Hiring, as any HR manager would tell you, is a mess of epic proportions.
Every application that you receive must go through an exhaustive review, often involving multiple departments and managers.
As such, keeping track of each and every applicant and the status of their application is a difficult undertaking.
An Applicant Tracking System, or an ATS as it is usually known, is a godsend in this regard, helping you digitally streamline the hiring process and greatly reduce errors and delays.
With a computerized and cross-linked system for tracking applications, it becomes easier to process the deluge of applications and weed out the people who aren’t a good fit for your organization.
But simply contracting a software consultancy firm to implement an ATS in your organization is not enough.
Unless you do it right, an ATS can end up being more trouble than it is worth, and throw the whole hiring process off the rails.
While there are many small factors that go into making a successful ATS deployment, here the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid when implementing an ATS into your hiring process.
#1 Implementing without enough resources
The first question you should always ask yourself before initiating any major structural changes is ‘Do we have enough resources?’
For there is little point in going through all the trouble only for the process to lose steam midway due to a cash crunch.
Depending on the size of your organization, an ATS may not be necessary, with a comprehensive revamp of the hiring process all that is needed for more efficiency.
An Applicant Tracking System pays dividends only when the applications far exceed the processing capacity of the system that is already in place; for a small business, a simple document sharing framework is often sufficient.
You must ensure that your organization has both the need and resources to justify an ATS. An improper implementation of an ATS can hurt more than it helps.
#2 Not considering the time investment
Whatever the kind of system that you already have in place, transitioning to an ATS takes significant time.
Not only is the software implementation itself time consuming, but shopping for the right ATS to suit your needs is also likely to take a while.
And that is before you consider the time it would take for your employees to get acclimatized to the new system and actively start using it.
Not preparing for the time investment required to move to an ATS system is a recipe for disaster. Your vendor can provide you with a rough estimate of the expected duration, which you should confirm with your own IT to gain an idea of the timeframe you need to plan for.
Desist from initiating the migration before a crucial period, such as a major hiring drive or a pending review.
The best time for implementing an ATS is during the lean period of your business, after factoring in the delays likely due to the migration.
#3 Not streamlining the recruitment workflow
Many confuse a well functioning Applicant Tracking System with good organizational practices.
Be clear; an ATS is not a replacement for a proper recruitment workflow.
Unless your process is already streamlined and working at its peak efficiency, the ATS implementation is likely to run into issues.
An ATS is only a software-based tracking system—it will not do your work for you, only make doing it much easier and less prone to errors.
There is little an ATS can do to combat poor management practices or redundant application processing techniques.
You should look into streamlining your recruitment workflow before you implement an expensive ATS into your organization’s hiring process.
4: Not thinking about what happens after implementation
When looking for the right ATS to fit your company, you have consulted multiple stakeholders, from your IT department, your HR team and to the applicants themselves.
The advice of all the affected parties helped you decide upon a system.
But that’s not where it ends. You need to ask for feedback and look for possible issues after the system is in place.
- Maybe the software that looked good on paper does not perform that well on the ground.
- Or perhaps your HR department finds the ATS software too complex, leading to reduced performance down the line.
- Maintenance of such systems is a common issue. Often your IT department will find itself unable to properly maintain the otherwise stellar software you have procured. This leads to bugs and snags that waste valuable time and productivity.
When your ATS is billed as SaaS software, you will barely have any upfront costs.
Besides, the vendor will help with implementing the system, often including training your staff too, and the system will be maintained by the vendor, removing the burden from your own team.
#5 Not Having a Change Management Process
Organizations are, as a rule, resistant to change. Workflows that are repeated daily get so deeply ingrained that it is difficult to modify them, let alone replace them with a new one.
Implementing an ATS and simply expecting your employees to go with it without a hitch is foolish to hope.
Transitioning to a new system is always difficult, and without a proper plan in place can quite easily devolve into confusion and chaos.
Before implementing an ATS, you should have a dedicated change management process.
Such a process would ensure that the transition goes through smoothly, by allocating training to your employees on how to use the new software, besides setting aside a trial period for them to get used to relying on the new system.
By properly managing the process of the change, you can incorporate the ATS into your hiring process without a hitch.