Today’s job market may favor employers rather than applicants, but a bigger pool doesn’t always mean an easier, more efficient, or more effective hiring process.

How to Recruit the Best Applicant

We’ve put together a concise guide to how applicant tracking system software can help you reach, recruit, and hire the right people for your organization.

Step #1: Get the right job description to the right people.

The first crucial step in any successful hiring process is making sure that the right people are seeing your ads. There are two separate factors to consider.

First, is your job description accurate and written in such a way as to attract the right people and dissuade those who aren’t right for the job? Second, is the ad being placed where the right people will get a chance to see it?

Make sure that your job description includes the title of the job, its purpose, and a summary of its general nature and status. Include only quantifiable specifications and requirements. Qualifying factors like “detail-oriented” or “enthusiastic” only encourage applicants to assure you they have these qualities, but how could you know for certain before they are hired?

Utilize your ATS systems to automate and track your job postings, and tailor your postings to field-specific online boards, regionally specific job boards, and job websites that are popular with applicants that want to work at organizations like your own.

Step #2: Know what you need… and what you want.

They’re not the same thing. For example, do you absolutely require a bachelor’s degree, or would several years of experience in the field be just as desirable? What skills can be learned on the job, and which do you need applicants to come prepared to exercise immediately? Make sure that these are expressed in no uncertain terms in your job description.

You can use the application management features in your application tracking software to sort, filter, and search resumes for keywords and fulfilled requirements. It can prepare an initial short list for you to review as well. Your software solution may also include features like auto-responding to applicants.

If you need to communicate with applicants at this stage, to clarify requirements, answer questions, or begin the interview process, you’ll find communication tracking and management invaluable. And if you’re working with many different applicants, or with a hiring committee, automatically creating concise, informative profiles is another great feature to look for in your ATS system.

Step #3: Screen, test, and confirm.

Communication management will also come in handy later in the hiring process, once you have chosen a likely potential candidate. The candidate that gave a great interview and handed over an impressive resume might be the one—but don’t jump the gun. This is the stage where many organizations, large and small alike, fall short. Check references. Call to verify employment. Verify education, if necessary. Test and assess the skills you require.

This part of the process may seem redundant and/or tedious, but it is key to making sure that your choice is the right choice, before you invest more resources in this candidate. ATS solutions also can include pre-employment assessments and pre-screening processes to streamline this step. Advanced ATS solutions also may include automated certification or background checks, and special tools for confirming referrals.

Choosing the Right ATS Solution

The right ATS solution makes all the difference when it’s time to hire the right candidate for your organization. Evaluate your current hiring processes. What steps do you need to keep? What should be improved? What new steps could be added? This is a good working list for when you begin shopping around for the ATS solution that fits your company’s needs.

Our guide to Applicant Tracking Solutions can help you further refine that list, and compare the features and benefits currently offered by the best vendors in the field. Not every company, whether large or small, may need advanced features like video interviewing or social media connectivity. Other companies may need premium features like online self-service portals for their candidates, and storing and tracking candidates who may be a good fit for a future position. And of course, pricing and deployment strategies also require consideration.

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