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A Recruiters Guide to Application Tracking Systems

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Gone are the days of a hiring manager and their team filtering through hundreds, if not thousands, of cover letters and resumes to find the select handful they wish to interview for a position.

Application Tracking Systems (ATS) have helped revolutionise the recruitment process, making the lives of hiring managers and those in the human resources department much easier and enhancing overall business efficiency.

A recent study found that 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies are now using an Applications Tracking System.

What is an ATS?

When a candidate applies for a job online, their resume doesn’t always go directly to a recruiter or hiring manager. Increasingly, it’s first processed by an ATS. 

An ATS is a software tool that recruiters and hiring managers primarily use to collect, organise, and qualify large numbers of applications simultaneously across a number of roles. They are able to manage the entire recruitment process from start to finish.

Job seekers who submit their cover letter and resume through an online portal are interacting with an ATS.

Examples of ATS’ include Bullhorn and PageUp.

Why do companies use an ATS?

Companies use an ATS for a number of reasons to enhance their human resources operations, but first, it’s important to understand why the technology was developed.

In the digital age, the ease at which a candidate can submit an online job application created a challenge for many businesses. Online job advertisements can attract an abundance of applicants, a portion of which apply as a kind of gamble. They figure it’s ‘worth a shot’. These applicants are often grossly unqualified and ultimately unsuitable for the position, yet they apply anyway.

This results in a lack of efficiency and a great deal of time wastage for recruiters.

Rather than sorting through a pile of printed out applications, recruiters now utilise an ATS to keep themselves organised, efficient and filter the quality of the candidates they interview for a multitude of roles.

An effective ATS allows organisations to manage every step of the hiring process in one platform. It is a part of the digital transformation of recruitment that leading businesses adopted to keep pace with their competitors and improve their own operations.

Companies are also able to prove their legal compliance with the use of an ATC in terms of areas such as equal opportunity recruitment.

How does an ATS makes the job of recruiters easier?

Hiring managers can have their ATS automatically extract information from an applicant’s cover letter and resume to build a digital profile that can be filtered, ranked, and even revisited at a later date.

The goal is to quickly cull out anyone who is under-qualified or unsuitable, consolidate the talent pool, and swiftly identify the top candidates.

This increases the quality of the recruit and improves the overall speed of the recruiting process, which in turn saves the business financially.

Applicants benefit too

A quality ATS can also enhance the candidate’s experience. A negative experience during the application process can damage a company’s brand and impact whether top candidates even want to work for the organisation at the conclusion.

An effective ATS can negate this by negating any risks of confusion or a lack of communication. Keeping applicants updated through clear dialogue at every stage of the process portrays respect for their time and effort. This in turn, develops brand reputation and encourages candidates to apply for another role in the future.

How do remote conditions make an ATS a requirement?

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased adoption of digital technologies, has not just made an ATS important, but essential.

The advent of COVID-19 forced many companies to re-think the way they do business. They were forced to adapt and overcome. Social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions were obstacles that many human resources were faced with. To keep the recruitment process alive, businesses turned to virtual recruitment.

A shift to digital recruiting requires effective ATS measures. Smart companies automated their hiring processes and utilised virtual interviewing platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

With many professionals now working from home for good post lockdown, ATS are going to be relied upon even more in the years to come.

ATS integrations: What are they and why are they important?

It’s vital to have an ATS that integrates with the data in an organisation’s existing human resources systems and other leading platforms such as Xref.

An ATS such as SmartRecruiters is fully integrated with the supreme reference-checking technology of Xref, enhancing SmartRecruiters’ ability to provide full source-to-hire capabilities for the modern workforce.

If a business is utilising multiple systems that aren’t effectively integrated during the application process, it can lead to costly delays, errors, frustration, and the potential loss of talent availability.

ATS integration accelerates the speed of the hiring process, fosters clear communication and engagement with the candidate, improves the quality of their experience, and increases the overall quality of the onboarding.

You can see all of Xref’s integration partners here.

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