When to consider upgrading your Applicant Tracking System

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How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your applicant tracking system?  There are few things to consider and understand to help you know if an upgrade is warranted.  First, you need to understand and evaluate your situation from different perspectives. It must make sense from the employer standpoint as well as the candidate perspective.

Employer Perspective

Workflow Delays

From the eyes of an employer/user, there are a few things that need to be analyzed. For example, is your workflow a bottleneck?  Do applicants get stuck in the recruiter’s workflow and stay there for weeks or even months?  The lack of automations in your applicant tracking system can cause significant delays in your workflow.  Recruiters need to be able to work efficiently and effectively.  If you cannot easily displace a candidate, then eventually the workflow becomes muddy and hard to sort through.

Integrations

Another item to consider are the 3rd party integration capabilities of your ATS.  Here are just a few functionalities a good applicant tracking system will support through native integrations.

  • Post jobs to external job boards such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, and others without navigating leaving the platform
  • Import candidates from anywhere on the web
  • Create multi-channel outreach sequences to easily engage with applicants via multiple channels

When evaluating new systems, ask about integrations. Can you source candidates out of social media outlets and import them into your ATS with minimal clicks?  In some corporate recruiting departments, sourcing has become a lost art. This is because it can become time-consuming and tedious to create new applicants that are sourced in your applicant tracking system.

Data Mapping & Clean-Up

Lastly, the very best Talent Acquisition teams have good, clean data.  It sounds simple, but it can become an extremely difficult task without the right ATS. This comes in two forms. First, can recruiters & sourcers easily document their screenings? Second, can managers track and access their team’s activity easily?

If recruiters are restricted from documenting candidate information such as skill sets, recruiter ratings, skill level for specific roles and desired compensation, then your data is practically useless.

Here is how this scenario plays out. Imagine screening a candidate today only to figure out they are not a fit for the position you’re working on. However, the recruiter will be required to rescreen the same candidate down the line for another role because there is no information stored in the candidate’s profile.  This can cause significant time and opportunity loss for the recruiter and lengthen the time-to-fill ratio.

For managers, it’s important for to understand KPI’s such as time to fill, applicant flow, data source and overall progress of current openings. It is important to have this information on hand to gauge the pipeline as well as update clients on the progression of their roles. If your ATS doesn’t allow a manager to pull this type of data quickly and easily, it only weakens the team as a whole.

Candidate Perspective

Honestly, the list of reasons for considering a new applicant tracking system for your company can be quite lengthy.  What tends to get overlook are the reasons from the candidate’s perspective.  This is important because the candidate experience is a critical component of your overall employer brand. Did you know that 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience largely due to outdated applicant tracking systems?  Here are a few examples of how an applicant tracking system can negatively affect the candidate experience and how to make sure you have strong employment branding in the marketplace.

The Black Hole

One of the biggest complaints from candidates is not knowing their status on an application or after interviewing.  They tend to feel they’ve fallen into a black hole.  This can easily be addressed by correctly utilizing an applicant tracking system and its native automations.  If your ATS doesn’t offer features like an automated email to candidates when their application has been dispositioned, then you may want to consider upgrading your system. 

Even if the email is a template, just the fact the candidate is receiving communication goes a long way in their interview experience.  Other automations include email notifications that update candidates throughout the recruiting process such as when an application has been received, after a recruiter interview/client interview or when the role they are interested in has been filled. While these notifications may seem minor, they are important to the candidate and can allow them to stay in the loop on the status of their application.

Application Process

Applying to a job on your company’s website should not be a lengthy or complicated process. Yet, it is one of the most common complaints from job seekers. If an application takes more than 15 minutes, it’s too long. We’ve found that shorter applications help limit applicant “drop off”.

Just think of all the great candidates you could be missing out on! Today, website visitors spend an average of 30 seconds or less scrolling through your jobs. Your applicant tracking system should not make applicants jump through hoops and fill out lengthy applications.

Mobile Compatibility

Lastly, with today’s technology, you want to make sure your applicant tracking system is mobile compatible.  This goes for both the user experience and for candidate experience.  Can your recruiter’s easily log into the ATS from their mobile device?  Does your ATS have an app? Can applicants apply online using their mobile phone (just as easy as if applying from their desktop)?  Many applicant tracking systems now have a variety of ways to increase both the recruiter’s and candidates’ capability by using their mobile devices to either work on or apply to open positions on-the-go.

These examples are just some of the few you will want to consider when determining if it’s time to upgrade your applicant tracking system. Ultimately, ask yourself if your ATS is multiplying your efforts or slowing them down. What’s the saying? Work smarter, not harder. There are many applicant tracking systems available in the market these days. Start by making a list of your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. Knowing exactly what you are looking for will help guide your conversations during a demo. Once you have that figured out, begin your research, and select 3 – 5 systems to evaluate. Best of luck on finding the right system that fits your organization!