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How to get the most out of your ATS

Your Applicant Tracking System is one of your business’s greatest assets, helping you to find people. But if you’re only using it for the most basic functions of resume tracking and ranking, you may be missing out on key ATS features. In this post, we’ll go over things that you can do to get the most out of your applicant tracking system.

More Than Just a Tracking System

To use your ATS as more than just a tracking system, one important step you should take is to make sure your HR team has access to good training resources on how to make the most of these systems.

There are many reasons to do this, not the least of which is to make sure your HR team maintains a robust and distributed skill base. If your team only has one person responsible for using the ATS features, with the rest of the team only using its most basic capabilities, this can hurt the team’s efficacy if the person most proficient in the ATS has to suddenly leave the company, without enough time to train up a replacement.

A good thing to do here is to create a dedicated knowledge base section for your ATS, complete with documentation, tutorials, and videos, that your team can refer to at any time. Whenever a new person joins the HR team, a more experienced member should go through both the basic and advanced functionalities with them.

Don’t Forget The Human Element

People and their behaviors are what deliver results to your organization. Not systems, not processes, not computers, not machines.

Mark Hortsman, author of The Effective Manager

While ATS have advanced applicant tracking and smart resume parsing abilities, you can’t rely entirely on these for your hiring process.

Once you’ve had your ATS identify the top 10 or so resumes for a project, it’s very much worthwhile to then have your team read through them themselves. This enables them to get a personal sense of the resumes, and also see if there is anything the computer may have missed — no AI is perfect… yet. Don’t rely entirely on tracking system software.

Help with Candidate Engagement

Some ATS systems out there sort and rank candidates, but then leave it up to you and your team to engage them, even at the earliest stages.

This is less than the ideal system for many reasons. One, especially when you are recruiting at scale, having to assign an individual team member to engage every single candidate consumes a lot of time and resources. Additionally, human team members, who have to balance engagement and candidate conversations with many other tasks, may fall behind and start to answer more slowly.

This isn’t a problem you’ll have if you go with a more advanced, AI driven ATS such as Employa.

Top ATS like these can use AI to engage with applicants at early stages, even asking them to clarify aspects of their resumes or to answer specific questions the employer has provided. This saves your team a lot of time and energy.

Candidate Notification for a Positive Applicant Experience

In addition to basic engagement, AI can also be used to keep applicants updated about the progress in the hiring process, where they stand relative to other applicants and what their odds of being selected for the role are.

Research shows that across the board, applicants say that they had a better recruiting experience when they didn’t feel like they were being kept in the dark about what was going on. Good communication is the key to candidate management.

Regular updates and clear feedback are another thing you can use your ATS to do, and your applicants will thank you for it.

While we are on the topic of applicant experience, also make sure your ATS can optimize your application for mobile, and that there are not too many steps. 60% of applicants say they have not completed a job application process because it was too long or complex.

Smart Resume Parsing and AI Resume Ranking

All contemporary ATS have resume parsing ability, but some are smarter than others. In addition to a sophisticated inbuilt capability, customisable parameters are also critical.

If you can set up your own criteria, including desired skills, red flags, when to seek clarification and when to reject a CV outright, this in conjunction with AI makes for a much more powerful parsing system that will consistently select for the best applicants.

Exploit Existing Data

When you are looking to fill a role, be sure not to source exclusively from people who respond to your newest posts on a job board. Rather, unleash your ATS on your existing talent database.

Especially if you had a particularly competitive hiring process for a recent role, it means you talked to lots of great candidates but in the end could only choose one. Someone who wasn’t a perfect fit for the previous role, might be for the new one.

Unless you get very lucky, that person has probably moved on and is a passive, rather than active talent. But because you are a great recruiter, you already have strategies for engaging passive talent in place and can apply them to this situation.

Be sure that you have a few template emails already in place for exactly this situation. Review the candidate’s details, edit the template to match, throw in a few things to personalize it and send away! If you’re information is up-to-date and the email lands in the candidates primary inbox, you have a good chance of piquing their interest.

Email addresses do change, of course, which is why you also need to be using your ATS’s enrichment features to get the most out of it.

Enrichment is the process of checking your candidate’s data against a sophisticated array of external data sources, kept up-to-date by the best brokers on the market.

In doing this, you can keep your contact details for talent current, making sure that you can reach them as needed, even if quite some time has passed since you last engaged with that person.

Use Automation Intelligently

One of the super powers of any ATS is its ability to automate tasks. But you want to think carefully about what you are automating and what you are not. Automation for its own sake is not desirable.

For example, some programs might offer you the option to automate the generation of job descriptions. But any job description automatically generated by an AI is likely to be stale, slightly off, and unappealing to candidates. This is one area where you do want to take the time to apply human effort. As humans speak best to other humans.

Another area where you want to tread carefully is automated evaluation of video submissions, if your company requires candidates to submit a video describing themselves in order to be considered for the role.

The reason to be careful here, is that the way these systems work is very regulation-sensitive. Are you certain that your ML is processing the applicant’s face image and other data in compliance with your local laws? This complexity can be avoided by simply having humans evaluate video submissions from candidates.

Even outside of facial recognition, it’s worth being careful with candidate data in general.

Choosing The Right Tool for You

This is all great, but what is the best ATS? Which one should I choose?

The best ATS is the one most closely matches your organization’s current needs and best solves your pain points.

We believe that small to mid-size organizations will have good luck with Employa, an AI-driven ATS designed from the ground up to improve candidate engagement in the IT industry. If you’d like to see if Employa is right for you, try our free demo.

Need Employa to advance your tech recruiting?

Whether you need a recruitment service or upgrade existing recruitment software, Employa is ready to help.

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