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Thursday, January 19, 2017

LaurenThursday, January 19, 2017


7 Shortcuts To Choosing The Right Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

The word most often heard from Human Resource professionals, business owners and recruiters is “overwhelmed.” Faced with multiple levels of staff positions to fill, piles of applications (whether digital or hard copy), data to disseminate, filtering, reviewing, background checking and eventually actually interviewing and hiring an applicant is indeed overwhelming.

This article offers shortcuts to help you decide which ATS is best for you.

1. WHAT’S THE POINT OF AN ATS? In a nutshell, a good applicant tracking system matches candidates with jobs, filters out unqualified applicants, organizes data and distributes it, offers video interviewing and background checks, and systemizes the hiring process. It should do all this while saving you and your company time and money. 90% of large corporations, 50% of mid-size companies and a growing percentage of small businesses use ATS (WSJ, Jan 2012). The average cost of recruiting, drug testing, hiring, training, etc. can cost upwards of $3,500 (Investopedia, February 2015). THE SHORTCUT: The right ATS can make this whole process easier, less expensive, more accurate and streamlined. If those attributes look worthwhile to you, then read on.

2. WHO ARE YOU? Is your organization large or small? Does it have constant turnovers, interns, long-term hires or all the above? Do you work with children? Have drivers (i.e. trucks, taxis, limos, etc.)? What are the government requirements for EEOC, Time-to-Hire and on-demand reports? Your first job is to clarify your parameters, so the ATS you choose not only has all the features you need, but can also scale down or up to suit your needs. Not all ATS programs have this flexibility. THE SHORTCUT: A good ATS advisor will help you narrow down your needs right up front. The result should be a profitable ROI within the first six to eight months, max.

3. ARE YOU SPINNING TOO MANY PLATES AT ONCE? SPINNING PLATES There’s an act from the old Ed Sullivan Show of a man whose specialty is spinning plates atop several tall poles. It’s a pretty impressive display of multitasking – the trick was he had to run from pole to pole and jiggle each one to keep the plates spinning. Seeing it, you feel his anxiety – and frankly it’s exactly how many HR professionals feel. Too many unqualified applications coming in from too many sources, too many software programs demanding repetitive information, and no effective way to distribute information and applications to your team. THE SHORTCUT: Find one ATS that does it all: selects the best recruits; funnels all data into one structured view; then automatically distributes the best applications to the appropriate team members and decision makers. Just one plate and no spinning required.

4. IS IT GOOD FOR THEM TOO? So far, we’ve determined that the ATS you choose has to be efficient and easy to use – for you. But what about your recruit? The best candidates have many companies looking at them. To reach them, your job postings must be visible on social media as well as online job boards. And applications must be optimized for all devices – two-thirds of all applicants use smart phones to apply for jobs. And if you’re offering your job to out-of-towners, video interviewing is a must – more on this later. THE SHORTCUT: Your ATS must be “responsive” to all mobile platforms. This flexibility alerts your top recruits that your company is tech-savvy and easy to apply to.

5. THE ONE THAT ALMOST GOT AWAY. It happens. The ideal candidate’s application comes in a few days too late. The position is filled, but he wants to stay in touch. A good ATS will automatically alert previous applicants via text or email the moment an appropriate job opens up at your company. THE SHORTCUT: Make sure your ATS offers Automated Job Alerts.

6. VIDEO INTERVIEWING VS. PHONE INTERVIEWSVideo Interviewing In my opinion, Video Interviewing is the greatest advancement in business since the invention of Happy Hour. Remember the dark ages when you had to call candidates on the phone and spend 30 minutes or more trying to get a sense of who they were? Enter Video Interviewing. This mobile-friendly feature means your top candidates can now video themselves answering a custom set of questions, and your team can all evaluate it in seconds. THE SHORTCUT: Ask your ATS sales rep if you can get Video Interviewing à la carte and try it out. I promise you’ll be hooked.

7. YOU’RE NOT ALONE Okay. So, you’ve narrowed down your choices to the best ATS companies for your needs, but how do you choose just one? It all boils down to great customer service. You want to know that the customer service system will be there when you need it. That they’ll set up your system, troubleshoot it and are available if you have questions. THE SHORTCUT: Get the lowdown: Costs and availability? Dedicated account rep? Response time? Customer references? If you don't get the service you want, it isn't the right ATS for you.

BOTTOM LINE: The research you put in before you choose an applicant tracking system will pay off for years to come. Find a company whose business culture, financial arrangements, and customer service record aligns with your expectations.

Lauren Lund Berris is a freelance writer who specializes in business and technology articles.