How to get started with Applicant Tracking Systems
As you start to research what applicant tracking systems are right for your business, we suggest you make a list of what you want to achieve and what problems you hope an ATS system solves.
Involve key stakeholders as you get started on the evaluation and demo process.
- What capabilities do your hiring managers want?
- Does the executive team need to approve the software?
- Will IT need to conduct a security review?
As you begin to evaluate software, make sure that it’s easy-to-use and there’s ample time to onboard and ramp up your HR team. There’s no point of purchasing an expensive piece of software if everyone reverts back to the old way.
Use this list as you start to shop for vendors, and see if they have the right tools and solutions to meet your needs.
Here are 10 questions to help guide you through the process:
1. What is the application process like?
Simplicity is key. You’ll turn off potential candidates if they have to spend 30 minutes filling endless data fields about their previous job experience, education, and certifications. An ATS should make it easy.
How easy is it to customize the online application? Can you include your own data fields with simple yes/no answers or text fields? Is the application process mobile friendly? Do they offer a “one-click apply” with LinkedIn?
2. How do the out-of-box templates look?
Can you customize them to match the branding of your company’s website? Can you personalize them?
3. How does the ATS system score and filter out candidates?
There’s a variety of approaches your HR team can explore — such as pass/fail questions, finding relevant keywords listed in the resume, and enabling the hiring manager to score candidates.
4. How does the ATS system replace email communications?
Is there the ability to automate emails to candidates? Is there a way to schedule interviews and sync up team calendars?
5. Are there automated reminders?
You shouldn’t have to chase down colleagues to get feedback on a candidate’s profile, remind them to complete their task list, or sign an offer letter.
6. Does the system include any marketing recruitment tools?
We covered programmatic advertising in the last section, but many ATS systems integrate with a programmatic advertising vendor or may include a basic marketing recruitment tool.
7. Is there an option to set up an employee referral program?
Your star employees may know other star workers. Does the ATS system have the ability to create an employee referral program where employees can recommend your company to other people? Is it incentives?
8. Does the software integrate into your current HRIS, payroll, or other HR systems you have in place?
Are there plans for future integrations with software you already use? You don’t want to have a tech stack with programs that can’t communicate with each other.
9. How does the ATS ensure compliance?
If you do business in California, ask how do they handle legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act.
10. How easy is it to pull data and reports?
You want to be able to pull information quickly to make informed decisions. Does the ATS system offer real-time data analytics to measure the ROI from your referral channels, recruiter effectiveness, and time to hire reporting?