Hiring is never an easy process. You have to go through many resumes and interviews before you strike gold, and it can take weeks or months to find the right person. Hiring takes a big chunk out of the annual budget, and may not always yield positive results. For small businesses, the potential losses from a bad hire can be significant.
This was demonstrated in a recent Gartner survey of the Top Technology Trends for SMBs (content available to Gartner clients). About 26 percent of the surveyed small and midsize businesses (SMBs) said that hiring the right people was their top business concern and would continue to be so for the next couple of years.
More than 90 percent of the surveyed SMBs said that they already use HR software, or plan to use it in the next two years. But generic HR solutions don’t always help businesses improve their recruitment strategies.
For that, you need applicant tracking software (ATS), which is offered as a standalone solution, add-on integration or embedded with the core package.
ATS can help with all steps of the hiring process, from creating job descriptions to searching for candidates, testing them, checking their references and even onboarding new hires.
In our “Human Resources Case Study: Benefits of ATS Software for SMBs” article, a recruiting company showed how ATS had a significant impact on their efficiency and bottom line.
This article will show how small HR teams can improve their recruitment strategies and tackle the hiring process from start to finish by using HR and ATS software features.
Step 1: Creating Job Profiles, Searching and Shortlisting
HOW ATS HELPS: LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report found that HR spends the most money on job boards and recruiting agencies. 53 percent of recruiters would rather spend that money and time on employer branding.
Employer branding can attract higher quality candidates by highlighting opportunities for career growth and a positive organizational culture. For younger employees, employer branding is an important recruiting tool.
This is why you should automate the menial tasks of posting to job boards, saving candidate resumes and extracting candidate data. This frees up your HR team’s time to work on branding and promoting the company.
IMPORTANT HR FEATURES: For this first stage of hiring, the most important software features your HR team needs to kick-start the process are:
- Job description creation: Extract a team’s skill sets, experience level, educational qualifications and even behavioral aspects to create apt job descriptions. This helps identify the requirements and, as a result, create detailed job descriptions.
- Job posting: Integrate with job boards to simultaneously post on websites and career pages. Use a single dashboard to manage the sites and save time.
- Resume search and parsing: Search your database using keywords to reduce search time and accurately classify results.
- Social media integration: Reach candidates who follow your company, work in similar industries, know your employees or show interest in your work. Some ideal candidates may not be actively looking for a job but will pursue an opportunity when it comes along.
Step 2: Tracking Candidate Progress Through the Process
HOW ATS HELPS: ATS can help HR teams with more complex tasks, as well. These include assessing and scoring candidates, coordinating with managers throughout the hiring process and scheduling interviews.
IMPORTANT HR FEATURES: This step can be challenging, as you manage multiple candidates and stakeholders. ATS can simplify the process with these features:
- Applicant workflow: Track each candidate’s status in the hiring process—from shortlisting resumes to interviews to the final offer. Stay on track and avoid letting any candidate fall through the cracks.
- Interview management: Ease the time-consuming tasks of scheduling interviews and sending invites. Set timelines for various interviews (if they need more rounds) and the mode of interviews (such as phone, face-to-face or video).
- Assessment: Rate and evaluate a candidate on various parameters such as creativity, leadership skills, interpersonal communication and willingness to go the extra mile. Some solutions also let you customize the ranking parameters.
Step 3: Screening, Finalizing and Hiring Candidates
HOW ATS HELPS: The last stage is about finalizing and hiring candidates, which involves a lot of paperwork and ongoing communications with various parties. Here, software can perform reference checks, vet candidates’ backgrounds and provide the final offer. Some vendors offer digital signature features so that you won’t need to maintain paper records.
IMPORTANT HR FEATURES: Software can help with compliance, verifying candidates and onboarding new hires. Here are some important features:
- Background screening: Screen candidates for criminal background history, authenticity of qualifications and previous experience. The feature allows recruiters to track the candidate’s progress through the process and notifies them when a candidate passes or fails.
- Reference check: Get a nuanced view of a candidate based on their personal and professional relationships. Better understand your candidate’s strong suits, their role in a previous organization and how they’ll impact your business.
- Onboarding: Get relevant paperwork signed, add new hires to internal databases and set up their accounts, logins and resources. Some ATSs include training tools to prepare new hires for the first few days/month at the job.
Conclusion and Next Steps
35 percent of the SMBs that contacted our advisors about HR software during January-July 2017 cited hiring the right people as their top concern. ATS is the most asked-for feature among the SMBs who called us for software recommendations.
To learn more about the systems that will fit your budget and provide the features you need, you can take a look at our ATS pricing guide, check out our buyer’s guide and read more about the essential features in HR software.
Armed with these resources, here are the next steps you should take:
Search for ATS solutions that fit your budget and business size
Demo with vendors to understand how the solution works and if it suits your business environment
Request initial trial periods of the top software and get detailed feedback from your HR team
Also, give us a call at (844) 675-2849 for a free consultation with one of our software advisors.
Information on Gartner’s Top Technology Trends for SMBs Survey
Gartner conducted this survey in April-May 2017 among 699 US-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded not-for-profit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.