According to Harvard Business Review, ATS programs are used by 75% of US employers, rising to 99% of Fortune 500 companies. However, the traditional purpose of an ATS is evolving to do far more than simply track applicants. When using an ATS, employers expect to automate their hiring processes through better sourcing, streamlined workflows, and customizable functionality such as job board distribution and candidate communications. While modern ATS software has successfully managed applicant tracking and communication with candidates, candidate sourcing remains a definite limitation of using ATS.
The inability to tailor an ATS to an employer’s specific needs increases the risk of receiving low-quality candidates and missing on target talent. If employers recruit for a position requiring specific qualifications or working experience in a particular industry but don’t screen out candidates based on the minimum requirements of the job, they are wasting time reviewing candidates that fundamentally may not be a good fit. Unfortunately, recruiters have grown so accustomed to the lack of results delivered by ATS that many of them don’t even make ATS search a part of their process. Ultimately, they overlook qualified candidates, thus creating even more need for manual sourcing. Therefore, employers may find it helpful to use additional software that can do candidate searches and be easily integrated with other ATS systems.
The limitations of Boolean
One of the main issues with most modern ATS systems is the lack of candidate search tools that could highlight the most fitting candidates and help recruiters prioritize their time. Recruiters should not be manually reviewing hundreds of resumes that could have been returned by a search query for the right reasons. Sometimes, an employer might have specific requirements about the working experience, so simply stating the name of the skill as one of the search criteria may not be enough. That makes it easy for some candidates to trick the filters by mentioning skills they don’t have much experience with in the Skill Summary section of the resume.
Other factors, such as a number of years of experience with a skill or work experience in a related industry, are often considered by recruiters when looking for employees to fill the position. However, these additional requirements are needed to be checked manually. As a result, employers need to spend more time doing the job that could have been potentially done by an automated system.
ATS is not an expert in IT recruitment
Another important ATS limitation is the struggle to consider differences in spelling when doing candidate searches. Many ATS suites only return exact keyword match results, which means that if an applicant included the term "Search Engine Optimization" without its acronym counterpart, the candidates' profiles might not appear in a recruiter's search for the term "SEO." Almost all the programming terms have a couple of aliases with some of them, like Java Script, having 5 or more possible spellings.
As a result, there is a high risk of missing suitable candidates if they don't use the exact wording set in the search criteria. Any deviation from the exact spelling results in elimination, leaving no room for further consideration. The studies show that ATSs reject as many as 75% of qualified job applicants due to spurious reasons such as differences in spelling or the use of abbreviations and synonyms.
So what’s the solution?
Before choosing software, ask yourself - how does your software expand your talent pool? How does your recruitment process set you apart from the competition? Does an ATS really save your time and money on hiring? If the answers to these questions do not satisfy your expectations from hiring, think about changing the ATS or using additional software that can be integrated with your current ATS.
MatchMiner by Employa helps recruiters and hiring managers quickly fill the talent pipeline by leveraging the database of resumes the company has collected in its ATS. MatchMiner saves up to 5 hours per 100 candidates sourced while shortening the hiring cycle’s length and saving sourcing overheads.