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Top Tips in Choosing the Best Applicant Tracking System for Your Start Up

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startup planning for recruitment

As a startup, hiring usually involves a collection of unread emails, headache-inducing spreadsheets, and various siloed tools. As the business grows, you’ll need new members for your team but the haphazard process of manual recruitment often doesn’t scale, causing stress for both recruiters and applicants.

Automating aspects of your recruitment process can be a huge time saver. When you have an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help you source and sort through candidates, you won’t have to worry about lost applications or manual entry.

According to recent statistics posted by HR Vendor News, 78% of recruiters say that using an ATS has improved the quality of the candidates they onboard and 94% state that it has made their recruitment process more efficient. The statistics aren’t surprising at all, as recruiting software helps HR teams streamline their hiring process, saving both precious time and money.

But how do you choose an ATS that works for your startup? Follow our tips in choosing the best tool for you, both now and in the future.

What should a startup-friendly ATS offer?

Recruiters and HR managers trying to find the best ATS for their startup may quickly get overwhelmed by a long list of features that seem unnecessary. If you’re in charge of your start up’s talent acquisition, you’re probably not looking for an applicant tracking system that offers everything but a kitchen sink — you’re looking for a solution that will make recruitment fuss-free.

Startups should focus on three specific things when seeking out an ATS, all of which are crucial for a streamlined hiring process and critical for supporting your hiring efforts in the long run.

  • Time-savings: Startups have a small HR team — sometimes even just one person — posting job openings, scanning through resumes, scheduling interviews, and drafting offer letters. Having multiple tools to track the progress of each candidate can be incredibly time-consuming. With an ATS, all these tasks are consolidated into a single system, reducing the need for recruiters to switch between tabs or tools, saving valuable time and effort.
  • Inclusion of the whole team: It’s almost impossible for recruiters in startups to handle the entire hiring process themselves. They need the help of HR managers and other leaders in the company to conduct interviews, give feedback, and train new hires. An ATS makes this collaboration easier by making the process transparent for everyone. They’re able to log in, see the latest candidate updates, and add their input.
  • Employee Referrals: As a startup, you want the best possible employees to grow your business. If you already have great people in your current team, chances are they know someone great too. After all, birds of the same feather flock together. Having an employee referral tracking software built into your ATS will make the referral process much more efficient and streamlined. It allows you and your colleagues to easily share information through the system with minimal friction, helping you hire top quality talent faster.
planning out what recruitment software to use on whiteboard
Courtesy of Pexels

How can startups identify the ideal ATS for their needs?

Hiring teams can find the best applicant tracking system for their startup by matching the features of each ATS with their recruitment goals. Every business has different goals and objectives. Ultimately, you want your ATS to support the goals of your recruitment team.

For example, your CEO wants to double your company’s marketing team from five to ten employees in the next six months. As the only recruiter in your company, it often takes you five weeks to hire a candidate, which makes this almost impossible to achieve in the time allotted.

At this point, you want an ATS that will speed up your time-to-hire and help you hire five new employees in six months. Examples of features you’ll need to include:

  • Ability to post to multiple job boards at once: This feature allows you to post openings in a single click to multiple job boards. Aside from saving recruiters’ valuable time and effort, it also allows job seekers to find your vacancies on various career sites.
  • Quick and accurate candidate search

A great part of any ATS is the ability to manage your candidate repository. You can easily and quickly search, screen, and filter through the influx of applications you receive. With a quick and simple search functionality, you’ll see results displayed in a logical format, making it easy to comprehend candidate data. An ATS also provides excellent resume parsing capabilities, making search easier and more accurate. It will help your recruiters drill deep into your applicant funnel when they search based on keywords and other criteria.

  • Social media recruiting

Modern-day recruitment is ineffective and incomplete if it doesn’t leverage the power of social media and social networks. The top candidates you’re looking for are mostly hanging out on social media platforms, either for leisure, networking, or various other reasons. Needless to say, these platforms are also the places where you can gain access to passive job seekers, helping you cast a wider net and find applicants faster to fill out those open positions.

Key Takeaway: Don’t settle for less, even if you’re just starting out

As a recruiter, using an ATS to organize and simplify tasks can be a huge time saver. However, if you plan on purchasing an applicant tracking system, don’t buy the first system you see. Weigh your options first and take their features into account. Typically, the more features and tools, the higher the cost.

Additionally, while your applicant tracking system should absolutely help you achieve your current goals, think about the possibility of these goals shifting over time, especially as you add more members to your recruitment team, open new vacancies, interview more candidates, and look for new opportunities to save money or time. Planning for the future, or even discussing long-term recruitment goals with company leaders, will give you a better-informed decision of picking the ATS that’s ideal for your organization.

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