How to Use An Applicant Tracking System In Your Business

An ATS won’t increase your application volume, but it will streamline your hiring process so you can contact top candidates faster

Carly Chalmers

Fundamentally, an applicant tracking system’s purpose is to simplify and streamline your hiring process, putting all the necessary information in one place.

An ATS won’t increase your application volume, but it will allow you to view, rate and shortlist candidates from a single platform without needing to log into multiple job sites or printing off applications. They can save you a lot of time, money, and stress when used correctly. In some cases, they may even replace the need for a recruitment agency.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the fundamentals of how to use an applicant tracking system in your business. This will help you get the most out of your ATS so you’re hiring better staff with even more efficiency.

Make sure you have the best ATS for your needs

First of all, not all ATS’s are created equal. You can find plenty of options on the market, so make sure you do your homework before committing to one. Some are more comprehensive than others, and some may fit your needs better. Check what tools and features the ATS has to offer. Do you need all of them? And is the price right for you?

To make this step easier, try to be objective about what you want to achieve and what you actually need from an ATS. Do you need something to handle your onboarding? Would it be helpful if you could receive applications via text message? Are there specific job sites you want an ATS to integrate with? Is it made with your industry in mind?

The better you understand your needs, the easier it is to identify the ATS that best services them.

Get specific about the type of candidate you’re looking for

Just like finding an ideal ATS for you, it’s also important to understand exactly the type of candidates you’re looking for as well. The more you understand who you’re looking for, the better your ATS can help you find them.

After choosing your ATS, take some time to sit down and figure out what you need from the perfect candidate. Finding a related ad and simply copy/pasting the job description may seem like a simple solution but you’ll find yourself overlooking the finer details. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are you looking for specific qualifications?
  • What skills do you want your ideal candidate to have? Include a list of hard and soft skills.
  • How much experience do you actually need a candidate to have?

Once you’ve determined and outlined what you’re looking for, the next step is crafting an effective job description to attract the right people. This process means that you can get the most out of your ATS by specifying your exact preferences and looking out for certain factors in an applicant.

Get familiar with the features of your applicant tracking system

An ATS is a broad platform used for various tasks surrounding the hiring process. That means it will typically have a range of different features, including:

  • Career page hosting
  • Job board distribution
  • Onboarding tools
  • Receiving and organizing applications
  • Interview schedulers

It can take some time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of an ATS. But when you’re paying for a platform, you want to make sure you’re full advantage of the features it has to offer. Make use of any demos, guides, and assistance that you can find to get yourself and your team trained on your new software. Otherwise, you might be missing out on some helpful features that could make a massive difference to your overall hiring process.

Trust in the platform and let it do what it does best

If you really want to get the most out of your ATS, you need to dive head first into it and trust in the platform. Adapting to change can be difficult but if you’re using this platform as part of some hybrid between it and your previous process, you’re doing yourself (and the ATS!) a disservice.

They’re designed with a particular purpose and workflow in mind so to deviate from that is only going to make things more complicated. Used correctly, an ATS shouldn’t just be an element of your hiring process, it should be the core that everything functions around.

From posting your job ads to accepting applications, arranging meetings and even onboarding your new hire, the ATS is at the centre. If you were to print applications to manually sort them or continue to post on job boards from another system, you’re removing so many powerful features that make these platforms so effective.