5 things recruiters and HR should know about ATS systems

Original article was published by Shannon Thompson on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


5 things recruiters and HR should know about ATS systems

The growth of the technology sector has become something familiar in recent years. Old concepts are always resurfacing in new and exciting ways, innovators are finding use for technologies that have hit a standstill and software solutions as we know them are changing.

Applicant tracking systems have not been immune to this trend of continuous change, seemingly taking a completely different direction in the last decade. From the emergence of cloud-based systems and highly-intuitive platforms to the intricate integration of artificial intelligence, this is one niche that’s quickly making the most of new technologies.

Vendors are aware of the industry’s rapid growth and are scrambling to gain that competitive edge. It’s easy to spot the pattern of decreasing prices and the significant rise of offered functionalities in the ATS sector over the past ten years.

User satisfaction seems to be one of the main differences between today and yesterday’s ATS solutions. New platforms, while imperfect, seem to place the bulk of their focus on how their product is experienced, how easy it is to access and manipulate, whether the interface is intuitive, and of course, whether the tools within meet the user’s every need.

Perfection is barely ever a feasible goal, but a solution that assists recruiters, saves their time, and allows them to easily access and manipulate data, is an asset to their long term recruitment goals and processes, a path to effective collaboration and data management.

Let’s not forget that the continuous rise of technologies has instigated a change in what an ATS might include. Some solutions go as far as offering AI functionalities, onboarding tools, performance analytics, and automated matching to name a few. Regardless, here are six things that recruiters and HR professionals should know about ATS systems.

1- Intuitive and easy to use

This is a major turning point for ATS solutions. HR tech had a reputation for a subpar experience, mainly due to complicated interfaces, clunky tools, and extremely long loading screens.

However, newer solutions seem to be focused on eliminating the need for long and elaborate demo sessions that end up confusing the user. The easier it is to learn and use, the better it already is. Keep in mind that a lot of companies adopt ATS solutions for large teams, this makes time-saving more precious, and the need for an intuitive interface more pronounced than ever.

Not only does the ease-of-use apply to the ATS itself, but also its capabilities to allow third-party integrations with other software. Recruiters have a process and needs that they are very aware of. There are a lot of channels for recruitment, and the ability to link these channels directly to the ATS, as well as the data within, makes it easier to utilize job boards, perform pre-hire assessments, and reach elusive talent.

2- Superior recruitment experience

There are two sides to this particular coin, the candidate’s experience, and the recruiter’s experience.

Job seekers often consider ATS a hurdle, a difficulty to overcome. This is mainly due to earlier solutions and their shortcomings in terms of appropriate assessment and candidate screening pre-interview. In fact, the majority of job seekers worry that their resumes would not reach human eyes before getting rejected.

Moreover, earlier solutions imposed long forms that could make or break an application. This made the candidate’s journey too long and complicated. In fact, it may just as well be one of the reasons that many give up on applying halfway through.

But as ATS solutions changed in terms of technology, so has the experience.

With customizable application forms and fields, companies can tailor the candidate’s experience to their liking, making it simple, quick, and undemanding. Recruiters can in fact ask the core questions that relate the most to their hiring strategy and needs.

The change seen in the user/recruiter’s experience revolves more around efficiency. There are more tools available that are simple and straightforward,

Applicant tracking systems aren’t what they used to be. They’re better at assessing talent and finding its value. It’s also one of the harshly misjudged tools, as the final decision remains firmly human.

AI is better utilized now, as candidate matching reaches new heights in terms of accuracy and detail. The ATS is no longer a hurdle, simply an assisting presence capable of automating tedious work and providing valuable insights.

3- Job board integration

This is one of the tools that a recruiter must know about, as job board integration makes things so much easier.

There are many channels and tactics that constitute an efficient recruitment process. In fact, there are so many that consistently monitoring each and every one can become a tedious and repetitive task. However, job board integration aggregates all of these channels into the same platform, easily manipulated and accessed, centralizing the user’s recruitment and putting the ATS at the heart of the process.

ATS platforms seem unrelenting in establishing partnerships and links with the various job boards around the globe. It’s one of the differences between initial applicant tracking systems and newer solutions.

4- Automating processes

Automation is a central aspect of ATS solutions. The very basics of which would be in parsing thousands of resumes and creating candidate profiles out of them, while the more advanced features can be seen in the AI-based recommendations and matching.

As an ATS’ mission is to streamline recruitment and save valuable time, automation is a given. But beyond parsing resumes, an ATS can provide assistance in terms of scheduling interviews, creating candidate scorecards, and maintaining an up-to-date database in which each team member’s notes and contributions are saved and displayed appropriately.

Not only does this come in handy in terms of tedious tasks, it’s also valuable to collaboration, as automation handles data input on the candidate’s side, and goes through its process to display analysis, recommendations, corresponding matches, and a holistic view of operations for the recruiter. The bigger the company and the more entities it has within its hierarchy, the more important automation is.

5- Analytics

You have your recruitment metrics under supervision, and you’re counting on data to better position your company. The role of HR analytics in ATS solutions is to outline and track these metrics, as well as provide insights regarding the team’s performance, both as individuals and as a unit.

Fully understanding today’s data is the path to understanding the talent market as well as what’s working and what’s not. It’s about analyzing the efficiency of your team as well as pivoting your hiring process for better results. A top of the line ATS solution would provide full-spectrum analytics that can be leveraged in the future.

ATS vendors to keep an eye on

I try to keep an eye on promising solutions that are growing exponentially in short periods of time. The following ATS examples are currently the highest-rated on Sourceforge in the ATS category.

1. Manatal — All in One AI recruiting software & ATS

2- Lever — ATS suitable for large companies