In a competitive candidate market, you need all the advantages you can muster. A sophisticated candidate tracking system or applicant tracking system can improve the job candidate experience and help your hiring team perform more efficiently.
But what are these systems? And what do they do? And what are features, advantages, and benefits of using them? Whoa, slow down . . . we’ll get to all of that. But let’s start at the top.
What is an applicant tracking system?
A candidate tracking system and an applicant tracking system are basically the same thing. The only difference is semantics. Either you’re tracking job candidates or you’re tracking job applicants. You could “split hairs” by claiming that a job applicant is somebody who actually takes the time to apply for the position, either online or otherwise. You could further claim that a job candidate is somebody who is being considered for the position, such as an internal candidate, who did not technically apply by formally filling out an application.
We shall be splitting no such hairs. Instead, we will use the terms “applicants” and “candidates” interchangeably for the purposes of this blog post. Consequently, we will also use the phrases “candidate tracking” and “applicant tracking” interchangeably. The same goes with “candidate tracking system” and “applicant tracking system.” However, since the name of our product is The Applicant Manager, we’re going to predominately use the latter.
So what is a candidate tracking system—or in this case an applicant tracking system? An applicant tracking system is a form of recruiting software that helps to simplify and streamline the hiring process through the use of automated recruiting tools that source and screen job applicants. This is useful for companies of all sizes, but especially for larger organizations that may be almost always filling multiple open positions at the same time, soliciting hundreds of applicants and resumes in the process. Trying to handle that kind of workload with manual processes can be stressful and is not a sustainable long-term solution for effective recruiting and hiring.
Applicant tracking system advantages and benefits
As mentioned above, a candidate tracking system or applicant tracking system is valuable for companies of all sizes, not just larger organizations. This stems from the many advantages and benefits that can be derived from using such systems.
Below are six advantages and benefits of using an applicant tracking system for your company’s recruiting and hiring needs. We’ve included quotes from customers of The Applicant Manager, as well as “Buyer’s Tips” that provide more information for those who are in the market for an ATS or are considering switching from their current package.
#1—Time and resource savings
The benefits of applicant tracking systems hinge on their unique features that streamline manual processes like posting jobs and tracking candidate applications. Instead of manually posting a new requisition to each job board, ATS software can automate posting to as many sites as you want. According to one manager, an ATS helped by:
“Saving my managers’ time with posting ads and saving tremendous amounts of paper, because everyone used to print ads and have a pile on their desk.”
Digitizing and automating what used to be a manual task can save labor and overhead costs associated with placing individual ads.
#2—More exposure for your open positions through job posting
When you’re operating in a candidates’ market where workers are difficult to find, especially quality ones, sourcing job candidates is a priority. One way to do that is to put your jobs in front of them through targeted postings to the major job boards. But wait, there’s more!
You can also post your open positions on your company website and share them through your organization’s profiles on social media. Consistent, branded postings will not only get more exposure for your job openings, but they will also brand your organization in a positive light. Employer branding has become an essential element of recruiting and hiring in today’s marketplace.
Buyer’s Tip: Look for an ATS that offers free posting to the major job boards with the click of a button.
An applicant tracking system eliminates the busywork associated with manually posting ads and tracking candidate responses by centralizing everything in one easy to use dashboard. It’s easy to pull up a “single source of truth” screen to see at a glance the number of applicants by job and where they are in the process. It’s this clarity of vision that cannot only improve organization in business, but even improve the candidate review process.
#3—A better candidate review process
Another customer currently using an ATS solution pointed out that the software could even pull together a disparate candidate interview process.
“We have a unique client base made up of higher education institutions who have search committees that make the hiring decision…[the applicant tracking system] allows us to facilitate our client’s needs for the search committee members to ‘rate’ the applicants for the executive level searches they hire us to conduct.”
The candidate review process is complex, requiring organization and a methodical approach to the review of applications and the people who applied. Often, we see that hiring managers and the departmental committees they work with can be disorganized, redundant, and even subjective in their approach to screening candidates. Relying too heavily on gut feel instead of concrete behavioral or other screening data means that interviewers are leaving too much to chance.
Applicant tracking systems benefit this process by creating an organized approach to a potentially subjective process by establishing and then recording a candidate rating system that everyone can adopt. This eliminates any guesswork or misinterpretation that could occur during the hiring process.
#4—A more user-friendly design with greater customization of recruiting tools
“[My ATS] streamlines perfectly for my recruitment process – I wanted something that I could manipulate on my terms in a quick, easy fashion, and it has been delivering for me for over five years in two different companies.”
Buyer’s Tip: Look for an ATS that doesn’t require developer customization. If your ATS requires extensive setup, onboarding, and training, it could lack user-friendliness and slow down your recruitment process.
#5—A more efficient and positive applicant experience
There is something broken in many of the application processes that candidates experience today. Resume uploads often fail to capture applicant information, frustrating candidates who find themselves manually typing data into the system. Older platforms rarely translate well to our smartphones, leaving the user experience as less than desirable. When the application is finally complete, the applicant may not hear from the company until they receive a coldly formal rejection letter – if they receive anything at all.
Today’s applicant seeks a warmer and more communicative approach. Today’s applicant tracking systems are smarter and more intuitive than in the past and can be the drivers of transformative change in your candidate recruitment process. Here’s what one ATS user had to say:
“Managing the increasingly heavy influx of new candidates became a challenge. I was worried that I wasn’t responding to candidates in an organized manner. I needed help managing candidates, job posting, and communication throughout our hiring process…[my ATS] helped me rebuild my talent acquisition process and streamline the operation. It’s put a lot of time back in my week and provided me with an extended tool set I didn’t have before.”
These customer testimonials make clear the benefits of applicant tracking systems for improved efficiency during the often-complicated search for new employees. These sophisticated modern systems can be the driver of a new streamlined process that improves the candidate experience while increasing the effectiveness of your hiring team.
#6—A more effective and streamlined onboarding process
As many employers are well aware, just because a job candidate or applicant accepts your offer of employment, that does not mean they will actually show up for their first day of work. And if they do show up for their first day of work, that does not mean they will continue to work for your company for an extended period of time.
First, since the market is tight for talent, candidates have the leverage in hiring situations. This accounts for the growing instances of “ghosting” that are occurring in the marketplace. It also accounts for the fact that it has now become commonplace for workers to change jobs every two to three years. According to research by Glassdoor, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity overall by more than 70 percent.
And of course, the onboarding process does NOT start on the new employee’s first day of work. It starts the moment they accept your offer of employment. The best ATS software allows you to initiate new hire paperwork easily and almost immediately, once again serving the dual purpose of making your life easier and also branding the organization more positively in the mind of the employee. All paperwork can be delivered, completed, and signed online for a more streamlined, efficient, and effective onboarding process.
Tracking candidates through the process with the best ATS
Candidate tracking software does not have to be complex. In fact, the best applicant tracking systems and ATS software are not complex. Instead, they’re simple and intuitive, allowing users to enjoy all of the advantages and benefits listed above.
Customer reviews of the best applicant tracking systems on sites like G2 Crowd are the best way to get a picture of how these recruiting tools perform in the field. Every sales rep will tell you their tool is the best; but what do users say about the product?
Each of the quotes in this article came from a certified user of The Applicant Manager (TAM). Our software currently has over four out of five stars on the G2 site and has been designated as a High Performer in our category.
Buyer’s Tip: Click here to read all the G2 reviews for TAM.
TAM has been receiving rave reviews from clients who give the software high marks for efficiency, usability, and functionality. Go to the clients page on our website to discover what real, every day users of TAM software say about the product.
Partnering with the right candidate tracking system (or applicant tracking system) will make a difference in your hiring success. The benefits of your business are just a phone call away. Contact TAM for a demo today!