It’s fairly common that I encounter potential new clients that are using an existing applicant tracking software tool. The reasons these folks are considering a change range from feature/functionality issues to service response times to price. What I find interesting, however, is that there’s almost always a central underlying reason they’re not happy with their current solution. That reason usually ties in with how the tool was implemented.
Since we deal almost exclusively in the SMB space, there usually aren’t enough resources for a client to have an implementation specialist, let alone an implementation team, to take on this type of task. Given that, below are 3 of the more common things I see that tend to get things off on the wrong foot.
1 – Failing to have a plan
This doesn’t have to be any type of elaborate or formal document. On the contrary, this can be a simple spreadsheet or piece of paper. The key is to make sure the more important things are listed, along with who is going to take care of them and when they should be done. If your vendor doesn’t provide you with some type of implementation plan, you can do this yourself. Here are just a few things to think about…
- How will existing job descriptions be loaded to the ATS?
- What stages or statuses do you plan to use for applicants?
- What information will be included in the online employment application (if used)?
- What access should different hiring managers need?
This is far from comprehensive, but I think you get the idea. Taking thirty minutes on the front end to put this down in some format should help save a lot of headaches going forward.
2 – Timing for training
I’m surprised at how often groups share with me that they were trained before their ATS was significantly built-out and ready for live use. Then, by the time they finished up the various needed tasks to get the site ready, much of what was covered in training was forgotten. Most ATS providers will have a knowledge base with information and videos to help supplement training, but try to avoid scheduling training any earlier than needed in the ATS setup process. Instead, first work with your vendor partner to make sure all the core things are in place for the tool to work appropriately. Then have training provided so that there is very little time for the knowledge provided to fade before being put to use.
3 – Adoption
This is the natural last step to implementation. Getting others in the organization to use the tool quickly is critical. Allowing some hiring managers to continue to get their resumes via email because they’re “too busy” for training is an obvious occasion for issues. Likewise, make sure there is a clear link to the new applicant tracking site from your existing web page. Adoption by your applicants is equally important. Since most ATS solutions are fairly easy to navigate for both applicants and internal users, the thought of change is almost always far worse than the reality. Be firm in how a solution like this is rolled out internally to make sure the organization can benefit quickly and see a positive ROI.
Putting applicant tracking software in place for most small and midsize companies shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you’ve selected the right partner, they likely will guide you through much of this without any prompting from your end. However, being diligent and sticking to your plan will help you get the most benefit from your ATS in the shortest period of time possible.