14 things to look for in an Application Tracking Software

Application Tracking Software Illustration

An Application Tracking Software is used by companies of all sizes because of a variety of reasons. The software helps companies save time by automating a lot of coordination work between the hiring team and the candidates and also among the members of the hiring team. It saves the company money by reducing the amount of time required to hire a candidate. A good applicant tracking software helps create strong employer branding as well as provides a fantastic candidate experience. It saves our inboxes from clutter and also helps create a talent pool for future hiring.

There are multiple reasons to use an applicant tracking software but when you are out in the market, you need to ensure you select the one that matches your requirements. It should provide from the following features:

Must-haves in an Applicant Tracking Software:

1. Careers site with employer branding

A good application tracking software should allow you to create a micro-site for the careers section of your website. Such a micro-site allows you to create a careers page where you can incorporate your company branding. You may talk about the great things about working at your company, show pictures and videos depicting your company culture and lastly have all the job openings listed at the end.

A well designed careers page helps convince candidates to apply for a job at the company. Hence, it is important that the applicant tracking software allows you to customize all the parts of the careers page so that you can make it look a part of your website.

The application tracking software should also do a proper showcase of the job description. i.e. details of the job opening should be well presented. You should be able to add all the necessary information about the job. This will ensusre that the candidates have full understanding of the requirements before applying.

2. Customizable application forms

If you are a company that gets a lot of applicants for the jobs you post, then you’ll understand this problem. A lot of candidates who apply do not actually fit the requirements advertised for the job. However, you cannot make out who is qualified and who is not unless you speak with them.

However, this problem can be resolved to a great extent if the applicant tracking software allows you to add custom questions to the job application form. The answers to these questions can help you do the initial filtering of the candidates.

3. Facility for candidates to apply

The ATS should also provide a facility to apply to the jobs listed in the career section. The interface for applying for the job should be well done. It should allow the candidates to apply without too much of a difficulty. The pages and the interface should be responsive so that candidates can apply over any device – a computer, a tablet or a phone as well.

All the features,
free to use, forever.

4. A good interface for application pipeline management

It takes a good 50-70 days on an average to close any job opening. During this time, you keep receiving new applications while you are also moving existing applications through the evaluation process. There are multiple people involved from your side to evaluate the candidates. All these people are evaluating different candidates at any time. Any process with so many moving parts, moving simultaneously, is difficult to keep a track of. Hence, it is important that this part of the application tracking software is well designed.

A well designed pipeline interface gives you a birds eye view of all the candidates and the stages of evaluation they are in. It lets you see which interviewer has how many applications pending to evaluate. It helps you identify the bottlenecks in the evaluation workflow.

But at the same time, the interface also allows you to deep dive into the nitty gritty of each application. You should be able to see how has each application progressed through the process. You should be able to see the profile, the evaluation notes from the interviewers, the assignments and the ratings all in one place.

5. Search

As you amass hundreds or thousands of applications across the job openings that you’ve advertised, you start feeling the need for a good search functionality to deal with this deluge of applications. You may want to find a particular application to know its status. Or you may want to search all the applications that you’ve received from a particular source. There can be plenty of reasons and occasions when you’ll want to use search. Hence, it’s important that you select an application tracking software that has a strong search functionality built in.

6. Ability for the hiring team to collaborate together

Hiring typically is a team effort. You have a business team raising a requirement. The HR team then publishes that requirement and advertises it to attract applications. Once you start receiving the applications, people from both the teams get involved in evaluating those applications. The initial filtering may be done by the HR team but the main evaluation is done by the business team post which the HR team comes in the picture again to make the offer and close the process.

Since the application changes hands multiple times during the evaluation process, it becomes important that the applicant tracking software allows for a good hand-shake between each set of individuals. This ensures that no application falls through the cracks.

All the features,
free to use, forever.

7. Scheduling interviews with calendar sync

The old-school way of hiring involves someone from the HR team coordinating between the candidates and the interviewers to set up meetings. This is a laborious and a cumbersome process involving going back and forth between the candidate and the interviewer to find a time when both would be available to meet.

However, the new generation of application tracking software allow the interviewers to sync their calendars with the systems’ to allow the candidates to block the time for meetings by themselves. This eliminates the need for the HR resource to coordinate between the two parties saving a lot of time and eliminating frustration.

8. Regular updates to the candidates

The time from submitting the application to the eventual selection or rejection is filled with a lot of anxiety for the candidates. And the primary cause of this anxiety is that the candidates are not kept informed as their application moves from one stage to the other. Sometimes they are not informed even when their application has been rejected. This leads to them waiting endlessly to hear back leading to poor candidate experience and a negative impact on the employer brand.

Good application management software take care of this simple but an extremely important requirement. They send auto-updates every time an application is moved from one stage to another. This ensures applicants are not left to the mercy of the HR to inform them.

9. Reporting

Hiring is an effort intensive and time consuming process. However, if done efficiently, it can have a significant impact on the growth and sustenance of the company. In order to make the hiring process efficient, it is important that we track the key performance indicators of the process. Indicators like time to close an opening, number of applications received/selected source-wise vs. the cost, cost per hire, cost per department, etc. need to be tracked on an ongoing basis to make the entire process more efficient.

A good applicant tracking software provides detailed analytics around the whole hiring process. This ensures that you are able to track all the KPIs that you may be interested in.

Now you know what are the features which are like must-haves when you are out evaluating Application Tracking Software. You need to ensure that all of the above are provided by the software you select. However, if you’d like to go a little further and be a little more greedy :p , you may want to have the following features as well.

All the features,
free to use, forever.

Good-to-haves in an Application Tracking Software:

10. Email applications

Once you’ve advertised a job among your network, you would have seen that while most people will apply on the link you share, some would still email the applications to your inbox. Now instead of manually adding those applications to the application tracking software, some of these software allow you to just forward those emails to them and the applications get auto-added. Once you start using this feature, you won’t be able to live without it.

11. Auto-publish on job boards

Some applicant tracking systems allow you to directly advertise your job openings on various free/paid job boards in a single click. This is certainly a good to have feature.

12. Resume parser

A resume parser can help make the application process simpler for the candidates. This functionality parses through the resume to pick out important bits of information. This information can be used to pre-fill the application form and can also be used to improve the search functionality within the software.

13. Interface for staffing agencies

A lot of employers rely on staffing agencies to help them source good talent for their teams. However, like candidates themselves, the staffing agencies are also left to wonder on the status of the candidates as they move through the evaluation process. Some new application tracking software provide an interface for the sourcing partners to see the exact status of their candidates. This feature again helps both the parties – the staffing partner and the employer as they save time and effort in communicating manually.

14. Integrations with evaluation tools

Evaluation of candidates for any role these days involves some assignment or a test. These can be coding tests or assignments involving submitting an essay, a plan of execution, etc. There are stand-alone vendors which facilitate such tests like Hacker Rank and others. Some applicant tracking software integrate with these platforms to allow for their usage from within the software.

Well, this brings us to the end of the article. If you’ve made it this far, I can safely assume you are serious about signing up for an application tracking software. I hope you got the information you were looking for. And, may I add, Folk Flow free-forever application tracking software has most of the features I’ve mentioned above. How about taking it for a spin? It won’t cost you anything as it is free to use forever.

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