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Applicant Tracking Systems Best Practices

Friday, November 27th, 2020

An applicant tracking system is a helpful tool to streamline your hiring process and enhance your company’s ability to hiring talented employees. Every step in the hiring process leads to obtaining a more productive business as you hire skilled employees to improve the company’s growth. From the moment your company writes or uses a job description template, posting the job ad to the right job posting site, using HR software, interviewing, and finally hiring, every stage in the process is essential to hiring the best employees. Before you begin your search for selecting the right applicant tracking system, it is beneficial to know exactly what an applicant tracking can provide and the best practices when using the software. 

To help you better understand an applicant tracking system and how to get the most out of the software, we have provided you with some helpful tips to get you started right. 

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system or ATS is a hiring and recruiting software that provides a database of candidates. The main purpose of an ATS provides an organized and simple method for managing candidate’s applications and resumes’ that are applying for a business’ open positions. Many ATS provide a service to push a company’s job ads to all the major job sites and allow users to review, evaluate, and communicate with applicants in one centralized location. 

In the process of hiring, it can become overwhelming and disorderly if there is no system in place to manage all incoming applications. An ATS permits a method to receive top qualified candidates, review their skill and experience, create ways to track candidates’ status, and progress to the next hiring stages. 

Many applicant tracking systems are typically included in most hiring software systems or purchased as independent software. In either form, an applicant tracking system has many benefits for improving a company’s hiring process. 

How Does an Applicant Tracking Systems Work?

The simplest way to know how an ATS works is to describe the process. First, ATS users create their job ads or job descriptions for every open position they seek to hire. The job ad is then published to various job boards and the company’s website career page. Once live on the job board sites, job seekers are allowed to apply for the available positions. All applications for the job seekers are then screened and housed in the ATS database. Users can review the applications and reach out to potential candidates to move forward in their company’s hiring process. 

An ATS has features that enable a hiring team or business owners to properly manage every applicant’s information and communicate effectively with potential candidates or with other teammates. Each feature provides a purpose that better improves how to manage applications, resumes, and develop a valuable hiring process.

Job Posting with an ATS

To track candidates, you will post your job ad to a job board or various job posting sites. With an ATS, you receive the grand benefit of creating job ads in one place, and then the ATS sends them to all the free job posting sites in just a few simple steps. This job posting feature helps save time and money by eliminating the tasks of posting your job ad to every single site one by one. Through the job posting feature of an ATS, once candidates start applying for your position, you will receive their resumes, and you can build a database full of qualified candidates.

How to Get the Most Out of an ATS Job Posting Feature?

Although the job posting feature is a wonderful benefit to an ATS, it is valuable that you know how to get the most out of this feature. Your job ad and the position’s description is a key factor in receiving top qualified candidates and getting the maximum results from your applicant tracking system. 

An applicant tracking system is only as good as the job ads created to attract highly skilled candidates. Your company’s job title and description must precisely describe your open position to receive the ideal candidates applying for your available position. The details that you submit in your job ad will be taken from your ATS to identify the right applicants that match your job description. If your job ad and description are not done accurately, receiving organic traction from job boards will be more difficult.  Knowing the general job posting policy and guidelines of your ATS can provide you with additional information on how to improve your job postings visibility rate on the used job posting sites.

Job posting sites are similar to search engines, and they emphasize job ads that meet a job seeker’s search query. We highly recommended that every job ad title and description match what your potential candidate is searching for when using any job site. Writing a good job description provides a significant benefit to receiving the most out of an applicant tracking system. Ensure that your company craft’s job ads with relevant job titles and spectacular descriptions to increase job board visibility and get ideal applicants.

ATS Resume’ Parsing Feature

When you receive your first batch of applicant’s resumes’, you will notice that every candidate formats their information differently. One candidate may supply an employer with their skillset from the beginning, while another will place that information towards the bottom of their resume’. A helpful feature found in an applicant tracking system is the resume’ parsing that converts the unstructured content of every submitted resume’ into a structured format. In this process, the content is easier to translate and quickly identify from the applicant’s resume’. Resume parsing automatically separates the resume information into parameters or different fields such as work experience, education, or certification qualifications, and skills based on your job criteria.

Top Benefits of Resume’ Parsing

Resume’ parsing in an ATS saves you or your hiring team reviewing resumes’ that don’t meet your position’s qualifications. You will want to spend time on candidates who have the requirements, and those applications are placed at the top of your list of candidates. Here is a quick overview of the benefits of resume’ parsing.

Resume’ Importing Feature

If you had not used an applicant tracking system before, perhaps your previous hiring process involved receiving many resumes’ through different sources. Maybe your company has walk-in applications, or you have a designated email address where candidates could send their resumes’. No matter what process your company uses to receive applications, there is a good chance, it’s difficult to keep track and organize each received application. Luckily, with an ATS, you have the resume’ importing feature that allows you to import every resume’, cover letter, or application you receive. It does not make a difference if you receive a physical resume’, job posting site, or your email; you have the ability to import them straight into your ATS.  This feature allows you to stay organized, never misplace a resume’, and easily review all candidates in one online place.  Depending on how you prefer to hire, the resume’ importing feature allows you to continue your regular approaches while using a software system.

ATS Email Marketing Feature

Although you may be looking for the top qualified candidates to fulfill your open position, you may have been intrigued by a candidate’s resume’ that might be perfect for a position in a different department or a position in the future. With the email marketing feature, you have the ability to create customized or personal emails to send to your candidates to reach and nurture potential prospects. The email marketing feature is an additional way to obtain candidates and persuade them to apply to your company’s positions. Email marketing can also draw attraction to candidates who are open to new career opportunities even if they are currently employed. An added benefit of creating personalized email marketing for candidates is you are supporting your company culture and brand by staying in touch with previous applicants.

Candidate Tracking Feature

The main and top benefits of using an ATS is the ability to receive applicants for your open position in one place and track candidates through your hiring process efficiently. The candidate tracking feature allows you to review an applicant’s information and then create custom tags that remind you of certain aspects of the candidate’s skills or other qualifications. Customs tags are phrases or words that you assign to a candidate’s profile to add more ways to search for candidates with your ATS dashboard. You can create your tags to meet certain qualifications or requirements of the position, such as degree, licenses, certification, or anything that will help you sort through your candidates easier.

Another feature within your VIVAHR applicant tracking system is the ability to create your own custom hiring pipeline. The hiring pipeline assists you further in moving candidates through your hiring process. You can easily create a step process that aligns with your process from reviewed, contacted, interviewing, rejected, made an offer, and hire. You create the hiring pipeline in whichever form that best fits your system and moves your ideal candidates closer to your completed pipeline.

How to Get the Most Out of an Applicant Tracking System

With any system that your company uses to help you run a better business, you want to ensure that you are getting the most out of what you are paying the system to perform. An applicant tracking system is no different than your accounting software, your customer relationship management tool, or your internal communications tool; you want a system that provides more efficiency and saves time and money for your business. Using an ATS to provide you with more support in hiring and finding the ideal candidates is a great approach to improving your business hiring process. There are a few aspects that you can perform to ensure that you are using your ATS to its full potential and receiving the most benefits for your investment.

Best Practices for using an Applicant Tracking System

Now that you have gained a great sense of how an Applicant Tracking System works and approaches you can implement to get the most out of your ATS, you should incorporate this information into a seamless hiring process. Consider the following aspects to include in your company’s applicant tracking system approaches.

Job Ads

Your company’s job ads are your key ticket to receiving the right candidates and using the ATS to its full purpose. You must ensure that your job ad for every position describes the position in great detail with clear responsibilities and qualifications and creates a connection between the company and its potential applicant.  Today’s new job seeker is searching for the next Google in every industry, and they want to be part of a company that currently is providing more than just an income. You may need to take some quality time to review your job ad, enhance certain aspects that really speak to your perfect candidates, and develop an emotional connection. The best practice for an ATS is creating job ads that attract your ideal candidate by showcasing why your available position is better than your competition. The ATS is only as good as the job ads that you create to reach your ideal candidate.

With VIVAHR’s applicant tracking system, we offer businesses the ability to create a company profile that displays its brand with every job ad you have posted. Every time a job seeker applies to your position, they will have the ability to review your company and interact with your brand creating that emotional connection. Your company has the option to display images, content, and videos that highlights the culture of your business. Along with your effective and well-written job ad, the company profile adds to the connection you are attempting to develop with your potential applicants.

Usable Features

Your ATS will come equipped with great tools that support your hiring process and improve the way you hire your candidates. Some features offer ways to sort and search for your applicants, some allow you to communicate with your applicants properly, and other features provide you with the ability to organize and move your candidates through your hiring process. The best practice with ATS features is to become knowledgeable and familiar with the feature that can offer you an improved hiring process. If you can view a demo from the provider, take the opportunity to see the system in action. If your ATS has support, reach out to them and get additional tips and advice. Finally, take time to navigate through the system on your own or with your team to discover which features are great for your company to hire more productively.

Hiring Plan

For any hiring tool or software to provide you with the best outcome, you will need to have a clear idea of what you expect that hiring software to give you. Obviously, you need to hire new employees, and ATS will help you manage your candidates and develop an organized hiring method. Having a detailed hiring objective can enhance your experience when using an ATS and provide a better sense of getting the most out of the system. Along with your hiring objectives for using an ATS, you must ensure that your team has a good sense of using the system and can perform the hiring tasks needed for your business. Ensuring that you and your team members are well informed on how to properly use the ATS will be an addition to the best practice for using an applicant tracking system.

Closing points for Applicant Tracking Systems Best Practices

Using an applicant tracking system is an amazing hiring software solution that supports an organized and effective hiring process for various companies. A company’s hiring team has the ability to receive candidates, custom label each candidate, create a hiring pipeline, move qualified candidates through their hiring process, and hire with ease. For you and your hiring team to use an applicant tracking system and obtain the best practices to gain the most out of this investment will require following the above suggestions and begin to hire the correct way.

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