Let’s get specific about ATS benefits.
How does an applicant tracking system work in the real world? For real-life HR professionals?
These are first-person accounts of user experiences in a variety of industries. They are from Capterra (a leading business software review site).
After each review, we’ll summarize the specific applicant tracking system benefits described.
The Hiring Process is More Enjoyable
We’ll start with something that is basic but often overlooked—how does an ATS affect your job?
“It has made our lives of sifting through thousands of resumes and applications much easier and the hiring process more enjoyable. With this software, we have been able to find quality candidates and make sure nobody slips through the cracks!”
3 Key Takeaways:
- Processing thousands of resumes is quick and easy
- The hiring process is more enjoyable for the recruiting team
- No applicants slip through the cracks
Manage Applicants in a Single Hub
Receiving paper resumes or gathering applications from different job boards seems ancient when you experience a centralized database.
“This software is great for tracking candidates through the hiring process. It acts as a central hub for the entire hiring process. It allows you to track all of your current open positions, all of the actual job postings on the different platforms and job boards. Track the number of applicants for each job/position and individual candidate information. Track candidate application status, interview stage, interviewer notes/comments/feedback, and candidate communication and history.”
3 Key Takeaways:
- You can track each applicant through every stage of the hiring process
- All applications flow into a centralized database
- You can check your hiring metrics at any time
ATSs Save Reams of Paper
Making your process greener is always a worthy goal. Save trees (and banks of filing cabinets) by using electronic documents.
“We save so much time and paper—everything is on this site, and stays there. We can go back and review applications from years ago to compare to a more recent application. Now I print the applications of only the qualified candidates—save reams of paper. All job details are saved also. It has streamlined our hiring process.”
3 Key Takeaways:
- Save time
- Save paper (be eco-responsible)
- Create a talent pipeline
Post To Numerous Job Boards Quickly
The days are over when you could rely on one job board. Recruiters have to get their jobs on numerous platforms. Posting one-by-one makes no sense. Let automation do its thing!
“It allows us to post our jobs on numerous job boards. We store templates for standard replies (such a time saver!) and easily refresh our job postings through the launch tab.”
3 Key Takeaways:
- Post to multiple job boards simultaneously
- Email templates save time
- Refresh job postings
“It’s quite cost-effective for what you get out of it. Other job boards and companies can be known to price gouge when it comes to postings, so a flat monthly rate is a nice change. The adoption of this software earlier this year brought us into the 21st Century (the world of everything online).”
2 Key Takeaways
- ApplicantStack’s flat monthly rate is cost-effective and prevents billing surprises
- Manage hiring 100% in the cloud keeps you on the cutting edge of technology
ATS’ Can Be Customized
If you are researching ATS vendors, don’t forget the people behind the product. The quality of customer support is as important as product quality.
“Customer service is quick to respond and assist with anything you need. We requested a custom application and they opted to not charge us for creating it. The overall modern look of the site is a plus as well. The partnerships with online job boards (mainly Indeed) is a major factor in applicant turnout, as that is where we receive the majority of ours from. Nearly every question you have can be answered with prewritten questions and responses for just about every aspect and function. Customization is a huge player in this software—you can order and lay out exactly how you want your data and information to be presented to you so you don’t have anything that is unnecessary.”
4 Key Takeaways:
- ApplicantStack’s customer service goes above and beyond
- Your site is modern and professional
- Partnerships with online job boards bring in more applicants
- Comprehensive knowledge base answers questions 24/7
Hiring Software Isn’t Hard to Use
Most HR professionals are fairly comfortable with business software. But don’t assume every ATS is as easy to use as your favorite phone app. Our software was designed by recruiters who know what ‘user-friendly’ means.
“It’s very easy to use and is step-by-step throughout the entire process. I love the email templates with mail merge features, the flags we are able to customize, and that you can trigger automatic emails throughout the stages.”
4 Key Takeaways:
- Software is intuitive and doesn’t require extensive training
- Customer service responds to user requests
- Mail merge automates emails
- Email triggers can be customized for your hiring process
Filter Out Unqualified Candidates Immediately
The hiring process is all about communication. If you can’t track the back-and-forth, you risk losing talent. This user also mentions another biggie; custom screening questionnaires. Let your ATS handle the first-pass filtering. You have better things to do.
“Communicate with candidates directly through the application. Create applicant screening questions to filter out candidates that do not qualify for specific roles.”
2 Key Takeaways:
- Communicate with candidates in the software (through texting or email)
- Create custom questionnaires to filter out unqualified candidates immediately upon application
Default Workflows Help You Use Best Practices
As mentioned, ApplicantStack was designed by hiring professionals. Not software engineers who have no idea how hiring works.
“The default workflow is set up in a logical fashion which really helped as we weren’t sure what the best process would be. Email and job listing templates is great. The application a generates job specific links and email addresses so that you can post them in other forums.”
3 Key Takeaways:
- Logical default workflow
- Job description and email templates
- Job specific links you can post anywhere
ATSs Improve Compliance
If your ATS can’t help you stay on the good side of the EEOC, you’re missing out on an important benefit. This user also mentions the importance of a positive candidate experience.
“Historical data storage helps maintain compliance. Candidate experience is not cumbersome.”
2 Key Takeaways:
- Helps maintain compliance by storing hiring data
- Positive candidate experience
We’ll end with this one:
“This is the best ATS I have ever worked with. With the ever-changing world of recruitment, I find that the flexibility is key because you never know what may be needed next!”
We appreciate our customers who take the time to leave a review about ApplicantStack ATS benefits.
By Liz Strikwerda
There are plenty of sophisticated hiring and onboarding platforms. If you are shopping for an applicant tracking system (ATS), it’s helpful to identify which ATS tools are important to your company.
Here are 6 ATS tools to consider.
1. Pre-Screening Questionnaires
Improving time-to-hire is only possible if you automate repetitive hiring tasks. Pre-screening questionnaires perform first-level filtering with knockout questions. Knockout questions eliminate unqualified candidates before anyone on your hiring team spends time reviewing an application.
Pre-screening questionnaires filter out hundreds of applicants. You are left with a manageable pool of qualified candidates. Then your hiring team can concentrate on the candidates that matter.
2. Scheduling ATS Tools
A hiring process that is humming along can slow to a crawl when it’s time to schedule interviews. ATSs that integrate with widely-used calendars such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Office 365 eliminate this slowdown. Applicants are already using these tools, so scheduling with them comes naturally.
This is how it works: your interviewing team indicates their availability before applicants choose a time slot. You email a calendar link to the applicant. The applicant opens the calendar and chooses a pre-approved time.
3. Bias Minimization ATS Tools
Recruiting and hiring an inclusive team helps your business succeed. Inherent bias (both conscious and unconscious) shrinks your applicant pool. This, in turn, can screen out the most qualified candidates.
Your ATS can help you prevent or minimize several types of bias. The first way an ATS minimizes bias is by allowing you to create a structured hiring process.
The pre-screening questionnaires discussed previously filter based on qualifications, not snap judgments or ‘gut feelings.’ Keep in mind that you have to write the questions carefully as well.
Additional bias minimization tools include structured interviews and blind resume review.
4. Advance Auto-Emails + Texting
Most ATS’ have email templates. Actions such as hiring stage changes that trigger auto-emails increase efficiency. Many recruiters are using texting as well. Do you want to incorporate recruitment texting as an additional communications channel? It is most effective when done from the recruiting platform. The software keeps a history of conversations that would otherwise exist on personal mobile phones. Multiple people on your hiring team can text from the same number, preventing confusion on the part of the applicant.
5. Video Interviewing
Video interviewing brings a host of advantages. You can interview out-of-area applicants easily. Decision makers located away from the main office (or traveling) can participate in the interview from wherever they are working. Members of your hiring team can review recordings of the interview as many times as needed. And there are significant costs savings as well.
6. Document E-Sign
HR is a document-intensive department. When applicants and new hires can sign forms online, you can process them much faster. Electronic copies are automatically stored and can be accessed with a quick search. Did you know that 5% of paper documents get lost?
There are environmental benefits to electronic documents as well. You decrease your company’s carbon footprint by using less paper.
Last but not least is the cost savings. When you account for paper, copying, and administrative expenses, it costs up to $25,000 to fill a filing cabinet. (Source: LinkedIn)
Free Trials Let You Test ATS Tools
When you are shopping for ATSs, take advantage of free trials. They allow you to test drive the software before you buy. We offer a free trial of ApplicantStack so you can experiment with the most popular ATS tools. Our software helps you source, qualify, and hire quality candidates while saving time and money.
Today’s post explores a fundamental issue in the recruiting industry: why you should automate recruiting.
Do you work as a hiring manager? HR director? Small business owner? It you are using paper-based recruiting processes, this post is for you.
Let’s discuss why you should automate recruiting.
Why Automate Recruiting?
- Process applicants more quickly and efficiently
- Create more effective screening materials
- Manage multiple job openings simultaneously
- Collaborate more easily with your hiring team members
- Engage with millennials and younger job candidates
- Reduce hiring expenses
- Stop duplicating work among your team
How Do You Automate Recruiting?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of HR software that automates hiring processes.
ATS software is similar to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. It allows you to track and manage applications, candidate interactions, online job postings, and team communication.
- Collect and track hundreds of applications and resumes
- Establish a central database of current and former applicants (talent pipeline)
- Create branded templates for job descriptions, questionnaires, emails
- Post to your favorite job boards with a single signon
- Track applicants through each hiring stage
- Changing an applicant’s stage triggers actions (i.e. emails, background checks, etc)
- Applicants complete pre-screening questionnaires and schedule interviews with a self-service interface
- Team members access cloud-based ATS’ from any mobile device—manage recruiting anytime, anywhere
Streamline Interview Scheduling
Scheduling technology simplifies interviews. Your team members mark their availability on a shared calendar. The ATS candidate interface presents applicants with pre-approved interview time slots.
This saves so much time you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.
It also shows your company’s commitment to technology-driven efficiency and convenience. Millennials make up the largest employee demographic. Gen Z-ers are coming of age and entering the workforce. Both groups engage using digital tools. You simply can’t attract these potential employees without automated recruiting software.
Recruit from anywhere using mobile apps. See your ATS dashboard on any connected device. How are your job postings performing? Which applicants have completed screening questionnaires? Who’s interviewing tomorrow?
You have all that in your pocket. Around-the-clock. Recruiting superstars use mobile tools. You can too.
The Power of Pre-Screening
You post the job. Then you gather applications and resumes. Now the tedious, time-intensive pre-screening work begins. The pre-screening stage is a slowdown for many recruiting teams. If any recruiting task has been screaming for automation, this is the one.
You can pre-screen when a candidate applies with a custom application. Or email a questionnaire shortly afterwards. Video screening is also a brilliant recruiting innovation. With a pre-recorded video interview, the job applicant records a video of themselves answering screening questions. They can do it at their convenience—the software handles it. You can see your applicants before you invite them to schedule an in-person interview.
Automated pre-screening reliably shortens time-to-hire. It also helps you find higher quality employees faster by isolating top candidates.
Branded Recruitment Marketing
ATS’ let you brand your recruitment marketing. Job postings, applications, and candidate emails blend seamlessly with all of your marketing.
This helps your company present a cohesive image to applicants, customers, employees—and investors. This provides an important competitive edge. Especially for companies in industries with a low ATS adoption rate.
Establish Talent Pipelines
Today’s hiring challenges call for multiple recruiting techniques. One of these is creating and continually expanding a talent pipeline. An ATS collects and tracks applicants for your current job openings. Plus, it retains all applicants’ pertinent info in your database. This is critical for meeting long-term staffing needs.
Forward-thinking companies nurture applicant relationships in their talent pipeline. In the same way CRM systems help you connect with customers, ATS’ allow you to share relevant content as often as you like.
Automate Recruiting With ApplicantStack
ApplicantStack recruiting software automates every aspect of your hiring operations. It was designed by HR professionals for HR professionals. ApplicantStack is cloud-based, so you and your team can access it on any connected device. We handle the updates and rigorous data security protocols.
You can start using ApplicantStack today. Setup is quick and intuitive. But don’t let ease-of-use imply low-level functionality. ApplicantStack is a full-service applicant tracking system for companies of any size.
Do you need to streamline the new hire process? Are you a hiring manager with a mess on your hands?
In this Reddit forum, a hiring manager describes why her job is a nightmare.
- No recruiting software
- High turnover
- Constant onboarding
- Daily new hires to be processed
- Always in panic mode
- Bosses make unrealistic demands
- Too many priorities to get anything done
Does this sound like your job?
Crisis Intervention For New Hire Chaos
- Evaluate current process (or lack thereof)
- Identify and prioritize problems
- Create plan to streamline workflows
- Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Assess Current Hiring Practices
If your processes are manual, measuring outcomes is difficult. Where do you start? Right here:
Get feedback from:
- Measure time from job posting to acceptance
- Break down total duration by each step
- Identify bottlenecks
Calculate staff turnover rate
The turnover rate is defined as the number of employees you must replace in a specified time frame. Depending on the size of your staff, calculate by month, quarter, or year.
Compare your rate to the average for your industry and geographic area on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. Hard numbers give you insight. If your industry has an especially high turnover rate, you can take comfort that others are fighting the same battle. If you are an outlier, it means your processes are making a bad situation worse.
If you have an ATS, look at your analytics. Run reports for everything. Even those that don’t seem directly related. You may learn something new.
Gather your information and figure out what’s going right or wrong. Create a plan for fixing the problems. These steps will help:
Improve Job Descriptions
If you aren’t getting qualified applicants, fix your job descriptions.
Start with the jobs that attract the most unqualified applicants. These job descriptions need to be better defined. Consult with the hiring team members listed in step one.
All job descriptions should have:
- Starting date range
- Salary range
- Benefits and perks
- Required skills and experience
- Ideal skills and experience
- Hiring manager contact information (a real person)
- What does the position require on a daily/weekly basis?
- Timeline for the hiring process
Many companies don’t include the last two. Add these to your descriptions and differentiate your company. The posting will start performing better.
Check References Before Scheduling Interviews
If you check references after interviewing, you are wasting time. Reference checks are an important filter. If checking references takes too long, make it easier for references to contact you. Give them several avenues: email, phone call, snail mail a letter of reference.
Filter Candidates Faster
You need technology to speed this up. Especially if your workload is ridiculous. Use an ATS to filter applications quickly. You won’t need to read any resumes until the applicant pool is narrowed down.
How you speed up filtering with an ATS:
- Create a database of all applicants
- Track where each applicant is in the process
- Create tasks with reminders
- Auto emails
- Store and manage job postings
- Application filtering
- Create questionnaires with knockout questions
- Integrate with background check company (if you outsource background checks)
- Structured interviewing questions
Applicant tracking systems with onboarding bring the same efficiency once the candidate accepts the job offer. Managing it with an ATS is called structured onboarding.
- When hired—simply change status—no need to enter everything again
- New hires fill out initial paperwork online
- They can access it from a mobile device
- They can do it before their first day (you have to pay them for their time)
How To Convince Your Boss That An ATS Is An Absolute Necessity
ApplicantStack recruiting solutions were designed to clean up the new hire mess. With ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard, you can tame the chaos at your company. Plus, your new hires will stay with your company longer.
Help your boss understand how ApplicantStack Recruit works and how it will pay for itself:
ApplicantStack Recruit Product Walkthrough
ApplicantStack Cost-Per-Hire Calculator
Can My Company Afford an Applicant Tracking System?
What are human resources techniques for keeping the best employees?
- Improve your hiring practices
- Create a structured onboarding program
- Provide a career path
- Respond to employee feedback
- Review performance fairly and often
- Improve work/life balance
- Create an outstanding employee experience
Create a Strategy
In this age of job-hopping, you have to get serious about retention. A haphazard approach will fail. Develop a retention strategy and then weave it into your corporate culture.
Improve Hiring Practices
If you attract higher quality candidates, you’ll have a head start for future retention efforts. Technology and training is key. If you have the resources, hire talent acquisition specialists instead of HR generalists. They can give you a competitive edge in today’s labor market. They will also know how to use the most effective recruiting software. Pay as much attention to the candidate journey as your customer journey. A good ATS provides the best hiring experience. That leads us to our next topic: HR software.
Use Software to Shorten Your Time-to-Hire
If you aren’t using an applicant tracking system (ATS), this should be your first priority. You can’t keep good employees if you can’t hire good employees. And the best employees are hired first. You can’t hire faster without better technology.
An ATS also expands your hiring pool. Especially if your company has multiple openings at a time. ATS’ can quickly advertise on more places online. When you cast a wider net, you will have more options.
The ATS will quickly isolate the best candidates to concentrate on. You can schedule interviews for your finalists. ATS’ speed up decision making with collaboration tools.
The result? You can make an offer before your top pick is snagged by your competitor.
Write Better Job Descriptions
This is a foundational hiring process that many companies neglect. Spend time crafting highly-detailed postings. An effective job description targets the employees you need. This jumpstarts the filtering process.
Improve Your Interviews
Good interviews identify the best candidates in a systematic, non-biased way. A good interview will include the following:
- Two-sided evaluation: let the candidate ask about your company and whether it reflects their values
- Skill validation: make sure the candidate has the skills they list on their resume
- Behavior assessment: ask the candidate to relate experiences that will reveal desired attributes
- Cultural fit: use the experiences shared to decide if the applicant will thrive in your company
- Sell your company: throughout the interview, express your corporate values and company brand
- Structured scoring: create a system that will remove ‘gut feelings’ as a factor (Don’t eliminate an applicant based on an impression.)
Strengthen Your Employer Brand
Identify your values and mission. Solicit feedback from current employees. Make sure you are portraying an accurate picture of your corporate culture.
Read current/former employee reviews on Glassdoor and other evaluation sites. For good or ill, peer reviews are more important than company-created marketing. Use the negative feedback to fix problems.
Express your culture and values consistently across your recruitment marketing. Inspire current employees to be brand champions.
Consider Non-traditional Employees
If you are struggling to find conventional full-timers, consider non-traditional employees. Some of the best workers would rather freelance for several companies. If you need a niche skill, a contractor may provide more expertise. They’ve probably worked for similar companies in your industry. If so, you will benefit from their diverse experience. (And they may be more cost effective.)
Is there a talent shortage in your industry? Some companies hire formerly-retired employees part-time. If you need highly-educated specialists and aren’t having any luck, this may solve your problem. These so-called ‘boomerang’ employees can also serve as mentors for younger employees.
Create a Structured Onboarding Program
It’s well-documented that structured onboarding improves retention. Use an automated onboarding system to help you.
Take away the stress of the first day by telling them in advance where to park and how to clock in. An automated system can send them a welcome email with all pertinent first-day information.
Ensure their manager or someone on their team greets them at the door. Make sure everyone on their team introduces themselves the first day. Set up their workstation before they show up.
Let them complete new-hire paperwork online at their convenience. Onboarding software with e-signature simplifies this.
Don’t cram everything into the first day or week. Prioritize establishing a relationship over completing processes.
Nurture Your Best Employees
Never stop asking for feedback. Train your managers to maintain communication. Especially with employees that are relatively autonomous. Make sure improving the employee experience is part of your culture.
If you have an HR portal, include an anonymous suggestion box for timid employees. As with the peer reviews discussed previously, make changes in response to negative feedback.
Provide a Career Path
If your best employees can’t advance in their career, they aren’t going to stick around. Use ongoing training and mentoring. Promote from within. Your current skilled employees are your best source of future managers and executives.
Conduct Fair Performance Reviews
Structured performance reviews are as important as structured onboarding. Make your process transparent. Keep everyone on a level playing field. Evaluate often. Train your managers on best practices. Human resources software with performance review tools can help you up your game.
Improve Work/life Balance
Schedule flexibility is as important to millennials as a decent salary. Non-traditional schedules and flexible work arrangements aren’t a zero-sum game. Flex-time and work-at-home days can boost productivity if implemented appropriately. And they improve the employee experience significantly. This, in turn, strengthens your company brand.
An automated scheduling system will help. You can easily create and manage non-traditional schedules that keep employees happy. (Without lowering productivity.)
Effective Human Resources Is Your Best Retention Strategy
The Human Resources team shapes every aspect of the employee experience. Hire the best HR professionals. Give them the technology and resources they need to execute a successful hiring and retention strategy.
ApplicantStack Human Resources Software
SwipeClock ApplicantStack provides industry-leading products that help HR professionals improve employee retention. For more information about ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard, visit ApplicantStack human resources solutions.