For every company utilizing an Application Tracking System (ATS) to attract the best employee-candidates, there’s one that’s reluctant to adopt this technology. This might be due to misconceptions surrounding this category of software. It is indicated by a frequently asked, inherently imprecise question: Is the HR professional more adept at tracking talent, or is the ATS? This is like comparing eyes with glasses in a vision contest. Glasses don’t stand a chance without the eyes, but they do help eyes see better and sharper when needed. If you have a 20-20 vision, you may substitute glasses with binoculars or microscopes. The point remains the same: ATS is a tool that – while unable to execute the complex task of recruitment on its own – does help HR professionals “see” more clearly than ever before.
While most aspects of the applicant selection process require human qualities and skills, there are some tasks in the long recruiting process where ATS performs without fatigue and can be an HR professional’s best mate. Let’s take a look at this perfect division of labor.
Understanding the Needs and Posting a Job Ad
When we try to chart the qualities and qualifications needed to fulfill a position, we cannot do without an HR professional’s skillset. Ranking requirements as essential and negotiable calls for experience and complex comprehension. Additionally, only the HR professional can shape the long list of requirements, tasks, and benefits to an advertisement-form in a way that it remains informative and enticing for the right audience. In short, it is impossible to capture and align the needs of employers without an HR professional.
Barring one’s significant-other, it is given that software is superior to us mortal beings in the memory-retention department. Not even the most devoted professional can recall the wording of every job post or remember all the previous candidates enough to be reminded of a potential match for a future opening. An ATS can do that. The program saves all information related to a given position (such as the requirements, benefits, job description, etc.), so all details are reachable with a click if we search for an applicant to a position posted before. In some fortunate cases, we can even avoid the selection rigmarole by finding a direct-fit among previous applicants through an ATS feature such as database search or automated matching.
Even the best Applicant Tracking System is unable to understand people beyond data. However, it is useful if the ATS embodies this simple fact about candidates: they hate filling voluminous datasheets. To avoid losing valuable candidates the application process must be as simple and transparent as possible. That is why it is worth letting applicants upload their own, well-formatted CV instead of expecting them to type in data. It can also be beneficial to quicken registration with the possibility to connect with LinkedIn profiles.
Interviews and Selection
At this stage, it is easier to start with the benefits of the Applicant Tracking System. As we have mentioned in our article on the Internet of Things (IoT), software can process big data more easily than people. In case of a popular job-opening, hundreds of applications have to be looked over. It is also likely that a significant portion of the CVs are submitted based on the “I have nothing to lose” principle, even if the ad requires 5-10 years of experience instead of zero for a senior position with a reason. Or, to fill an architect position, it is essential to have a relevant university degree; in a Hungarian company that exports significantly to South America, linguistic skills in Portuguese or Spanish will be deemed essential for customer service positions.
For an HR professional, every “useless” CV means wasted time, and after the endless examples, even a risk to preserve a people-centric state of mind. Besides, spurious applications hinder the HR professionals in “remembering” the really valuable candidates. A sophisticated ATS can filter unproductive applications effortlessly, may even rank the rest based on the expected and preferred qualifications, experience and skills. All in all, professionals can focus on candidates who have a real chance to fulfill the job responsibilities.
After the list is narrowed down, it is time to invite the top applicants to an interview. There is no ATS that can save you from the personal conversation, but run-of-the-mill tasks can be passed down to the software. ATS can double as an efficient organizer by interacting with the calendar application, to ascertain and compile the availability of all the colleagues necessary for the interviewing process. Nifty features such as automated text messages offer great convenience, especially when they can be customized for context.
Getting to know the candidates beyond data is attainable only with the help of an experienced HR professional, as the task involves human interaction, well-built strategy, perception, and even empathy. This is the stage where it can be discovered if the candidate fits the bill in full as opposed to only on paper. In addition to technical sessions, techniques such as behavioral interviewing are widely employed by professionals. A final decision is the onus of the HR professional; the ATS can only serve as a dependable grunt.
The recruitment and selection process must be revised and optimized from time to time to match the swiftly changing market conditions. As a start, you need reliable, representative information on the number of applicants per job post, how many people made it to certain stages of the process, how much time the selection has taken, and many more. Just like data collection and analyses, statistics is the strength of programs, thus we can hand those tasks over to the ATS with ease. If the company uses additional HR-software, integration with ATS can also help you to receive feedback on the success of the picked candidate. One can also learn which strategy and recruiting stages lead to more beneficial choices.
Numbers can be left to the ATS, but decisions made based on analyses remain a professional’s responsibility. Statistics are only able to shed light upon the weak points or highlight the strengths of the practices, or indicate potential market parameters with numbers. An experienced HR professional can judge based on the available data, the intricacies of where to amend practices and when.
As we walk through the entire recruitment process, it is easy to notice that an Applicant Tracking System can free up significant amounts of time for HR professionals by liberating them from drudgery and ensuing fatigue. An ATS is definitely not a competitor, but a quiet and trustful assistant of the hiring professional. Remember that optometric paraphernalia may not be needed for seeing, but are certainly indispensable for seeing further.
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