How Applicant Tracking Supports Talent Acquisition: 4 Steps

When searching for the perfect new hire, many tools are at a recruiter’s disposal to develop a rich talent pool, including applicant tracking systems (ATS).

These systems have existed for decades, but have recently undergone vast improvements.

What started as a solution for storing resumes has become a way to streamline the talent acquisition process.


4 Steps to Bring in Talent

Applicant tracking systems originally served as repositories for digital copies of resumes. But after thousands of applications are saved in this type of file-based system, it becomes cumbersome for both applicants and recruiters.

Recent ATS solutions have changed to more intelligently store resumes so they resemble online profiles. They can directly import LinkedIn profiles and recruiters can send questionnaires to get the right information, for example.

As dynamic information is added to the system, it’s better stored and managed. Here’s how an ATS affects the hiring process, in four steps:

1. Applicants apply

ATS solutions provide access to a wide range of job posting and referral platforms. Through one solution, recruiters can post to job boards such as Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor, as well as social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Many solutions connect directly with the company’s career site for accepting applications.

When a candidate submits an application to a business, the ATS sorts it into a pipeline. The application is parsed for keywords and organized in the ATS for quick retrieval. When recruiters search for applicants, these keywords allow them to stand out.

2. Applicants are reviewed and notified

If an applicant seems to be a good fit upon first review, the resume is moved into the next round. Recruiters can automate much of the process by setting up trigger-based messages so that an email is sent notifying applicants if they’re considered for an interview or if they’re not eligible for the position.

At each stage, candidates are shifted down the pipeline and kept warm with email triggers. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose candidates in the notorious “black hole,” which happens when an application is left on an indefinite waiting list.

3. Top candidates are interviewed

Once a hiring manager starts scheduling interviews, many ATS solutions supplement the screening process.

Recruiters and others conducting interviews can collaborate over the profiles on each candidate and compare them against each other throughout the process. When team members are able to easily give quick feedback it saves time and increases the quality of the hire.

4. Candidates are given offers

Once a new hire is chosen, the ATS solution can help create the job offer.

Many solutions also handle the onboarding process for filling out forms, sending an employee handbook, and even sending training materials for getting started.


ATS vs Talent Management

Not all ATS solutions offer each step, and they’re sometimes categorized as Talent Management Solutions for end-to-end employee management, including performance and learning management. However, these solutions will always include features for accepting and parsing resumes to build a talent pool.

An ATS solution is any HR department’s starting point for building a talent acquisition strategy, and it can help make hiring a team effort.


Talent Acquisition Benefits

As candidates are added into the system, an ATS solution can store an assortment of additional data for supporting dashboards and ongoing reports. People analytics is an industry trend for analyzing a business’s talent strategies with this information.

This allows HR to answer questions that lead to better hiring, such as:

  • Which job board site sourced new hires with the highest retention rates?
  • How long does it take to hire a person for one recruiter compared to another?
  • When candidates receive offers, how often do they accept, and what makes those applicants stand out?

As HR adopts technology, they’re able to push the limits on using hard data. When administrators and recruiters are able to base decisions on bottom line costs it leads to a guaranteed return on investment (ROI) for the software and speeds up the recruitment process.

Not only is hiring vastly more efficient, but a talent acquisition strategy creates a reach never possible before. Talent can be sourced across the globe to find diverse A-players.

Applicants can apply from all over the world to your organization, and through technology such as video interviewing, recruiters have many options for screening at their convenience. Applicants can connect through a live video feed, or even submit short video clips for recruiters to view at any time.

The best part of hiring this way is that all applications are digitally saved. If a candidate didn’t quite make the cut, a position could open in a few months that’s a perfect fit. For more on applicant tracking software, we’ve discussed everything you need to know in The Definitive Guide to ATS.

We’ve also saved you hours of research by comparing all the top vendors, highlighting features, customer services, shortcomings, and more in an easily readable spreadsheet. Check out our ATS Comparison Guide to review your options.