6 Flaws In Your Applicant Tracking System

The face of recruiting has changed greatly over the last decade, but the tools our industry uses have essentially stayed the same. While there are a few that are able to offer what a recruiter really needs the same old standard ATS that most of us use has been around for decades. This creates a major problem for our industry as the abilities of an ATS don’t match up with the way recruiters work now and what we need it to be able to do.

Of course there was a time when an ATS did almost everything a recruiter needed it to do. It was created for applicant storage and compliance and it does a great job at those things. However, it’s not a marketing and engagement engine, which presents limitations in what you can do to ensure candidate experience and engagement. You can get creative and piecemeal together multiple software products to get what you need, but after adding MailChimp, Gmail or Chrome extensions and your typical ATS to the mix, you have a patched together system that is inefficient, flawed and probably still not capable of all that you need.

6 Flaws In Your Applicant Tracking System

The future of recruiting is changing and the systems we use must evolve as well. A recruiter’s job goes far beyond what an ATS can do. We source, engage and build relationships, and we need a system that supports us in those areas. Take a look below to find out about the five main flaws in your ATS.

No Dynamic Search

Recruiters are juggling more than ever before as they work to find the best candidates for multiple job openings. We need our system to assist us in this area by providing a dynamic search and job matching that does the initial dirty work for us, identifying candidates that are qualified for a position without us having to weed through resumes. Most standard applicant tracking systems don’t have this capability, but it’s a must for the ATS of the future.

Ability to Add Notes

Recruiters today are more focused on the candidate experience and fostering relationships, which means there’s more communication happening in recruiting than ever before. It order to make the most of this groundwork you lay, you’ve got to keep track of those conversations. Unfortunately, that’s not a capability most ATSs have. Recruiters should be able to add notes from a phone call or social interaction with ease.

Profile Sharing

Your standard ATS probably doesn’t give you the ability to connect a candidate’s social profile with their ATS profile with ease, or share those within your system. Since so much of the recruiting we do happens through social, this is a big hindrance and something that a modern ATS absolutely must allow for.

Scheduling Reminders

We’re all busy, but following through on what you tell your hiring managers and candidates is so important. Applicant tracking systems may help you keep things organized, but most don’t support you in being timely. Of course you can use your Google or other email-connected calendar to set reminders, but this is a perfect example of how integrating a capability could save time and cut down on mistakes.

Modern Workflow Management

The standard ATS was created before we began using multiple channels to help manage our workflow. The days of using just a desk calendar and phone are over, but that’s what your standard ATS probably supports. Now we use text message, phone, automated email and more, so an ATS that helps manage workflow on multiple fronts just makes sense.

Limited or No CRM Capability

When thinking about building long term relationships with candidates that are not single sided engagements and conversations, CRM or candidate relationship manager features are extremely important. While your ATS system doesn’t need to have all the features of Salesforce, it would be wonderful to have the ability to include candidate notes, recruiter and hiring manager feedback as well as set tasks and reminders for basic follow up and engagement. Bonus points for the system that allows for some basic automation in terms of engagement and provides CRM reporting and notifications so that you can understand the activities of your candidate.

What features of your ATS or applicant tracking system would you like to see either added, removed or enhanced with either your current ATS or products that you are evaluating, demoing are considering? No need to name specific names in terms of tech, but I’d love to hear from you so that ATS developers, engineers and other HR technology companies can read and consider your feedback.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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