As a recruiter, you’re looking to streamline the hiring process to find the right candidates in the least amount of time. And that’s what makes applicant tracking system (ATS) software so important.
Forget the old days of shuffling through paper. An ATS recruitment system eliminates the need for manual processes. Instead, it provides targeted automation capabilities that not only help find the right candidates, but also guide those candidates all the way through the hiring process. With the advent and continued advancement of technology, an applicant tracking system is not a luxury. It is a necessity for those looking to place and hire top talent in the marketplace and do it consistently.
ATS system for tracking and managing candidates
Hiring consistently well is all about successful candidate relationship management (CRM). This is where CRM systems offer tremendous value to recruiters. However, this is a multi-stage process that requires efficiency and a high level of execution at every stage. The three main stages involved in the process include the following:
#1—Adding candidates to the database
Obviously, you can’t place the right candidates unless you have access to those candidates’ information. This is where the value of an applicant tracking system is abundantly evident. The best systems don’t force you to only add candidate data manually. Instead, they offer automated solutions that will save you even more time. That way, you can focus on those tasks that lead most directly to placing or hiring the right candidates.
#2—Searching candidates in the database
Having the right candidates in your recruiting database doesn’t do you much good if you’re not able to find those candidates when you need to do so. Once again, this represents the value that an applicant tracking system provides. An ATS allows you to filter through all of the candidate information in your database to find the candidates with the specific criteria you need. For example, you can search specifically on experience, geographic location, education, and skills.
#3—Managing the right candidates during the hiring process
Once you find the right candidates, it’s critical that you’re able to use your CRM and ATS to track and manage them throughout the recruitment process. For example, you need to be able to see which stage of the process each candidate is in. This way, you can make the quickest and best decisions possible concerning the viability of their candidacy and how you should handle them going forward. This is where speed and accuracy are at their most critical. After all, they are both essential to hiring the right candidates in the shortest amount of time.
A refined applicant tracking system
However, considering the challenges that exist when it comes to hiring top talent, it’s not enough to have a basic or average HR applicant tracking system. No, a more refined ATS is required to gain and maintain a competitive edge in the employment marketplace. The best ATS for recruiters is equipped with upper-level recruiting software tools and features. These features are designed to source more high-quality candidates, communicate with those candidates more easily, and accelerate the recruitment process for the purpose of keeping the candidates engaged and interested in the opportunity.
A refined applicant tracking system is involved in every step of the recruitment process, including the three main stages referenced above. Specific features and functionality associated with this type of recruiting software and HR software include the following:
Adding records—A refined ATS will give you options for adding candidate and job order data outside of just manual entry. In fact, it should provide multiple options for adding data, including email parsing capability and a bulk data importing tool.
Posting jobs—The best talent management systems have an integrated process that allows you to post opportunities to the biggest and most popular job posting sites. This provides your jobs with more exposure, and when candidates apply for those jobs, their information is automatically added to your database.
Scheduling activities—In order to accurately and effectively track candidates throughout the hiring process, it’s also important to be able to schedule the activities that occur during that process.
Adding notes and comments—This is functionality that is beneficial to the entire team. Each member of the team is able to see what has transpired to that point, including the trail of communication.
Email marketing—Another important aspect of candidate relationship management is communication, and that includes email marketing. The most popular ATS systems allow users to email candidates, both individually and in a mass format.
In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, the features of a standard ATS will not cut it for recruiters. Instead, a refined applicant tracking system is needed. A refined ATS system can streamline the process more quickly, save time more efficiently, and increase production across all levels.
Applicant tracking system and ATS software features
For a refined applicant tracking system, it all comes down to the top ATS software features. And Top Echelon’s ATS has all of the best recruiting software features that can help a recruiter save time during the hiring process for greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Below are four applicant tracking software features that Top Echelon has and that can be of benefit to your recruiting agency or organization’s hiring efforts.
Feature #1—Job Order Pipelines
The purpose of this ATS feature is to allow you to see who’s being considered for a position and where they stand in the recruitment process. Below is how Top Echelon stands out with this feature:
- Top Echelon has customized stages to mirror your workflow.
- You can use the list for executing mass actions, including sending emails, submitting to a hiring manager, or building a call list in your planner.
- With Top Echelon’s placement forms, you can record and track important details for your filled jobs when you reach the placement stage.
- Top Echelon’s placement reporting gives you the ability to review key metrics, including time-to-fill, source reporting, and total fees.
Feature #2—Resume Parsing
With this feature, Top Echelon pulls out important data points from the resume and builds a record (contact information, work history, education, certifications, and customized tags). Top Echelon’s proficiency with this feature includes the following:
- Top Echelon provides automatic duplicate checking and automatic update options.
- You have the ability to forward job resumes right from your email inbox (email parsing).
- Top Echelon’s Browser Extension tool allows you to capture and parse Web pages on the Internet.
- You can mass parse job resumes from a zip file.
Feature #3—Seamless Searching
Top Echelon’s searching capabilities are also second-to-none, affording users the following functionality:
- Top Echelon has easy keyword and radius searching.
- The software’s Boolean Builder assists in building targeted keyword search strings.
- You can save searches.
- Top Echelon offers flexible result lists, including filters, sorting, and the ability to choose the columns either displayed or hidden.
- With the record preview in result lists, you can review the results quickly in one place.
- Highlighted search terms also allow for quick review.
- Top Echelon allows you to take mass actions from a list, including mass emailing, adding to a Hotlist, adding to a Pipeline, and logging and scheduling activities.
Feature #4—Biz Dev Hotlists
Top Echelon’s Business Development Hotlists further help recruiters to save time so they can focus on more important tasks. Recruiters use these Hotlists to create custom lists of records, specifically people or company records, for the purpose of business development. Below are some of the capabilities that Top Echelon affords its users in regards to this feature:
- You can customize categories for each list to mirror your business development workflow. (It’s easy to move records from one category to the next.)
- Top Echelon allows you to use the list for mass actions, including sending emails, building a call list from your planner, etc.
- You can preview in the list to review the record data in one place, as well as share information with other users on your team.
Why recruiters need an ATS system
There are many reasons why a recruiter, regardless of whether they’re an agency recruiter or corporate recruiter, needs an applicant tracking system.
Without an applicant tracking system, a recruiter would be reduced to using manual methods for tracking and managing candidates. In the early days of the profession, recruiters only used a filing cabinet full of hard copy resumes and a rolodex of phone numbers for making calls. The next step involved desktop applications for candidate tracking and management. The advent of the Internet ushered in the use of online applicant tracking systems. This allowed users to login to their systems anywhere they had access to an Internet connection.
An ATS system or ATS software is a necessity
In today’s fast-paced business environment, using an ATS should not be considered a luxury. Instead, it’s a necessity.
The biggest reason that a recruiter should use an applicant tracking system is the saving of time. There are a number of different ways to do so:
#1—The process is paperless.
There’s not even a paper resume, as long as candidates send their job resumes electronically, which is probably a safe assumption. Not having to shuffle paper around is, all by itself, a significant time saver.
#2—There is less chance for human error.
No paper is one thing. Human error is another, larger obstacle to saving time. However, an ATS can help eliminate this error. Yes, an applicant tracking system is not going to eliminate ALL human error, but it will help to reduce it. And every little bit helps.
#3—Everything is in a centralized location.
An applicant tracking system simplifies the process because you don’t need multiple job applications. You just need one. This also helps when there are multiple people in the office who are part of the process. Everybody involved can access the status of candidates, important notes, the scheduling of events, and important communication avenues.
#4—It provides a better candidate experience.
Let’s not forget about the candidate. Not only will the efficiency of an applicant tracking system provide a better experience for candidates, but it will also keep them more engaged in the process. And the more engaged candidates are, the better the chances that they’ll stay in the process until the very end.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to an agency recruiter using an applicant tracking system. The more time you save, the faster the process goes. The faster the process goes, the more quickly you can place candidates. And of course, once you place a candidate, a placement check soon follows. Basically, saving more time equals making more placements.
For a corporate recruiter or internal recruiter, an ATS means hiring more of the best candidates and hiring them more quickly. In recruiting and talent acquisition, “time kills all deals.” It’s not enough to just be faster. You also have to be quicker than the competition if you want to position yourself for maximum success.
ATS recruitment and hiring in the office or on the go
In today’s age of wireless technology, it’s important for a recruiter to effectively use an applicant tracking system, both in the office and also on a mobile device. After all, passive candidates typically look for new jobs in the evening and on the weekends. This means recruiters need access to their information at all times, regardless of whether they’re in the office or using a mobile device outside of regular work hours.
Top Echelon’s recruitment software is mobile-friendly. It conforms to whatever device you’re using to access your information. That device could be a personal computer, a smartphone, or a tablet. As a result, Top Echelon software users can track candidates at the office or on the go. This is important, since the sooner you can present qualified candidates to hiring managers, the more quickly you can schedule interviews and accelerate the placement process.
The best applicant tracking systems also offer a free trial of its software, a demo, or both. Believe it or not, there are some applicant tracking software companies that don’t offer a free trial and that require you to submit information before they’ll even disclose their pricing structure.
And be sure to check out our recruitment software pricing structure!