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Applicant tracking system (ATS) guide: What HR needs to know

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11 min read
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The process of recruitment and selection is one of the most important tasks of the HR department within a company. Not only are hiring managers responsible for ensuring companies fill vacant positions, but they determine who is a perfect match for the team. If you’re involved in hiring and are struggling to recruit the right talent or organize the talent pool, it’s time to look into an HR ATS, or applicant tracking system. 

If you want to know more about the process of ATS recruitment and learn how to optimize the process, continue reading. 

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HR ATS and recruitment

Hiring the right employees that will support the future growth of your company, is not an easy task. Whoever you wish to incorporate into your team must fit the needed profile. It’s essential they have the characteristics to perform the functions of their role, and also the capacity to solve the problems, for which they have been hired to solve

Before beginning the process of selection, there is a principal phase the company must thoroughly pass through. This involves analyzing everything related to the vacancy; including, but not limited to:

  • How many positions are there?
  • Which characteristics do you require?
  • What is the company looking for from the person in this role?
  • What are the functions of the role?
  • Which profile are you looking to hire?

Above all, one of the most important things a company must do before recruiting is to set a budget. A clear budget allows you to manage your applicant hiring in a way that ensures the company experiences no losses.

If you’re an HR admin, we know that finding time for recruitment is difficult. For this reason, ATS technology was born. If you’re a company that plans to hire employees and/or post a variety of roles, it’s worth looking into an ATS. Thanks to applicant tracking software, companies are able to manage the hiring process better and optimize and automate the process as much as possible.

What is an applicant tracking system (ATS)?

Simply put, ATS software is a tool used to help companies, big and small facilitate the job of the hiring manager when it comes to recruitment and selection.

An applicant tracking system is essentially a platform that is responsible for collecting candidate information, allowing the recruiter to easily organize and hone in on the applicant pool. As a result, this leads to a more efficient recruitment process.

The problem with many ATS systems is, that although they provide the recruiter the ability to easily filter through applicants, these systems often do not provide an end-to-end solution. What do we mean by that? 

Well, ATS systems like Factorial HR provide an end-to-end recruitment software that starts from the principal stages of the hiring process, all the way to incorporating the employee into your system.

Companies that use ATS software to optimize their hiring process, are more likely to succeed in capturing top talent. This is a fact!

How does an applicant tracking system aid an HR manager?

There are immediate benefits to implementing software to support the hiring process. Spoiler: stronger candidates and happier recruiters are part of the package.

Increase Organization

Hiring managers are busy. So an applicant tracking system (ATS) can prevent things from slipping between the cracks. Don’t misplace candidate resumes in the abyss of your inbox or lose time looking for old files. Simplify with software that keeps your talent pools, job postings, and candidates in one place.

Improve Candidate Experience

Bad candidate experiences don’t just lose you talent, they can also lose your company business. In one survey, 42% of respondents said that they would never again seek employment at a company where they had a bad candidate experience. 9% said they would even tell others not to purchase services from the company! Don’t burn bridges. Instead, use recruitment software to keep potential candidates happy and in the loop.

Optimize Employer Branding

Responding to a job posting may be the first interaction a candidate has with your company. Free online recruitment software can help you put your best foot forward when it comes to posting jobs on aggregator sites or on your business’s website. In short: Better postings will draw better candidates.

Work Together

With the right talent acquisition software, you can get your whole team involved during recruitment. This collaboration will help you to find the best cultural fit for the position.

Applicant tracking system (ATS) benefits

You may be asking, why do companies use ATS? Well, Not all companies require an ATS system, but, if you are finding yourself spending hours upon hours weeding through CVs, trying to filter out the candidate pool, then it’s worth considering investing in recruitment management software. On top of saving time in contracting employees, other benefits of an ATS system include:

Better candidate options – More qualified selection

When using specialized software to help with recruiting, you increase your chances of finding the right person for the job. The selection of the best candidates normally depends on the algorithm and the keywords an applicant includes in their CV. Although this feature may seem desirable, many HR managers are not in favor. They comment that their experience with this type of software add-on does more harm than good. They say that plenty of good candidates get disqualified because a machine can’t do a human’s job. Factorial HR has taken this into account when creating their ATS. As the recruiter, we let you still have the final say, rather than having a machine decide your candidate’s fate.

conflict resolution in the workplace

Reduces hiring costs – saves time & money

The cost of hiring is high, therefore,  a company should make sure they hire the right person initially so that later on, the role doesn’t need to be filled again. High turnover within a company can cause a decrease in productivity, a loss of customers, and decrease employee morale. For this reason, a strong focus on hiring should be at the forefront of the HR department. Hiring is one of the major roles of an HR manager.

Reducing the time required for the hiring process, inevitably cuts costs, as you do not need to have more people working more hours to handle recruitment. Moreover, with this methodology, the company has more opportunities for hiring the right person as they are focused on this objective, rather than being pulled in other directions.

Compliance with GDPR – With a HR ATS candidate data is protected

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation to which companies have recently been required to adapt to across Europe. The introduction of this regulation requires companies to review many of their processes to ensure compliance. With the use of ATS software, candidate data is protected and complies with the regulations laid out. ATS platforms like Factorial HR have integrated the permissions required by law into the system to comply with GDPR regulations.

Career page customization – Attract top talent

Finding the right team greatly depends on the job board you advertise on as well as writing the perfect job description. What you put out is what you attract. Essentially, if you fail to communicate clearly through your job posting, letting candidates know what type of person you are wanting to recruit, your applicant pool will reflect this same unclarity and confusion. Talent acquisition software is the key to finding the best team. Not many of the applicant tracking software available allow you to customize your hiring page easily and effortlessly. Factorial HR understands your desire to present your best foot forward to potential candidates, which is why we have implemented the customized career page.

Improved coordination – Increase team productivity

Using software such as Factorial’s HR system, not only provides you with an optimized applicant tracking system but, also lets you integrate other functionalities such as document management, absence management, and digital signature among others. By centralizing your HR tasks, you can more easily coordinate with other departments so that, for example, there are no overlaps of tasks or organizational errors.

How much does recruitment software cost?

Different recruitment software will use different pricing plans. Some talent acquisition platforms will charge by the number of open positions. Meanwhile, others will charge by the month or by the number of recruiting managers registered on the platform.

All-in-one HRIS platforms are usually priced based on the number of employees in the company. Some HRIS platforms can be as expensive as $8/per employee/per month. More cost-effective recruitment solutions will run about $4/per employee/per month.

3 Steps to choosing the best recruitment tracking software

Recruitment software can do your hiring process a world of good. But the wrong free recruiting software can become more of a hindrance than a help. You may get stuck with ineffective tools or exorbitant fees. Here’s how to sift the bad programs from the good.

1. Look for the right applicant tracking system features

The first step is determining exactly what your company needs. Collaborate with your team to decide on essential and non-essential features that you are looking for in an ATS. Consider your organization’s priorities. How can recruitment software help you reach your goals? Here are some features that interest most organizations.

  • Creating and Tracking Job Postings- With an ATS, you can create a job listing to post on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. You can manage responses and tailor the ad to get more interest. Then, keep the text on file to rework later.
  • Managing Candidates and Collaborating-Recruitment database software will help you store information on every phase of your employee’s life cycle. You can loop in team members to help make important decisions. Additionally, strong candidates will stay on file so that you can easily find them for future positions.
  • Recruiting Analytics- Make sure the platform can help crunch the numbers. Tracking and measuring applicant and hiring data will help your company to allocate its resources and hire smarter.
  • Integration with Rest of Software- What’s the use of having great recruitment software if it can’t integrate with the rest of your administrative processes? Data from recruitment may end up being important down the line. In short, a program that works with the rest of your tech will prevent future headaches.
  • Support- If things go wrong (and somehow, things always do seem to go wrong), you need to know that you can reach help. It may be tricky to find free software with support, but how can you trust a system with no one accountable?
  • Mobile App- Keep up with the times! More and more hires are taking place on cell phones. Find software with a recruitment app in order to post jobs and manager candidates from your phone.

2.  Take a recruitment software free trial

By now, you have found a few programs that your team could benefit from. If some of them are paid, you can take advantage of free trials to try the recruitment software online. For example, factorial’s free 14-day trial is an opportunity not only to try their ATS, but also the rest of their HR services. Here are our tips for how to get the most out of a trial:

  • Have as many members of your team as possible test the software.
  • Make sure the features meet the essential and non-essential requirements previously decided on.
  • Find software that integrates well with your current tools.
  • Test all offered features to make sure they are as advertised and not too clunky.

Remember, you want a clean, mean, recruiting machine. Don’t get bogged down with unnecessary features which will only slow you down.

3. Go for the best recruitment software

With an idea in mind of how the different software functions, it is finally time to choose the program that works best for you. Before you take the plunge, do your best to determine if the recruitment software pricing is honest or if there are hidden costs. Fees per job posting or new hire can quickly add up.

Factorial’s recruitment software comes free with a subscription to its HR management services, therefore it has no hidden fees. This may be an opportunity not just to improve your recruitment process but improve the employee experience for the entire employee life cycle.

ROI: save with an HR ATS

Investing in a talent acquisition platform can seem like a big step, but the savings in time and money probably make it worth your while. Here are some examples of how software will help you at every turn, from sourcing to interviewing to onboarding.

During the recruitment and selection process

  • Reduced time-to-hire: With a customizable career page and integration with LinkedIn and Indeed, talent acquisition software will get the word out to qualified candidates. This reduces the loss-of-productivity costs of an unfilled position.
  • Reduced administrative time: With an applicant tracking system to keep all their ducks in a row, hiring managers will have more time to focus on other things.
  • Improved Candidate Experience: Woo potential hires with the efficiency and professionalism of the business. Bonus: software can keep strong candidates on file for future positions.

While onboarding new hires

  • Reduced administration costs: New hires come with a lot of administrative work. Talent acquisition software will centralize data about your employees. Not to mention electronic signature capabilities, which will get new employees under contract in no time.
  • Reduction of costs associated with training: Digitally share the employee handbook and other important information with a document manager. Giving employees all the information they need off the bat will get them up to speed and help them to get to work.

Engaging employees long-term

  • Reduced turnover: That’s right! Good talent acquisition software is the key to talent retention. With improved hiring and onboarding processes, your business is more likely to hire a candidate who is a good fit. This means employees will be more likely to stick around, reducing training and hiring costs associated with turnover.
  • Improved Productivity: Employee engagement is tantamount to productivity! With an employee portal, employees will be able to check up on payroll, make vacation requests, and more. This means less time spent worrying about bureaucracy and more time getting things done.

Calculating the ROI of recruitment software

By now, it is probably clear that talent acquisition software will save your business money. But you may be wondering exactly how much money. Here’s how to tally up your savings in three easy steps.

Decide on recruitment metrics.

When streamlining your company’s hiring process, how will you measure success? Many organizations might focus on reducing time-to-fill, and the time it takes to fill a position. Others might consider the cost-of-hire, or how many manhours it takes to recruit, onboard, and train a new hire. Still, others may determine success through reduced attrition.

Think about your business’s pain points. Where do you stand to see the greatest improvements in your hiring process?

How will you measure success?

Next, consider the costs associated with the old way of doing things. Perhaps positions at your business typically remain unfilled for four weeks. That is four weeks of lost productivity. One fast formula to determine how much money you lose every day that you have an unfilled position is as follows:

(Annual Profits / # of Employees) / 220 Work Days per Year

This formula does not account for lost expertise, hours lost by other staff when they compensate for being short-staffed, or the hours spent by HR in the hiring process.

According to research, unfilled positions may be costing companies thousands of dollars a day.

How much do you save with recruitment software?

Let’s imagine that talent acquisition software costs the company, for example, $50/month. The open position is costing your business $500/day in lost productivity alone. If it takes four weeks for the position to be filled, that is 20 working days.

$500 x 20 = $10,000
 

First, subtract the money saved from not paying the worker’s salary. They typically make $20/hour and would have worked 8 hours a day for 20 days.

$10,000 – (20 x 8 x 20) = $6,800
We have a net loss of $6,800. If talent acquisition software cuts the time-to-hire from four weeks to two, the net loss is only $3,400. That means $3,400 saved!

$500 x 10 = $5,000
$5,000 – (20 x 8 x 10) = $3,400
Finally, to calculate the ROI, we subtract the cost of investment ($50) from the profit ($3,400), divide by the cost of investment and multiply by 100.

(($3,400 – 50) / 50) x 100 = $6700
That’s an ROI of 6700% percent! Not bad at all.

The best HR ATS recruitment system

Selecting the best talent management software for your company begins with first clearly defining your needs. Once you have done this, you can prepare your budget, and finally, allocate the budget towards software that will benefit you the most

Let ATS software work for you. Before testing your needs against its functionalities, lay out a set of selection criteria and get clear on what problem you are hoping the software will solve. Some recruitment CRM software offers companies a free trial period to test out their features. 

Are you crystal clear on finding the right candidate? Don’t wait any longer! Trial out Factorial HR and its candidate tracking system. Still not sure? Find out how to select the best free recruitment software.

Final thoughts on HR ATS tools

Simply put, a Recruitment platform or Human Resources management software (ATS) can improve productivity in your life and work. Factorial’s intuitive and easy-to-use applicant tracking system, allows you to collect and track applicants through the hiring process. Also, you can easily create your own customized hiring page, showcasing your company, team, available positions, and more. Best of all, the Factorial ATS system lets you effortlessly integrate new employees into Factorial’s HR recruitment software once hired. 

Try Factorial’s ATS Software

This post is also available in: Portugal, English UK, Mexican

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