I regularly interact with human resource leaders, staff and recruiting teams as part of my efforts to offer our services to their organizations. Most of these folks work for companies in the SMB (small- to mid-sized businesses) space, where the decision to implement new HR and hiring technology is ultimately made by the president or owner of the company.
Inevitably, while the HR and recruiting team members readily see the benefits to applicant tracking software (ATS), their boss needs to be “sold” on the idea and the spend for this to move forward. As with any other purchase, that person’s job is to make sure the dollars are well-spent and that there will be a good return for the company.
To that point, below are two common elements for making this type of pitch to your boss:
#1 – Put it in terms with which the boss can identify
Most owners or presidents likely haven’t had much exposure to applicant tracking, so it’s foreign to them. Try using an analogy to something more familiar — two examples are CRM (customer relationship management) software and accounting software. Either will work and it doesn’t really matter which brand of each you use. The point is to help the boss understand that automating the recruiting/hiring process improves the business the same way automating those tasks does. It’s unheard of today for an organization to sit down and run an ROI analysis on whether to use accounting software or a manual ledger — it’s a given that using software is the answer. Likewise, rarely will an organization be without some type of CRM for current and prospective clients — that data is too valuable to risk losing in manual files or spreadsheets. Going down this path helps your boss better understand the big-picture benefit of bringing automation to your hiring process.
#2 – Make a true business case
The tip above is an excellent way to frame a discussion about ATS in a way your boss can appreciate. Now that the level of understanding is better, it’s time to take the next step. Most owners (and often their key staff) are focused on a core group of metrics that help them gauge how well the company is performing. At the root of most metrics is a common factor — people. While there’s nothing wrong with showing how an ATS can improve operating efficiency for the HR & recruiting team, tying this purchase to existing metrics will almost always result in success.
If an ATS is doing its job, managing the entire applicant process becomes more efficient. In turn, this allows both HR/recruiting and hiring managers to focus more quickly (and easily) on better-qualified applicants. Ultimately, this improves overall hiring results by eliminating the laborious (and unproductive) aspects of the process and allowing more time for better decisions. Finally, bringing better people into the organization on a regular basis will improve other operating metrics.
There are certainly other things that may aid your efforts to put ATS technology in place. These are simply two of the more effective strategies I’ve seen used to help HR teams win approval for their requests.