APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEM (ATS) - 10 TIPS ON HOW TO PICK THE BEST ONE
The internet is over-crowded with infinite businesses voicing their opinion (whether it's educated or not). Having access to an overwhelming amount of content amplifies the difficulty of determining whether you’re choosing the best recruitment software (or applicant tracking system) for your business. To de-clutter the available information I have created a factual and insightful report for you to review before investing your money.
As honesty is a core value at our business I feel it’s necessary to be transparent with you- yes we are the creators of MyRecruitment+, (The #1 Recruitment and Onboarding Software), however, this ensures the information enclosed is based on 13 years of experience, and the opinions of 23,000 HR professionals. Thus, the content is invaluable and sincere.
The following 10 tips will fast track your knowledge of recruitment software (and applicant tracking systems) and provide you the knowledge you need to make your final decision.
The must-have features of a
modern recruitment software
FEATURE 1 - Request-to-recruit approval workflow:
Feature: Once the Manager submits a request-to-recruit for approval the platform instantly notifies the first Executive in the workflow via sms or email. Once the first approval action is made, the next approved is signaled of their turn.
Benefits: Improved efficiency due to reduced time delay between submitting the request and receiving approval or edits. Additionally, the workflow is completely customisable to fit the business’ requirements. The form is completely customisable (salary, start date, reason to hire, profile etc), and the process of approval is completely customisable (manager 1, manager 2, executive 1, executive 2 etc). This feature captures the exact information required by the businesses and improves communication amongst Managers and Executives.
FEATURE 2 - Multi-Job Posting & Candidate Sourcing:
Feature: Create, post and edit a job advertisement from one location (in a single click) to hundreds of paid and free job boards, as well as post directly to your career site and various social sites. All applications received from all advertisements are collected on your platform.
Benefits: Reduce the time spent posting to multiple job boards by logging into one platform and specifying the job details once. Updating and improving the advertisement is efficient as you only need to update one post, which then propagates changes on the advertisement across all sites, hence encouraging continuous improvements to create the highest quality ad. Therefore, requires less effort input whilst resulting in a greater reach of candidates by posting to a larger variety of sites. Thus, having a better quality ad in more locations.
Benefits: As well as creating time efficiencies the data you collect is accurate and meaningful. From tracking the source of candidates you can determine which job board works best for particular roles through ROI data, therefore better invest your advertising budget in the future.
FEATURE 3 - Short List and Manage Application, Set Up Interviews:
Feature: Segment applicants through marking their applications as “processing, successful, unsuccessful etc..”. Shortlist candidates based on presented data, (such as yrs of experience etc). The bulk communication capabilities enable you to create email templates with personalised branding that you can efficiently click on and send to groups of candidates. Manage candidates by saving their profile to your talent pools and sharing their application to Managers and Executives.
Benefits: Shortlist and zoom on your candidates efficiently through refining the candidate selection based on captured data. Better invest your time by only reviewing suitable candidates applications. Templates saved and created result in bulk actions (such as sending a group of candidates an ‘unsuccessful’ template, or sending a ‘we want to interview you’ template). You can create a template for any and all situations and have it sent within seconds, whilst maintaining professionalism.
Benefits: Interviews can be set up through directly emailing and sms from the system, resulting in greater communication in less time. All actions made against candidates are completely trackable (time, date, by whom) therefore each user can be audited which instils accountability.
Benefits: HR, Managers and Executives can work collaboratively through sharing certain candidate profiles (via sms or email, or within the platform) to one another and all having access to make digital notes, review applications and review each other's thoughts.
FEATURE 4 - Recruitment Workflows Customisation:
Feature: Create a business workflow that fits your business like a glove. Your recruitment software automates your recruitment workflow - eliminating the risk of a candidate skipping a step in your recruitment process, whilst providing you with full control to edit and update each process at any time (for example a process may look like: application, shortlist, video interview, interview, offer approval, onboarding, push to payroll).
Benefits: Build multiple workflows to cater for the various roles/divisions/locations in your business. Save each workflow as a template to create efficiencies in future recruitment activities whilst maintaining personalised and tailored processes. Therefore, ensuring personalisation whilst reducing the workload by creating efficiencies.
FEATURE 5 - Customise Screening Questions to Capture Candidate Insights:
Feature: Create multiple screening questionnaires tailored to specific job roles, departments and industry, and save them as templates to easily use in the future. Include customised questions with key words to capture meaningful and appropriate data. Choose from a variety of field times (multichoice, empty field text, drop down, number etc) for maximum customization.
Benefit: Search through applications based on keywords (i.e. four years experience, marketing, australia etc) to refine your search and develop a greater understanding of your candidate by unearthing insights specific to your company’s needs and the new hire requirements. Find the most suitable 10% of candidates without having to go through the 90% first. Therefore, screen large sums of candidates
FEATURE 6 - Custom Build the E-Forms Saved to your Software:
Feature: E-form functionality is the backbone of your recruitment software! Regardless of the phase of the module being used (requisition, recruitment, onboarding), e-forms should always be customisable to tailor to the business specific needs and processes. You can create and save e-form templates to fasten future recruitment processes, and efficiently match them to appropriate recruitment activities. The allowed number of edits must be limitless and each text field must be completely customisable.
Benefits: The information gathered on the e-form is attached to candidates profiles so you have a better understanding of the hard skills, soft skills and observations of the candidate. The data collected via e-forms is captured in the software and completely searchable, maximising search capabilities and continuously developing the data about the candidates available to you. E-forms may include photo requirements (such as certificate of qualifications) which are uploaded and accessible on the software. E-form templates are personalised and create time efficiencies, whilst ensuring the data collected is valuable and accurate.
FEATURE 7 - Send and Receive Bulk SMS & Emails:
Feature: From the platform you can directly send bulk sms and emails to candidates. Firstly, you can create segments of candidates based on filtering applications through keyword searches, then you select the most appropriate template (which is created by you), write a subject line and send the message within minutes...and candidates can reply to you
Benefits: The management and organisation of candidates makes this communication function the most efficient way of getting in contact, and tracking the communication history between the user and candidate. The template is also personalised and displays your company’s branding, therefore being time efficient whilst upholding the brand image and professional reputation. As well as this, the simplicity of receiving and sending messages, alongside the branding, creates a positive candidate experience. If any applications are stopped (ie unsuccessful), the correct process has been followed - thus the feature aids HR compliance.
FEATURE 8 - Align Email Templates with your Branding:
Feature: Users can create an array of email templates that display the company’s colours, logos, icons and other sorts of branding so candidates can easily identify who the email (or sms) is from. The branding can be consistent amongst all templates, or differ depending on the role, and department.
Benefit: The communication thread is more personable and aligned with the business’ identity. The templates increase the communication efficiency as all users must do is choose the appropriate template, finalise the copy and send it.
FEATURE 9 - Data Share Capabilities:
Feature: Collaboration amongst HR, Managers and Executives is the key to making the correct hiring decision in an appropriate time frame. All data captured within the platform is sharable amongst HR, Managers and Executives who have been granted access. Against a candidate profile users can: make digital notes of their thoughts, rate them out of 5 starts, flag them, add them to a talent pool or segment them.
Benefits: All actions undertaken by each user is completely trackable (date, time, by who). This creates accountability to ensure all users uphold the company’s values, and are transparent on their professional thoughts regarding applicants. Share capabilities also offer maximum collaboration capabilities because all data captured can be viewed and discussed amongst multiple users.
FEATURE 10 - Talent Pool Development:
Feature: Before you can determine which candidate is most suitable for the opening you must review a variety of candidate profiles. Whilst there may only be one opening at a given time, instead of wasting the effort and time devoted to candidates with similar skills and capabilities you can store their profile (and captured data) to your internal talent pool for future reference. Create custom tags (ie. #marketing, #4yrsexperience) and search all candidates via tags and keywords.
Benefits: HR has access to talent on tap - instead of wasting invested money on previous recruitment activities you can save stand-out candidates and re approach them in the future. This saves recruiters time and money. The history of communication and captured data is also saved and trackable resulting in easy viewing for the future.
FEATURE 11 - Video Interviews Review & Request:
Feature: Video interviews can be watched on the platform (anywhere, anytime) and are pre-recorded answers to screening questions that candidates submit alongside their resume and cover letters. They’re viewable by all users with access and are sharable. The length of each video answer can be altered by is recommended to be 30s, and the number of video answers per application is customisable.
Benefits: The video interview can be shared amongst all other users, resulting in collaboration and thus conclusions made based on the same visual stimuli, therefore eliminating unconscious bias and installing accountability amongst those involved in hiring decisions. This function unearths the candidates soft skills, emotional intelligence and communication skills. A three dimensional candidate profile is revealed, thus the hiring decision is better informed, which significantly reduces the risk of making the wrong hiring decision.
FEATURE 12 - Request, Send and Review AI Psychometric Talent Assessments:
Feature: AI psychometric talent assessment is a combination of behavioural science and video interviews. Candidates record their answers and submit it with their application, then the technology analyses the video and creates a report outlining their personality traits based on the BIG5 psychology theory. This provides invaluable and incomparable information about the candidate’s attributes, potential, and cultural fit, and reports are ready for viewing within 15 minutes.
Benefits: Psychometric assessments provide the most in-depth and accurate information you can gather about your candidates. This tool is incredibly useful for specific roles, and also can screen a large sum of candidates at once. The report is completely objective, and shareable amongst all users so all users see the same information. The extensive insights reduces the need for phone screening and live interviews, therefore creating time efficiencies and reducing the necessary recruitment budget.
FEATURE 13 - Personalised Career Site:
Feature: A career site is a live extension of your website where all job advertisements are posted to. The career site also includes information about the company which is important for candidates to know, such as; company perks, values, history and expectation.
Benefits: Your recruitment software is completely responsible for the technology behind the career site operation, however, your company maintains complete control over the branding, content and live jobs posted. This removes any worries about technology whilst empowering you to continuously improve and update your asset. After you’ve personalised the career site you can begin promoting it and investing budget into your own company instead of promoting other companies (ie Seek, Indeed).
FEATURE 14 - Digitally Onboard and Induct New Hires:
Feature: Users create an onboarding pack that contains the appropriate paperwork the company needs the candidate to complete (ie; tax form, terms and agreement, contract, bank form etc). Limitless template onboarding packs can be created for different roles and departments. The onboarding pack is sent digitally to the candidate (via sms or email) and is completed electronically.
Benefits: Eliminate the waiting period commonly incurred in the onboarding and induction of new hires. Instead of the traditional process (print, sign, scan, send), onboarding software automatically creates contracts and e-forms from data that has been collected through requisition and recruitment. This reduces the manual labour required and data inaccuracies. It also reduces the drop off rate and increases the completion rate…we’ll discuss this a bit further on, so stay tuned!
CLOUD software VS
On-premise Client Server’s don’t require any installations, however the server must be kept in one location. Backtrack 6 months and this server would be feasible as it can be stored in the office, however, living in a post COVID workforce this does not suit remote working.
An On-Premise Private Cloud is operated by you (the purchasing company) and is appropriate in the world of remote working as it is a cloud based software. However, this particular type of cloud software requires constant updates and maintenance by its operators. Therefore, the time and effort devoted to continuous upkeep would be better invested in your business and in your clients.
For this reason, it’s best you choose a software that is completely Cloud based. Cloud based software doesn’t require installation, doesn't require regular updates or maintenance, and can be up and running in weeks - not months!
The data captured on a Cloud software is accessible from any location, at any time (which we need with the new reality of remote working). Therefore, the risk of misplacing data is also completely eradicated.
Customisation & Flexibility
Customise all processes and features on your platform:
The presentation and location of all features and functions of your recruitment software must be customisable in order to tailor the software to the company's preferences.
This includes branding of e-forms, platform design and layout, the data captured, the location of data, the style of bulk email and sms content and so on.
Customisation capabilities are crucial for operation success and personable recruitment activities. You want to be able to control the design and make the platform yours, not simply make-do with the design that was created by someone else.
Flexibility to mould the software to your processes and needs:
Recruitment software must be malleable. If it’s not malleable you don’t want it!
It would be foolish to assume every business has the same workflow process and recruitment process. Whilst you may not have the ability to dismantle the foundations and capabilities of the platform, the functions of the platform must be completely flexible for you to mould to your business.
From a flexibility point of view, you should be able to create your own processes and templates, and alter details such as folder titles, data fields and data sorting. This flexibility capability differentiates a modern recruitment software from an out-of-date recruitment software.
Your applicant tracking system must meet the requirements of your business and be absent of any limitations.
TCO - Check hidden costs!
Before you purchase any software, make sure to check the total cost of ownership!
Sometimes companies are sneaky and try to hide costs (such as set up costs, training costs, support costs etc). SO before you make any decisions you must be certain that the figure you have been quoted is the final cost.
BEWARE: If a business insists they can’t provide a final quote because there are multiple factors that may change the final figure, you may not be selecting the most appropriate software. As well as this, this should offer insight into the way the business (and it’s support) will treat you in the future.
You must have an accurate figure of the total cost of the software before making any decisions in order to ensure you stick to your budget and get the most out of your spending!
Setup Time & Support
Continuous and Complementary Support:
As well as knowing the total cost of ownership, before buying any software you must know the support services provided.
Is there client success support on demand? Do they have a help number or email? Are you charged every time you need assistance?
Regardless of how tech savvy you may be, you will always have questions about the software because it’s not your responsibility to know every detail about the platform. You're a paying client! You shouldn’t be charged for having questions.
It’s critical the recruitment software you choose has continuous support services that offer assistance whenever you need. If you believe you will need an external consultant to aid the set-up and support the use of the software you may want to reconsider your choice.
Complementary Training for Feature Demonstration:
Understanding all functions of the software will require time and assistance. If the software is customisable and flexible (which it should be) you’ll need guidance on how to customise various elements, and rearrange details.
That's why complementary training is a must. I stress ‘complementary’ because you shouldn’t be charged for learning how to use a product you pay for...
Throughout this training you should ask questions and seek advice to empower you with the knowledge to tailor the platform to your business’ needs.
The client success team is equally as important as the software because the two components work hand in hand…. It’s pointless purchasing a great software if no one teaches you how to use it!
A modern recruitment software will continuously develop with the industry in order to meet the current needs of HR, which means new features and functions will pop up...and you’ll need to be taught how to use them.
Thus, before you purchase anything make sure you know exactly what complimentary support you can expect to receive.
Set up shouldn’t take months:
Your recruitment software must be up and running within a matter of weeks, not months! You don't have the time, money or resources to ‘install’ a software with the timeframe of a “few months”...you need the software asap!
Ensure you know (and have in writing) how long it will take for the software to be set up and functioning (big clue, if it’s more than 3 weeks you’re not choosing the right software).
Never-Ending Raised Invoices must be Stopped:
Before you pay for the software and any add-ons, discover why you’re paying and if you’d need to pay elsewhere! Remember, businesses are sneaky and like to take advantage of people whenever they can. Therefore, if you’re constantly being invoiced for a phone call or email it’s time you consider investing in other options.
You need transparency in your business partnership, as well as mutual respect and a certain degree of consideration. SO, if they continuously invoice you whenever seems plausible it’s most likely because they don’t care about your well being and needs.
Data Flow & Integration
Recruitment software is only one component of your HR tech ecosystem.
Your HR tech ecosystem must function the same way a real life ecosystem would.
Everything must work together in harmony and have a purpose. Every piece of technology is a separate level of the food chain, is dependent on each other, and works to serve a bigger purpose (the business).
For this reason, your recruitment software must seamlessly integrate with your current LMS (lead management system), HRMS (resource management system) and Payroll system.
The data collected from recruitment and onboarding must flow seamlessly between each module and integrate with your existing systems to enable a coherent ecosystem without increasing the necessary manual labour. This seems fictional, but is achievable through enterprise-grade automation.
Onboarding Packs are Custom-Built:
As already discussed, an onboarding pack contains the relevant documentation for the new hire (ie, a contract, position outline,read and agree e-forms etc).
Within the platform users create, save and edittemplate e-forms that are appropriate to customised onboarding packs to increase the efficiency of onboarding in the future.
This feature option means you can create standard templates for a variety of positions and departments so when the time comes to hire for that particular role you simply pick the appropriate template and fill in the missing details.
The feature positively influences user experience and employee experience and is a key feature of an end-to-end recruitment software.
Be on the right side of History and be Paperless:
E-forms completed through onboarding software are trackable and automated, therefore eliminating the risk of incomplete documents, and misplacing important documents.
Digital onboarding is completely contactless which is essential whilst living in a pandemic, and will continue to be a necessity post COVID19... once you go digital you never go back.
Digital onboarding allows successful candidates to complete their e-forms within minutes, and from any location, which reduces the potential of another company stealing your candidate. This therefore reduces the candidate drop-off rate as candidates don’t procrastinate filling in paperwork and don’t ponder other positions or offers made by other companies.
The ease of completion also increases the speed of completion rate, meaning new hires are onboarded faster and can start sooner.
End-to-End Data Flow and Data Integrity:
Data captured about your candidate and the vacant role should automatically be saved to the Cloud software. The automation capabilities should then carry this data through the requisition and recruitment process and integrate with your onboarding software without any input from the users. This ensures the information is accurate.
This data flow eliminates the need to input data multiple times, resulting in lower data inaccuracies therefore data integrity.
A weak data-flow results in an increased workload for HR and undoes the efficiencies a digital software should create. Remember the HR ecosystem? If there is no data flow the HR ecosystem isn’t cohesive and thus requires manual input to function effectively, which is counterproductive.
Automation of Contracts/ E-forms:
The data flow from requisition to recruitment to onboarding equips the onboarding software to automate e-forms and contracts based on the captured data regarding the vacant position and candidate.
This data may include salary, role responsibilities, start date, candidate personal details etc. This data doesn’t change, therefore to input the same data multiple times is unproductive.
However, in case the data does change, the documents can be reviewed and edited by HR and Managers before approving and sending them to successful candidates, therefore ensuring the business has complete control of the details entailed every document.
Reduce the Necessary HR and Administration Manual Labour:
The automation and data flow increases the efficiency of onboarding by digitalising the process, removing the need to fill in the same data multiple times or chase onboarding documents sent my e-mail or snail mail, then check them, then file them etc.
This efficiency lowers the manual labour input required for onboarding which allows HR to focus their attention to other important tasks.
Employe Referral Program
Create Talent Pools through Employees:
Feature: Before posting job advertisements send them to employees and allow them to share it with their connections. Employees are your companies biggest advocates, and the skills and traits they possess will be prevalent in those they connect/ are friends with (ie. if they’re hard working their friends will be too)
Benefits: HR can source internal referrals when looking to hire, however can also partake in these activities at any time to grow their talent pools and prepare for future hiring needs.
Save Money on Advertising:
Feature: Advertising on job boards is expensive and regularly results in an overwhelming number of candidates who aren’t suited for the position.
Benefit: Employee referrals reduce the cost of advertising new jobs as the only cost is the incentive advertised to your employees. Also, by reducing the number of applicants received the workload is reduced.
Not only do you reduce the cost needed, and the workload needed, but employee referrals also increase the chance of sourcing better quality candidates as the candidates come from a specific, reliable source.
Incentivise Employees with Rewards:
Function: To incentivise employees to participate in employee referrals HR can include rewards for participation within the job descriptions, this reward could be anything, from a cash prize to a movie ticket to simply a personalised letter of recognition and appreciation.
Benefit: This can be done at multiple levels (ie. interview stage, when the candidate is successful). Giving back to the employees builds a good rapport which encourages them to bring their friends onboard.
Tracking and Report Capabilities:
Feature: The source of the candidate is trackable (i.e. what link they applied through and which employee shared the link) in order to track which employee is owed the reward and which employees have received their rewards.
Benefit: All promises from the business are fulfilled and clearly organised. The tracking capability also acts as evidence in case any disgruntled employees file a complaint. The program should also generate reports to demonstrate how successful employees referrals are, participation rates, and other desirable data that are useful for strategizing and budgeting.
Fully Automated Reference Check
The reference check feature has to automate both a) the nomination of referees by the candidate, as well as b) capturing the references from the nominated referees.
Automation: Some ATSs provide the ability to capture the referees and their corresponding references within the ATS but don’t provide an automation capability.
Customisation: It should allow you to create questionnaire templates that you can present to referees for specific roles. Also you should be able to customize the copy of the all the email / SMS communications that go out to ether the candidates or the references.
Branded: You should be able to brand all email communications and all landing pages and forms that candidates and referees see.
Feature: Police check services provide document certifications services, as well as police record check and listing. This service is automated and contactless- the user simply clicks a button and the process in motion. The candidate receives an email/SMS promoting them to upload and present the appropriate documents (with an identifying photo) that are certified by a Justice of the Peace/Notary Public.
Benefits: Police checks ensure the documentation and information received about your candidate is accurate and reliable. Internal police checks empower HR to internally track the progress of the process, determine the estimated time before the police check is available, and easily access and view the documentation provided. This function continues the storage of all candidate information in one location, building the candidate profile, and also enables the company to integrate the process in the customisable recruitment workflow.
There you have it... 10 tips to consider when picking the best recruitment software (applicant tracking system). This article covers everything you need to know…. and more!
Whether you’re looking to update your recruitment tools, or invest in a recruitment software, remember what we said! Use the above 10 tips and guidelines to help you choose a software that will best benefit your business and efficionise your recruitment process.