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Modern Applicant Tracking System Requirements

The first Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was designed to do little more than store data from applications. Prior to the Internet, candidates sent in physical resumes and the recruiter’s job was to choose the best from the stack. Early recruiting platforms simply digitized the process. But now, more than 20 years later, the hiring environment and the way job seekers communicate with companies has vastly changed—and so the modern ATS has adapted.

To win the battle for top talent, companies now need to recruit proactively, hire collaboratively, and invest in a talent strategy. The modern ATS must therefore be designed to support these initiatives.

Modern ATS requirements

1. Candidate sourcing capabilities

Companies can’t rely on inbound applications through the careers site to reach the best candidates. Successful modern sourcing strategies typically include a mix of LinkedIn postings, passive candidate sourcing, and referrals. A modern ATS needs to make it easy to source candidates in the ways modern recruiters actually work.

Key sourcing features of the modern ATS:

  • Google Chrome extension
  • LinkedIn integration
  • Recruitment marketing automation (including CRM technology)
  • Easy referral access for all employees
  • Intelligent candidate recommendations

2. Enhance the candidate experience

The hiring process is the applicant's first impression of a company, and it can make or break whether a candidate accepts an offer. A modern ATS facilitates a positive candidate experience in a couple ways. First, it provides a straightforward and quick application process. Second, it better organizes hiring teams. Tracking details in an easily accessible place prepare a hiring team to provide quality interactions with a candidate. Whether it’s an uber-personal first touch email from a recruiter or a hiring manager showing up on time for interviews, the specifics of the experience can make all the difference for a candidate.

Key candidate experience features of the modern ATS:

  • Intuitive careers page (candidates should focus on their application, not logins)
  • Support for careers page design
  • Candidate communication tracking
  • Easily located internal notes
  • Self-scheduling process

3. Integrated CRM

Early designs of the ATS are sometimes referred to as a “black hole for data” because they dispose of candidate information once a requisition closes. To combat this, recruiting teams often use spreadsheets to track candidate details that are lost in the ATS. Fortunately, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform was adapted from sales and introduced to recruiting. Adding a CRM to complement the ATS is a step up, but a truly functional recruiting platform combines the ATS and CRM. The result is one organized, searchable database to easily access candidates of the future (sourced talent), present (current applicant), or past (silver-medal talent).

Benefits of a fully integrated CRM:

  • All candidate history visible on one centralized profile
  • Duplicate-profile check (to enhance data integrity)
  • Source candidates without being tied to requisitions
  • Properly track passive or sourced candidates
  • Database with all past silver-medalists, who might be right for another role!

Key functional CRM features of the modern ATS:

  • Boolean search (i.e. easily search by keywords & names)
  • Ideal candidate profiles

4. Designed for the entire company

The increasing importance of recruiting has companies engaging their entire workforces in the hiring process. One of the keys to a company’s recruiting success is efficient communication between stakeholders; particularly between the recruiter and hiring manager. A modern ATS makes it simple for every employee to be involved, and improves communication.

Key communication features of the modern ATS:

  • Referral access for all
  • Google Chrome extension (listed again for referrals)
  • Integration with email providers (and communication networks like Slack)
  • Mobile optimized
  • Custom feedback forms

5. Detailed and customizable reporting

The most successful companies put an emphasis on employee experience and hiring the right people to fill open seats. Human Resources has become a strategic partner in the C-Suite, and recruiting data is essential for making informed decisions. A modern ATS offers metrics that highlight actionable areas of improvement for a recruiting team and the entire company’s hiring process.

Key reporting features of the modern ATS:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Visual dashboards (and integrations with Tableau)
  • Full customization options
  • Both requisition and candidate life-cycle reporting
  • Automated distribution of reports

Final thoughts

Technology adapts to the needs of the consumer, and the needs of the consumer are shaped by the conditions of the market. The hiring market has certainly changed since the late 90’s and therefore, recruiters need new technology.

We hope this list helps you process the changing recruiting technology landscape, define your current or future recruiting software, and make better decisions today in order to meet the needs of the business for tomorrow.

If you're ready for a modern applicant tracking system, schedule a demo to see how Lever can support your organization's recruiting strategy.

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