5 Things A Good Applicant Tracking System Needs To Know

There are dozens of applicant tracking systems on the market – so difficult to compare. Since the ATS is the hiring professional’s most frequently used tool, it has to be really cozy: not just neat and tidy but also usable and highly functional. Here are some distinctive features to look for during free trials or demos to find the ATS your hiring team will love.

Clear candidate profile dashboard

An ideal candidate dashboard would provide nothing more than

  • the candidate’s basic data (name, position, phone number, email address) – in case of a quick reachout
  • application material received – an impression about the candidates working style
  • actual job and time spent in the position – retrieved from LinkedIn for example (+1 feature: LinkedIn integration!)
  • brief history of the candidate in the system – cleverly arranged in an infographic style
  • maybe some social icons pointing to the applicant’s public profiles in social media

It is nice to get prepared for a talk in a glance – especially in case of an incoming call: so this is all the data you need for a glance like this. Such a feature can also come handy for managers or for those that are not using the software on a daily basis.

Data based applicant sorting

The more applicants you have the most you can get out of quantified data and well prepared assessment processes. With a sequence based on the level of match, test results or assessors’ summary one can get clear-cut advice for pipelining. Working in an SME and usually dealing with less than twenty applicants per job, I can survive without this tool most of the time. But to tell the truth I’ve never had the opportunity to use this function in my work – so maybe I just don’t know what I am missing out.

Perfect sense of time

For me using an ATS means I don’t have to be afraid that I miss out, forget or loose someone due to administrative mistakes. A world class system not only provides clear information about incoming candidates and messages but warns the user if there is someone left without an answer for too long (where ‘too long’ is a value set by the user). With the perfect ATS all the recruiter’s promises made in mails (“I’ll contact you next month”) can be turned into real action items available in a todo list format or a warning sign (crazy red!!!) attached to the candidate’s profile.

In case of active search this timing can be essential. Let’s say we have an atively found candidate who actually rejects an offer, but is willing to hear about us in one year. For the time defined this candidate is somewhat out of the system and sould clearly appear as a ‘locked’ or a ‘passive’ candidate in the database. As the year passed by, the profile should be active and appear in relevant searches again. These changes in candidates’ availability is something can hardly be managed manually.

Meaninful data

At the end of the day data is needed to make hiring processes more awesome. I am not talking about the data menu, but meaningful data presented cleverly, where ‘meaningful’ can mean different things for different companies. You might be interested in total candidate flow if you want to track the effects of the company’s employer branding actions. You might want to see candidate sources if you advertise on big career sites. But what you will definitely need is HR efficiency data like time-to-fill, recruitment ratio or referral rates.

(Of course there are several other features you need in an ATS like resume upload, candidate parsing, gmail integration, mail templates, automated duplicate candidate alert and so on – but these are functions like even Excel has, so I didn’t mentioned them as distinctive. Anyway, if you need a really detailed list of assessment criteria, I suggest the one on Recruiting Daily.)

Do you know any available ATSs that already have these essential features? (Indivizo claims to have these features from February, but yet it’s just a promise.) Let’s save each other from the live demos and free trials by sharing our experiences in comments below.