There are two broad classes of Applicant Tracking System users. The first are businesses that use such systems for their own hiring processes, and the second are recruiting agencies that use such solutions to handle hiring operations on behalf of their clients.
There are many similarities between both software solutions and we'll focus on the solutions businesses use for their own hiring processes.
Companies have thought out their candidate sourcing processes carefully if they are able to achieve the following results:
Good hiring programs do not end with the offer letter; they also provide a clear checklist that takes their new hires through a well-defined onboarding process and offer relevant resources for the new employee to acquire the necessary knowledge to become an effective team member. This further helps in the retention of good employees.
A few years ago, applicant tracking was just a module in HR Management solutions that businesses used. Resume parsing, candidate sourcing and online recruiting were the basic features of such solutions. Now organizations understand the complexity of the task, and are looking for solutions that are specifically tailored for online recruiting. It has been estimated that as many as 84% of the businesses that are doing a great job attracting and retaining top talent are using specialist Applicant Tracking Systems.
Modern Applicant Tracking Systems have gone way beyond what traditional HR systems were capable of. Previous systems were used to process resumes and keep track of applicants. Modern systems encompass a much larger range of activities. These include:
Many small businesses may be able to get along without a formal Applicant Tracking System, while for others such a system may be absolutely mandatory. Look at the list below and tick off the items that apply to you. If you find yourself checking several points from the list, you would benefit from deploying an ATS.
Before businesses approach vendors to learn about solution details and ask for demos, it is important to understand their existing applicant management processes. They must be clear about:
Several people may be involved in the above processes. They must be identified and roles should be clearly stated.
Once the above is clear, you should be able to draw up a few specific instances of how candidate selection is actually carried out. These instances should deal with the cases you most often deal with so that vendors have clarity about what you will mostly use the solution for.
Feature lists can be broken down into three groups - basic, intermediate and advanced. Most implementations will have all the basic features and a selection of the intermediate or advanced features.
Once a business has an understanding of its own hiring processes, feature selection is much easier.
Another basic consideration is ease of use. Previously, hiring software was meant to be used only by recruiters. This is not the case anymore; modern ATS is used by employees and candidates as well. An increasing number of qualified candidates expect the process from job search to final decision to be smooth, transparent and quick. Therefore, ease of use has become an important parameter.
Reports are also important, because executives will require a quick overview of the selection process. They also help in documenting compliance with existing laws and regulations.
Managing referrals by existing employees is extremely important. Nearly a quarter of all successful hires are a result of referrals from existing employees. On-boarding of new employees is equally critical, because it ensures the employee fits in fast and becomes productive quickly.
Once you have short listed solutions you find suitable, the next step is vendor selection. It is important to check how long the vendor has been in business and the size of their customer base. Ask for client references and visit them to see the solution running in a live scenario, as it's a good idea to speak to the actual users of the system.
It is important to find out the quality of support the ATS vendor provides, and how responsive they are to customer calls and requests. There are a number of review sites that should be visited to read what users have to say about the solution you are considering.
There are several pricing models in use. Typical costs are shown below.
In some cases, there could be a set-up fee in addition to the above charges.
Both web-based and on-premise options are available. Web based solutions are easier to deploy because very little set-up is required. Managing data is simpler and you do not need any additional staff to manage the solution itself. Being web-based makes it easy to connect to the careers portal via a smartphone, something that candidates are increasingly looking for.
Deploying the solution on your own servers makes sense if there is a requirement for extensive customization or if you have some very specific requirements that cannot be met by a web-based solution.
It has become critically important to fill important vacancies fast. However, businesses must follow a carefully structured process to sourcing the right candidates. Using a well designed Applicant Tracking System ensures that the selection process is objective, responsibility for various actions in the recruitment process is recorded, compliance with various laws that affect recruitment is assured and candidates have a good experience going through the selection process.