The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Maximise your Recruitment Efforts with Smart, Easy to Use Technology


Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are nothing new. They have been around since the mid to late 1990s and whilst the principle behind them has remained relatively unchanged during the intervening period, the technology behind these systems and the way in which people interact online has. But with so many ATS service providers on the market, each with varying degrees of technical know-how associated with them, how do you know which one is right for you or if you even need an ATS at all?

The question of whether your organisation needs an ATS is a simple one to answer. Simply put, if your current hiring system relies on tools such as Excel spreadsheets, Outlook or any other manually coordinated approach, then you should consider adopting an ATS regardless of whether you are an ad hoc or a high volume recruiter.

Tracking CV’s and covering letters may sound an easy to manage process when you are planning your recruitment activity but it becomes unsustainable when your recruitment intensifies, and this is where an ATS comes into its own.

These systems have one key objective: to provide in-house human resource professionals with a fully automated system which simplifies the entire recruitment process; thereby, saving time and reducing costs. According to some industry observers, the overall cost savings achieved by implementing an ATS could be as high as 75%.

The not-so simple question to address, however, is how do you choose the ATS that best meets your precise recruitment needs?

It is estimated that round 9 in 10 in-house recruiters consider their existing ATS to be too complicated or restrictive, compounded by the complexities now associated with the rapid growth of so-called ‘complimentary’ technologies, such as mobile and social media. The challenge for ATS providers, therefore, is how to simplify their offering without compromising on their superior functionality and the resulting business benefits they provide for in-house recruiters.

Essentially, your ATS is designed to automate a wide range of essential tasks. These typically range from collating applications electronically, asking screening questions and eliminating unqualified candidates from the application process to ‘parsing’ CV’s based on your chosen keywords, building your talent pool of applicants who may be a good fit for a future position, and enabling you to coordinate schedules between the hiring manager and the candidate through a single system. Sounds simple, right? Actually it is, with the right software.

As an in-house recruiter, having an ATS which seamlessly integrates with your existing human resource information system is critical to the recruitment process. This not only reduces the time to hire but also the cost per hire, too. Take international professional services consultancy, Rhead Group, as an example.

In 2012, Rhead Group’s new resourcing manager was charged with the responsibility of implementing a direct recruitment model (Click here to read the full case study). With an annual turnover of £75m, Rhead’s existing workforce is expected to almost double by the end of 2014 and the new in-house resourcing team needed to implement an ATS solution that would meet a number of exact requirements:

– to ensure that the ATS could support a direct recruiting approach

– to effectively manage high levels of applications

– to keep costs down

– to continue to attract the best talent – all in a timely manner

Having implemented’s web based free recruitment software; Rhead now recruits some 70% of all new roles directly whereas beforehand 100% of positions were filled using external agencies, resulting in significant cost savings for the business.

Of course, it is not just about the cost – the ability to incorporate both social media and mobile technology into the ATS functionality is increasingly important.

Social recruiting

Hiring managers have historically used social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to increase their network and their employer brand, but now the potential of these sites as a key tool to attract not only active but also passive job seekers too, is finally being realised.

Indeed, a recent poll found that 45% of HR decision makers are currently using social media tools in recruitment, with a further 16% saying they plan to do so in the near future. And another survey suggested that 73% of employers currently use online social networks or social media to support their recruiting efforts – social recruiting is certainly on the rise.

As such, software providers such as have developed systems that integrate with your existing social media platforms to enable you to share your vacancies across your social networks of choice, allow current employees to directly refer candidates, and let candidates apply directly using their LinkedIn account, for example.

Mobile recruiting

Mobile recruiting, much like social media, is not going away. It’s uptake within the recruitment community may have been sluggish in comparison to that of social media, but its impact and influence on how we recruit is now being felt in a big way.

In early 2013, Google reported that 1 in 5 of all jobs searches are carried out on a mobile device, with some leading UK job boards stating that as many as 30% of all their traffic comes from mobile devices. Realistically, not all organisations need to develop an App to manage job applications via mobile devices; after all candidates won’t download an App for every company they apply to work for. But it is important to ensure that mobile-friendly versions of online job portals are developed and that the ATS being implemented takes this into consideration. And with 86% of jobseekers stating that they would use their phone to apply for a job, having the right software to effectively manage this demand is imperative.

Human resources departments have been stretched to capacity in recent years – charged with ensuring that their organisations minimise their recruitment overheads and streamline all existing processes without negatively affecting their candidate attraction efforts or compromising on quality. It’s a challenge that continues for many, but by implementing the right ATS to meet their exact requirements, employers can save time and reduce the expense of hiring new employees using external agencies.