April 2, 2015

When to Upgrade Your Applicant Tracking System

Written by
Tags: HR

Are your recruiting efforts as efficient and effective as possible?

If your answer is anything but “YES!” then it’s time your organization took a cold hard look at your current recruitment process— and the technology behind it.

The success of a company hinges on having the right people in the right roles. A full 61 percent of companies report their hiring process takes over four weeks, and 41 percent of companies say hiring the wrong person has cost them at least $25,000.

That’s a lot of wasted time and money.

Applicant tracking software (ATS) automates the routine aspects of hiring, which allows HR managers to concentrate on finding the best people. Businesses with sub-par applicant tracking systems will soon find themselves losing the war for talent.

Is your Applicant Tracking System qualified for the job?

Companies may be using the wrong ATS for a number of reasons. Oftentimes, small businesses without a recruiting department start off using a free applicant tracking system out of necessity. This is a great option when only hiring for a few positions at a time. However, once companies start perpetually hiring five or more positions simultaneously, recruiting becomes its own job.

At this point, businesses need a paid solution to handle more positions, users, and tech support. Many vendors sign up small businesses with a free version in hopes that they’ll upgrade to a paid version as they scale. Though it’s tempting to simply upgrade with the same vendor in order to avoid data transfers, or learning a new system, it may not be the best option. You’ll need to evaluate your company’s goals and growth projections to see if the vendor will continue to be a good fit moving forward.

For larger companies, the issue is more likely legacy applications in desperate need of an upgrade. If you’re relying on outdated technology that no longer meets your needs— or causes more harm than good — it’s time to investigate modern HR software.

The ATS Checklist

Technology advances so rapidly that many companies outgrow systems in just a few years. If it’s time to reevaluate your ATS, you’ll find that features which were once cutting edge are now standard.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve shopped for an applicant tracking system, you may not even know what features you’re missing out on. We’ve provided the following checklist to help you determine if it’s time to upgrade your ATS— any no’s along the way are a red flag.

Is your ATS fully mobile?

Smartphones, tablets, watches— mobile technology is the new standard. With recruiters and applicants perpetually on the go, many vendors now develop with mobility in mind. Hiring — and applying — on the go is now possible thanks to ATS apps and mobile online job portals. If your system isn’t mobile responsive, you have permission to stop reading now and start comparing better applicant tracking software instead.

Are up-to-date recruiting analytics and KPIs available?

Have you— or your CEO—  ever wanted to know applicant conversion rates, how long it takes to review resumes, or other key metrics at a glance? A modern ATS gathers, stores, and reports powerful analytics to help you pinpoint bottlenecks in your hiring process. From employee referrals to recruitment marketing, all your information is trackable— and therefore, available to optimize. If your current ATS is missing this functionality, just mention a system upgrade would allow “data supported decisions” and see how swiftly you receive buy-in from the C-suite.

Does your ATS track social?

Your social recruiting efforts are all for naught if you’re unable to pinpoint where your highest quality candidates are coming. With no certainty about which outlets are effective, you’re left to guess where to place your focus. Simple social integration won’t suffice— tracking is necessary to replace under performing strategies.

Is your job offer and approval process streamlined?

If your ATS doesn’t integrate with your email then you are wasting precious time clicking between apps and searching for information. With a modern system, the repetitive emails you write every day are available as templates in one central location. You can also collaborate with other hiring managers without email by commenting on candidates within the ATS.

Do you have a branded career portal?

Your ATS should provide a seamless career site for candidates. Your social efforts will most likely direct here, so this page is often the first experience candidates have with your brand. It’s critical to positively represent your brand and message with a high quality platform.

Does your ATS eliminate duplicate application processes?

It should be easy for candidates to apply for your job. Don’t make them upload a resume and fill out a form with the same information— this is redundant and unnecessary. A modern ATS will simplify the application process and allow candidates to apply with LinkedIn or social profiles in a few clicks.

Do your employees know what positions you’re hiring for?

Employee job referrals have greater job satisfaction, stay longer at companies, and begin their position more quickly than those found through job boards. Your workforce is one of your best recruiting tools. If they don’t know who you’re looking for, they can’t help you fill the position. An ATS with an internal job board not only turns your employees into brand evangelists, but enables you to source candidates from within.

Does your ATS integrate with you HRIS?

Automatic integration with a company’s human resources information system is critical. Many companies manage several standalone HR systems, which unfortunately promotes duplicate data and inefficient workforce management across an organization. If you don’t have an HR suite from a single vendor, be sure that each of your touchpoint solutions can still talk to each other.

Did you answer “no” to any of these questions?

If you did, it’s time to upgrade your ATS. The system you choose ultimately depends on your business goals and needs, as well as company type (such as staffing agency vs. business). In general though, you’ll want an agile vendor that can keep up with evolving market trends. With the proper research, your new applicant tracking system can save you time that’s better spent on improving recruiting strategies, or interviewing great candidates.

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