The Top 8 Mistakes Recruiters Make with ATS Systems

ATS Systems

What are ATS Systems?

Your applicant tracking system (ATS) can do a number of things rather well—like post job openings, shepherd candidates through the hiring stages, and provide recruitment data. It also tracks applicants (like the name says) and that, above all, makes it a valuable tool. And yet many recruiters and resourcing agencies aren’t making best use of the technology purchased specifically to help them. Here are the most common mistakes recruiters make with their ATS systems — and how to correct them.

Common mistakes with ATS Systems

1. Underutilizing the ATS

Using your recruiting software primarily as a resume repository and job posting platform misses out on the core value proposition of most ATS systems. Your ATS should provide enhanced resume parsing functionality, intelligent reporting, and task automation to free you and your recruiting staff up so you can focus on actively filling open roles. Robust reporting should help you to track time to hire, cost per hire, or other important metrics to help you improve processes.

2. Not Mining the ATS for Candidates

Your ATS should be the first source of candidates. Any opening you can fill with candidates already in your internal system—even applicants from as much as three years prior could be ideal matches—saves you the time, effort, and cost of advertising and searching for so-called new candidates. If your ATS isn’t easily searchable, you should reorganize it or replace it.

3. Overreliance on the ATS

Just as underutilizing the ATS is a big mistake, so, too, is overusing it, or relying too heavily on it. Making near-exclusive use of the ATS generally comes at the expense of intuition and common sense — undeniably human characteristics ATS systems can’t emulate. Prioritizing ATS capabilities over phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and personal follow-ups from your HR recruiters places too much emphasis on sourcing candidates rather than focusing on the real goal, conversion. Recruiting is a human function and ATS systems are meant to enable, rather than replace, recruiters.

4. Not Integrating Social into the ATS

Today’s jobseekers are increasingly searching and applying for jobs via social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, making social recruitment necessary and the right social posting, sharing, and tracking tools for your ATS crucial. What’s more, enabling candidates to easily apply with social sign-in rather than email/username and password combinations will capture more applicants. And providing social functionality to your team lets them track applicants’ social profiles and status updates.  

5. Failure to Optimize for Mobile

77% of jobseekers use their smartphones to find jobs. Your ATS may provide optimized mobile device access, but your listings should be mobile-friendly, as well. 

6. Not Configuring ATS Workflow Capabilities

Your ATS should help you work more efficiently and mitigate problems as you scale and streamline processes. If your basic features and functions weren’t configured to meet your workflow during implementation, spend some time now to adjust them accordingly. 

7. Overcomplicating the Application Process

Much as you might love to capture every piece of applicant information as possible, an online application portal that is awkward or cumbersome will limit the number of qualified candidates who will complete the process. The application process should be easy to navigate and engaging—and certainly simple enough for your hiring managers and candidates to understand and use.

8. Not Staying in Touch with Candidates

Your ATS should have robust contact management functionality for you to keep in touch with applicants in the system. Communicating with candidates throughout the hiring process—and even after—isn’t just best practice, it’s crucial for seizing opportunities when their statuses change or when new positions that are excellent fits become available. Taking it a step further, reaching out to those in your ATS to network and ask for help with identifying potential candidates and circulating your job postings can help you reduce your reliance on paid resources.

Legacy applicant tracking systems fall short when faced with the demands of modern hiring.

Easily Replace your ATS