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13 Ways You Know it’s Time for an Applicant Tracking System

time for applicant tracking system

You’ve got this whole recruiting thing down to a science. You have time blocked on your calendar to go through your dedicated job application inbox; your candidate tracking spreadsheet is color-coded by role, interview stage, and hiring manager; and your email templates document has some of the best canned responses EVER.

Sure, it takes you a few hours each day to open every application email and download the resumes. And you’re still working on how to best collect and organize candidate feedback—submit via e-mail and store in a Google Drive folder, right? Perhaps you’ll use SurveyMonkey to collect responses? Hm, you’re certain that after a few hours of Googling and a little trial-and-error, you’ll figure out something that works.  

So if there’s no real recruiting “pain,” why would you need an Applicant Tracking System? Well, if any of the below resonate with you, it’s time for you to realize: there is a better way to do recruiting.

1. Your job postings end in “Email us to apply!” You’ll never get to inbox zero if candidates apply to, well, an inbox!

1_Clinton_Email.gifWhat if candidate applications went to one centralized place where they were parsed, organized by outreach stage, and labeled with the job the candidate applied to? 

2. You have to download resumes in order to view them, which means the downloads folder on your computer is just…a mess. And you’ve downloaded a corrupt file at least once. 

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It’s time to put candidate resumes in a SEPARATE place from that adorable family photo your mom just sent you. A place where the resume will always be linked with the candidate,  not your hard drive.

3. You flag the emails from candidates you want to follow up with, but now most of your inbox is “starred” and you can’t remember which one was that really awesome applicant. 

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could “snooze” a candidate and get a reminder when it’s a better time to reach out to them? And, if you could leave notes on a candidate’s profile so you knew exactly what to bring up with them when you get back in touch?

4. You have a Google doc with email templates that you copy paste to save time, but you’ve sent at least one email to “Hi [INSERT NAME HERE].”

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Imagine: a world in which your system automatically filled in the candidate name when you send an email…

5. You once emailed the wrong candidate about an interview. Then you actually had to interview them so you could avoid a bad Glassdoor review.

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What if all your emails to and from a candidate were linked back to the candidate’s profile, so you can’t email the wrong candidate?

6. You are using at least one of the following tools, which were not meant to be used for recruiting, for recruiting: Trello, Asana, Boomerang, Yesware…

6_Anchorman.gifYou should be using recruiting tools to do recruiting. Just like you use an email client for email and a project management tool to manage projects.

7. The only reason you learned how to do conditional formatting in Excel is to auto-color-code your candidate status. Recruiting is also the reason you learned how to do a vlookup. 

7_West_Wing.gifShouldn’t Excel be used for managing numbers, instead of people? 

8. You have an extra computer monitor with the following windows always open: jobs inbox, candidate spreadsheet, calendar, LinkedIn. 

8_SNL.gifYour life would be a lot easier, and your desktop a lot less cluttered, if you could access all this information in a single browser window.

9. You gladly pay an external recruiter 20% of a hefty salary in order to handle the madness that is sourcing and screening applicants.


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Staffing agencies add value for hard-to-fill roles, but sourcing and screening shouldn’t be the only reason you use them.  Sourcing candidates should be seamless, as simple as browsing a LinkedIn page and adding them to your database with a click. And screening resumes? It should also take one click to pull up the candidate information you need.  

10. 1 minute before every interview, you inevitably get a ping asking “can you send me so and so’s resume”?

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Imagine if hiring managers and interviewers could find not only the resume, but all candidate information, in one centralized place, with a link in their calendar invite?

11. A hiring manager asks about conversion rates from phone screen to interview and your response is: 

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Conversion rates and other important hiring metrics should be beautiful, easily accessible works of art that you can use to WOW your hiring managers and executives!

12. Feedback sessions involve you, in a room by yourself, pinging and emailing people that they’re late for the feedback session. 

12_Simpsons.gifThere’s no need to waste time monitoring interview feedback submission if a system could do the reminding for you. 

13. A recruiter colleague of yours left the company…and information on all the candidates he ever interacted with left with him. 

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Feel free to say “Boy, Bye!” because an ATS means all the data and communication associated with every candidate remains with your company. Forever. And ever.

If any one of these resonated with you, I have something you need to hear: You’re not alone! Lever was built to solve these very issues so that you can stop spending time on the administration of recruiting, and spend more time on what recruiting is really about: making candidates a priority. Lever has a way to solve each one of these pains. Contact sales@lever.co or schedule a demo, and let us know which pain we can help alleviate right away.