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ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software helps hiring managers and recruiters to manage and automate their recruitment workflow, typically by scanning and storing resumes, tracking and filtering job applicants, matching candidates with open positions, and scheduling interviews.
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According to a GetApp survey, shortage of skilled candidates tops the list of challenges faced by the recruiters. The reason why recruiters are not able to find top talent are:
Time-consuming hiring processes such as resume filtering and candidate screening: Applicants are likely to quit the job if they find the interview process lengthy.
Lack of recruitment tools to automate the hiring process.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) can help small businesses automate, simplify and fasten the entire recruiting process from sourcing to testing and selecting the top talents. With the help of ATS, recruiters can send regular updates to the candidate regarding the status of their job application. This way candidates feel more engaged during the entire recruiting process.
With more than 150 applicant tracking software available to choose, how to decide which is best suitable for your small business? We've created this guide to help you select the best applicant tracking tool. In this buyer's guide, we define the core features of ATS, look at the deployment options, highlight emerging trends, and list important questions that you should ask potential vendors before purchasing a solution.
Jump to the following sections for a quick look:
Applicant tracking software helps to streamline the recruitment workflow by automating time-consuming tasks such as resume filtering, candidate screening, and scheduling interviews.
ATS helps recruiters manage candidate data such as personal details, demographic information, and salary expectations in a centralized location. This allows recruiters to manage candidate pipeline and track applicant status throughout the process of hiring.
Did you know that hiring a wrong employee could cost you an average of $14,900 per year? Especially small businesses that are on a budget constraint, the cost of a bad hire can be devastating.
To select the right ATS tool for your business, you first need to understand the various types of solutions in the market. The next section breaks down the most common types of ATS software:
Standalone ATS software: It is installed on each system at the client's site. A standalone ATS is configurable and has the ability to tailor workflows, roles, and approvals to existing processes. If your business' focus is on advanced recruiting functionality, choose standalone ATS software.
Integrated ATS software: This software helps you to integrate applicant tracking module with the existing HR software or any other disparate systems. Small businesses that want a single software suite to implement multiple HR features, should consider integrated systems. An integrated software helps you to save costs and stores all the HR data in a single database.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Is your software suitable for my business size and for the kind of business I do?
After you decide the type of software you need, the next step is to select the right deployment model. Given below are the deployment methods of most solutions:
This kind of deployment is offered in a per user per month subscription model. The applicant data is stored on the cloud, which helps recruiters to access the data on any device and from any location with internet access. Cloud-based software does not require installation or maintenance expenses.
This option is available through a license agreement and the software is hosted on the client's location. On-premise deployment requires a high level of security and dedicated IT support to manage the solution. Generally, this kind of deployment is costly as it requires a complex setup and installation process.
Web-based: ATS tools can be deployed on intranet or browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Since its web-based, applicant data is stored on a central server, don't need to need to copy files or applications from one computer to another.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the pricing plans for your ATS tool based on the deployment option?
In this section, we've covered the key ATS software features that you should consider before purchasing a solution. Most small businesses will need most of these features.
Helps to track candidates at each step of the hiring process, such as screening, interview, selection, etc. The feature allows managers to provide feedback on an applicant's profile post interview.
Applicant tracking feature in skeeled
Automates the routine tasks such as resume sourcing, candidate screening, and sending email notifications to candidates. The feature allows recruiters to add applicant data in custom fields based on roles, education, and job status. This saves HR tons of time and allows them to focus on other essential tasks.
Applicant workflow management in Recruiterbox
Candidate communications tracking:
Helps to maintain a record of the candidate interaction with the hiring team over various communication channels such as phone, email, etc. The feature allows candidates to track the status of their job application so that they're engaged during the recruitment process.
Candidate communication tracking in SmartRecruiters
Helps to track, schedule, and manage candidate interviews. The feature helps recruiters to create a prebuilt set of interview questions and rating parameters to better evaluate the applicants.
Interview management in Interact
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the most relevant features in your software that best suit my business requirements?
Here are some of the integrations that you should consider integrating into the ATS solution you purchase:
Social media platforms: Integrating social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook with your ATS can help you to post jobs on different social media channels in one go. Additionally, you can take advantage of social media analytics to better evaluate which social media platform yields better results for your hiring process.
Email communications tools: Integrate email communication tools, such as Gmail or Outlook to track the communication between recruiters and the candidates. Additionally, for mass mailing campaigns, you need to integrate with an email marketing software to send the hiring emails to multiple candidates.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are all the integrations you offer in your solution that can help my small business?
Now that you've understood the common software features and integrations, the next step is to evaluate the advanced features that you could need. We haven't labeled these features as “common", but some of these could be vital to you based on your business type.
Applicant ranking: Score and rank candidates based on interactions during their screening and their answers in pre-screening questionnaires. Additionally, recruiters can save this data to maintain relationships with the candidates for future opportunities.
Schedule automatic emails: Schedule automated feedback emails to candidates about the status of their job application so that they're engaged during the recruitment process.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What additional ATS features does your solution offers that can help my small business?
Watch out for the following software trends in the applicant tracking industry to stay ahead of your competition:
Mobile ATS to engage candidates: According to a career builder survey, 70 percent of applicants search for jobs on their mobile phone. Optimizing ATS for mobile– will help candidates to apply for jobs from their smartphone and track the status from any location. Expect this trend to be more critical for businesses to attract top talent and provide them with an engaging experience during the recruitment process.
AI for recruitment: According to a LinkedIn report, recruiters and hiring managers believe that artificial intelligence helped them in sourcing candidates (58 percent), screening applicants (56 percent), nurturing candidates (55 percent), and engaging candidates (24 percent). An ATS coupled with AI can automate the resume screening process and reduce the time and cost of candidate sourcing and screening. AI can help recruiters to stack-rank candidates those are most suitable for the job based on pre-set criteria such as skills, work experience, location, etc.
We referenced the following documents while creating this guide:
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