How to Use an Applicant Tracking System

Of all the decisions you make about your business, whom you hire may be the most critical. The people in your organization produce your product, provide service, and interact with your clients and the public. Your company’s reputation and, ultimately, its success depend on your employees.

So how can you find the right employees for your organization?

Fortunately, you can cast a wide net in the digital age. Thousands of job boards and networks offer you access to millions of job seekers. Unfortunately, when you post that job ad, you get slammed with too many applicants. Many of those applicants turnout to be unqualified candidates. You’re not exactly sure where your ideal candidate is hanging out in the digital world.

But you know the perfect candidate is in the pile somewhere. How can you find them? And how can you improve your hiring process to weed out poor candidates and attract higher quality applicants in the future?

As with every other business decision, making the right choice often depends on working with the best data. An applicant tracking system offers you easy access to hiring data and screening tools that help you avoid interviewing candidates who are a poor fit.

HRIS 101: Using An Applicant Tracking System

A human resources information system (HRIS) does more than manage your applicant and employee information. The right software will help you easily manage your hiring process from start to finish.

From keeping track of job ads for all of your open positions across multiple online platforms to finding the star candidate hidden in the heap of unremarkable resumes, an ATS will save you time.

An HRIS applicant tracking system can help you find the best candidates out of the hundreds of applications you receive. An ATS can scan resumes for the skills and experience you’re looking for. You’ll see your best candidates first.

With everything on your plate, you may be thinking you don’t have time to learn how to use an applicant tracking system. In fact, the right applicant tracking software is easy to learn and will save you time as soon as your first log-in. Applicant tracking systems often come with templates to get you started quickly.

Free Applicant Tracking System Implementation Template

If you’ve ever implemented new software, you know there’s a lot that can go wrong. However, a good provider will know how to implement an ATS without disrupting your business. This starts by choosing a provider that takes the time to understand your current hiring processes.

With the provider understanding your hiring process, your hiring team is more likely to be on board with implementation. Then, your provider can show your team how the software can make your HR processes more efficient. A good HR software provider should also encourage your hiring team to provide feedback on their suggestions.

Choosing a vendor that understands your hiring process and can provide suggestions to improve your HR processes is a good start. But you also need to ensure that the software is designed to help your team realize efficiencies right away.

The implementation of an applicant tracking system can be stressful if it doesn’t come with free templates–or default configurations. Without well-designed templates, your team will spend too much time creating fields and reports instead of using the software to manage applicant data. But be careful. There is no “one-size-fits-all” ATS, so look for a provider that will help you customize the system to fit your unique hiring needs.

Applicant Tracking Software that comes with free templates, yet has plenty of options for customization, is the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to see results quickly. And as you get to know the software, you can customize it to suit your needs.

Finally, make sure your provider will continue to work with your team to ensure success beyond the initial ATS implementation. Installing your new ATS and testing it to work out the kinks is only the first step. Your new software won’t do any good if your hiring manager is still clinging to spreadsheets and a filing system that doesn’t make sense to anyone but him.

Applicant Tracking System Training

The best practices for implementing applicant tracking software will include training for key stakeholders. It’s important that the company you choose provides applicant tracking system training and support.

The training should be focused on each role within the hiring team. For example, training your HR administrator is going to be a little different than training you hiring manager.

An applicant tracking software’s ability to organize documentation is one of its most useful features. When you use an ATS, you get the benefits of a well-organized and digitized knowledge base to replace clunky Excel files and loose paper stuffed in manila file folders.

The basics of an applicant tracking system will funnel applicants through your hiring process so you can choose the best candidate. Over time, your software will collect more data. You’ll be able to use this data to discover the best strategies for attracting quality applicants.

You’ll be able to create custom reports to help you know everything from the most effective screening tools to which job boards netted poor quality candidates. For example, you’ll be able to see performance statistics for all the job sites you’ve used on one screen. You’ll know which online platform works best for your industry and area.

Recruitment Tracker Checklist

You can use your new ATS as a recruiter tracker and so much more. Applicant tracking software will give you the power to manage and organize your entire hiring process.

ExactHire HR software allows you to create users with differing security levels associated with their applicant tracking system login. Your administrative department can enter data and run reports, while your hiring team uses a robust search engine to find the best applicants.

When you use ExactHire Applicant Tracking Software, you’ll be able post your job ad to multiple job boards with a single click. You’ll also be able to track applicant activity for all those online platforms side-by-side, on one screen.

Sort candidates using built-in status codes or create your own. Store applicant data to create a job pool for future openings. You can even flag low quality applicants to prevent them from being considered for future positions.

Finally, robust reporting features are the secret for how to use recruitment software to make hiring more successful and efficient. In addition to easy-to-use, built-in compliance reporting, ExactHire software also features source reporting. Using this feature, you can discover the hiring strategies that lead to successful, long-term employees.


Your company’s future depends on the people you hire. Your employees play a part in everything from implementing your business strategy to working with your customers. In short, your company won’t be successful if your hiring methods fail to find good people. An applicant tracking system will give you the tools to control your hiring process and uncover the strategies that lead to great, long-term employees.


What Are Some Examples of Recruitment Strategies

Organizations need to secure the best possible talent in order to be competitive. Companies that employ strategic recruitment and selection methods are better able to attract and secure top talent. Recruitment strategies involve positive employer branding, marketing directed by recruitment, and the ability to sell positions to high performing talent.

Strategic Recruitment

Strategic recruitment can and should be tailored to the organization but there is a basic outline of stages in the recruitment and selection process. The first phase is the preparation stage. It includes activities such as identifying which positions need to be filled, carrying out the job analysis, writing a job description, and establishing candidate specifications.

Preparing for your ideal candidate is a crucial part of the recruitment and selection process. An organization should develop a document outlining the plan, such as a strategic recruitment and selection pdf, which lists all of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits that the ideal candidate will have. Without laying the groundwork it will be difficult if not impossible to get the right candidates to apply.

In the second stage of the recruitment and selection process the organization needs to source those ideal candidates and get them to apply. Methods of recruitment and selection in this phase include advertising the job through traditional approaches such as the use of recruitment agencies, recruiting internally, talent searches, as well as print and web advertising. In most cases however, an organization would be wise to employ some more creative recruitment methods as well.

We all know how important branding is but it’s something we usually associate with the organization and customer experience. Did you know that branding is also an effective recruitment and selection strategy example? Employers should consider how their brand appears to potential employees and work on their employment brand in order to promote themselves as a good place to work.

These days just about all organizations have an online presence and most utilize social media platforms to engage with customers and launch marketing campaigns. Social media is a great tool to proactively source candidates and a good strategy in nurturing a passive applicant pool. Someone who is not actively looking for a job, might see a more lucrative opportunity and consider leaving their employer.

Sometimes the best candidates are closer than they seem. Employers should consider developing targeted employee referral programs to fill vacancies. Successful employees are often a good source of people similar to themselves and most would hesitate to bring in people with a poor work ethic or attitude to their place of business. A good referral program should focus on the best employees and offer the kind of rewards these individuals might want.

Selection Process

The final stage of the recruitment and selection processes is the converting of candidates to employees. The selection process begins with the screening of applicants to determine which meet the candidate specifications laid out in the first stage. Here the organization will need to analyze some of the documents used in selection and recruitment activities such as job descriptions and person specifications to match them with candidate application forms and CVs.

An organization can have a large number of applicants and it is best to use applicant tracking software and employee assessments to screen applicants quickly. It is important to maintain a fast response time throughout the recruitment process and it is possibly even more vital during the selection process. Nothing is worse than losing those best applicants to a competitor in the final stage after the organization has invested all that time and effort into finding them.

The most suitable candidates can be invited to begin the interview process. Preliminary interviews can easily be accomplished with the use of asynchronous video interviewing. This would allow a larger number of applicants the opportunity to outline their skills and abilities as well as provide the opportunity to give candidates more information about the job and company.

The final round of interviews is usually conducted with the hiring manager. This part usually requires documents needed for the selection process such as structured interview questions and benefits information. Somewhere around this time reference checks should be conducted and then the best candidate can be selected.

The last of the documents used in the selection process is the offer letter that is presented to any candidates who will be offered a position. Once the candidate accepts the offer and is officially hired, the onboarding process can begin. Thus the recruitment and selection process is complete.

Recruitment Strategy Example

Is your organization in need of more strategy in its recruitment and selection process? This recruitment strategy plan example doesn’t encompass everything but it’s full of ideas that your business can start using today. Your organization can build on this recruitment strategy presentation to make it your own.

When looking at how to develop a recruitment strategy you need to start with your employer brand. Your organization should have a clear brand to prospective employees which reflects the mission, culture, and values of your business. Start by thinking why someone would want to work for your company, build on it, and incorporate it in your website, social media presence, and communications.

Consider college recruiting as part of your recruitment strategy plan to scout up and coming talent. Attend college career fairs and get featured on campus job boards. You can even volunteer to speak at college events to generate interest and introduce your employer brand.

Create a well polished job listing which reflects your organization. The job post is a large part of your recruitment strategy and should reflect your employer brand. As a recruitment strategy example consider that the tone of your job listing will give the reader a feel for what kind of candidate you are looking for.

Develop a social media campaign and target the kind of people that are most likely to be the best candidates. Post job listings on your most active social media platforms, engage with people, and encourage the sharing of your content. Social media is a great place to begin preboarding. Bridge the gap between recruiting and onboarding more seamlessly and improve employee retention by giving people a clear idea of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Your social media job marketing campaign can target specific types of people but for employees with specific skills it’s worth exploring niche job boards. Look for industry or job specific websites that match your staffing needs. You can also explore professional organizations and post your job listings with them.

Often the most skilled candidates are already working and not actively searching for a job but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take a new position if it was offered. Look for passive candidates and introduce them to your organization and employer brand. You might be in a position to offer them that next career step they’ve been hoping for.

Now that we’ve explored ways to market your organization and get your job listings out to potential candidates, it’s time to talk about what you’re going to do with all those job applications that are going to come flooding in. Invest in an applicant tracking system to help sort through your candidates and convert them to employees. In fact, a good system can help you at all stages of your recruitment strategy and leverage artificial intelligence to find, attract, and connect with candidates.

Now that you’ve narrowed down the field and have identified the best candidates, it’s time to conduct some awesome interviews. Remember that the interview is a two way street. You are interviewing candidates for the position and they are interviewing you for a good fit. Develop a recruitment strategy presentation that will answer their questions and help them feel good about  the idea of working for you.

Out of the Box Recruiting Strategies

Organizations need to employ some out of the box recruiting strategies to make the most of what’s available to them and have a competitive advantage. Recruitment professionals know that putting an ad in the paper and waiting for the calls to roll in isn’t an option anymore. Employees know that businesses need them just as much as they need a job. Organizations must compete with one another for the best talent.

Recruiting strategies for human resources are constantly evolving. Some of the most popular recruitment strategies of 2019 as well as the recruitment strategies of 2020 have brought about some out of the box thinking that’s worth incorporating into your recruitment plan. Your competitors are likely doing so and you should too.

Bring out of the box thinking into your careers page and revamp it to be more attractive, user friendly, and in line with your employer brand. Get involved in trade shows and industry events to get eyes on your organization. Create a lucrative and ingenious employee referral program to leverage the talent you already have.

Evergreen jobs are those that your organization tends to need to fill most often. These job openings can be better filled with the use of strategies that differ from your main recruitment and selection strategy. Create a plan specifically designed for your evergreen jobs.

There are plenty more out of the box recruiting strategies that your organization could be utilizing. Develop a boomerang employee rehiring program. Don’t close the door on good talent just because it wandered out in search of greener pastures. Invite those employees back once they realize the grass isn’t greener on the other side; or, once their career interests and goals once again realign with your available development opportunities.

Consider whether a strategy of hiring more from within and making internal mobility a priority makes sense for your organization. After all, a lack of growth opportunities can cause the best talent to leave–while ample opportunity is attractive to potential job candidates. It’s smart from a financial perspective as well. Employees who earn more due to the raises and bonuses they’ve received over time can be moved to higher paying positions, and entry level jobs can be filled with candidates who are positioned to competitively start at the entry point of a job’s pay band.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to candidates that you didn’t hire the first time. Maybe the individual wasn’t quite suited to that position. Or perhaps there was someone else who overshadowed them–at the time or for that specific position. That doesn’t mean there is no place for silver medal candidates at your organization. If they made it to the final round the first time, there might be something there worth holding on to.

Innovative Recruitment Strategies

Currently some of the most innovative and effective recruitment strategies and practices are centering around the development of software solutions. Applicant tracking software will continue to become more important for organizations who are looking for a competitive edge. Automation and technology will certainly continue to drive innovative recruitment strategies.

People are working on the go more than ever. Employers can expect to have more mobile first communications with prospective candidates. Websites that are mobile friendly will continue to be an important consideration. Quick and easy features such as multi-job apply capabilities are going to appeal to a greater number of potential applicants.

Studies show that people reply to text messages much faster than emails. Perhaps that is why organizations are embracing text recruiting. Surely that’s one innovative recruitment strategy that we are sure to see more of as companies race to snag the best talent.

Recruitment and selection are perhaps some of the most important activities that an organization will undertake. Take time to develop a good strategy for your staffing needs. Everyone has a role in recruitment. Create a recruitment plan ppt that will clearly communicate your organizational recruitment and selection strategies as well as innovative ideas and get everyone on board.

Looking for Recruitment Strategy Ideas?

Check out this Guide to Managing Evergreen Jobs.

Guide to Managing Evergreen Jobs | ExactHire

Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

Release Notes: Interview Scheduling, Custom Tags, Job Previews and Maps Integration

Release Notes: Applicant Stages and Disqualification, Compliance Reporting and Application Template Updates

Why You Need Applicant Tracking Software that Integrates with Employee Assessments

In the Human Resources profession, what happens when you’re strapped for time, working in software silos and unclear about which fire to put out next? In my experience, work culture suffers. Those tasked with traditional HR responsibilities, including some smaller business owners, are all too often drowning in administrative drudgery instead of working on strategic workforce initiatives and championing culture.

It’s not that you don’t appreciate the critical role that employee assessments play in the hiring and succession planning processes, but it can be one more hurdle to overcome when assessment technology lives outside of your applicant tracking software (ATS). What if you could streamline your talent acquisition process with hiring software that seamlessly integrates with a proven, well-respected and validated assessment tool?

In this blog, we’ll focus on the The Predictive Index® (PI) assessment and discuss some scenarios in which you may consider an applicant tracking system that integrates with PI, specifically. I’ll guide you through how the integration works within our hiring platform, HireCentric ATS, and introduce you to our PI Partner, ADVISA. We work with ADVISA to combine our recruiting technology with their expertise in interpreting and using The Predictive Index® to automate and improve the hiring process.

Watch assessment integration webinar

Overcoming HR Obstacles

Whether you are an HR department of one or a relatively small team, like it or not the business of human resources is often accompanied by unexpected fires. Time is at a premium…which means you need to move candidates through the hiring process efficiently.

In the age of “Big Data,” studying desirable behavioral traits for individuals in the same job category over time is essential to making sound hiring decisions in the future. Hopefully that isn’t news to you, but it is easier said than done when your candidates’ assessment results aren’t easily visible within your other recruiting tools. Plus, it’s even more challenging when business growth outpaces your organization’s prioritization of implementing smart technology.

If you’re like many of ExactHire’s clients, you wear many different hats in your human resources or recruiting role. While you’d love to have the time to scour every software application’s Knowledge Base to find answers, you don’t have time to do so. You need recruitment solutions that are easy to learn and intuitive.

Why Consider ATS Integration with The Predictive Index®?

As you likely already know, there are many applicant tracking solutions on the market, but what makes ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking software appealing is that it fully integrates with an employer’s Predictive Index® portal.

In our experience, PI assessment users are attracted to HireCentric ATS thanks to the ability to streamline the assessment invitation process from right within the ATS. Recruiters may invite job candidates to complete an assessment at the point of application or later in the process from the applicant record.

Employers are also pleased with the availability of integrated assessment launch options. HireCentric allows you to customize the delivery of the assessment invitation in two distinct ways:

  • Candidates may be invited to complete an assessment during the employment application process. HireCentric allows employers to have multiple application versions to accommodate different geographic locations, job levels and/or job categories. This level of customization offers employers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to crafting applications that are suited for different circumstances and built for conversion optimization.
  • Additionally, assessments may be reserved for use later in the hiring process. HireCentric allows employers to launch email invitations to invite select candidates to take the PI.

Employers also appreciate the simple way in which candidate assessment results are visible from within the HireCentric applicant tracking system. While a deeper dive is always an option from within the PI portal, it’s convenient to pull up a candidate’s PI placard directly from the applicant profile in HireCentric.

Assessment Integration Options and Considerations

Let’s dig into the options available to you for using HireCentric to invite candidates to take the PI. In this blog, I’m going to refer to the PI “Enterprise Plan,” as it is the only plan with open API access which allows candidate results to flow back into HireCentric ATS and be visible on the applicant record.

There are two primary options for inviting candidates to complete the PI. In the first method, you may include a link to begin the PI at the point of application. This occurs immediately after the candidate completes the HireCentric employment application questions, and it can be done with either a traditional one-step application or HireCentric’s popular two-step application option. This point of application approach is ideal if you want to assess all applicants as part of the initial screening process.

The other approach is to wait and manually invite only a portion of job candidates to complete the PI later in the hiring process.This may occur after the initial pre-screen, but before any in-person interviews. This option is worth consideration if you prefer to be selective and only ask final candidates to undergo the assessment process; or, if your employment application is already quite lengthy at the beginning of the hiring process.

The Predictive Index® only allows one assessment per user per company. Once an assessment is sent to an applicant in your ATS, then all job applications by that applicant will share the same assessment status and results.

How Does the HireCentric ATS and PI Assessment Integration Work?

Employment Application

Let’s take a closer look at what your applicants experience if you utilize the point of application option to present an invitation at the end of your employment application questions. In the following image, you see a glimpse of the mobile-responsive employment application that job applicants would complete just prior to starting the PI assessment.

Submit Application HireCentric | ExactHire

As you can see, questions are organized by category and navigable via the ribbon down the left side of the application. Question sections may be customized per organization and per job category within an organization. HireCentric applicant tracking software also has an option for a two-step application. Since this applicant has already completed all sections of the application, the next step is to select the “Submit” button.

Then, the applicant is presented with confirmation that the application questions are complete. The text at the top of the following image may be customized.

Start Predictive Index Assessment | HireCentric

The next step for the candidate is to start the assessment by clicking the button on the lower half of the screen. Once the applicant clicks the “Start” button, a new window will prompt the applicant to follow a link at the completion of an application.

PI Login Screen HireCentric | ExactHire

In the above image, you can see that the applicant’s name and email have “followed” him to The Predictive Index® site from the HireCentric ATS employment application. This means your candidate won’t have to re-enter this information to take the assessment–creating a more streamlined and positive application experience.

Manual Email Invitation

Now, take a look at the workflow for the other assessment invitation option. An Administrator or Manager-level user may easily manually send an assessment later in the hiring process by accessing an applicant’s record within HireCentric and clicking on the “Integrations” tab.

Integration Tab HireCentric Applicant Tracking

Within the Integrations tab, you may click on the view button, and then a new tab will open within the browser to reveal this dashboard, where you may manually launch the assessment email invitation to the candidate by clicking the “Send Assessment” button.

View Button HireCentric Applicant TrackingSend Assessment from HireCentric ATS

Then, you may view the status of an applicant’s assessment by visiting the PI dashboard within HireCentric. This is located in an applicant’s profile in the “Integrations” tab.
In this image, note that the assessment has already been sent (as in the case of a manual invitation), but is not yet complete.

Pending Assessment HireCentric ATS | ExactHire

Once a candidate’s results are in, you may view them in the PI Dashboard within HireCentric. PI Patterns and Placards can be viewed within the ATS using the buttons indicated in this screenshot. For a deeper dive, the “View Report” and “View Profile” links will open a new tab and take you to the login page of your own PI portal.

Result Buttons PI ExactHire ATS

What Do Assessment Results Look Like Within the ATS?

Here’s a look at how the PI patterns populate within the dashboard area within the HireCentric applicant tracking system when you select one of the buttons.

PI Results Within HireCentric ATS

At the bottom of each pattern, a link allows you to open a pattern in a new tab where you may print or save the pattern. HireCentric’s integration with PI saves you the time it would otherwise take to log into a separate portal to review assessment results. This is critical when you have many jobs open and are screening multiple candidates. Plus, HireCentric’s interface is easy to understand, so you can find the results for various applicants in a cinch.

PI Plan Considerations

There are two plan options available from The Predictive Index®–Enterprise and Professional. While both plans offer unlimited usage of the assessment tool, in order to take advantage of the full integration between PI and HireCentric, your organization needs to use the Enterprise plan. This more flexible option allows the candidate’s results to flow back into the applicant tracking software thanks to the open API access which supports full software integration.

However, if your organization currently uses the Professional Plan instead, you may still include a link to invite candidates to complete the PI on the thank you page of your employment application. However, the results will not be visible within HireCentric. Additionally, the invitation link would have to be present on every application on every job listing. Unlike the Enterprise plan option, you cannot turn it on or off per job listing or application version.

You may also still use the manual email invitation option on the Professional plan. But again, results will not flow back into the applicant tracking system. Results would have to be reviewed within the PI portal only.

A Return on Your Investment

Take advantage of the integration between HireCentric applicant tracking system and PI to mitigate pain inflamed by

  • narrow staff bandwidth,
  • software application silos, and
  • no time to learn complex user interfaces.

HireCentric streamlines the invitation process for multiple job candidates, allows information to flow to and from the PI portal, and is easy to learn and use. And, HireCentric ATS is priced just right for small- and medium-sized employers with access fees starting at $120/month. The exact pricing for your organization would be determined by your number of current employees and how many employees you hire each year.

Explore Assessments

To learn more about assessments available from The Predictive Index®, contact our partner, ADVISA; or, connect with ExactHire and we’ll be happy to make an introduction.

Watch Assessment Integration Webinar | ExactHire

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