What The Blueprint looks for in a great applicant tracking system
There are basic features that you need to look for when choosing an applicant tracking system if you want to be able to make a real difference in the way you recruit.
Intelligent sourcing capabilities
When recruiting, you shouldn’t be taking what is unpleasantly known as the spray-and-pray approach — reaching out to as many candidates as you can and hoping that at least one of them is a good fit. Instead, you need to choose your channels wisely and filter your candidates before they even reach your inbox.
With an ATS, you can choose where to post your job — whether that be on social media or jobs boards such as Indeed and Monster — and specify key criteria such as years of experience or location. That way you’ll get a smaller volume of more relevant candidates.
Customizable pipeline management
Companies recruit in different ways for different roles. For example, if you're hiring a developer, you’ll need a stage in the hiring process for a skills-based assessment. If you’re hiring a senior-level manager, you might require more in-person interviews. Or maybe you'd like to always have a screening call as a first step in the process.
You need an applicant tracking system that you can adapt to your way of working rather than you having to adapt to a set workflow.
It’s important to measure the performance of your recruitment efforts, but doing this manually is time-consuming and leaves you prone to errors. You need applicant tracking software that can centralize all the data from the hiring process and produce reports on key metrics. Some of the reports you will want to look for include:
- Time to hire
- Candidates by source
- Offer acceptance rate
- Time in each stage
How your business can benefit from using applicant tracking systems
Applicant tracking systems can automate many manual processes and help you implement a more coherent recruitment strategy. Here are the benefits that will bring for your business.
Attract better candidates
Quality is key. That means attracting people who have the right skills for the role and would be a good fit for your company. An applicant tracking tool helps you attract those candidates by placing your job ad in the right place with the right language and design.
Some ATSs also let you create marketing campaigns to target the kind of people you are trying to hire either through social media or Google Ads.
Improve the candidate experience
Creating a good first impression of your business is key. If you forget to reply to a candidate, keep rescheduling interviews, or add unnecessary hoops to jump through, that person is more likely to drop out during the recruitment process.
An ATS ensures you keep on top of communication, move candidates through the pipeline quickly, and present a good image of your company.
Hire candidates more quickly
Sifting through all the candidates who have applied for your job takes a lot of time, as does trying to manually keep track of where they are in the pipeline. An ATS can take care of all of that, letting you automatically disqualify candidates who don’t have the right skill set and keep track of where all candidates are in the hiring process.
How much does an applicant tracking system cost?
There are a few applicant tracking systems — such as Zoho Recruit — that are free, but most start at around $90 per user, per month. Some ATSes provide a pay-per-job plan, but most require monthly subscriptions, while some software includes onboarding functionality.
Who uses applicant tracking systems?
Corporate recruiters and third-party recruiters for staffing agencies both use applicant tracking software, but they sometimes require different functionality.
For example, third-party recruiters often need functionality that lets them manage client relationships and create external portals with limited features for their clients to access.
What are the best applicant tracking systems?
We’ve put together a list of our picks of the top applicant tracking systems above, but the answer depends on your circumstances, the features you need, and your budget. If you’ve never used applicant tracking software before, you’ll want to prioritize ease of use.
If you’re on a limited budget, you’ll want to look for free software or solutions that provide fewer features but are less expensive.