What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? An ATS is a software application that enables the electronic handling of IT recruitment needs from start to finish. An ATS can be implemented on an enterprise or small business level, depending on the needs of the company. ATS’s are very similar to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems, but are designed mainly for IT recruitment tracking purposes. ATS’s help companies recruit prospective employees efficiently and effectively. Applicant Tracking Systems provide IT staffing firms with a web-based portal that organizes the information needed to recruit the best technical talent available.
Why do IT staffing firms use an Applicant Tracking System?
Competitive advantage: Competition not only among the candidates to get the best job in the industry, but also among companies to track and hire the best technical talent available. Companies are also looking for ways to access information on candidates so they can create a comprehensive database that allows them to avoid resume duplication and thoroughly record past history with candidates. When a company can prove they already have the candidate in their database, they can reach out directly to the candidate and avoid paying placement fees to IT recruiting companies. Most companies state this in the beginning when they turn to an IT staffing firm. ATS’s provide current information that helps recruiters stay organized. Having access to past and recent history at your fingertips gives technical recruiting companies a competitive advantage.
Scalability: Buying an ATS is only half the job. Before that, you need to test the features on the system to make sure it fits your IT staffing business model. There are well over 100 ATS’s to review. Features are usually the main reason why a company purchases a specific ATS. Here are a few examples of features that most ATS’s offer to IT Staffing Firms:
- No added IT costs (if hosted) backups, security monitoring, up-time, etc. supervised by your provider
- Eliminate duplication of effort by recruiters and synchronize all work activates
- Create and sustain a solid recruiting infrastructure
- Measure performance metrics through reports that will help drive process evaluation and improvement
- Reduce advertising or agency expenses by building a database of active/passive candidates
- Online interaction with candidates – portals, web integration with careers pages
- Candidate, Client and Job-order profiles which can include resumes, scheduling, contact details, availability, timesheets, etc
- Mass emails for referrals and to stay in touch with talented people
- The ability to track the source of hires
- The ability to go rreen with the hiring process – the screening, background check, timesheet, email communication, phone interview, and new hire paperwork can all be completed online – saving money and keeping information secure and accessible
- Parsed resumes, search resumes and create notes on candidates to track hourly rate, salary and commute distance
- Enhanced Business Development – Account Managers can market IT staffing services to companies
- The ability to track current IT contractors – Monitor end dates and assignment duration
Benefits: We have all heard of the “black hole”, the place your resume goes when you submit it to a website. An ATS allows IT recruiting agencies to set up “keep in touch” reminders to contact everyone that has applied to a posting or submitted their resume for future consideration. You can also post jobs more efficiently to multiple employment websites while promoting your company. Automation and improved productivity with IT recruiters are two benefits that tie together. By automating the entire process, you will save time and money on administrative costs, paying for resume databases, technical support and 24 x 7 accessible from any machine that has access to the Web. Automation can organize candidate information that allows quicker decision-making. All of this leads to reduced cost and more efficient hiring timelines.
Cost: The cost of buying an ATS can be expensive once you start to add up the features. One thing to consider is developing your own ATS. To reach this decision, most companies use one of the existing ATS for a year and evaluate what they need to develop for their application.
Things to consider: There are two main categories of IT recruiting software: one for corporations, and one for IT recruiting agencies and IT staffing firms. There is a significant difference between these two kinds of applications. Corporations use an ATS that allows them to store resumes and accept resume submittals from agencies and IT staffing firms. IT recruiting agencies will use an ATS that gives them 24×7 access and provides a total solution to automate the process.
Changing the landscape: ATS’s are changing the way we recruit IT candidates. There are many benefits to implementing an ATS. Applicant Tracking Systems give technical recruiters the ability to build a searchable file of candidates with very little administrative effort, and then to search that database easily for the purpose of finding all candidates who might be qualified to fill an open position. An ATS does not take away the functions of an IT recruitment staff. ATS’s automate most of the manual tasks that accompany the process of finding the right technical candidates for a particular job. The software does most of the preliminary work that accompanies the hiring process, while at the same time providing the IT recruiter with a focused list. This eliminates the laborious process of talking to a lot of applicants before coming up with a short list. Another new function is the ability to see everyone’s efforts during the IT recruiting cycle. An ATS takes all of the guess work out of the picture. It provides you with tracking tools to view emails and notes on the candidate or the hiring manager saving time.
Applicant Tracking Systems: There are a number of strong ATS solutions on the market. The following is a list of Applicant Tracking Systems that might be a fit for you based on the size of your IT recruiting firm and company budget:
- ApplicantPRO Applicant Tracking
- BlackDog Recruiting Software, Inc.
- Bond StarSearcher Applicant Tracking System
- StaffingSoft, Inc.
Summary: Applicant Tracking Systems in the IT recruiting industry are everywhere. I have been in the IT staffing industry for 13 years and have used a popular ATS since 2008 that is used by many IT staffing firms. There are many features to this software that make my job easier. Next is an overview of how the ATS is used to post a job and submit candidates to the hiring manager. The Account Manager or Sales Person clicks on “add a job” and is then directed to enter data into the fields provided. Once the job is entered into the system you can email it to specific IT recruiters or mass mail the entire team. The Account Manager can then click “publish” to post the job to employment websites to increase visibility and attract qualified technical resources. Once a technical recruiter finds a candidate from the ATS resume database or from someone who applied to the posting, they then submit the candidate to the position after the candidate is qualified. The Account Manager can access the candidate overview and resume, then with only a few clicks, email the candidate to the hiring manager.
By having zero downtime and access to the software from any computer, your team’s productivity will increase and their multitasking skills will improve. There are countless web-based ATS’s available to IT Staffing Firms. Choosing the right one for your firm is a critical decision. Once the ATS is installed and the IT recruiting and sales teams are up and running, the ROI will soon be obvious. There are a lot of things that IT recruiters can’t control and this makes their job challenging. An ATS removes most of these concerns allowing them to focus on finding the best candidate for the job that they are trying to fill.
AVID Technical Resources
AVID (Applications, Voice, Internet, Data) Technical Resources is a leading Information Technology recruiting company. Specializing in placing contract and permanent personnel in both Infrastructure Support and Applications Development positions, AVID has a national presence supporting clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Headquartered in Boston, MA, AVID has achieved tremendous growth since the firm's inception in 2003. This has triggered numerous national awards and recognition, such as being named to Inc. 500 Magazine's list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Privately-held Companies in the US in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Additionally, the firm boasts of having more than 100 five-star reviews on Google from clients and candidates who rave about their experience and interaction with the firm's recruiters.