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What are the benefits of an applicant tracking system?

Tags: Candidate Experience, Onboarding, Recruitment Process, Recruitment Transformation

You mightn’t know exactly what the benefits of an applicant tracking system are… but you’re almost certainly familiar with the pain points that come from not having one. If you’re: 

  • Buried under recruitment admin
  • Battling constant candidate drop-outs
  • Spending hours searching spreadsheets
  • Staring at tumbleweed for your hard-to-hire roles
  • Watching recruitment costs soar

… you could almost certainly benefit from recruitment software.


Keep reading to discover how an applicant tracking system benefits small businesses. (Not sure what an ATS even is? Read this first.)


What are the benefits of an ATS?

Why use an ATS system? Lots of reasons. Eleven, in fact. Here’s what we see as the biggest benefits of an applicant tracking system for SMEs. 


1 – Escape the admin burden  

Small business recruiters wear a bazillion hats. That can be exciting, rewarding, and mean no two days are the same… but it can also be stressful. You’re almost certainly a team of one, and you might have office management and talent management responsibilities as well. Phew. 

It can be overwhelming, especially if the business doesn’t use recruitment tech yet. 

Spreadsheets can be great but they have some big limitations that mean you handle a huge amount of recruitment tasks manually. One of the biggest benefits of an ATS is that it automates the repetitive, manual stuff— clearing your headspace to spend on actual people work.  

An ATS makes it way easier and faster to:

  • Parse CVs
  • Schedule interviews
  • Search candidates
  • Write and distribute job adverts
  • Collect manager feedback
  • Generate and edit contracts
  • Transfer data into other HR systems


2 – Decrease time-to-hire and increase accepted offers

Losing great candidates is one of typical SMEs’ biggest recruitment challenges, most often because your process is just too slow. So you put all the time, money, and effort into recruitment, but you’re pipped to the post by another organisation who gets an offer out faster. 

Realistically in today’s recruitment landscape, you need to make job offers within two to three weeks. One of the benefits of ATS systems is that they speed up hiring dramatically, by removing and reducing admin and improving collaboration. 

Faster hiring equals more happy hires, and fewer last-minute rejections from the perfect people. 


3 – Increase applications 

When a small business first starts hiring, it’s usually pretty easy. Someone knows someone who knows someone, and the rest is history. 

But then you exhaust word-of-mouth and referrals and the founder’s network and you’re suddenly cast into the open waters of job board advertising. 

And often then, recruitment becomes really hard, because your employer brand usually isn’t strong enough to attract applications. Especially in a competitive jobs market where candidates usually have lots of choice. 

An ATS makes it simple and fast to showcase your brand with rich, beautiful job adverts. But more important, an ATS creates time and space for you to think more deeply about employer branding, to make changes that drive real long-term value.

You don’t need vast enterprise budgets to do some brilliant employer brand work. You need bandwidth. That’s what recruitment software gives you. 


4 – Improve quality of hire

When you’re spinning a thousand plates and buried under admin, recruitment is typically chaotic and reactive — which aren’t the optimum conditions for great hiring decisions. 

This can lead to a ‘bums on seats’ sort of mentality, rather than a true long-term approach to hiring the right people for the business. That’s a problem in any organisation but especially with small businesses where every team member has an astronomical impact.  

An ATS benefits recruitment decision-making by creating space for longer-term thinking. More proactive; less reactive. More calm; less chaos. So your people skills can really shine, not your admin skills. 


5 – Improve the candidate experience and protect your brand 

Long, inconvenient application processes. Communication tumbleweed and ghosting. Endless interview scheduling back and forth. No onboarding. 

Many small businesses wind up treating candidates without much respect, because you lack the time, tools, and visibility to get the candidate experience right. 

Not only does this impact drop-outs, but it can also damage your brand long-term as candidates share their experiences with friends and family. Not ideal when you’re also looking to build and strengthen your employer brand, to help with hiring.

An ATS system makes delivering a fast, modern, respectful candidate experience easy, consistently. Functionality like easy, automated candidate comms and a one-stop dashboard for hiring managers (no more lost emails!) keeps everyone on track — and candidates smiling. 


6 –  Make hiring hard-to-hire roles easier

Almost every business struggles with hard-to-hire roles — but you don’t have to accept that as the way things are. 

Typically hard-to-hire roles happen because there are fewer candidates with those skills than organisations looking for them. To be one of the successful organisations, you need to tip the odds in your favour. That’s where recruitment software can help.  

An ATS benefits you by empowering proactive talent pooling. This helps you shift towards strategic, forward-looking recruitment activity that gets ahead of long-term hiring needs.


7 – Collaborate better with managers

When you recruit for a small business, you’re reliant on manager support to get everything done. There are simply too many things to do, and not enough of you. 

But this is often difficult. Managers often don’t understand what they should be doing and are also snowed under themselves, so don’t have time to faff around with endless unfit-for-purpose tools (spreadsheets; email; Slack; etc). It’s frustrating and disempowering on both sides.

An ATS benefits your managers by giving them one simple portal for everything related to recruitment and sending them automatic alerts when they need to do something. No more hunting through emails or scouring spreadsheets.


8 – Reduce recruitment costs 

Right now, there’s a good bet your recruitment costs are climbing as you spend more on agencies and advertising — often without meaningful improvement to hiring outcomes. Not ideal when small businesses are often more time- and budget-poor than bigger peers anyway. 

One of the most tangible benefits of an ATS is reducing recruitment costs:

  • Increased efficiency means less time and money spent recruiting
  • Decreased reliance on external support to reduce agency spend 
  • Better visibility over your board spend to optimise costs 

For most SMEs, an ATS pays for itself quickly. 


9 – Improve recruitment reporting

One of the major drivers for small businesses to start exploring recruitment software is the need for better reporting. 

(This was the major reason for Lucion Services’ Katie Cooper to look at recruitment tech, as she told Recruiting Brainfood’s Hung Lee in the second session of our four-part webinar series. Catch-up with the webinar here.)

If your CEO is starting to have more questions around your process and wanting info about, say, time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, candidate sources, and so on, that’ll be almost impossible to provide without an ATS.

An ATS makes recruitment reporting super simple, providing instant reports into every element of your recruitment. So you can improve, optimise, and prove your value to the business.


10 – Increase retention and accelerate ramp-up 

Improving onboarding is one of the highest-impact things small business recruiters can do to ensure hires work out brilliantly long-term. And in truth, onboarding can be SMEs’ superpower: a great way to differentiate from larger businesses that are by necessity more impersonal. 

But onboarding so often falls by the wayside. Without dedicated tech, it’s very unlikely you’ve got the bandwidth for yet another manual, back-and-forth type task. Especially one that likely falls outside your main recruitment KPIs. 

An ATS with built-in onboarding can make it super simple to deliver a best-practice onboarding process for all your new hires. In turn, this improves early retention and accelerates new hires’ ramp-up — so they add the value you hired them for, faster. 


11– Boost your internal value and credibility

The numerous benefits of an ATS system add up to one huge overarching positive: you’ll boost your value to, and credibility within, the business. The right applicant tracking system benefits you, candidates, managers, and the organisation. It’s a springboard for fairer, faster, better recruitment for everyone. 

Ultimately, it’s extremely hard to fulfil your full potential and deliver the maximum value to the business without the tools to support you. That’s what an ATS does — frees your people skills, so you can do what you’re great at. 

Tribepad Gro is ready-built, ready-to-go recruitment software for growing teams. Why use an ATS? Get your free recruitment diagnostic session with Tribepad consultants Dan and Hayley to learn how an ATS can help you take your recruitment to the next level. 

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