Many small businesses feel applicant tracking systems (ATS) are for big companies with a recruiting staff and many open positions. That belief can cost you time and may cause you to lose great candidates.
Think about it this way: Apart from sourcing candidates, interviewing them, and working with hiring managers, HR generalists and recruiters must also balance streams of email, telephone conversations, and tracking a large volume of information. Satisfying legal reporting requirements may also apply, which can be time and labor intensive (think spreadsheets and many little boxes).
An ATS can free up valuable hours and it can help you better identify those applicants who have the skills and past experience that most closely align with your open positions. What’s more, you don’t need a big business bankroll to finance these solutions; there are lots of great free ATS options!
Here are five reasons to start using an applicant tracking system today.
- An ATS allows you to focus on candidate quality.
You won’t drown in a sea of email trying to find the handful of qualified candidates worth your time. An ATS provides an automated way to qualify candidates before their resume hits your inbox. After all, it can get pretty mind-numbing reading all those resumes. With an ATS you can identify specific keywords and add a few prescreening questions to filter out unqualified candidates. Forbes estimates you can reduce the number of resumes by 75 percent using an ATS.
- You save time and money.
Some sources estimate that a small company with eight employees can save $10,000 or more using an ATS. Your costs are reduced because recruiting becomes more streamlined, the workload of the person responsible for recruiting is reduced, and candidates have a better experience. By focusing on quality applicants, you eliminate many distractions and can quickly move a candidate through your hiring process.
- An ATS can create a better candidate experience.
Used properly, an ATS makes communication with applicants easier and more efficient. Most candidates are unhappy because of a lack of communication with recruiters or hiring managers. With an ATS, you can create templates and standard messages that you can send to candidates to keep them updated.
- Most ATS systems are mobile-friendly.
Candidates are increasingly using mobile devices to apply for positions. According to CareerBuilder, 40 percent of candidates abandon an application process if it is not mobile-friendly.
- An ATS makes analytics and reporting a breeze.
An ATS automates tracking and reporting. You get a dashboard view of all your job openings, step-by-step monitoring of your hiring process, and the ability to track all kinds of data with ease. Bye, bye, spreadsheets!
By now, you’re feeling the love so your next step is to choose the perfect ATS software.
Choosing an ATS Software: the SMB Guide
First, understand that a balance between human interaction and automation is essential. While automation is a growing trend, it can be a double-edged sword. Many candidates report negative experiences with companies using ATS systems. Be intentional about creating a positive candidate experience because that is a critical component of building your employer brand and reputation.
Second, understand what you need from your ATS. The options available can be somewhat overwhelming. Choose the options that are most important to you and focus on the systems that provide those. Examples of features include:
- Ability to decide which job boards you want to use
- Mobile-ready for both candidates and recruiters
- Fast application process that lets candidates apply in minutes
- On demand training, so hiring managers or recruiters can quickly learn the system
- Manage compliance, such as Equal Opportunity Employment regulations
- Resume parsing (uploading resumes)
- Candidate communication capabilities
- Integration with your career page
- Alternative contact methods, such as the ability to text candidates
- Customization and branding options
- Third-party integration, such as payroll and HR management solutions that facilitate onboarding of your new hires
Finally, consider cost. There are some great options from free to high dollar. You may want to start with a free solution like MightyRecruiter that can meet your needs and provide scalability as your business grows. For example, I created a free account and posted a job in about five minutes. MightyRecruiter has plenty of robust features in their free version, which include templates for job ads as well as the ability to choose job boards and customize your career page with your logo and branding. Mighty Recruiter also offers analytics and reporting and can be integrated with your calendar to easily schedule interviews. For a small fee, you can purchase views for resumes in their database.
Most importantly, whatever solution you choose should be simple and easy to use. If the system is overly complicated or difficult to use, you are wasting time and resources. So, make sure you test before you decide. Narrow your choice to two or three and ask for a free trial period. Use all the features to make sure they are intuitive and easy to understand as well as meet your needs.
There is simply no reason not to have an ATS. Share your favorite ATS features and how they have improved your recruiting and hiring process in the comments.