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What to Look for in Applicant Tracking Software
Monday, Dec 19, 2016

On the brink of a new year (and for most, a new corporate budget) the pursuit of new business technology solutions is top of mind. Right now, as HR departments are assembling annual reports and presenting talent acquisition and retention strategies, a lot of different pain points can bubble up to the surface. Before you start looking into specific providers for applicant tracking software, take an honest assessment of the challenges facing your organization and think hard about what will have the most impact on reaching your goals.

First, ask yourself a few questions. Are you hoping to transition from manual or separate office systems to a more unified software environment? Do you expect to have a high volume of roles to fill next year with varying skill levels? If so, building well-organized pools of pre-qualified candidates is key. Or, on the flip side, does your organization have challenges with expediting the screening processes for a large and growing pool of applicants for certain popular positions? Or are you simply looking to strengthen your talent pipeline and find more candidates quickly, easily and within budget? Once you identify and prioritize these areas of your current hiring processes, it’s much easier to identify the right technology solution to address your needs.

Automation and Organization

Efficiency is always a good thing, but elusive without the rights tools in place. Whether you’re currently using Excel spreadsheets and home-grown process documents to manually organize your recruitment strategy, or have suffered with a problematic, low functioning applicant tracking module thrown by an existing HRIS or ERP provider, you’re probably wasting a lot of valuable time (at least five hours per week, according to recruiter surveys). 

When seeking a full suite of talent acquisition solutions, including a powerful applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll want to look for these basic, but invaluable, components: proven implementations and integrations, an exceptional customer service experience, and an intuitive user interface (UI). Automated job board postings are a must-have, as are progressive social recruiting tools that allow you publish to 300+ social networks, create Facebook jobs microsites and facilitate employee referral programs. To round out a complete talent acquisition suite, onboarding and recruitment marketing or candidate relationship management (CRM) tools can help you create a much more personalized and full-circle hiring experience for your job candidates and new employees through automated email campaigns and easy online forms.  

A Great Experience on Both Sides of the Coin

Job seekers approach the hiring process much differently today. For applicant tracking software to be successful, it has to account for all the ways candidates find and research prospective employers, including on social networks and mobile devices. According to surveys conducted by iCIMS, 70 percent of job seekers say they have tried to search for a job on their mobile device, but only 60 percent of employers have a mobile-optimized career site and less than half have a mobile-optimized job application process. That means that the majority of people conducting job research on their phones are met with career websites that require pinching, pulling and click after click to get to any meaningful information. And worse, when they finally get to the application phase, they find that they’re not able to easily upload their resume and contact information until they can get to a desktop computer. If your applicant tracking software isn’t mobile-friendly and doesn’t allow for uploads from social profiles or file sharing sites like Dropbox, you could be turning a lot of great candidates away.

Within the organization, hiring managers can also benefit greatly from mobile recruitment technology. A mobile hiring manager app places the interview process in the hiring manager’s hand wherever they are. When hiring managers are able to sign into the system to easily view all candidates for their jobs, as well as each candidate’s stage in the hiring process, they begin to have access to the “bigger picture” they need to fill jobs more quickly and reduce log-jams along the way. When the average resume, once submitted to an organization, spends 37 percent of the hiring process with the hiring manager, timely feedback can make all the difference in getting to the right hire faster.

Powerful Data Insights

While business leaders agree that hiring the right person can be critical to the success of an organization, the process of finding qualified candidates has become increasingly more difficult and concerning. According to a PwC survey, 93 percent of CEOs recognize that they need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent, but 61 percent don’t know where to start. This is your chance to provide key insights into the complicated hiring landscape, select the best talent acquisition solutions provider and demonstrate the value of your recruitment investments.

The right vendor will not only be able to offer proven results, best practice guides and a broader perspective on evolving hiring trends, it will give you the tools to package those things into a winning strategy. Robust applicant tracking software can offer access to the full spectrum of talent acquisition data to help organizations make smarter, more efficient business decisions. Data insights, over time, will empower employers to gauge the health of their talent pipeline, identify the strength of conversion source and make accurate predictions regarding time-to-fill. That information is extremely valuable for company leadership.

To put it most simply: Hiring software needs to be scalable and easy-to-use for recruiters and hiring managers, streamline processes and reporting for executive leadership, and most of all, deliver an engaging experience for candidates to quickly find and apply for jobs.