An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software designed to provide employers and recruitment teams an efficient and cost-effective recruiting infrastructure that supports their entire hiring process.
By having an efficient and cost-effective recruiting infrastructure, a good ATS solution can support all your efforts in attracting, evaluating and picking the most qualified candidates for your organization, regardless of size or industry. The main purpose or the core value of an applicant tracking system is to streamline your entire hiring process. The most effective ATS solutions in the market have the power to leverage recruiting industry data and functional design in order to deliver the most user-friendly and convenient experience possible. Some of the most basic functions of this type of software are to give the employer or the hiring team a well organized, often automated support system for their recruitment initiatives and to enhance the level of success when sourcing top ranked talent.
Implementing a good ATS solution rather than using an email inbox to gather candidate information can save hiring managers and recruiting teams a lot of time. This is because the applicant tracking system can automatically collect and organize the information, maintaining data integrity and security while also facilitating the candidate screening and overall selection processes. ATS solutions can help small businesses just as well as medium and large companies through automation, organization and simplification of the entire recruitment process, from the sourcing phase to utilising recruitment testing tools and all the way to talent management solutions and employee onboarding tools. This is where ATS systems for small businesses will truly show their value, as they are a compact purpose-built tool rather than a part of a more expensive and complicated full-suite HR solution.
The popular misconception when it comes to applicant tracking systems is that they’re only useful to mid-market businesses and large organizations with complex hiring requirements. This isn’t always the case though. The fact of the matter is almost any business, regardless of their size, can benefit from using the right ATS solution. It’s also wrong to assume that ATS solutions are too costly and not worth the investment. Applicant tracking systems are available in a variety of prices and payment options, depending on the features and capabilities they come with, the deployment method and the vendor.
If you run a small business and you’re beginning to wonder whether or not you need an ATS system to facilitate your hiring process, it might be worth your while to check out the different ATS solutions that are available, so you can finally move away from time-consuming spreadsheets when managing and organizing applicant data. Applicant tracking systems are either on-premise or cloud-based. On-premise ATS is stored locally in your PC or local network, while cloud-based ATS is accessible through online means as the data are stored in a secure external server and can be remotely accessed by authorized personnel only.
Just like any standard ATS solution, ATS systems for small businesses work to help small business owners, employers and recruiting professionals streamline all their hiring efforts. This includes accepting and processing job applications, picking the appropriate candidates for the open position, scheduling candidate interviews and even onboarding the new hires. ATS solutions typically come with a variety of features and tools all designed to serve the needs of hiring managers, recruiting teams and decision makers. The amount of features and the extent of the software capabilities will mostly depend on the ATS itself and the size of the business it is designed to serve, i.e. small businesses and startups, mid-market companies or large multinational organizations.
One feature that you can and should expect from an ATS solution meant for small businesses is the job posting function. This is a basic feature that all ATS systems offer, whether they’re free-to-use, open-source or premium products. The job posting functionality is often built into most commercial ATS products that are available off-the-shelf. This feature allows you or your recruiting team to post multiple job offers on to different job boards online, simultaneously. It keeps all the information related to the open position, including the job descriptions, accurate and consistent across the board.
More often than not, the job posting tools are automated in many of these ATS systems for small businesses and startups. They allow employers and recruiting professionals to write job descriptions within the ATS solution itself and then choose which job boards and websites they want the information to be distributed to. This approach saves recruiters and hiring teams a lot of time, especially when compared to posting job offers directly to multiple job boards, individually.
The interview scheduling tool is another basic feature that you can expect from applicant tracking systems that cater to startups and small businesses. Although there are software products in the market that are dedicated to interview scheduling, many recruiting and ATS solutions do offer this feature natively. Interview scheduling can help streamline the management process of multiple candidate applications. This is extremely useful if you’re dealing with several candidates in a short period of time and with limited resources.
As an employer or a hiring manager, this tool allows you to effectively designate dates and times for candidate interviews and send them to the appropriate applicants, which reduces the back-and-forth of finding the right time to conduct an interview that works for all parties involved. This is very useful if there are multiple individuals involved who are tasked with conducting the interview and handling the candidate selection process.
The application and résumé management tool is another key feature that is often incorporated in many ATS systems for small businesses and startups. Even if you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean that you’re not dealing with large amounts of résumés and job applications that are submitted by multiple applicants. This type of management solution can automatically organize and analyze résumés as multiple applications are continuously submitted through the ATS.
Parsing large volumes of applications can be a challenging and time-consuming prospect, so the ATS system looks for specific keywords and extracts various data from the résumés in order to properly identify candidates with the right qualifications. Those then get processed and stored into an organized database for you and your team to sift through. You have the ability to view and assess the status of each application and transfer the relevant data to other aspects of your ATS. All of this can enhance your recruiting process and help minimize the cost of hiring new talent for your small business.
First off, you can choose to continue the way you’re hiring people for your business. However, if you’re constantly finding yourself juggling a lot of roles and responsibilities when going through a recruitment process, just know that a good ATS solution can significantly lighten that load and simplify the tasks and processes associated with sourcing, testing, hiring and onboarding qualified applicants, even for small business owners like you.
The best ATS systems for small businesses have the power to automate most of the repetitive and time-consuming processes associated with hiring new talent. This includes sourcing and tracking qualified individuals, facilitating and scheduling candidate interviews, evaluating and analyzing candidate applications as well as onboarding new hires. Some ATS products in the market can even help with customizing your HR and candidate workflows and providing valuable insights through comprehensive analytics and reports.
One of the key areas in which a small business ATS can assist you and your hiring team is candidate sourcing. Many ATS solutions can effectively automate the candidate sourcing process, giving you the ability to effortlessly distribute job postings to dozens or even hundreds of job boards and websites across the web. Say you want to post a job offer on social media networks, you can do so by simply using the job posting feature in your ATS. Most ATS systems can integrate with relevant social media platforms to help you find suitable candidates to fill specific positions within your small business.
Another huge benefit of using ATS systems for small businesses is that fact that most of them are cloud-based nowadays. While there are still ATS solutions out there that are deployed on-premise, many ATS systems today are deployed via the cloud, which can be accessed by authorized personnel anywhere at any time. This means that even if you’re hiring team or you yourself are short-handed, you can easily manage applications and résumés even if you’re outside the office. Additionally, most cloud-based solutions are more cost-effective compared to on-premise ones, since you don’t have to worry about maintenance and upgrade costs.
The fact of the matter is ATS systems, whether they’re built for small businesses or large multinational organizations, can significantly cut the overall cost of your recruiting efforts and help streamline and optimize your hiring process across the board.
Applicant tracking systems are specifically designed to help hiring managers and recruiting professionals with streamlining their talent acquisition process. For small businesses, an ATS solution can help optimize the way to conduct their candidate sourcing, résumé management, candidate interviews, talent evaluation and onboarding. This is because even if you only had one job opening in your company, posting it in various job boards can attract dozens if not hundreds of applicants.
Sifting through a significant number of résumés and applicants manually can take up a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re doing it all on your own or if you have heavily stretched team wearing multiple hats managing the recruiting process.