. (There’s always a money angle.)
Post to Niche Sites for Manufacturing Workers
There are manufacturing forums on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit. Target your job postings where workers interact online. Hiring software can help you post to several sites with single signon. You can also create a database of passive candidates. Your hiring system can help you build relationships with the potential employees in your pipeline.
The Most Important Manufacturing Technology: Recruiting Software
Boomers are retiring. To hire the next generation, change the way you engage. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are leading the way. They provide end-to-end digital hiring. From application to interview scheduling to job offer.
Mobile-optimized recruitment marketing is de rigueur. ATS texting is one of the latest innovations. It allows you to engage with job candidates in a way that’s natural for them. We already mentioned talent pipelines. Hiring software makes it easy to capture and store information on hundreds of potential hires.
If you aren’t using an ATS, you will have a hard time engaging with job candidates.
Small Manufacturers Can Use Cloud-Based Hiring Software
We’ve mentioned the importance of updating the image of manufacturing employment. But there’s another misconception that is hurting companies. This is a misperception held by employers, not job seekers. It’s the idea that sophisticated hiring software is only for large manufacturers. This simply isn’t true today.
You don’t need deep pockets to purchase today’s ATSs. You don’t have to spend thousands for a developer to create custom premise-based software. Small manufacturers can afford cloud-based advanced applicant tracking technology. It works like a subscription service and has all the tools used by the big guys.
- Create and manage templates for:
- Manage multiple manufacturing job postings
- Create custom manufacturing hiring workflows
- Assign tasks to hiring team members with checklists to track progress
- Intelligent screening improves the quality of hires
- Track manufacturing hiring KPIs
- Create a manufacturing talent pipeline
- Maintain compliance with manufacturing hiring laws
Back to (Hiring) Basics
For a comprehensive guide to hiring techniques, see our How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee series. We have articles and videos on every step in the hiring process. All manufacturing hiring managers should review best practices to ensure their processes are up-to-date.
By Liz Strikwerda
The modern workplace has experienced a two-fold transformation that affects talent sourcing. Namely, a sharp increase in both non-traditional employees and non-traditional working arrangements
It’s not surprising that technology is at the heart of this shift. It has both driven the sea change while adapting to its effects.
There are no losers here. Companies grow faster and make more money. Employees are happier. Society as a whole benefits when employers support work/life balance.
What types of employees and work arrangements are we talking about?
- Virtual positions and telecommuting
- Global hiring
- Flexible schedules
- Freelancers and independent contractors
- Post-retirement part-time working
- Non-linear career paths
Those who don’t embrace these trends will struggle to find workers. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. There are simply not enough talented employees to go around.
To leverage these trends, you must adapt. Our focus today is how to adapt your talent sourcing.
Let’s discuss how.
How To Adapt Talent Sourcing For Non-Traditional Employees
Create a Talent Pipeline
Without a passive candidate pool, you are always playing catch-up. A reactionary approach doesn’t result in quality hires.
If you start from scratch every time you need to hire, you are at a disadvantage. Companies who have developed relationships with potential candidates have the upper hand.
Hiring software with CRM-like tools allow you to cultivate a talent pipeline. The software makes it easy to engage with your passive candidates. Build relationships. They will be more likely to join your team if given the chance.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) lets you create and store detailed candidate profiles. Track schedule and work environment preferences. Plus unconventional skills, experience, and career paths.
Non-Traditional Job Descriptions For Non-Traditional Employees
Your job description is the first hiring touchpoint. If it isn’t written to attract non-traditional applicants, they won’t apply. You can’t hire a diverse workforce if you don’t bring them into the hiring funnel in the first place.
Rethink Job Requirements In Your Talent Sourcing
Traditional job requirements may filter out candidates who could succeed if given the chance. For example, applicants with resume gaps. Those who need a flexible schedule. Candidates who want to work offsite.
A good ATS can help you screen non-traditional candidates. Soften must-have qualifications. Adapt criteria to let more candidates advance to interviews. Create structured interviews that measure a wider range of soft skills. Consider candidates with unconventional career paths.
Adapt Your Culture To The Modern Employee
Take ‘cultural fit’ out of your recruiting lexicon. Non-traditional employees may not fit the mold. Hiring managers who make this subjective judgment are inserting bias into the process. More on that below.
Improve your employee experience by adapting your corporate culture to your workforce. Not the other way around. Today’s employee blurs the line between personal and work activities. Provide the technology and policies to support this style of working. They will be more productive and loyal. It will strengthen your employer brand which will improve hiring outcomes.
Update Candidate Filtering
It’s an ongoing battle to keep bias out of your processes. ATS’ allow you to hide unnecessary identifiers from applications. We’ve already mentioned screening questionnaires and structured interviews. Design these specifically to prevent unconscious bias.
Create An Inclusive Employer Brand
Non-traditional applicants need to understand that you are welcoming to all types of employees. Advertise work/life balance perks in your recruitment marketing. ATSs manage recruitment communications and help you reflect inclusivity.
Update Onboarding Programs
Adapt your onboarding practices to help all new hires succeed. Regardless of employee type, work schedule, or work environment. Teach both onsite and offsite employees how to collaborate with geographically-dispersed teams.
Provide An Innovative Candidate Experience
Trying to attract highly-skilled freelancers or independent contractors? If you don’t use modern hiring software, these candidates will never apply in the first place.
Make your websites mobile-friendly. Make sure your ATS has texting capability. Use video interviewing for job applicants outside of your geographic area. Use software that supports interview self-service scheduling. And, of course, you want e-sign for all paperwork that requires a signature.
By Liz Strikwerda
‘Diversity hiring’ is a hot topic in the recruiting industry.
Companies are dedicating more resources to increasing diversity. Working to achieve demographic parity is not just the right thing to do. It’s the best thing to do from a business standpoint.
A diverse workforce has a greater depth of experience, knowledge. and skills. It’s more productive and quicker to innovate. A team that includes multiple demographics can serve clients from multiple demographics. It’s impossible to introduce a product into a foreign market if you don’t have employees who understand the culture.
Firms That Increase Diversity Grow Faster
Consider this study by BCG:
Companies with above-average diversity on their management teams had higher innovation revenue. 19 percentage points higher than companies with below-average leadership diversity. 45% of total revenue versus just 26%.
Note that this study involved leadership teams. That underscores the importance of increasing diversity at the highest levels. If you focus only on entry-level positions, you won’t experience the same benefits.
Here are ApplicantStack’s 13 tips for your diversity hiring efforts:
1. Assess Your Current Workforce
Identify the makeup of your workforce. Consider gender, ethnicity, and geographic location (if you have remote workers). Plus age and educational background.
If you don’t use remote workers, why not? Do you have job positions that could be performed remotely? Say, another country? Widen your hiring pool to include people all over the world. This is a quick way to get diverse job seekers to apply.
2. Make a Goal for Diversity Hiring
Pick one underrepresented group. Make a goal to increase your target hires by X amount in X months. When you’ve reached that goal, move on to the second category.
3. Write a Diversity Statement
Articulate your diversity policies and goals. Include it in your employee handbook and hiring team training materials. Put this statement on every piece of recruiting communication. This means your job requisition, job description, job posting, and careers page. Use it on internal documents so it’s always top of mind for your employees.
4. Make it a Company-Wide Initiative
Involve your workforce. Let your employees know about your diversity hiring goals. If you use an HR portal, remind your employees of your hiring values frequently when they clock in. Seek their input to create and carry out your plan.
5. Is Your Hiring Team Diverse?
Does your hiring team include minorities? Are job applicants interviewed by people from all demographics? Applicants will notice. If minority candidates have several jobs to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision.
6. Scrutinize Your Hiring Process
Hiring processes are complex. There are multiple touch points in the applicant journey. Dissect each step. An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you understand each step in the workflow. An ATS stores all candidate communications and recruitment marketing. You can easily run reports on hiring demographics. An ATS makes it easier to create an inclusive candidate journey.
7. Rework Your Job Descriptions
Do you use gender-neutral terminology in your descriptions? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. Instead of ‘he’ use ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.
Remove masculine language. Many words used frequently in job postings discourage women from applying. Here is a free gender decoder tool you can use. Just paste in your job description.
If your job description templates are stored in an ATS, it makes it easier to prevent problem words and phrasing.
8. Use Structured Interviewing
Ensure your interviewers use a script that has been carefully written to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use it correctly. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS.
9. Decrease Bias in Candidate Filtering
If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. The goal is to eliminate subjective judgments.
10. Seek Diverse Referrals
An employee referral program is a great hiring tool for many reasons. If you have a referral program, use it in your diversity plan.
Our closest associates are likely from our same demographic group. When moving outward in our network, however, we find more diversity. Talk about this with your employees. Ask them to consciously look for referrals from your target groups.
Pinterest created a program designed to increase the diversity in their engineering teams. They asked their engineers to refer potential job applicants from target demographics. They discovered that if their employees made a conscious effort, they could find referrals from underrepresented groups. Pinterest’s diversity referral program was a success. They are taking additional steps to increase diversity in other departments.
11. Improve Onboarding
You might wonder what onboarding has to do with diversity hiring. It comes after a candidate accepts the job, after all. The reason onboarding is key is because good onboarding reduces turnover. Hiring more employees from inadequately represented groups is the first step. Retaining them is the second step. Look at the employees who have quit your company in the last five years. Identify whether minorities or women have shorter tenure. If they do, you’ve got additional problems. Your corporate culture may not be welcoming to workers from underrepresented groups.
The topic of turnover leads me to my next section.
12. Use Exit Interviews
Hopefully, you don’t have a lot of employees quitting. If you do, use exit interviews to learn why they are leaving. You may discover you have problems with your managers. Perhaps your company doesn’t support work/life balance. Maybe there are few opportunities for advancement. Are your advancement policies discriminatory? Find out what’s going on and fix it.
13. Do Your Benefits Benefit…Everyone?
Does your company support employees in different life stages? Do you offer flexible schedules? Do you support working mothers and fathers? If your benefits are designed for a homogenous workforce, it will hamper your efforts.
The team at ApplicantStack wishes you success as you pursue your diversity hiring goals.
By Liz Strikwerda