Applicant Tracking Systems Aren't Just for Large Companies; Learn What They Can Do for SMBs

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Jul 29, 2020
3 min read 1 Comment

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Applicant Tracking Systems Aren't Just for Large Companies; Learn What They Can Do for SMBs

For Fortune 500 companies, using an applicant tracking system (ATS) is a must. As of November 2019, 99% of top U.S. corporations were using an ATS to streamline hiring efforts. An ATS makes sense for globally-reaching businesses like Starbucks, Nike, Chase Bank and Google, but what about small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs)? Are they relying on the benefits available through ATS software?

Many SMBs still subscribe to relatively old school tools such as email, spreadsheets and an occasional text message. If these companies hire five new people a year, they may wonder if an ATS Software-as-a-Solution (SaaS) subscription is worth the ongoing investment.

Learn more about applicant tracking systems to see if one might be right for your business.

What Are Applicant Tracking Systems?

An ATS is a type of software—frequently SaaS with centralized hosting and customer service--that provides hiring managers and recruiting teams with vital tools to allow them to more easily perform the following:

  • Initiate a job search
  • Track the hiring progress
  • Organize the overall process
  • Communicate with the candidates
  • Maintain a historical record of candidates for future reference

Thanks to the overwhelming adoption of ATS by Fortune 500 companies, ATSs have become mainstream, offering businesses of all sizes an array of ATS options. Since SMBs may need basic services a few times a year, they may seek out less expensive and free ATS software options.

The free or budget-friendly ATS systems may be all the many SMBs need. They typically offer basic components such as application management, job posting capabilities to various websites and a resume database. Further, most of the free or less expensive software programs use a similar interface.

Essentially, they serve as a database to help streamline hiring efforts without all the bells, whistles and big price tags of the more expensive and substantial subscription services.

four ways an ATS improves talent recruitment

What Can Applicant Tracking Systems Do for Your SMB?

If you are considering investing in an ATS for your company, you may wonder if it is worth it. Even if you choose a budget version, it takes time for your recruiting team to become acquainted with the system and how to get the most value out of it.

Regardless of which type of ATS you choose—or how frequently or infrequently your company hires—it offers your hiring team solid benefits.

Reach High-Quality and Tech Savvy Candidates

Even if you only hire a few new employees a quarter, or even a year, you want to hire the best. An ATS platform can help you reach the top candidates where they post, which is everywhere. Serious job seekers post to various job boards, websites and social media platforms that include LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You want to make sure tech-savvy candidates in your industry see your job posts so that you can connect quickly.

Improve the Candidate Experience

In our fast-paced and high-tech world, it is no surprise that job seekers want a streamlined experience on their end too. When you consider that 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager, the lack of patience makes sense. Skilled and talented candidates get tired of repeatedly filling out lengthy applications only to get lost in the shuffle. Using an ATS solution, hiring teams filter resumes and applications for meaningful keywords that help move the best candidates to the top of the pile. Even if you do not hire top employees, your response and feedback will leave them with a favorable impression of your organization, which in the age of social media and company reviews, is a worthwhile endeavor.

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Enhanced Analytics Offer Meaningful Insights

Most applicant tracking systems offer analytics and reporting features that help your hiring team or recruiting experts to make important, data-driven decisions regarding specific candidates or your overall recruitment process. A few ways that analytics can help include determining which posting source provides the best-matched candidates for your positions, pulling up talented candidates from previous searches and monitoring the efficiency of your hiring process.

Grow Your Business

Perhaps your business is on the cusp of taking a leap from small-to-midsize or from midsize-to-large corporation. Either way, your organization’s growth will require a talented team to take you there. Your internal team members—including your dedicated HR staff—probably already wear many hats to support your organization, so everyone could use some reinforcements.

No matter what your business's status—in terms of budget or growth expectations—an ATS can help you manage the growth of your workforce, providing you with a pipeline of satisfied talent for years to come.

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