• Applicant Tracking Software - Buyers Guide

    1. What is applicant tracking software?

    For recruiters across many industries, having the edge on hiring the best applicants is a high-value option. In the internet age, applicant tracking software (ATS) gives smart employers just that; it saves valuable resources in management time and expenses by streamlining the recruiting process from the outset and controlling it from there on in. Recruiters have access to an effective database of applicants, job specifications, and descriptions. From here, ATS provides an interface to help managers fill every job opportunity quickly and correctly, thanks to applicant tracking, scoring, profiling, and resume parsing.

    2. The benefits of applicant tracking software

    Applicant tracking software represents high value for businesses because it fits the right candidate to the right job, as efficiently as possible. ATS packages help do this in the following ways:

    Automation and streamlining: Globalization and big data mean that candidates for many jobs can apply from almost anywhere in the world. This means a pool of talent which can be very large indeed, even for specialized positions. ATS products begin by automating the sifting process from the beginning, from screening resumes to contacting potential applicants and conducting follow up tasks after successful recruitment. ATS also records every step of this process on a database, for future reference.

    Improving HR efficiency: Recruiting staff is time-consuming and involves a number of repetitive tasks. By automating as much of the process as possible, many of these tasks are completed by ATS software. This greatly assists human resources (HR) departments, as staff can employ many portals simultaneously, according to each job posting. When surveyed, almost 90% of recruitment professionals said that using this software helped them fill positions more efficiently.

    Minimizing cost per hire: As there are many ways of reaching out to candidates, allocating resources to the right ones is of paramount importance. Applicant tracking software uses data from previous campaigns to allocate the appropriate level of outreach to each channel, which in turn means the best use of resources spent on recruitment, in terms of both staff time and overall expenditure.

    Maximizing hire quality: ATS shortlisting and resume parsing delivers the highest percentile of qualified staff at the earliest stages of the recruitment process. From this high starting point, HR staff can use their time and expertise to the best advantage, giving businesses and candidates alike the best chance of finding the right fit for each post. The reduction in time spent on repetitive admin tasks also makes the whole process much quicker.

    3. Typical features of applicant tracking software

    The following features are most commonly found in the best ATS software products:

    Candidate tracking: Records every step of each individual applicant’s progress through the recruitment process, based on interactions at each stage.

    Profiling: Easily create, edit, and manage each candidate’s personal and professional information on an efficient, searchable database.

    Resume search: Store, access, and manage database of all candidate resumes from every job application.

    Interview scheduling: Synchronizes calendar software between recruiters and applicants via preferred calendar options.

    Resume parsing: Gather relevant information from all resumes on record, converting from a wide range of formats to one instantly searchable via ATS.

    4. The cost of applicant tracking software

    Applicant tracking software is sometimes marketed at a per-job posting level; however, the majority of these products sell on a per user, per month schedule. These latter are priced on a three-level cost hierarchy, based on starting price:

    Price ranges*:


    *These price tiers refer to entry-level, lowest-priced versions of packages, as gathered from vendors’ websites on 25 February 2019. They correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentile of price data for sample products, as advertised on relevant websites. Prices also refer to base plans for most of the products described herein. Enterprise and premium
    versions are sometimes available, which have added functionality including a referral program, workflow control, resume branding, social media management, and automated interview scheduling.

    5. Considerations when buying applicant tracking software

    When considering investing in ATS software, the following should always be a priority:

    Final cost of purchase: ATS vendors have different pricing models based on their individual offerings, which will be targeted at certain business sectors. Some offer annual contracts, others charge on a per-user basis, and some market their products on a monthly subscription basis. Alternatively, there are options where you can pay by individual posting. With this in mind, final costs may depend on extra expenses such as training and reporting costs, customer support, and onboarding fees.

    Ease of implementation and integration: The added value which comes with applicant tracking software is only worthwhile if it can help your business streamline recruitment, which means working as seamlessly as possible with your existing software portfolio, or with any products you may buy in the future. HR software in particular, therefore, must work perfectly alongside your new ATS system; payroll will be the next priority. These in turn will rely on syncing of calendars, databases, and email accounts. Be careful to research the compatibility of any products before committing.

    6. Relevant trends

    The rise of social media recruitment: With an ever more internet savvy pool of talent to choose from, social media is an absolute must for any serious recruiter, and this situation is here to stay. From Millennials and younger, each generation spends more time on social media, of one kind or another. For this reason, 94% of hirers use the web to engage with potential clients and employees. ATS lets you do this easily, including options like Q&A with candidates, piggybacking on hashtags, LinkedIn, and much more.

    AI and recruitment: As with so many other business arenas, recruitment is looking to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Immediate advantages offered by AI are automated candidate screening and recruit onboarding. Chatbots are also very valuable in responding to applicant queries, enormously reducing HR workload during recruitment campaigns. Meanwhile, It is forecast that AI itself will replace about 16% of human employment in the next decade, which will require a drastic change in recruitment policies for many businesses.

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