The best applicant tracking systems connect every related system you need to use, though the ideal ones fill multiple functions at once. For example, the best ATS tool allows a manager to define the type of job that needs to be filled and necessary headcount, carries that information to Human Resources to refine and then post online, and then processes all of the information about applicants before giving the initial set of candidates to HR to review.
Ease of Use
An applicant tracking system that connects with every related platform and application, from online job boards to learning management systems, is not efficient if it takes forever to learn how to use it or significant data entry to maintain it.
The best applicant tracking systems let you schedule interviews easily and run reports almost instantaneously. You especially want an ATS that comes with built-in interview scheduling if your company has several pipeline “stages”, so that you don’t forget to schedule a follow-up interview with your best candidates in a timely manner or fail to get back to someone you decided to offer the job to before they accept a position somewhere else.
An applicant tracking system that automatically adds legal disclaimers to job postings not only saves you time but potentially saves you from lawsuits in the future. ATS systems that ask applicants for demographic data in a manner in compliance with the law ensures that information is collected without compromising your regulatory compliance.
Another benefit of ATS systems is the fact that it lets you capture all of your documentation in one system for easy review at a later date. What did all involved in the team interview think about the applicants? What were the reasons the manager gave for not hiring the person? By having the information automatically stored and backed up along with the rest of the ATS data, you don’t have to call in unreliable narrators to explain why someone wasn’t hired.
The best ATS systems let you automate a lot of processes and standardize all of them. For example, you can set up a workflow so that every job requisition is approved by payroll or finance before moving forward and each job posting is reviewed by legal prior to posting.
Note that many applicant tracking systems let you add candidates manually when you find that rare subject matter expert, whether from LinkedIn or GitHub. However, the ATS requires these candidates be vetted by the same criteria and their applications reviewed by the same managers, reducing the risk of favoritism and lawsuits.
Another benefit of applicant tracking system automation is the ability to automatically send notifications to applicants. Using an email template to send offers or interview invites saves everyone time.
A small but growing company may need an ATS system with basic functions now, but the ability to add complex workflows and multiple reviews of each applicant later. If you have 150 people now but intend to expand, your ATS probably needs to be able to handle increased volume and interface with not only the payroll system you use now but the HR system you’re likely to use in the future.
Your business won’t come to a standstill if the ATS system does, the same way it risks being shut down if your enterprise resource planning software or financial software is unavailable for three days. However, your business does need support for its ATS. Every piece of software and every website the ATS interfaces with is a potential source of problems.
A perfect ATS system should be easy to use, automate as much as possible for the sake of efficiency, and connect with other related systems and websites. It is not worth buying or leasing an ATS system if it doesn’t provide regulatory compliance.