The Benefits of Applicant Tracking Software for Small Businesses

If you work for a small business, you’re probably familiar with the term “doing more with less.” However, that term should not be synonymous with “going without”. While I completely recognize that small businesses tend to have smaller budget and have to operate on a more frugal and agile structure, this doesn’t mean you should limit the potential for processes to be automated. More and more I am seeing small businesses jump onto the software bandwagon, no matter the department. Whether you’re in Marketing and looking at a software to automate your emails or you’re in HR and looking for a software to host and track all your applicants, we’re seeing that software is an investment all business should look into. 

If you’ve ever been in a position where you’re hiring for multiple jobs at once, you know how easy it can be to get things a little confused. Who applied for which job? What applicants have been contacted for an interview already and who was informed that the company chose a different direction? Was the hiring manager informed they need to reach out to Jane Doe? These are all items you need to worry about when you’re going through the hiring process manually. Luckily, there are a lot of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the small business space now that make the recruiting process more manageable and more affordable for companies with less resources. 

While small business owners may initially be turned off by the investment of ATS software, it is important to remember the overall ROI on such software. When you add up time spent combing through resumes to find the one you’re looking for, sorting out resumes based on the job, and reading the notes attached to each, you can see you there can be a lot of efficiency added into this recruiting process. Time spent doing these traditional admin tasks can be better allocated elsewhere and the money saved can be reallocated to the purchase of a software solution to streamline your recruiting efforts. 

When surveyed, the majority of small businesses expressed interest in an ATS software for five main reasons:

  • Job posting
  • Resume management/parsing
  • Applicant ranking/scoring
  • Searchable applicant database
  • Note taking

Allowing small businesses to automate some of these tasks will free up the time and resources that can be used to help fund the software. This is especially true for businesses who are looking to scale in a large way. If you’re trying to fill multiple positions with the idea of overall growth, it makes sense to implement an ATS early on while you’re still relevantly small. This will allow end users to get comfortable with the software and learn how to effectively use it before they are expected to scale the business with it. 

A few features you should also look into when evaluating an ATS software are:

  • The ability to flag questions, good or bad
  • Email correspondence with the click of a button
  • Task other key decision makers to take action

Flagging questions is such a simple way to segment your applicant pool. If you’re looking for someone who has 3-5 years of experience, you can put that as a question and have the software flag applicants depending on their answer. This will allow you to immediately weed out any applicants who are not qualified for the position. On the flip side, you can flag certain phrases to help find candidates with certain skills or qualifications. For instance, if you use Hubspot for your marketing automation and are looking for someone who has experience in Hubspot, you can flag those candidates so their applications will be readily available for you to view. 

One-click email correspondence is another key factor when looking at ATS software. What I mean by this is you can set up standard emails based on different levels of the interview process, or even rejection emails, and send them out with a simple click. The nice thing about this, other than not having to jump between your software and your email, is that it keeps records of who receives which email so you can recall that information later on. Also, it makes your response much easier, thereby creating a much better experience for your applicant/candidate pool. Admit it, we’ve all applied for jobs and simply just never heard back. It is not fun and to be honest, it is just not acceptable anymore. In the current state of employment, you can’t afford to make a negative impact on your applicant pool and why would you want to? Finding an ATS software that allows you to respond directly in the application is the easiest way to streamline your communication with your applicant pool. 

Speaking of communication, it is important to keep in contact with those key decision makers within your company as well. A refined ATS solution should allow you to move the candidate further through the interview process by tasking your peers to take the next step. If you already completed the phone screening and would like the candidate to come in for a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager, you should be able to set up that task in your ATS in order to notify the manager of the next step. Once the hiring manager reaches out, they should be able to close the task and pass on a task to the next person to complete. This is a great way to keep a digital log of the process and keep everyone in the loop as far as where a candidate is in the process.

As far as other features you should look for in an ATS software, that is something you and your team should strategize together. Make a list of your inefficiencies when looking to fill a position and find a software that will allow you to close the gap. Realistically, the software will not solve all your pains and problems, but if it can lessen your time spent doing admin tasks, it is definitely something you should explore further. If you’re using a payroll and HR software already, check to see if they have an ATS component. If you’re not already partnered with another company to fulfill these needs, check out our ATS software and see how easy it can make your hiring process.