4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs an Applicant Tracking System
By: Zoe Stanley
The recruitment process can be very complex and time-consuming, from sourcing candidates to reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. Keeping track of all the steps involved and multiple (sometimes hundreds) candidates can feel overwhelming. If you need help keeping up with the hiring process, we have a solution that could help. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a valuable tool that can streamline your hiring process and improve efficiency.
Let’s consider this scenario for a moment: A recent study found that companies had seven new job postings, on average, in May 2023 – sometimes double this for larger companies – and it took approximately 140 applicants to fill each role.
So, if your organization has seven open roles and making a hire takes 140 candidates, that’s 980 applicants needed to fill all of these roles each month. That’s a lot of resumes to review and candidates to keep track of!
Keep reading to learn more about what an ATS is, how it works, and why it’s worth considering for your organization.
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software recruiters and hiring managers use to efficiently track and manage candidates throughout the entire recruitment and hiring process.
An ATS offers various tools for managing applicants and job requisitions, empowering businesses of all sizes to streamline and automate their recruitment efforts.
Modern applicant tracking systems are more than just a basic candidate database. They offer end-to-end hiring solutions like scheduling tools, candidate relationship management (CRM) software, and human resource information systems (HRIS) integration, too.
How an ATS Works
While we’ve established what an ATS is, let’s review how it works within your organization and recruitment process.
Your recruitment team can start by creating, approving, and posting job requisitions along with a custom application form for candidates to use to apply for the job.
Some ATS software, like our very own TCR Hire, also lets you post open roles on multiple job boards. This ensures that your job openings get maximum visibility and reach a wider pool of potential candidates.
Most applicant tracking systems allow users to customize and apply your company’s branding, acting as your careers page and enhancing the applicant experience. Now, when candidates start applying for your jobs, all of their information will be added to your ATS database, such as their contact information and resume.
From here, recruiters can use the system to review applications, message candidates via email or text, and schedule interviews with a built-in scheduler. The ATS offers candidate ranking and tagging capabilities, allowing recruiters to categorize and evaluate applicants based on specific criteria.
And once you conduct an interview, they can add different tags and upload any additional documents to the candidate’s profile, such as an updated resume and interview notes, to help with the final evaluation process.
After identifying the ideal candidate for your job opening, recruiters can use the platform to help conduct pre-employment screenings and reference checks. You can also use it to share new-hire and onboarding paperwork like W-4 or direct deposit.
Remember, though, that each ATS will function a bit differently, so be sure to find one that suits your business’s unique needs!
The Benefits of Using an Applicant Tracking System Software
Regardless of your business’s scope or size, an ATS can truly transform your recruitment workflows to easily hire qualified candidates. Here are just some of the benefits of using an ATS.
1. Save Time and Money
It can be challenging to quickly fill all job vacancies while also providing candidates with proper support throughout the hiring process. Fortunately, an ATS can help!
In fact, using an ATS was proven to help shorten the time-to-hire by up to 20%. And a recent report found that 86% of ATS users reported that it helped them significantly speed up the hiring process.
ATS features and tools, such as automated workflows and convenient integrations, can help businesses optimize and automate their recruitment process – a.k.a saving recruiters and hiring managers a lot of time and energy!
Saving time in the hiring process also translates to saving money. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that the average cost per hire is almost $4,700.
However, employers often estimate that the total cost of hiring a new employee can even be three to four times the position’s salary. This cost can come from reduced productivity and lost revenue when a critical role remains unfilled.
An ATS automates hiring tasks, freeing up your team’s time to foster deeper connections with candidates and make more informed hiring decisions.
2. Have a Centralized Platform for Shared Storage and Access
Are you running out of space to share and save recruitment-related documents? Or are your hiring documents scattered across different employees’ desktops, endless spreadsheets, or a mix of paper and digital formats?
If you’re in any of these scenarios, you can certainly benefit from an applicant tracking system.
An applicant tracking system offers businesses a secure digital platform to store and manage candidate details, interview notes, and hiring documents. This eliminates the risk of misplacing important documents or not knowing if they exist in paper or digital form.
Using an ATS is an excellent method of avoiding paper clutter and keeping track of the entire hiring process in one place, particularly if multiple team members need access to these documents.
Besides this, properly retaining hiring records is actually required by law! According to SHRM, selection, hiring, and employment records include the following:
- Job applications
- Job ads
- Screening tools/tests
- Interview notes and other records related to hire/no-hire decisions
Federal law requires that employers retain these hiring documents for one year after creating the document or the hire/no-hire decision – whichever is later.
ATS software allows for effortless integration with other software, eliminating the need to switch platforms. This means you can easily incorporate email and communication tools like Slack and Outlook, conduct pre-employment screenings and reference checks, and even send offer letters and new-hire paperwork, all within one system.
With TCR Hire, you can integrate our sister company, BackgroundBrief, with the ATS to conduct background checks and other pre-employment screenings!
Storing all necessary documents on a single platform ensures compliance and convenience to access everything in one central place.
3. Use a Unified Inbox for all Positions and Communication
One of the biggest challenges of modern recruitment is keeping track of all the different communication channels you use with candidates.
You might be sending emails, scheduling interviews on Google Calendar, and following up via text. And this can all lead to jumbled email chains, miscommunications, and scheduling issues.
An applicant tracking system can help you reduce email clutter and streamline your communication with candidates. With an ATS, you can have one inbox for all positions and send messages to candidates via SMS texts or customized email templates.
So, if one of your recruiters is on vacation, the person covering for them can see the messages that have been sent and pick up right where they left off without skipping a beat!
Especially with TCR Hire, you can integrate the ATS with popular calendar apps, like Google or Outlook, to simplify coordinating and scheduling interviews with candidates and multiple team members.
You can also assign specific permission levels and sharing settings to help keep key people – like managers – informed. This way, everyone who needs to be involved in the hiring process is always up-to-date on the position and candidate status.
In short, an ATS can help you reduce email clutter, create a hub for candidate communication, and ensure you never miss an email or experience a communication interruption.
4. Increase Reach and Applicant Traffic
One of the main goals of recruitment is to attract as many high-quality applicants as possible. The more people you have applying, the better your chances of finding the perfect fit for the job. And having a bigger pool of potential hires means you can keep nurturing your talent pipeline for future roles.
An ATS provides a platform to reach more candidates through an integrated network of job boards, social media posting abilities, and referral program tools.
It allows you to post jobs on multiple boards, track their performance, and attract a diverse pool of candidates, which is particularly beneficial for businesses with multiple locations.
However, merely posting jobs on various boards is not enough. To address the high drop-off rate in online job applications (92%), organizations must prioritize improving the candidate experience from application to offer.
Candidates value a mobile-friendly experience, a quick application process, and meaningful communication, and with an ATS, you can create custom application forms that enhance user-friendliness and reduce friction.
Fortunately, you can easily create your own custom application forms through your ATS to make the application process user-friendly and effortless. Factors like the inability to apply via mobile or requiring account creation before applying can deter potential candidates.
To ensure a seamless candidate experience, we recommend having your recruiters test the application process by applying for one of your open positions. This allows you to identify and address any issues beforehand, ensuring that all interactions feel personalized and timely.
If you hire for multiple roles each month or even throughout the year, an applicant tracking system can improve and simplify this process immensely.
Are you looking for the best applicant tracking systems for small businesses? Want to use a company founded in Portland and run by a local PDX company? Look no further than TCR Hire!
TCR Hire is a one-stop Applicant Tracking System to simplify and streamline your custom recruitment process. This includes posting to multiple job boards, managing candidates in a centralized location, storing interview documents, and automating time-consuming paperwork.
Contact the True Calling Recruitment Team to learn more and how we can get your applicant tracking system set up through TCR Hire!