If you’ve recently gone paperless in your HR Department, or are at least considering the move to a web-based environment for recruiting, then one of the decisions on your radar will probably be determining which employees in your company should have access to which sections of information in your applicant tracking software portal. Depending on what type of applicant tracking system (ATS software) you are using at your organization, you will likely have at least a handful of options for restricting user access so that HR staff members have Administrator access compared to the more restricted level of access designated for your recruiters and/or hiring managers.
Of course your decision will be impacted by the culture of your organization; as well as, the tech savviness of your hiring managers and the level of hiring assistance offered to them by your Human Resources Department. In this blog, we’ll review some of the differences in user permission options you’ll find common across ATS applications.
Visibility To ATS User Permission Management
First and foremost, you can generally expect that only the highest level of Administrators in your portal will be granted access to create new users and/or edit existing user credentials. This includes the action of resetting passwords for other users, as necessary. Within user management areas of an application, it is common to have the ability to optionally toggle on or off visibility to other sub-features for certain users. As a result, hiring managers with restricted access cannot covertly give themselves Administrative access…and rightfully so!
On the other hand, if you have some recruiters that will be the primary users of the system and will regularly need access to make updates to status codes on the fly and change content on the careers site, then you may opt to give them Administrative access.
Adjusting Universal Settings Across Your Applicant Tracking System
While your recruiting software vendor should do a great deal of the customization and implementation on your behalf when you first install a new system for your organization, you will still inevitably need to add some additional settings as you use the tool moving forward. Most times, revisions to settings will be handled by Administrator users; whereas, other more restricted users will need to make requests to their Administrators for adjustments.
Here are some examples of such settings:
- Making changes to the content on your external branded careers portal
- Adding new applicant status, or disposition, codes
- Creating additional ad source labels for new external job board postings
- Incorporating new job categories or classifications
Posting Job Listings & Viewing Job Description Information
Some companies may be comfortable with giving manager-level users permission to upload job descriptions and post them to external job boards on behalf of the organization. Or at the very least, they may prefer that hiring managers and recruiters be allowed to initiate job requisition requests so that various layers of management may approve a new opening before it is officially posted. However, other organizations will only be comfortable with HR representatives having access to job listing information and controls. When customizing your user logins for various individuals, be sure and consider job listing control in the process.
Documentation On Applicant Records
Most systems will permit a manager-level user to make notations on an applicant record to record information about interview responses, candidate correspondence, and other pertinent feedback. This feature may be able to be toggled on or off on an individual user basis so that you can trust only managers that have been trained thoroughly in the interviewing process to have access to this ability.
Ask your vendor whether or not external files can be uploaded and attached to applicant records by various users, as well.
Lastly, and especially if you have a large number of users in your system, take advantage of any opportunities your software may allow for restricting certain user-added notes to being visible only to Administrator-level users. On the applicant side, if some employment application questions should only be screened by Administrators, for example those related to criminal conviction history, then configure your system to only display those answers to Admin users.
Access to Reporting Features
Visibility to reports has the potential to vary widely from one ATS platform to the next. Check with your provider to see which user levels will be able to access any standard reports built into the system; as well as, whether or not ad hoc reporting functionality exists. If so, the latter will likely be available only to Administrators (i.e. no recruiter access) since it would potentially involve the ability to create reports that include confidential information voluntarily disclosed by applicants about race and gender.
Applicant Screening & Administration
With regards to viewing applicant records within your ATS software, different levels of users may be able to execute different types of applicant management functions. For example, while an Administrator may be able to manually add applicants to consideration for a position or copy an existing applicant to another position in a different department, hiring managers may not be able to adjust the jobs for which an individual is being considered.
Similarly, an Administrator would naturally be able to see all jobs to which an applicant has applied across all departments; whereas, a hiring manager over a specific department wouldn’t necessarily be able to know about others jobs in the company being considered by the applicant. But, this is a great example of how your Administrator may toggle this optional ability on for just specific restricted users…dependent on the unique needs of your organization.
It is in your best interest to know your system’s user permission capabilities, and your applicant tracking vendor should be happy to explain this information to you, and then help you to consider the available features relative to the needs of your business. Then, you can come up with the ideal mix of accessibility to settings and applicant records for your team.