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8 applicant tracking system must-haves for recruiting in 2021

iCIMS Staff
March 4, 2021

Not long ago, only large companies were using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to improve their hiring processes at scale. Today over 95% of Fortune 500 companies use them. Applicant tracking systems have become one of the most critical hiring and recruiting processes—and that’s never truer than for your 2021 recruiting strategies.

Companies of all sizes can use an ATS to leverage powerful recruitment reporting tools, manage candidates more effectively, and improve the onboarding experience.

The difference between a good ATS and a great ATS

Not every ATS is the same. Some solutions don’t include the latest recruiting and outreach processes, such as text recruiting, employee generated videos, and single-click applications. Many lack innovative features that enable you to create truly efficient recruiting strategies that serve your company’s goals and present an ideal candidate experience (like video interviews or talent assessments).

Not only does a great ATS create an engaging candidate experience and streamline efficiencies for users, but a great ATS also helps meet organizational goals. If your organization has DEI hiring plans, needs thorough recruitment analytics for your hiring data, and wants to measure your candidate’s quality, here are a few of the ATS features that can benefit your goals.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) reporting 

Companies that are serious about DE&I use tools to track their progress. They also leverage tools that will help them comply with equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations effortlessly.

Previous iterations of applicant tracking systems, as well as some of today’s solutions, may not include features that support DE&I efforts.

iCIMS’ ATS provides you with data capture for EEO fields like gender identity, race, disability status, and veteran status right out of the box. It includes built-in features that make compliance simple, and all the options available to you align with government guidelines.

Customize your ATS to meet internal DE&I goals 

Your organization can also benefit from features that allow you to customize your DE&I reporting. Look for a solution that will enable you to configure both required fields and selectable options. This allows your company’s legal team to tailor the experience based on your organization’s needs and compliance requirements.

In the future, you can expect more ATS providers to roll out more out-of-the-box DE&I features on their platforms. Look for providers that are releasing features like fully functional DE&I dashboards, as well as in-job widgets (customizable snippets you can place on your company’s website that allow candidates to click and apply for jobs).

Job portal traffic reporting and analytics 

Any ATS you use should provide you with detailed reporting of how many applicants view your jobs, how many are completing applications, and how many applicants started an application but didn’t finish one. Your ATS should also enable you to identify and follow up with potential applicants who may be a good fit for a job but didn’t complete their applications.  

Of course, many recruiters and hiring managers are bombarded with applications every week. You need to be able to scan large quantities of applications to find the right candidates.

With traffic reporting and an analytics function, a job portal can help you do this by pushing powerful AI features. Multiple analytics layers can capture and present important applicant information to focus on the best candidates in your talent pool.

For example, iCIMS has a pre-configured Google Tag Manager solution that captures data on every iCIMS portal for users. This tool allows you to manage all your website tags—the codes and pixels on your website that gather data—without editing code directly.

With the iCIMS system, data is cleaned and presented directly in a dashboard. This gives you access to more granular trends occurring on your job listings. This is how you gain clear data on job clicks, applications started, and more.

Get actionable business intelligence effortlessly 

This type of reporting also serves as business intelligence. Trend-line visualizations gain key insights into your data and eliminate your reliance on third-party consultants. If you use other hiring and recruiting tools that integrate with this feature, you can even use the data to do a more in-depth analysis of your talent pipeline.

Source data 

For recruiters and hiring managers, source data is perhaps the most valuable data stored in an ATS. It can show exactly how candidates discover your open positions and your organization. By analyzing this data, you can make critical business decisions and improve how you attract and engage talent.

For example, you could ask a question like, “Which sources are leading the highest number of candidates to my job listings?” You can then review data that details the total number of candidates you’ve received by source. This will help you see which sources produce candidates and which ones may not be worth as much investment.

Identify the best candidate sources

A good report on source data might show the number of hires made per month via a specific source. You could then go deeper, identifying whether hires from that source increased or decreased over an extended period. This can give you an accurate idea of how effective your recruiting strategies are on specific channels.

Your ATS solution should provide you with data in a format that’s easy to download and understand. That way, you can pinpoint where quality hires are coming from and optimize your recruiting process.

Quality of hire data 

Quality of hire data is often difficult to pinpoint because what qualifies as a quality hire is often subjective to the company. Generally, a quality hire is someone who adds value to the company. That value can be quantified through any number of metrics, such as your turnover rate or even sales revenue generated per quarter.

With the right ATS, generating and collecting this data can be as straightforward or in-depth as you need it to be. For example, you could integrate your ATS into your HRIS to send HR data directly into your ATS reporting mechanism. However, a customizable solution could also allow you to use a simple field that can be ticked to find top performers at your organization.

Once you identify top performers, you can find out where they were sourced as candidates, what types of skills they had when they applied, and what jobs they held previously. This gives you a better idea of what makes candidates top performers at your organization and where they come from.

This process can be as in-depth as you need it to be with the right ATS. You could generate quality of hire data based on competency scores, employee development scores, performance review information, or your internal metrics.

Conduct AI-enhanced searches for star candidates 

The most important task for your ATS in generating quality of hire data is automating as many manual processes as possible.

For example, the iCIMS Talent Cloud AI will soon be able to find your top-performing candidate with a click of a button, then immediately apply an algorithm to those candidate profiles to search a database for similar candidates. You’ll be able to find star candidates based on data like resume information, skills, and even interview feedback.

Get the ATS features you need with the iCIMS Talent Cloud 

Not every ATS will provide you with the features listed above. But the iCIMS Talent Cloud either includes or is in the process of rolling out these features. See the iCIMS Talent Cloud in action to learn more.

Want to learn more about the strategies and tech needed to build a diverse, winning workforce? Check out our 2021 Recruiting Strategies Guide.

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