ATS-Best Practices for Employers and Hiring Managers

””We are currently operating in an employer’s market. There are more well-qualified applicants applying for positions than there are great paying positions available. As a human resources professional, that means you have your pick of who you want to choose to fill any given position! On the down side, that means you may have to sort through a lot of applications and resumes in order to find candidates that fill your needs.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are very useful tools for wading through the pool of candidates, but it is important to follow a few guidelines in order to prevent them from filtering out good candidates.

Using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) when creating a job posting in these systems is one effective way to filter through applicants.

• Be Specific. Don’t just copy the job description. They are usually general. If this is a new position and you have access to the performance requirements, try to use this is a guide to list the “minimum” requirements you would like an applicant to have when applying for this position. If this is not a new position, add standards you’d like to focus on for the position. Describe the ideal person you are looking for – The perfect candidate.

• Make the requirements Measurable. Include the amount of experience, education and skills, and everything else are you looking for. What is required? What is preferred?

• Make the job posting Attainable. Ensure candidates have all the necessary details, including deadlines for applying, email addresses, phone numbers, URLs of websites, Facebook pages or LinkedIn profiles for more info, etc.

• The information in the posting should be Relevant. Don’t over-complicate it by using jargon that people won’t understand, fonts that people can’t read or graphics that detract the reader from the main message. Lay the information out in a logical and understandable fashion.

• Be Timely. Follow a reasonable timeline and have clearly defined steps. Scheduling interviews can be one of the toughest aspects of hiring because it requires coordinating schedules for busy people. Rather than making your Human Resource staff play phone tag with candidates, use online resources to schedule interviews. Some applicant tracking systems, for example, include modules that automate interview scheduling. Recruiters simply identify potential interview times, and the system takes care of communicating with applicants and confirming time slots.

Follow up with applicants in a timely manner. When candidates are frequently updated about the status of their applications, they are more likely to view an organization favorably. Although staying in touch with applicants is certainly a best practice, staying on top of numerous positions and emailing people could become a full-time job. A better solution is using an applicant tracking system that includes both automatic confirmation emails and applicant messaging.

If you play it SMART, your ATS can make finding the ideal candidate(s) so much simpler. Happy hunting!

Carolyn Kennard is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. Before embarking on a career in workforce development, Carolyn achieved success in marketing and training with a major oil company. Carolyn holds a B.A. degree from Virginia State University and an M.A. degree from Prairie View A&M University.



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