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Why You Need an ATS When You’re Not Hiring

“We’re just not hiring at this very moment, but we definitely plan to in the future.” “We don’t have a clear sense of when we’ll need to hire again.” “We can’t even think about hiring right now; there is way too much going on.”

If any of the above thoughts sound familiar, we wrote this post for you. You may not be hiring right now, but here’s why you still need an applicant tracking system to supercharge your team’s future success.

To start looking for candidates before you desperately need them

Think about when you were last a candidate. We’re willing to bet you didn’t just apply to the first company you found online regardless of their open roles and espoused values. You vetted several companies and over time, you crafted a list of your top picks. That way, you could confidently reach out to that select bunch when you were ready to make the jump.

Similarly, you won’t want to mindlessly reach out to the first candidates you find when you decide to begin hiring again. If you do, chances are they won’t be the qualified talent you seek. And, news flash: high-caliber candidates won’t just magically appear in your pipeline either. It takes days of diligent sourcing and hours of scouring sites like Reddit and Twitter to find candidates who match your team needs. Wouldn’t you rather do all of that work calmly over the course of a few months than frantically in a few days? You will hire better if you start candidate pipelining long before you need to grow your team. 

To account for the very real possibility of turnover

No matter how strong your company culture is, turnover is inevitable. One of your teammates may become a professional pool player; your coworker may decide they’re more suited for a larger, fully structured company than a startup. There are a slew of reasons your team will shrink and grow constantly.

When that turnover occurs, you want to have a tool that allows you to start corralling your interviewers immediately. With an ATS, you can start sending your team candidate profiles – with key information like resumes and candidates’ interview history at your company – the moment you start hiring again. Then, you can dive right into tasks like scheduling interviews and creating different feedback forms for each interviewer in your ATS as well. Is your team not submitting feedback quickly enough? You can set up automatic feedback reminders. Being able to perform all these tasks in the one, centralized system will help you hire more efficiently.

To keep your dream candidates warm  

When you were hiring to build your current team, you probably spoke to highly qualified candidates who didn’t want to leave their company yet. You may have built a stellar team anyway – so stellar that you don’t even need to scale right now – but you should still give yourself an easy way to reach out to those great candidates in the future. Rather than trying to recover emails from your Gmail trash when it’s time to hire again, wouldn’t it be great if you could type their name into your recruiting software and instantly see everything you need to know about them? In the world of ATSes, you can see every email, piece of feedback, and note that your team exchanged with them during their prior interview process. You can reach out to star candidates without having to dig around in your email and spreadsheets for ages first.

But you really shouldn’t let those highly qualified candidates fall off your radar in the first place. Even if you’re not actively recruiting them, use your ATS to keep your relationships warm. With Lever’s snooze feature, for example, you can set a reminder to check in with them every few weeks. These consistent reach-outs will allow you to maintain the strong bond you’ve developed; that way, your team is top-of-mind when they do decide to begin looking for other job opportunities.

To build great hiring habits that will serve you down the line

The saying “Old habits die hard” may be a tad overused, but it’s no mystery why. If you continue to build great hiring habits even when you’re not actively looking for candidates, they’ll stick with you when you dive back into hiring again. 

Say that you were sourcing for three hours each morning when there was a huge hiring push. Now that things have slowed down, don’t stop seeking out new talent altogether! Sourcing is one of the most taxing parts of recruiting, meaning that you should dive into it strategically and regularly. So how about this? Rather than sourcing for three hours each morning when you’re not hiring, cut the commitment down to one hour. That way, you don’t lose your touch. 

To make sure candidate information doesn’t leave when employees do

Hiring isn’t quick or transactional. Only 50% of hires directly apply for roles on their own, meaning that processes are often nuanced and play out over long periods of time. Many great hiring managers and recruiters stay in touch with candidates even when they’re not hiring.

Don’t forget, though; all companies face attrition. During the periods in which you’re not hiring, those great hiring managers and recruiters could leave your company. If you don’t have an ATS, they’ll walk out the door with important context about all their past candidate interactions. But if you do, you’ll have enough information to re-engage the candidates they were excited about once you begin hiring again. 

To extract sharper insights from recruiting data

Whenever you’re scaling, it’s essential to collect recruiting data that helps you hire more strategically in the future. Using reports in your ATS, you can answer critical questions like “What percentage of candidates are accepting our offers?”, “Are some team members spending an inordinate amount of time on interviewing?”, and “What’s the average number of days it currently takes to hire our engineers?”.

If you’re not scaling right now, maybe you don’t think you need a tool to see that data. But in a given year, your hiring needs will constantly change; you might go through an aggressive hiring push, then a pause, then a small hiring push, then a pause again. In order to best measure your recruiting performance, you need to track it throughout that entire year. If you wait until you’re aggressively hiring to invest in an ATS, you’re going to miss out on key insights from other hiring periods. 

We totally get it. If you’re not hiring, purchasing an ATS may not be your first instinct. Perhaps you’re juggling eight different priorities and it doesn’t feel like you have time to account for future scaling. But we promise: if you seriously commit to hiring stellar candidates now, those eight tasks will become more manageable in the future.

At TINT, a content display technology company, every single team member takes hiring seriously. In fact, they believe it’s the most important activity for any company to get right. To hear why, read their story.