5 Things to Know About Applicant Tracking Software

Today’s recruiting environment is much different than it was in 1998 when applicant tracking software first came on the scene. Job boards eventually overtook print media, and recruitment advertising shifted from the Sunday newspaper classifieds to the Internet. Employers and recruiters started having a problem managing applicants and the first entrants in applicant tracking software space were developed to create a more efficient recruitment process.

A history and discussion of the development of applicant tracking systems is beyond the scope of this blog post, but it is worth noting that there are a variety of applicant tracking software vendors and products. Some of them are rapidly evolving in tandem with social media so that recruiters and employers can take advantage of how people are spending their time online, develop a good candidate experience, and build a solid employer brand. Some of them are not doing a great job at it. If you’re tasked with looking at an applicant tracking system to bring your organization’s recruiting in line with competitors and job seekers, you need to look at company profile, ease of use, social networking and job posting capabilities, reporting functionality, and ease of integration.

Company Profile

One of the most important considerations when looking for an applicant tracking is Company Profile. Applicant tracking software users fall into one of three company profile categories: small and medium businesses, staffing agencies, and enterprise. The wrong profile will provide too much or too little functionality for your needs. A true small business will be overwhelmed with a huge applicant tracking system such as Taleo and should look at applicant tracking systems such as TheResumator, ZOHORecruit, and Hireflo.

Before talking to any sales person, read all the reviews you can find of the applicant tracking system you are looking at. Talk to industry colleagues and associates and ask what their experience is with applicant tracking software. When you’re ready to talk to a sales person, ask for a walk-through of the product and references of companies similar to your size, industry, and needs.

Ease of Use

Ease of use can’t be underestimated when considering applicant tracking. Easy to use dashboards, easy candidate searching and applicant tracking, and easy to configure are top functions to look at in applicant tracking software. The product demo shouldn’t be confusing or overwhelming, and should leave you with a good understanding of how the applicant tracking system would work for your business.

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Social Networking and Job Posting

If you are looking at buying a new applicant tracking system, it should definitely have social networking and job posting capabilities. Jobvite is an example of applicant tracking software that makes good use of social networking and job posting with easy ways to manage data, plug into social media to allow employees to refer candidates, and easily post jobs across different media. Ask about what job posting and social networking sites the applicant tracking software accesses, and what the posting process entails. Check out the interface to see how simple or complicated it is.

Reporting Functionality

Find out what kind of reporting functionality the applicant tracking system has for time-to-fill, diversity, and source of hire. Ask about standard reports and customizable reports for metrics. Find out if reporting functions are included or if they cost extra.

Ease of Integration

If you have any kind of HRIS, you need to know how the applicant tracking system you’re considering could integrate with it. Ask what resources the applicant tracking software vendor provides for integration and if that is in writing. You don’t want to be stuck with a contract for an applicant tracking system and find out you have to figure out how to integrate it with your HRIS or your website yourself.

Size, ease of functionality, and social media and job posting are key, but there are many other important considerations when looking at applicant tracking software, including how the applicant tracking software impacts candidate experience. For example, Taleo has a lot of great functionality, but is known for its buggy job application processes that annoy (and drive away) applicants. A cost/benefits analysis of the top one to two applicant tracking software products you select will provide another way to narrow your choices to make sure you get the right applicant tracking software for your organization.

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