2 Ideas to Get an Applicant Tracking System Approved by Your Boss

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.

If you’d like to learn more about our HireCentric applicant tracking system, please visit our resources page or contact us today. –

Image credit: Watch your Head by Kenny Louie (contact)

Best Applicant Tracking System for Small Business

Not too long ago, the idea of a small business using an applicant tracking system (ATS) was unrealistic. Most solutions were geared to larger companies and were too expensive and complicated for smaller and medium-sized organizations. Thankfully, times have changed and you have options for finding the best applicant tracking system for small business.

Now, even very small employers are seeing advantages to using an ATS. At the same time, the list of providers offering this type of software has expanded dramatically. While there are a number of very good options from which to choose, there is arguably a larger number of “bare bones” offerings that may not help an organization as expected. To that end, below are some things to consider to make sure you can select the best recruiting software for your small business:

  • Will you want/need to push to external job boards — i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, colleges, Department of Workforce Development, etc.?
  • Can the solution reinforce your web branding?
  • How user-friendly is the process for your applicants?
  • Is there flexibility to allow for both applications and/or resumes to be gathered from applicants?
  • Is there additional cost for multiple users in or out of HR (hiring managers, executives, etc.)?
  • Are there limits to the number of jobs that may be posted at a single time or how many applicants are allowed to be kept within the system?
  • Will the vendor help you get the ATS configured and ready for live use?
  • How is training done?
  • Is live support available when you have questions?
  • What is your budget for something like this?

Giving thought to some of these factors will help you better define your particular needs and more readily identify a short list of providers who can meet those needs.

To learn more about ExactHire applicant tracking system for small business, please visit our resources section or contact us.

SMB Pre-Employment Screening Guide Ebook

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Employee Referrals – Use Technology to Help Track and Reward

There’s a lot of talk in our market these days about where recruiting is headed. Many experts feel that we are on the cusp of some significant changes in the next few years. Less reliance on traditional job boards, heavier use of social media and allowing applicants to leverage mobile technology are some of the more consistent topics of change that I see on a regular basis.

Whether you see these trends affecting your organization or not, there is a recruiting strategy that is worth considering — employee referrals. This is nothing new. In fact, employers and their staff members responsible for hiring have been trying to find ways to consistently tap this market for years.

Employee Referral Program Benefits

There are several benefits to using employee referrals for sourcing applicants:

  • Better applicants — good people tend to know and refer other good people
  • Passive applicants — this approach reaches people who may not yet be actively looking for work and would never see your opening on your career site or a job board
  • Lower cost — even if you pay employees for referrals, it is widely acknowledged that this cost is far lower than the typical costs born through standard recruiting techniques
  • Better potential for cultural fit — your current employees understand your organization’s culture and are in the best position to help answer questions about the organization from those applicants they refer

Here’s more good news…technological advances are continuing to help make this employee referral process better for both employers and their employees. Social media on its own allows employees to make others in their networks aware of job openings in their organization. However, some of the more progressive applicant tracking software (ATS) tools in the market make this even easier for employees. Employees may click and share openings through their social channels without any copying/pasting. This makes the overall program more sustainable and successful.

To learn more about social referral tools available within HireCentric ATS, please schedule a live demo with ExactHire.

Hiring Solutions and Technology for Auto Dealers

With the automotive industry rebound in recent years, we’ve had the opportunity to customize our applicant tracking system technology for auto dealers around the country. In doing so, it dawned on me that there are some common reasons many of these automotive groups are looking for help with their hiring process:

  1. Turnover — With the improved economy, turnover figures are trending back to pre-recession levels. Salespeople, automotive techs and customer service representatives are the main positions where dealers experience turnover.
  2. Demographics — A high percentage of the applicant pool for auto dealers are job seekers who are very tech savvy. These applicants are used to doing things online and expect potential employers to follow suit.
  3. Limited resources — Managers in most dealerships are busier than ever with their day-to-day jobs. This means they don’t have a lot of excess time to review resumes and try to decide which applicants are qualified for their openings. These managers are looking for ways to automate as much as possible.
  4. Cost — Dealers are seeing margins squeezed like everyone else. This means they want technology solutions with low upfront costs, low ongoing costs, and no long-term contracts.

While not unique to auto dealers, these core reasons certainly seem to resonate in this industry. In particular, these issues are magnified for those dealers who happen to have multiple locations — a more common occurrence than years ago.

Popular Applicant Tracking Features for Car Dealers

Below are some of the features to which our clients have gravitated when using our HireCentric applicant tracking software (ATS):

  • Branded career portal to match the rest of your corporate web presence
  • Flexible employment application setup to gather what’s important to a particular dealer’s needs — this includes the ability to break the application into more than one step, if desired
  • See multiple applications for an individual tied to a central applicant profile — especially helpful for “serial” applicants
  • Track all notes, email correspondence and internal feedback for each applicant in a single database
  • Reach out to previous good applicants when positions open up unexpectedly
  • Communicate with groups of applicants simultaneously to keep them informed of progress in filling a position — this protects your brand for applicants who may also be existing or potential customers
  • Easily see what the “pipeline” looks like for any given position or group of positions

Using applicant tracking software isn’t right for every automotive dealer. However, if any of the features mentioned above resonate as potential options for your organization (automotive industry or not), please contact ExactHire to discuss whether this type of solution is functionally and economically viable for your group.

Use our pricing calculator for HireCentric ATS.

Image credit: Honest John’s Used Car Lot, Los Angeles CA, 1947 by Alden Jewell (contact)

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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