How To Choose An ATS That You’ll Actually Love

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Choosing An ATS

Guest post by Beth Hudson from Recruitee

Whether you call it an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), talent acquisition platform or your worst nightmare, all employers and recruiters need to invest in software that is the the foundation of your recruitment process.

If chosen wisely, an ATS can end up saving you time and money. Hiring is time-sensitive and not always budget-friendly. So, streamlining your pipeline with the right recruiting software is crucial.

How exactly does an ATS help you and how do you choose the right one for your company?

What’s in?

5 immediate benefits of implementing an ATS

1. Compliance with regulations

This most basic of benefits is often not found without using an ATS. Rules and regulations will apply to your hiring process depending on your business location. This also often includes the location of the candidates that you source! Implementing an ATS into your recruitment process allows all of your data to be organized in one place. Tracking what candidates have been in the system for how long is one of the many ways having an ATS helps you stay compliant.

Further, the data servers of your new software should be secure. There are laws that protect citizens’ data, such as the GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, in the EU. You don’t want to be hit with fees for not following laws such as the GDPR. Your ATS, if chosen wisely, should be able to help. It should alert you of issues and provide ways to ask for consent from the candidates in your database.

2. Organization

Along the same lines, investing in an ATS means investing in the organization of your hiring process. Don’t lose candidate resumes because they went to your spam folder. Don’t chase down your hiring manager by playing phone tag. And, most importantly, don’t miss out on top talent because you’re taking too much time rifling through old files and job boards!

Talent acquisition software keeps all of your jobs, talent pools, and candidate information in one place. This includes team notes, as well. It’s important to keep up with the activities of your hiring team if you are going to optimize the process.

ATS Homepage

Your ATS should help give you organized overviews of your recruitment data.

3. Quality of hires

The right ATS will help free up time to focus on the quality of hire, rather than simply getting candidates in the door. With over 40% of talent acquisition professionals stating quality of hire as a major priority for their work, its no wonder many are turning to an ATS to support the process. If you choose the right ATS, it will allow you to clearly see gaps in your hiring process. Further, it will provide ways to automate manual tasks that are taking up time and recruitment effort that could be spent elsewhere. Time is of the essence in recruitment. Speeding up your hires while not sacrificing quality is a core benefit of having an ATS.

4. Employer branding

Think of employer branding as your first impression to potential talent. It has to be good! If you’re going to nab the right fit for your company, you need to sell your company to them. It’s not just the candidates selling themselves to you. If you choose a stellar ATS, it should allow you to craft your employer brand in a way that tells a story to anyone that visits your careers site or views your job postings.

5. A collaborative hiring process

Talent acquisition software ideally lets you have unlimited users on the platform. This way, your whole team can get involved. If the ATS is user-friendly, you can collaborate effectively during recruitment. This has its own benefits, including:

  • More input leading to hires tailored to your company culture;
  • Ease of submitted employee referrals, a high-quality source of candidates;
  • Less burnout in HR due to allocated tasks;
  • Better employer branding with truthful employee testimonies;
  • And boosted team morale.

People naturally like to be included. If your entire team has a hand in picking new hires and representing your company as an employer, they will feel appreciated and involved!

Collaborating to decide on the culture and voice of the company allows for better organizational fit. It’s cyclical. Employee satisfaction will be on the rise while new employees will blend with the company easier and, hopefully, stay in it for the long haul. Higher retention rates mean better business.

Relationships At Work

…and collaborative hiring can help with building these relationships.

Choosing the right ATS, step-by-step

1. Pin down the necessities.

Collaborate with the whole team here. Get everyone involved! If possible, send out a survey to not only your HR team but the entire company. Ask them what they need in a collaborative recruitment software. Here are some common requirements that might be interesting to your team:

  • Team notes
  • Job board posting from one place
  • Job board recommendations based on success rates
  • Support
  • Careers site editor (that actually looks nice and is user-friendly!)
  • Intuitive interface
  • Video interviews
  • Mobile app
  • Open API
  • Easy application forms for a better candidate experience
  • Automated reports
  • Sourcing extension
  • Integrated email inbox
  • Custom tags and filters
  • Indexing on Google
  • Talent pools
  • Boolean search
  • Quick candidate evaluations
  • Rating and ranking of candidates
  • Background checks
  • Multiple languages
  • Data security
  • Integration with other tools in your recruitment tech stack

These requirements, of course, depend on what you and your team decide. Narrow down your must-haves into one list. Then, explore! Use a list of applicant tracking systems with customer reviews, such as the comparative list on Capterra. You can use sites like these to compare and contrast systems that may or may not work for your specific situation. Narrowing the list to a few ATS choices will ensure that the choice process is not so overwhelming. The sooner you can secure a solid ATS for your hiring team, the better.

2. Set a budget.

You want to see a return on investment from your ATS choice. Recruitment budgets are often allocated to job board postings and ads. However, investing in the right software can reduce these costs, as well as automate certain parts of the hiring process, saving you effort and money. Not to mention, with a clearer view of the right candidates for your company, the long-term benefits are endless! Your new hires will be better than ever before.

This means that you have to set a budget up front. Keep all of the above benefits in mind, but don’t go overboard. If your team doesn’t have a high hiring volume, it may not be necessary to splurge. On the other hand, if you are constantly recruiting at a fast rate, you shouldn’t settle for the cheap (or dreaded free) recruitment systems.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Pricing models

The best pricing model for an ATS is by Active Job. Rather than paying for each person that uses the software, you pay according to how many open positions you have at one time. Collaborative hiring is imperative. This allows your whole team to work together on recruiting without jacking up the cost of the software.

Job board discounts

Job boards can get expensive. If you are just starting out or don’t have reports to determine where your budget should be going, you need to test out different job boards. This can take a toll on your recruiting budget. Check to see if the ATS you are choosing comes with job board discounts. This often happens when you can post to multiple job boards from the software. This is the optimal situation.

HR Tech Spending

Approximately 17% of the recruiting budget goes to recruiting tools and 30% to job boards/advertising. That’s why a discount for these can help you cut costs.

3. Take your top picks for a test drive.

You have your eyes set on two or three ATS that your recruitment process and the whole team would benefit from. They’re within your budget. Now, check to see if they offer a free trial. If not, you may need to reconsider.

Testing out the software will give you a hands-on experience and insight into whether or not the system will work for your recruitment in the long-run. Here are some things to consider when testing out your ATS contenders:

  • Have as many members of your team as possible test the software;
  • Use a checklist with the features that you chose in Step 1 to make all your boxes are checked with that particular ATS;
  • Test out all of the features offered, and make sure it’s not too clunky.

It’s important to remember that bells and whistles are great, but if an ATS has too many unused features, it will likely clog up your recruitment process. You want your hiring to be less muddled, not bogged down with features that you won’t use and shouldn’t be paying for. Modern recruitment software likely won’t do this, but keep that in mind in your journey to choosing the right ATS.

ATS Templates

Test out adding your own templates to your ATS. This will give you a good feel of how the system works and how it can save your team time.

4. Take the plunge!

By this point, you and your team should have an idea of the best ATS for you and your hiring situation. Of course, employers change and grow with time, so make sure your ATS will be able to do so with you! Different price points and the capability to handle more job openings (or less!) is an important factor in choosing the right ATS for you. You don’t have to predict the future, but your ATS should be able to predict the outcome of your recruitment efforts.

Integrate the software into your company. It should be easy if you chose wisely!

User-friendliness is a top priority in software because your team shouldn’t be intimidated or annoyed by learning the system. It should make the process easier, not more tedious. Have a quick learning session with your entire team, provided that you chose an ATS that allows unlimited users at no extra cost.

While you likely had time to work with the new ATS during the free trial, now is your time to put it to the test. How are the features working? Do they live up to your expectations? Follow up with your team to make sure the ATS is still their number one choice. Recruitment is very much a trial and error process, but your talent acquisition software should soften the blow.

Manual Recruiter Tasks

Choosing the right ATS can help you save a lot of time and energy in your recruitment efforts.

A future-proof ATS

The recruitment landscape is constantly shifting and recruiters need to be more adaptable and agile than ever when it comes to creatively sourcing the best talent. Thankfully, technology is also constantly evolving to meet the needs of this community. An ATS is an essential tool for any hiring team, but the options can seem overwhelming. Remember: vet your selection of providers thoroughly and make sure that your ATS is fit for your recruitment goals, both current and future.

About the Author: Beth Hudson is the Community Manager at Recruitee. Based in Pittsburgh, Beth enjoys spreading the word about recruitment innovation and moderating the Talent Acquisition Innovators community on Facebook.

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