What Is an Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software package designed to help businesses track applicants and streamline the process of bringing in new employees. The features of an ATS vary somewhat and can include everything from handling job requisitions, recruiting and tracking applicants, setting up interviews, and managing resumes.
Some may include features for organizing candidates into categories, assigning them to different divisions, and more. Some solutions come with onboarding features, which help companies gather all important documents associated with new hires and handle all necessary communications.
From the sound of it, it seems like these systems are purely designed for mid to large-size companies, but there are many solutions that are designed to help smaller companies manage new hires.
- Having a good ATS for keeping track of applicants generally improves your success rate when you’re trying to find the highest-caliber employees.
- An ATS helps solve many of the problems associated with the hiring process, you can miss the best people quite simply if you don’t have a system for organizing them.
- A good ATS has the ability to track applicants through the entire hiring process so you can identify which ones stand out and for the right reasons.
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How Does an ATS Help Your Small Business?
First, having a good ATS for keeping track of applicants generally improves your success rate when you’re trying to find the highest-caliber employees. You can rely on your email system for keeping a record of candidates, but when dealing with any sort of volume of applicants, you might quickly run into trouble.
With an ATS you’ll have a single source of truth for storing information about your candidates, greatly reducing the risk of losing applicants while simultaneously being able to screen people to make sure you only get the cream of the crop.
While you need to fill positions, you may discover that you have jobs that just sit either unlisted or unfilled for months at a time. You can miss the best people quite simply because you don’t have a system for organizing them. While you may be able to handle this manually, as you already know this takes time, which you’d likely rather spend on other aspects of your business. An ATS helps solve many of the problems associated with the hiring process.
ATSs allow you to organize and search through resumes by skills, education, availability, and more. Many systems enables you to create a custom career page for employees and customized job pages for each posting quickly.
It’s also a truth that resumes come in many shapes and sizes. While their uniqueness may help some catch your attention, they may not be the very best candidates. With an ATS, you can often convert the resumes into a standard format to be able to identify those with the skills and experience that you need to find.
You have the option of creating custom emails for tracking and generating automated responses to applicants so that they know that their application has been received which may, in turn, reduce time-consuming follow-up calls. Also, fundamental to a good ATS is the ability to track applicants through the entire hiring process so you can identify which ones stand out and for the right reasons.
Why Might Your Business Need an ATS?
The following questions can help you identify whether you could use an ATS:
- Do you have a high staff turnover rate?
- Do you spend hours digging through large stacks of resumes?
- Do you often find you have trouble filling positions with qualified people?
- Do you need a hiring site for your company but lack the resources to build one yourself?
- Do you need a way of looking at data generated by large numbers of applicants?
- Are you having a hard time keeping records of existing resumes and having trouble getting them to the right people in your company in a timely fashion?
- Do you have a database where you can search for existing resumes and applicants?
If you answered yes to any or several of these questions, ATS might be the right solution for your business.
What to Consider When Choosing an ATS for Your Business?
- Who Is Involved in the Hiring Process?
While there are many things that you might want to consider when choosing an ATS, one of the main areas you want to cover is the people who’ll be using the system.
Who Is Involved in the Hiring Process?
Hiring managers are typically the ones who’ll be managing new human resources (HR). This can cover everything from replacing employees who have left, to handling an increased workload when the business grows.
Decision Makers & Managers
In larger organizations, there likely will be those who’ll need to approve new positions or requisitions. In many cases, they’re also involved in the hiring decision.
After a position has been approved to be filled, either a person within the organization or an external recruiting company will begin trying to find people who fit the specific needs of an opening.
Recruiters are typically directly involved with reviewing and screening applicants as they provide resumes and applications. Recruiters work directly with hiring managers to schedule interviews.
These are current employees who are involved with interviewing candidates. These can include the hiring manager, but also maybe team members who are particularly adept at evaluating skills and qualifications. They’ll provide feedback to the hiring manager as to whether a person is a good fit.
Of course, one of the main participants in the hiring process is the candidate or applicant themself, who answer postings for the job or are recruited.
The HR department works with hiring managers and upper management to help negotiate salary and benefits. They’re the group that is typically most deeply involved with the onboarding and orientation of new employees.