Managing Recruits with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)…
Recruiting firms today are increasingly reliant on the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the hiring process. In response to widespread usage, the ATS market has become more crowded, populated by systems of varying quality. Some key criteria selected by the staff at BuzzRecruiter for choosing an ATS include: ease of use for applicants, company size and field, social networking and job posting capacity, search functions, and user support services. Choosing the right ATS can be challenging, but these systems are revolutionizing the recruitment and hiring process today.
What Is an ATS?
Put simply, an ATS is a system used to match candidates with jobs, organize resumes, give and receive referrals, and manage workflows in the hiring process. Depending on the ATS a company uses, there may be additional functions integrated into the ATS. For example, some ATS setups offer two-way calendar integration for scheduling interviews, job posting functions, and recruitment data management. Ideally, an ATS should make the recruitment and hiring process easier for all parties, from applicants to managers.
Benefits of Using an ATS
There are many benefits to using an ATS in the recruitment process. One of the key benefits for larger companies is resume management. It can be impossible to sort through the sheer number of applications that roll into corporate offices. In a single year, for example, Starbucks received 7.6 million applications for 65,000 corporate jobs. The numbers are incommensurate and the number of applications otherwise unmanageable. ATS transforms the application process, making it possible to parse and sort applications without having to individually read them all.
Another benefit of ATS is cost reduction. Recruitment and hiring is actually a very expensive process, with HR experts calculating that the average hiring process costs about $3500. ATS can cut that number significantly by reducing the amount of time spent on hiring, improving communications, and providing search and referral systems for focusing on the ideal candidate.
The indispensability of ATS is attested to by statistics from big businesses – upwards of 90% of large companies use ATS in recruiting and hiring, and there is nary the Fortune 500 company that has eschewed ATS. Mid-size companies have also gotten on board, with over 50% of these companies using ATS.
Increasingly, ATS designers are working to improve recruit experiences when using the systems. Potential recruits who struggle with ATS usability are less likely to complete the application process, causing companies to miss out on top candidates and resulting in a dip in return on investment. ATS designers are also emphasizing the importance of customer support.
Currently, one of the biggest debates in ATS is the cloud vs. IT question. Some ATS systems run their system through cloud computing, while others continue to base the programs in individual business IT departments. As cloud computing increasingly becomes a norm, expect to see a greater shift from ATS to the cloud.
Leading ATS for Recruiters
For recruiters seeking a new ATS system, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. These include CATS, Smart Search, iCIMS, Bullhorn, JobDiva, Brightmove, PCRecruiter, and Jobvite.
CATS is a comprehensive ATS that has been a market leader since 2006. This system is popular with both recruiting firms and internal hirers, serving over 1600 companies. This system allows recruiters to search inside of and parse resumes, post positions to job boards, create screening questionnaires, send emails, and more. CATS is also highly customizable, allowing clients to create custom websites for their job postings, build unique workflows, and organize data based on specified criteria. CATS is a smart ATS choice for large and small businesses alike.
SmartSearch is another popular ATS, this one designed by a company that has been assisting the recruiting industry for more than 20 years. SmartSearch automatically imports emailed resumes, works well with Outlook and other popular computer programs, offers resume parsing, and provides search functions capable of sifting through over a million shared resumes. SmartSearch is also highly customizable, allowing companies to create folders, craft workflows, and configure views and menus to best suit each clients’ needs.
One ATS that is particularly in touch with social media is iCIMS. This ATS allows candidates to apply for jobs using their social media profiles, with recruit profiles adjusting with each change to their profile. iCIMS also specializes in branding, allowing clients to customize email communications to be consistent with the brand identity. In keeping with the shift to mobile computing, iCIMS supports mobile-optimized career portals that are configurable for a range of devices.
Bullhorn is a highly customizable and user-friendly system that allows all members of the recruiting team complete access to recruiting processes via its cloud-based ATS and CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) technology. Including all members on a project can ensure high efficiency, allowing for all necessary activity on an account or a report be done quickly and by the best people all on the same software. Two of Bullhorn’s strengths are in its candidate sourcing and recruiting software.
Another cloud-based system is JobDiva. This system pulls resumes automatically 24/7 to match with the job boards, which it keeps synchronized. Combined with its compatibility with either Macs or PC’s and its mobile applications, JobDiva allows almost instantaneous updating and searching of job boards and resumes. Another key feature is the ability to search resumes by years of experience, cutting down on the many hours needed to manually check resumes for that information.
Brightmove is an extremely user-friendly ATS and CRM program that can be accessed from a desktop or a mobile device. Of course, this simplicity does mean certain sacrifices such as the lack of some search tools and the inability to import contacts from Outlook. And while the system does have extensive job board capabilities, it lacks any social media integration. Use Brightmove for simply and easily organizing contacts, individual clients and businesses.
For any company that keeps track of multiple companies or candidates, PCRecruiter is a strong option. Its biggest strengths are in organization and ease of use. It also allows you to customize reports and pull reports in a variety of different ways. This customization, however, does not extend to the user interface and the program as a whole, as some functions are not useful to companies in their current state. For managing a large number of candidate and company files, however, PCRecruiter is among the best.
JobVite is by far the most social media-integrated of the ATS available. Users can post job invitations to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn simultaneously, connecting with their contacts on any or all of those sites. Correspondence through social media can include employee referrals, candidate relationship management, and immediate staff hiring. JobVite has taken ATS to a new level with total integration of social media, and the benefits are showing.
ATS Integration with BuzzRecruiter
It can be difficult to know in advance what ATS will be best for any given company. One way to beat the system is to employ BuzzRecruiter. BuzzRecruiter offers ATS integration for company websites. If one ATS isn’t working well, BuzzRecruiter clients can change companies without changing web designers, maintaining brand continuity throughout the switch. That continuity can be just as important as the underlying ATS; both are key to providing a positive experience for potential recruits, which is ultimately the underlying goal of ATS usage.