Applicant Tracking System: Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them

Published On
Apr 21, 2023
Read Time
4 Minutes
OnBlick Inc

The modern workplace is ever-changing and fiercely competitive. It’s critical to ensure your hiring practice is as efficient as possible to stay ahead of the curve. Organizations widely use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to streamline their recruitment process. An ATS helps manage candidate applications, screen resumes, and select suitable candidates. However, there are several common mistakes that recruiters and hiring managers make when using an ATS.

This article discusses some such mistakes and offers tips to avoid them.

Applicant Tracking System: A Summary

An applicant tracking system, also known as an ATS, is a comprehensive piece of human resources software that automates the hiring process, aids HR teams in effectively managing all aspects of recruitment (from job posting through onboarding), and alleviates the difficulties and pain points faced by recruiters.

In particular, the system:

• Provides HR teams with access to and organization of job candidate information, including resumes, cover letters, references, and other hiring and recruitment data.

• Keeps track of job seekers and the progress of their applications during the hiring process.

• Determines the greatest fit for a position based on the criteria specified by HR, excluding unqualified applicants. The hiring procedure does not advance anyone who is not on the shortlist.

• Streamlines time-consuming administrative chores like manually screening applicants, scanning resumes, setting up interviews, and sending emails and notifications to potential workers and job candidates.

ATS Mistakes and Ways to Avoid  

Using generic job descriptions: One of the most common ATS mistakes is using generic job descriptions. When creating a job description, it’s essential to be specific about the required skills, experience, and qualifications. A generic job description can attract a pool of unqualified candidates, making it harder to identify the right candidate for the job. Instead, use specific language that matches the job title and the qualifications that the position requires. A specific job description will help ATS to recognize qualified candidates and filter out irrelevant resumes.

Tip: Use industry-specific terminology, relevant keywords, and experience qualifications unique to the position.

Over-reliance on the system: While ATS systems are great for managing large volumes of applications, it’s important not to rely too heavily on them. Relying solely on an ATS system to screen and select candidates can lead to overlooking highly qualified applicants. It must be kept in mind that ATS is not a substitute for human judgment.

Tip: Use ATS as a tool to manage candidate data but do not rely solely on it. Implement a process for reviewing resumes and applications manually so you don’t miss any strong candidates.

Not optimizing the ATS for mobile devices: Mobile device usage has skyrocketed in recent years, and more job seekers are using mobile devices to search and apply for jobs. If your ATS is not mobile-friendly, you may miss out on a large pool of potential candidates.

Tip: Optimize your ATS for mobile devices to make it easy for candidates to apply for jobs, view job postings, and access the ATS platform on the go.

Ignoring candidate engagement: Effective communication is crucial for creating a positive candidate experience. Candidates want to know the status of their application and where they stand in the hiring process. Candidates may become frustrated and disengaged if left in the dark.

Tip: Use automated messaging to keep candidates informed about their application status and the next steps. Keep candidates informed, and provide timely feedback to ensure they remain engaged.

Not customizing candidate communications: Sending generic communications can lead to negative impressions and decrease candidate engagement. Candidates want to feel valued, and personalization of communication shows that you recognize the efforts they put into their job application.

Tip: Use the candidate data in ATS to personalize communication, such as using their name and addressing their experience. This makes the communication feel more personalized and helps you stand out from other organizations.

Over-reliance on screening criteria: ATS systems use screening criteria to filter and rank resumes. These criteria can be helpful, but it’s important not to overlook highly qualified candidates who may not match all the criteria. Over-reliance on screening requirements can result in a lack of diversity in the candidate pool and losing highly qualified candidates.

Tip: Use screening criteria as a guide, but be open to reviewing resumes that may not match all the criteria. Sometimes candidates who do not fit the criteria on paper may have other valuable skills and qualities that make them a perfect candidate for the job.

Failing to review and analyze ATS data: ATS generates valuable data, such as candidate sources and time-to-hire, which can help to identify strengths and areas for improvement in the recruitment process. However, recruiters and hiring managers often overlook these insights.

Tip: Review ATS data regularly to identify areas for improvement in the recruitment process. This data will help refine the recruitment process and improve the candidate experience.

Summing Up

An Applicant Tracking System can be a powerful tool for managing recruitment, but avoiding these common mistakes is essential. By following these tips, recruiters and hiring managers can improve the candidate experience, attract the right candidates, and make informed hiring decisions. We hope you get the most out of the ATS system throughout your subsequent hiring drive.

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