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:

  1. Get approval for a new system
  2. Choose your recruiting software
  3. 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
  4. Learn the system
  5. 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.

Keep Reminding!

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.)

Be Available

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.

In-application texting

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.

Onboarding integration

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.

Interview self-scheduling

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

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