1 5elements that make up the best Applicant Tracking Systems powered by:
2 Sean Pomeroy CEO of Visibility Software Can we talk? I see so much happening that is innovative in the ATS space and I know from experience that what that translates to is some confusion for the customer. After all, what used to be referred to as a simple Applicant Tracking System is now being called Talent Tracking, Candidate Relationship Management (CRM...it is not) and being incorporated into really large end-to-end systems. What s a small to medium sized business (SMB) to do? At Visibility, we re committed to providing innovation in a proactive way, which is why we wrote this primer on what a true ATS solution looks like. That way, if you re ever confused about what ATS means (in five...ten years or about 40,000 tweets, whichever comes first) you can recognize it with this simple, no-nonsense guide. Of course, we do provide an ATS in the form of our award-winning, best-selling, servicefocused Cyber Recruiter (did I mention it s the cloud that comes with its own pilot? No.?) We re pretty proud of our track record and our product and we believe that our ATS does have the 5 things we re going to point out to you here. But that doesn t mean this primer is biased. It means that we ve been listening to customers for over a decade and know what they need in an ATS. Simple Solutions Today s employers look for tools that help them streamline processes and accomplish tasks faster, with fewer resources. That s where we come in. Support Support is friendly and responsive. Work directly with us, or through a local partner. Built for You Our software and services address the real-world business challenges of recruiting and employee training.
3 First Things First, What Is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Applicant tracking systems, otherwise known as candidate management systems, are software applications used to help organizations recruit more efficiently. Every ATS is different, but at the core of this software is the ability to post job listings, screen resumes and applications, gather interview information and a lot more, depending on what the vendor offers and the client s needs. An ATS is the electronic handling of almost all recruitment needs. What used to take hours of data entry and organization is now done automatically through this software. This ATS functions as the central location database for recruitment efforts within the company. The whole point is to help management obtain, organize and store applicant and resume information in an easy to access form. All of the major job boards work with ATS software vendors to lend their users support and ease of use. The ATS makes data migration easier than ever. This pairing was so successful that software companies are continually coming up ways to make it better. New tools guide artificial intelligence in semantic search capabilities. These cloud-based platforms allow for better sorting of resume data. This then leads to better pairing of such data with job descriptions. ATSs are also capable of coordinating and analyzing workforce alignment. This software makes it possible and easier than ever, for HR departments to strategize their recruitment efforts. The mining and collection of applicant data through technology is changing the way we recruit forever. Most applicant tracking systems will include features like: Individual Applicant Tracking Automated Resume Tracking Requisition Tracking Customizable Field and Forms Screening Questions Response Tracking Resume Parsing But hopefully, a whole lot more!
4 Now a Standard in HR Departments An estimated 50% of mid-sized companies, and just about all large corporations are currently using an applicant tracking system. Once thought of as a tool exclusively used in larger corporations, small and midsized corporations are switching their manual entry practices over to an ATS in droves. Rapid advances in technology coupled with the ease of use, has made applicant tracking software affordable and in-demand enough to become a staple in most HR departments. Often, these smaller companies are using open source or software as a service (SaaS). but I d like something better than EXCEL?! Applicant tracking systems are now considered a must-have in any company, regardless of size. Since applicant tracking systems have become so affordable and easily integrated, there is no reason for any HR department to be without one. Frankly, the plethora of choices out there create a buffet of better than Excel ATS platforms. From tracking open positions, to sorting resumes and candidate information, to distributing, having an ATS can greatly improve recruiting efficiency and workforce alignment. What s the Point? More Relevant, Searchable Candidates Improved Candidate Experience (we hope!) Passive Results from Sourcing Efforts Less Confusion Collaborative Opportunities
5 Choosing an ATS While in the search for the right ATS, it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This process can take some time and effort, but having an ATS in your recruiting tools arsenal is vital to the organization s success. The options are plentiful, and websites are flashy, but how can you be sure which software is right for your organization? Then there is the matter of getting past the differing titles. Am I looking for a CMS (Candidate Management System) HCM (Human Capital Management System) Talent Lifecycle Software Talent Management System Talent Acquisition Software Recruiting Software We re going to look past the titles and ignore the sales pitches, and get down to the heart of what you re looking for in an applicant tracking system.
6 1) Know What You Need, Know What They Want Having a basic understanding of what your organization needs in an ATS can make this process a whole lot easier. We encourage ATS decision-makers to start their hunt with research on their side of this equation. You can search vendor by vendor, but if you don t have a grasp on the needs of the organization, you will end up with a mismatch of tools and services. Start by identifying who will be using this software. They are the people that should be a part of this decision. Solicit feedback on their needs, and ask about shortcomings with their current ATS. If it is unclear to them what they will require of an ATS, they should document their current process, step-bystep. Each step represents a tool or feature that will be needed in the ATS. This will also help to identify the problems in the current way of doing things. Recognizing these problems ensures that they don t come over to the new system. Working with a team helps decision-makers identify exactly why they need an ATS and what they need in one. This step is all about usability. If some outof-the-box ATS isn t easy to use, and it doesn t have the features needed in your specific organization or industry, it will end up being a waste of time and money. Go with the system that your team can quickly and easily implement. This system will be used on a regular basis, so it should require little ongoing training. Vendors will often wow potential customers with a whole of fluff that is in no way related to applicant tracking. Concentrate on ease of use, the time it will take to train your team, how intuitive the system is, how adaptable it is and how much maintenance it will require. Take advantage of free trials. Any good vendor with a good product will let you take it for a spin before you buy it. Always ask about the possibility of trying out a live system as well. There are often subtle, but important differences. Try it out and gauge how userfriendly it is. Consider whether or not this system will be easy to implement. Get some of your coworkers in on the trial as well. Gather feedback and ask your vendor about improvements. Can the system be tailored? How easy or complicated is it to make changes? Compare the ATSs that you and your team have tried and make a team decision on what is best for the organization. 1
7 2) Support that Supports Technical support, upgrades and updated knowledge libraries are all so very important in order to have effective and relevant software. Don t settle for good support; get great support. Odds are you don t have a staff of ATS software experts. 24/7 support services are vital to any successful ATS. Be sure to ask if there is constant support and if it comes at any extra cost. Read reviews on their support and customer service, or contact a company that has implemented their ATS to find out how responsive they are after the initial purchase. They should offer online and/or live customer support. And find out if they have any other resources like a knowledge center for self-help and tech questions. Even the best software in the world is useless if no one knows how to use or update it. Great support looks a little like this Proactive Does your tech support call you? Leading software companies have realized the importance of offering relevant and timely tech support. Industry leaders in the software 2 business have taken notice of customer feedback, and started to make their support proactive. Proper support should be designed to facilitate the right use of the software through ongoing training and support. Instead of waiting for the call from the frantic client trying desperately to get something done in a timely manner, proactive support answers the questions and fixes the problems ahead of time. Optimized As your team uses the software, they find their own ways of doing things. These aren t necessarily the ways in which the software was designed to be used; therefore it is not being used optimally. Vendors who offer great support want clients to use the software to the best of its potential. Happy clients are retained clients, and this happens through the optimization of the software. Wow, I didn t know it could do that! is phrase that a good tech support representative should hear often. Transparent Have you ever had a question about your software, picked up the phone, and waded through a 5 minutelong automated system, only to end up with a sales person charging you for the call and the support? This is an all too common frustration with software support. When choosing your software, be sure to ask questions about support and its associated costs. Will each call cost me? How much? What if the matter isn t resolved? Ongoing support should be a part of the package. On the Line An overwhelming majority of customers prefer to contact customer service by phone, 79% in fact. Having software support that actually answers the phone is vital to productivity and sanity. Although most companies can t answer the phone 24/7, there should be some type of support available around the clock.
8 3) Configuration and Integration This goes back to knowing exactly what you need and want out of your ATS. No system is going to perfectly line up with your needs right off the bat, which is why they are customizable. The goal here isn t just to keep data organized, an ATS should do so much more than that. Configuration The right ATS should conform to your specific business needs. Forms and fields should be customizable, easy to add and easy to take away. You will most likely need your ATS to post directly to job boards and have the ability to create s to efficiently communicate with applicants and candidates about the hiring process. It is undeniable that social recruiting is a part of this business that is here to stay. It is effective in more ways than one, including cost. You should have a firm grasp on the system s social networking and job posting capabilities. Some are great at this, and some make it nearly impossible. For smaller companies, or B2B interaction, social is vital in gaining greater candidate visibility. Establishing a brand and presence is done through social today. If your ATS doesn t facilitate that, you should keep looking. Find out how easy or difficult posting can be. Which social networks does the system support and to what job boards will you have access? Because social recruiting is growing and changing so rapidly, you should find out about the possibility of adding networks and/or job boards to the system. Ask about upgrades and growth. Is what you see what you get, or are you working with a vendor that is interested in evolving their product? Is there the possibility for updates and upgrades, or is this it? Your ATS should grow with your needs as well as your numbers. If you go from 5 employees to 500, will this system still work with, and for you? Again, ask about the costs associated with scalability and 3 upgrades. Integration You will more than likely need this system to work with one or more other systems. Smaller companies will often pair their ATS with their website. Be sure that you understand the steps that it will take to get your ATS integrated with your website. As the scale gets larger, companies might need this system to work with multiple other parts. Find out exactly what kind of support this vendor can offer you in the integration of other systems. You will need a strong commitment of resources and security where integration is concerned. Your integrations should be done as you need them, not when your provider is available to help. There should be a strong understanding that resources and support will be reserved for you in times of integration.
9 4) The Candidate Experience and Your Employer Brand This is the other side of the equation, and it is vital to the success of the company. You must ensure that your ATS offers an exceptional experience to candidates. The wrong ATS can cause a company to lose many quality candidates and not even know it. The process has too be smooth, user-friendly and speedy. Job seekers don t have time for lengthy, frustrating processes. Making your job postings visible is one thing, but when they get there, how many clicks does it take to actually get to and through the application process? Is this process that should take less than 10 minutes actually taking 30-45? Your system should act as a welcome mat to candidates, but it is all too often candidate kryptonite. If you application process is messy and inefficient, what does it say about your organization? Try seeing this process through the candidate s eyes. Go through the application process yourself and find out what they are experiencing. If the application process is more work than the position, this is not that ATS for you. If they can t offer a live experience, ask to be directed to the ATS of one of their current customers. How easy is it? Did you get an auto-reply acknowledging and thanking you for applying? Companies spend way too much time and money on establishing a positive employer brand, their tools should fortify that, not break it down. The candidate s perspective is actually one of the most important factors in this decision, but very often overlooked.
10 5) The Standards There are some standard features that should come with your ATS that may not be as glaring as basic needs, support and Configuration. These are the small, but vital tools and features that make the everyday headaches of applicant tracking a thing of the past. Optimized Searching This is all about ease of use. The whole point here is to find the right technology to make life easier. Sadly, the core of this technology, which is searching and matching, falls quite short in a lot of systems. Poor search functionality can render these systems completely useless. What good is all of this stored data if you can t access it. If there is a trick to finding the right match, this ATS isn t functioning optimally. Searches should be fast and accurate. The results of the search should be properly formatted in a reasonable and easy to digest way. Again, try their search out before buying. Does it come up with relevant matches? Performance Metrics Reports You cannot improve upon what cannot be measured. You need reporting tools that are easy to access and easy to interpret. Metrics play an important part in recruiting; they are the numbers that help up get better at our job. The system should keep track of information like time-to-fill, source of hire and retention, just to name a few. These reports should be customizable. If you want metrics on how many candidates graduated from the local university, you should be able to easily gather this information. Custom reports and metrics might come at additional costs. Pull the IT team into this conversation. Are they stretched as it is, or do they have room on their plate for another responsibility? Unless your IT resources 5 are solid, consider going with a product with update and maintenance support built-in. This means having a realistic grasp on expectations. Employee Referrals Employee referrals are often very successful candidates, and there needs to be a system in place to encourage these referrals. Consider finding an ATS that has a separate portal for employee referrals. Evaluate the employee side of the referral as well as what the candidate experiences. These referrals can be recruiting gold, make sure that the candidate is well received and the employee can easily make the referral. Maintenance You should know whether or not you will require the vendor to do maintenance, or your own IT team.
11 To Sum Up... Choosing the right ATS for your company is big decision. As the backbone of the company, arming your HR department with the most effective technology for your organization will often have a direct impact on the caliber of workforce they build. If you have been tasked with finding the right ATS, consider these 4 factors in choosing the right one. 1) Identify the needs of your employees and HR department. Finding out what they need to build and sustain a healthy workforce will be the cornerstone of your search. 2) Do you have a team in-house to support you technically? This matters. Technical support can make or break this investment. Find out what your internal resources are before choosing a platform. 3) Candidates need a clean, easy and efficient way to interact with your company. Consider applying for jobs to find a system you would love to apply to. 4) Lastly, we have given you a list of some of the standard tools and resources that any good ATS will have. User experience on the candidate side does you no good without amazing search and performance transparency on the recruiting side. We hope that we helped make this decision a little easier. It is a complicated search to find the right tools, but one well worth the research. Never sacrifice one need for another, the whole package is out there, we promise! The Bare Bones Can track individual candidates? Can I track individual resumes? Can I track my requisitons? Are there customizable fields and forms? What kind of screening questions can I ask? The Right Support Does the vendor offer proactive support? Is the support optimized for my needs? Can I get a transparent look inside my support cases? Am I able to contact my support rep in the manner I choose? Configuration What is automated in my ATS? What do cutomizations cost? What are the fees for upgrades and am I required to get them? Is there a social component? Is this system scalable for my projected growth? Integration Will this system work with my current systems? What sort of integrations does it offer? Are these integrations secure and tested? Candidate Experience Is this ATS easy to use? How long does it take for a candidate to go through the process? Is this ATS white-labeled for my brand? Is it a simple system with a good user experience? Can I market to candidates post-apply? Must-Haves Is this system easy to search? Can I see the performance metrics of my team? Can I track source and type of hire? What sort of maintenance will this need? Can my employees refer other candidates?
12 See Who We Are Visibility Software publishes employee-focused software which addresses the core recruiting and training management needs of companies in a wide variety of industries. Think of our solutions as tools that help streamline workflows, eliminate manual processes, reduce overhead, and facilitate corporate communication. We are a team of dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced professionals who work tirelessly to make tools that exceed your expectations. Why You Might Not Have Heard Of Us Sometimes prospects and clients ask us why they don t see Cyber Recruiter or Cyber Train amongst the various Top 10 rankings and Magic Quadrant lists. The simple answer is because we ve chosen to invest our resources in product development, and less in product promotion. Companies pay to have their product evaluated for these surveys, and we ve decided not to spend our development resources that way. Our pride comes from providing software that addresses real-world business issues, not from seeing our name in lights. So, if you ve been shopping for an award-winning software, you might not have heard of us. If powerful, purpose-built software is what you re looking for, you ve come to the right place.
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