Best Practices for Implementing an Applicant Tracking System

Published On
Apr 1, 2023
Read Time
4 Minutes
OnBlick Inc

Most businesses know the advantages of modern technology, particularly for managing human resources and tracking operations. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can make the hiring process easier and more productive for a business.

However, integrating the software into the business’s strategy is only the first step. To get the most out of the system, you must implement some best practices that can make the recruitment process efficient and effective.

The best methods for utilizing applicant tracking systems will be discussed in this article.

Applicant Tracking System: An Outline

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.

Preparing to implement ATS in the organization

A significant project involves putting an enterprise ATS into place. Configuring recruiting workflows, creating hiring manager dashboards, developing a candidate site that reflects the employer brand, and migrating applicant data are all on the to-do list. And those are only a handful of the upcoming tasks.

The good news is that if the company chooses a professional organization, the recruiting solution provider has already done this many times. There shouldn't be any surprises at this point because they should have clearly explained their strategy for adopting the ATS in their proposal.

The vendor of talent acquisition technology cannot handle it all by themselves. The same stakeholders on the selection team will need to provide feedback. Hence, after expressing gratitude to the staff for their efforts, engage their help in creating a strategy to deploy the new recruiting solution effectively.

Achieve a smooth transition into the implementation phase and keep the support of these important stakeholders by capturing their knowledge of the ATS and expanding on their connection with the vendor.

Best practices for implementing the ATS

With a well-thought-out implementation strategy, businesses can avoid typical mistakes, put the talent acquisition team in the best possible position for success, and see quick returns on the new recruiting technology.

A thorough implementation plan includes all the steps necessary to deploy and configure the new technology acquisition solution. It outlines what success entails, clarifies who is responsible for what highlights risks so you can address them before the rollout is jeopardized, and fosters strong stakeholder collaboration.

Define your recruitment process: Before implementing an ATS, it's essential to define your recruitment process. This involves mapping out the recruitment process and identifying the various stages involved. For instance, the recruitment process can include sourcing candidates, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, and making job offers.

Once you have identified the stages involved, you can determine the key metrics to track in the ATS. Defining the recruitment process ensures that the ATS aligns with your hiring needs.

Customize your ATS: Most ATS come with standard features, but it's essential to customize yours to align with your recruitment process. This involves configuring the system to track the key metrics identified during recruitment. For instance, you can set up the ATS to automatically send emails to candidates at different stages of the recruitment process.

You can also set it up to generate reports that help you track your hiring progress. Customizing the system ensures that it aligns with your recruitment process and increases effectiveness.

Optimize job descriptions: Job descriptions are the first point of contact between job seekers and employers. Therefore, optimizing job descriptions to attract the right candidates is essential. This involves using keywords that match the job title and responsibilities.

You can also use bullet points to highlight the vital qualifications and requirements for the job. Optimizing job descriptions ensures that the ATS can match the right candidates with the right job openings.

Screen candidates efficiently: Screening candidates is crucial to the recruitment process. An ATS can help automate this process by filtering resumes based on specific keywords and criteria. However, ensuring that the screening criteria are well-defined and aligned with the job requirements is essential. This can help eliminate candidates who don't meet the minimum qualifications, ensuring the recruitment process is well-organized.

Provide a positive candidate experience: A positive candidate experience is essential in attracting and retaining top talent. Therefore, ensuring that the ATS provides a positive candidate experience is necessary. This involves ensuring that the application process is simple and easy to navigate.

You can also provide regular updates to candidates on the status of their applications. A positive candidate experience ensures candidates have a favorable view of your organization, even if they don't get the job.

Collaborate with hiring managers: Collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers is essential in ensuring the recruitment process is effective. An ATS can help facilitate this collaboration by allowing hiring managers to review resumes and provide feedback. Teamwork can also help ensure that job descriptions are well-defined and aligned with the job requirements.

Regularly update the system: An ATS is only effective if it's up-to-date. Therefore, it's essential to periodically update the ATS to ensure it aligns with your recruitment process. This involves updating job descriptions, adding new screening criteria, and configuring new stages in the recruitment process.

Ensure data accuracy: Data accuracy is crucial in making informed recruitment decisions. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that the data in the ATS is accurate. This involves regularly reviewing data to ensure it is up-to-date and correcting any errors.

Utilize analytics: An ATS can generate several reports to help recruiters track their progress. Therefore, it's essential to utilize analytics to gain insights into the recruitment process. Analytics can help identify areas of the recruitment process that need improvement and track key metrics such as time-to-hire and cost-per-hire.

Train recruiters: An ATS is only effective if recruiters know how to use it. Therefore, training recruiters on how to use the ATS effectively is important. This involves providing training on how to customize the ATS, screen candidates, and generate reports. Training can help ensure recruiters use the ATS efficiently, resulting in better hires and a more successful organization.

Integrate the ATS with other HR systems: An ATS can be integrated with other HR systems, such as HRIS and payroll systems. Integrating the ATS with other HR systems can help streamline recruitment and ensure data is shared across different systems. For instance, integrating the ATS with the HRIS can ensure that candidate data is automatically transferred to the employee database once a candidate is hired.

Final Thoughts

An Applicant Tracking System is an essential tool for recruiters in managing the recruitment process. However, recruiters must implement some best practices to get the most out of an ATS. These best practices include defining the recruitment process, customizing the system, optimizing job descriptions, screening candidates efficiently, providing a positive candidate experience, and collaborating with hiring managers.

By implementing these best practices, recruiters can ensure that the recruitment process is effective, resulting in better hires and a more successful organization.

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