5 Tips for Getting Hiring Managers Excited About Using An Applicant Tracking System

Sometimes getting hiring managers to adopt new technology can be like pulling teeth. And it may not even be that your colleagues don’t like change or tech (though honestly sometimes that is a culprit too), but they are likely strapped for time, or may have had a bad experience with a software rollout in the past. If you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle to get your co-workers better engaged with your applicant tracking software (ATS software) solution, then consider the following discussion points for persuading hiring managers that their cooperation is a win-win for everyone when it comes to improving the hiring process and attracting top talent.

Access the ATS from anywhere – important for the jetsetters!

Prior to implementing an ATS, your managers may have spent hours sifting through resumes in their email inbox…and those might have only have been the ones that HR had already screened and forwarded to them. However, with an applicant tracking system hiring managers can directly access the portal’s applicant pool for their respective positions from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. And if any of your managers are road warriors, then that should be a win-win. Whew…no more complaints from hiring managers that HR never sends them any applicants!

And, by using automated scoring and disqualification filters on certain application questions, HR staff can rest assured that hiring managers can easily view only the applicants that have met basic qualifications. Some managers will jump at the chance to reduce clutter in their email by logging in to view applicants in the hiring portal. However, for those that still prefer to receive email messages, the HireCentric ATS is flexible enough to email only certain managers the application notifications for candidates that have met minimum requirements.

Give your hiring managers a big KISS – keep it simple & streamlined

Even though these managers are involved in the hiring process, HR-related tasks and recruiting are certainly not their full time gigs. Remember that aspect when customizing their level of access to the applicant tracking portal. Choose a hiring solution that allows you enough variety in user permission levels to accommodate the unique needs of your workforce. For example, some managers may wish to post positions, email applicants and view records within the system. Whereas others, may only wish to receive an email with a link to view an applicant’s record without a requirement to remember a password to login to a system. Make sure your system allows for both scenarios.

In my experience, most organizations do not wish or need to give hiring managers access to all aspects of an ATS. Restricting some access for the managers’ login credentials will make their user experience more efficient. It should be clear to them how to quickly say “yay” or “nay” for applicants, and sensitive information such as self-reported race/ethnicity info and/or information on criminal history should be hidden from hiring manager access.

Train managers on basics right before they start using the ATS – and prizes don’t hurt!

Don’t make managers sit in on the same training session that super system administrators will attend. That’s the quickest way to see eyes glaze over, as not all of the topics covered in the training will be relevant to hiring managers. Instead, keep the manager-specific training session short and ask your provider to share support documentation geared toward manager-level users of the system, too.

Perhaps most importantly, strongly encourage hiring managers to begin to use the system very close to the time of training. The best way to ensure retention is to put into practice the new knowledge and concepts gained right away – before they are forgotten. You might even have the managers submit a sample employment application so that they may experience what their prospective employees will undergo, as well as see their own finished applicant record on the administrative side of the system.

IDEA: Run a contest to encourage adoption among managers by rewarding the most creative application submission in terms of the question answers’ relevancy to and qualification for a test job opening.

Satisfy their “show me the money” screams – results speak volumes

Make a compelling argument for how the use an applicant tracking system will help to improve your organization’s bottom line by reducing turnover, improving quality of talent, and freeing up managers’ time spent on manual screening and applicant note-taking methods so that more strategic tasks can be addressed. Hopefully this plea won’t result in you having to boisterously shout across the office, but rather conducting a simple review of time-to-fill and time-to-hire metrics collected, showing a reduction in time spent on the hiring process since the inception of using the ATS.

Also, considering the availability of features like scoring and disqualification filters, assessments that can be embedded into the ATS, and options to improve applicant conversion numbers, hiring managers should be jazzed about: 1) the chance to improve the quality of applicants that make it to later stages of the selection process; and, 2) the more robust and objective information they will have about applicants going into an interview.

Pinpoint your early adopters and let them play around!

The extent of the struggle you may have with bringing your hiring managers around to the idea of using an ATS will probably depend on your industry, and perhap the demographic of your staff. However, in any group…there are usually a few peeps that like to have the latest gadgets and shiny objects. Find those people in your group and invite them to be your guinea pigs (or in tech speak, your “beta test”). They will likely jump at the chance to be a part of the elite testing group, and at the same time, you’ll have the benefit of their candid feedback on how the tool can be best streamlined for the remaining hiring managers’ use. Knowing their suggestions are incorporated into optimizing the system for your own organization will engage them to positively spread the word about the software and convince other managers to hop on board the productivity wagon.

ExactHire can work with your organization to determine just the right balance between simplicity of use and richness of features for your business and staff. For more information, visit our resources section or contact us today.

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