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5 Questions to Ask Your Applicant Tracking System Vendor in an Age of Evolution

September 16, 2020
iCIMS Staff
6 min read

Imagine what our lives would be like if a global disruption like COVID-19 came just 10 years earlier.

Hard to envision without the current technologies we all use every day now. No regular users or creative developers of tech solutions would call it perfect, but it’s been incredible to see how today’s video and cloud tech keeps students educated, employees productive, essential items at our door, and of-the-minute updates. I find myself with these thoughts in moments while watching one of the nation’s largest award shows go off without a hitch because of our access to tools that pull video feed and fan interactions from all over the country in real-time (did anyone else catch the VMAs?).

Brands like Zoom, Disney, Instacart, and Instagram set new standards for what connection means at home during this transformative year. That’s why when it comes to hiring, where connection and people are the name of the game, there’s opportunity to hold applicant tracking systems to those same standards. Chatbots, virtual hiring events, text messaging, and automatic job matching; these are all areas where HR tech vendors are innovating to meet today’s recruiters.


Steve Lucas, iCIMS CEO, recently shared with Forbes, “Agility is clearly the name of the game–how your business adapts after the pandemic relies on how you approach two strategies: your people and your technology. If you get both right, you should be golden.”  

Steve Lucas headshot

Here’s what to keep top of mind in your discussions:

  • High-volume and specialty hiring needs for your industry rely on evolved sourcing
  • Reduced resources are best maximized when all HR tools are connected
  • Diverse hiring is requires a strong vendor partnership, coupled with functionality

It’s time to tie pandemic-shaped recruitment priorities to your applicant tracking capabilities.

No one has a crystal ball but as a company, iCIMS has listened closely to the various obstacles, pivots, and creative solutions that those circumstances introduced across our customer base and throughout the industry. Our biggest observation? Despite each employer’s individual response to the pandemic, applicant tracking software is uniquely positioned to support some key priorities.

Now is the time to ask the hard questions to your current vendor, or any applicant tracking software vendors you may be considering. Right now, it’s not about features and functionality of technology. We’re in a pivotal time where your vendor should be an organization you feel confident is leading you through any obstacle to hire the dynamic and diverse talent that will define the next era of your organization.

5 questions to ask your applicant tracking system vendor today, so you’re prepared for tomorrow


1. How can I find and identify quality candidates in the virtual hiring landscape?

Furloughs, layoffs, and unemployment status call for new sourcing strategies, especially to fill highly specific roles. To help solve for these changes, ask about AI recruitment software’s capabilities, including:

    • Job matching algorithms. Read enough job descriptions and they start blurring together. It’s enough to confuse anyone. AI-powered job matching cuts through the white noise and assesses job seekers’ skills, experience, and interests to pair them with best-fit openings.
    • Candidate ranking. Recruiters review a lot of candidates. Candidate ranking saves time by creating shortlists of candidates through a transparent, unbiased review. You get more than just time back; you get the peace of mind knowing all candidates were assessed fairly.
    • Resume parsing. One of the quickest ways to discourage would-be applicants is to ask them to input the same information they just typed out two screens ago. Accurate resume parsing populates application fields quickly and faithfully, saving applicants time and decreasing the likelihood they’ll click out in frustration.
    • 24/7 communication with applicants. Global companies hire all over the world. They need to be able to connect with candidates regardless of country or time zone. Recruiting chatbots can answer questions, schedule interviews, direct job seekers to relevant jobs, and encourage applications.
    • Internal mobility/rehire capabilities. Your applicant tracking software should highlight the best fit for your company, including internal talent. Employers that hire seasonally should also be able to curate strong talent pools for the future with a candidate relationship management system.

For a deep dive on how to build stronger and more dynamic talent pools, download our guide here.

2. How have you considered the unique needs of industries like mine?


Likely, your vendor is working with employers in your industry and can offer best practices for any hiring scenario you find yourself in today from mass hiring of essential roles, to fewer open requisitions with more specialized requirements from specific talent groups. Your applicant tracking system should make those insights readily available to you, in the way your team needs to view them.

We work with companies all over the world in a wide variety of industries, including:

3. Will new tools sync well with our current systems?


Spending the day logging in and out of multiple screens may have been tolerable before, but now it’s crucial that recruiters can operate the various tools they need throughout the hiring process effectively without disruption. Your applicant tracking vendor may offer a level of integrations, but openly discuss your options to sync collaborative working tools like Microsoft Teams, or virtual hiring essentials like video interviewing software, task simulation assessments, and your employee system of record. While on that topic, bring up data and reporting consistency to determine opportunities for complete compliance while remote.

Here’s a recent article shared by our VP of Corporate Development, Mike Wilczak on how collaboration and communication tools are coming together to strengthen HR tech.

4. How can we optimize our workflow to support limited resources and higher ROI demand?


Your team may be working with fewer resources, which gives you the opportunity to optimize your workflow. Look into the way your recruiters complete tasks from sourcing to onboarding and how many of the steps are currently automated. Workflow reports can be a huge help in determining where to focus your efforts. Any manual tasks are opportunities to make small changes, within your applicant tracking system, that result in more time and higher-quality hires with even less effort. For tips on optimizing your offer workflow, check out this definitive guide to the process.

5. How is the system evolving to meet diversity and inclusion standards?


Talent diversification is a key to building high-performing teams to serve your business, yet many employers are not sure exactly how this links to the way they use applicant tracking software. As building a workforce of belonging grows on the priority list, it’s critical to see how your vendor supports unbiased, and data-driven decisions in every stage of the hiring process.


Dive into more stories, strategies, and tactics for diversity and inclusion in recruiting here.

Growth, whether monetary or cultural, isn’t a choice for today’s organizations. Those who embrace it in stride the same way we’ve all mastered our video call backgrounds will make 2020 the year of impact. Start the conversation about how today’s tech innovation can do the heavy lifting for you.

Read the best practices for making the quick shift to virtual hiring that are helping employers worldwide introduce the strongest iteration of their workforce yet. Download it here.

virtual hiring cta

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