The Ultimate Guide to Applicant Tracking Software

If 2022 has taught us anything, it’s that the employee experience is everything – and it starts before day one. The recruitment process is the first impression most candidates will have of your business, so getting it right is essential. 

An applicant tracking system (ATS) will streamline the hiring process, tracking candidates and saving you time, money, and stress. This software helps recruiters automate the more administrative functions of their role, so they can focus more time on engaging with potential employees.

What is applicant tracking software?

In short, an applicant tracking system is software that enables HR departments, recruiters, and hiring managers to attract, source, evaluate, and hire talent with ease. Often powered by artificial intelligence (AI), an ATS allows businesses to connect with top candidates faster and more efficiently – calling for little manual intervention or input. 

ATS systems streamline the collection, tracking, and evaluation of job applicants by allowing companies to create job postings, collect applications, store resumes and other application materials, and perform initial assessments of candidates in an automated manner. This is vital for companies looking to hire efficiently and quickly scale their workforce. 

What features are offered by applicant tracking software?

As with other technologies, applicant tracking systems aren’t all built the same. But there are a few core similarities. Most systems provide the following: 

Talent attraction and resume parsing

At the initial stages of the search process, ATS systems often include tools for creating and publishing job postings to various job boards and other online platforms, including multi-channel job broadcasting functionalities. 

Many ATS systems include “resume parsing” functionality, which allows them to automatically extract important information (such as work experience, education, and skills) from job applicants’ resumes and store it in a structured format. Once candidate resumes have been identified by an ATS platform, recruiters can quickly sort through them according to specific criteria. This allows them to quickly compare potential hires side by side based on factors important to the hiring process.

Screening and interview management

Whether you’re hiring multiple candidates at once, or shortlisting a large pool of job seekers, it’s difficult to keep track. You need to monitor who you’ve contacted, what stage they’re at in your hiring process, and who’s due a follow-up. A good applicant tracking tool will allow you to organise and filter by assigned tags or groups, accept and reject applicants, and simplify the scheduling process – all in one place. 

From a candidate experience perspective, many ATS systems, including the product offered by Harri, will allow job-seekers to choose availability for interview follow-ups digitally, reducing the amount of back-and-forth communication. 

Scheduling and conducting video interviews

A true end-to-end applicant tracking system allows you to conduct professional and productive interviews. You can develop custom interview questions, schedule pre-recorded video interviews with candidates, and view them at a time that best suits you. This offers more flexibility to candidates and employers throughout the hiring process. Plus, it gives candidates plenty of time to prepare for their interview or familiarise themselves with the software.

Candidate communications

To maintain candidate interest, you must engage and keep them in the loop at all times, or you could lose them to your competitors. With an applicant tracking system equipped with live SMS text messaging capabilities, you can send the right message at the right time, to the right place.

Harri has taken this concept a step further with Carri: our AI-powered “chat and apply” conversation tool. Carri can help recruiting teams manage the entire candidate communications lifecycle via SMS, web-based chat, Facebook Messenger, and more. More than just a chatbot, Carri removes the friction of talent acquisition with the ability to deliver customised action-oriented messages and perfectly integrates with the Harri ATS.

Reporting and analytics

Many ATS systems include tools for generating reports and performing analysis on various aspects of the hiring process, such as the number of applicants, the time it takes to fill positions, and the success rates of different recruiting channels. Custom reporting options enable users to access data that is tailored to their specific needs and requirements, which helps to quickly identify areas for improvement and make decisions based on reliable information rather than gut feeling.

Why use applicant tracking software?

There are many benefits to purchasing and implementing applicant tracking software in your business. Here are just a few: 

Identify appropriate talent

The wrong hiring decision could cost your business time and money. For this reason, many recruiters opt for an AI-powered ATS to determine the most suitable candidates to whom they should devote time. 

Reduce time-to-hire

Monitoring and managing the entire recruitment process in a single place will inevitably give you more time back, so you can secure talent and focus on what you do best. A short time-to-hire is especially important in today’s talent-tight market, where candidates prefer a simple application process. Plus, you’ll gain a competitive edge over other recruiters still using slow and cumbersome manual processes, and snap up the best applicants first.

Keep candidates in the loop

Selecting an applicant tracking platform with a mobile app or text messaging feature ensures you start (and maintain) a strong employer-employee relationship. You’ll be able to update candidates on their application status and answer any questions they may have during the hiring process – all while on the go.

Keep compliant with laws and regulations

ATS systems can help businesses and organisations to comply with various laws and regulations related to hiring, such as those governing equal employment opportunities and the handling of personal data.

How much does applicant tracking software cost?

The price of application tracking software depends on the provider, the plan, and the features included. Your ATS pricing should be based on the number of locations or employees and may be affected by extra add-ons such as career pages or special features. 

Doing thorough research into pricing models and knowing exactly what’s included in each plan beforehand will help you save money in the long run by avoiding costly surprises down the road.

How to choose the right application tracking software

If you’re new to applicant tracking systems, selecting the right provider might seem overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be.

When choosing an Applicant Tracking Software system, it’s important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your business or organisation. Some key factors to consider include:

  • Affordability – It’s important to find a solution that is within your budget but also offers the functionality you require. You will also want to consider the cost of integrating any existing HR systems with your new ATS and set up fees associated with customising the software for your specific needs.
  • Ease of Implementation and Use – Your ATS system of choice will only be useful if everyone in your organisation is able to understand how to use it quickly and easily. Look for systems that offer comprehensive onboarding materials such as tutorials and videos and with clear user interfaces so that users know exactly where they need to go in order to access certain features or functions. 
  • Flexibility – Your applicant tracking system should offer customizability options tailored toward your business’s needs and process flows, as well as robust reporting capabilities. 
  • Features – It’s important that the system you select has enough features necessary in order to meet your needs without feeling weighed down by extra functions you won’t use or don’t need to pay for. 
  • Security – Secure data measures and built-in features like authentication protocols or encryption techniques protect both your own and client information. Safe storage of important data is vital for preventing cyber attacks and remaining compliant with laws and regulations. 

It’s also important to ask yourself the following before investing: 

  • Are there any additional costs for employee onboarding
  • Is there support if I get stuck? 
  • How does the provider ensure compliance with local data protection laws? 

Optimise your hiring with Harri

Our modern applicant tracking system is designed specifically for the service industries and built with the candidate’s experience in mind. Want to learn more about Harri? Book a demo with our employee experience experts to see how it could work for you.

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