4 Steps to Convince Your Boss You Need a New Applicant Tracking System
new applicant tracking system

4 Steps to Convince Your Boss You Need a New Applicant Tracking System

A bad ATS is worse than no ATS

No technology is more universally despised than rigid legacy applicant tracking systems. Sure, the best recruiters can overcome the limitations of any system, but working against your ATS is, best case, a waste of time, and worst case, a fight you’re going to lose. Why do so many applicant tracking systems make HR pros and recruiters want to pull their hair out? Because most solutions were built by people who might be good at tech, but have no experience actually recruiting.

If your ATS can’t do these 3 things, you need a new solution:

1. Make recruitment easier

What does a hiring team check first every morning? Where their candidates are, how their jobs are performing, and what steps/actions need to be taken next. If your ATS doesn’t make this simple but crucial step easy, or if it’s impossible to round up status updates from your hiring managers, that’s a problem.

2. Optimize your hiring process

Your candidates are your currency. You wouldn’t put your money in a bank that loses it; your ATS shouldn’t lose your candidates either.

3. Help you get better

Drive business decisions in real-time with powerful analytics. Quickly view metrics, see where your best candidates are coming from, find bottlenecks, and catch missed opportunities.

4 Steps to Convince Your Boss to Invest in a New ATS

Step 1: There’s Power in Numbers, So Enlist Partners

Recruiting and hiring has an impact on the entire business, so find allies. When you’ve finally had enough of your old system and decide it’s time for a new ATS, it’s important to have team members who are high up in the corporate hierarchy to be on your side. Finding an executive sponsor can be an incredibly effective tactic to use. Examine the business and determine which department seems to be on the cusp of a hiring need and appeal to that department lead. If you can get the sponsorship of a few key executives, the process is practically guaranteed to flow more smoothly through to approval.

Step 2: Partner with IT

As you’re shopping around for a new system, you should consider the other departments that will be brought on board when the final decision is made. After all, it’s not just HR. Your IT department should be with you every step of the way from looking at specifications to sitting in on a demo. They know the inner workings of all of your company’s technology systems, as well as how they’re interconnected, and they’ll be the ones working with your vendor to initially set everything up. Your IT folks know what to look for when it comes to maintaining candidate data security, understanding the technical needs and limitations of your company’s infrastructure, and determining downtime required for system setup. Make sure you connect with them sooner rather than later.

Step 3: Show, Don’t Tell

Start from the premise that your boss probably doesn’t know that your current recruitment software isn’t working. So first, take a step back and explain the big picture. This worksheet will help guide the conversation.


Candidate experience and drop-off rates

When your ATS uses a lengthy application process, requires the applicant to provide a user name and password, or isn’t mobile friendly, you’re going to experience applicant drop-off. (Ex: If 100 candidates start an application, but only 40 complete the process, your drop-off rate is 60%) What’s your current candidate drop-off rate? _________

Lackluster or just plain terrible search functionality

A clunky search is often worse than having no search functionality at all. Your recruiters need to find the candidates they need now, not after trying to decipher the database algorithm that will return the best results. Can you easily find candidates in your database? _________

Interview and selection activities

Your recruiting team and hiring managers want to get candidates in the door quickly. If your current hiring process is largely manual, relying on multiple emails, voicemails, and hand-written notes in a file, your applicant management process isn’t as efficient as it could be. How long does it take to successfully hire for a new position? _______

Reporting and analytics

Dump the spreadsheets. If your current recruiting tool can’t quickly and easily show you where hiring approval processes are in the pipeline, manage background checks, enable you to view assessments, and, of course, show you where your top candidates are coming from and where the bottlenecks in the process are, it’s time for a change. How many steps does it take to create an actionable report? _______

Marketing and distributing your jobs

Posting to the myriad job boards out there today is extremely time consuming. Your team needs to focus on hiring the best candidates, not copying and pasting to Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, and so on and so on…. How much time are you spending posting to career networks? _______


Step 4: Recommend a Solution

You’ve got the rest of the company aligned, you’ve explained the problem, now reveal the solution. An ATS solution you recommend to your boss must be able to prove the following:

Your time-to-hire will dramatically decrease.

Of course, the hiring process will vary from employer to employer, type of job, and industry; however, it can definitely take a long time. Too long. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2016 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, more than 70% of employers identified the amount of time from job posting to interview to be three weeks or more.

Time is money. Think of recruiting like a supply chain. Just like in a manufacturing environment,a more efficient hiring process decreases costs.

Your hiring managers will spend significantly less time in the weeds.

Administering a recruiting process with manual steps and antiquated recruiting software can really rack up the hours and burn resources. Your NEW ATS must provide the following:

  • Email features that automate all of those iterative emails that you have to manually write every day.
  • Interview scheduling that actually integrates seamlessly with your organization’s email system and saves you countless hours by helping you schedule and confirm interviews.
  • One-click, FREE job board postings
  • Candidate search to make resumes, online job applications, recruiter and hiring manager comments and notes, salaries, and job locations quickly and easily discoverable.
  • Fully customizable, email-driven approval processes to provide the visibility, control, and exception management needed.
  • Mobile optimized so recruiters and hiring managers can manage the process anytime, anywhere.
  • Interview Scorecard

Your entire team will make better decisions with better data.

Your new ATS software should provide mission-critical information that answers the most frequently asked questions about your recruiting program (P.S. The data wonks will love you for it.)

  • Where are your candidates coming from? Understand what works for your organization and where you’re finding value in paying for listings or spending time searching and posting. Determine which sources drive the most candidate volume and where you find your hires by position type and location. For example, LinkedIn might be a terrific source for a certain type of job in your company. For other roles, employee referrals might be more effective.
  • Where are the bottlenecks in your hiring process? How long does it take? Which parts take longer than others? If the process bogs down, you risk losing top candidates to competitors with more efficient processes.
  • How long does it take to fill an open requisition? Anticipate the length of the hiring process and manage expectations of leadership by providing them with realistic timeframes.
  • What’s your turnover rate? Tracking turnover is essential, especially within the first 90 days of employment. It’s important to do exit interviews to understand why low-tenure people are leaving the organization. Those interviews can reveal gaps in your recruitment process and illustrate what to fix in the future.

When you’ve finally decided enough is enough with your old or non-existent ATS, following these tips and getting answers to these questions can help you successfully navigate the conversation with your boss, and get you on the road to purchasing a new system.

As you meet with vendors and search for the software that’s right for your business, review our guide: How to Choose the Right ATS. In it, you’ll discover important criteria and recommendations on what to look for before you buy.

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