How can an ATS help SMEs to hire better people, faster.


21 Feb
21Feb

The 10 ways an ATS will help SMEs 


  • Slash your administration

  • Beat the big corporates by hiring the best talent

  • Reduce your cost per hire

  • Speed up your cost per hire



So you’re working for an SME and the company is growing quickly. You’ve just gone through the planning meeting for next year and it looks like you’re going to have to staff up rapidly in the next 12 months. Gulp !!! Did you say 50 hires next year? Wowza, that Excel spreadsheet is sure going to take a battering……..and it’s just you doing the recruiting. Not a team of 4 recruiters per division…..it’s just little old you and your spreadsheet.


Fear not, help is at hand. In today’s HR tech led world there is no reason why hiring shouldn’t be a painless process, you just need to know what tools are available to you and what they can do. If you’re new to the world of ATSs then this e-book is here to guide you through what they can do and what you should look for in a quality system.


A what?


An ATS…...you know…….. an applicant tracking system. It’s the jargon used by the HR community to describe the category of HR Tech which is web based software that helps automate the hiring process.





  1. Say goodbye to your inbox being swamped with responses and it’s adios to that awful Excel spreadsheet


So here’s how you probably do it now. You advertise the job and invite applicants to email you their details. So far so bad. But hang on you’ve got 10 live jobs and you’re getting applications coming in left, right and centre. So you create a job folder on your desktop and manually move each applicant into the correct one but the admin torture hasn’t quite finished because then you need to manually update the dreaded excel spreadsheet. 



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Oh dear. This is getting painful just writing it. Admin, admin, admin…….the 3As of an SME without at ATS.


But fear not, help is at hand. You just need to get yourself a decent ATS. All of them, whether pricey or ‘budget’ will be able relieve this massive admin burden from you.


Here’s how it works. When you sign up to your ATS you’ll get a careers site (or you should do if it’s a proper piece of kit) powered by them. Typically you can put your logo on to it and probably link it back to your corporate site and maybe a bit more content about your company:


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Then all you do is direct applicants from wherever you are advertising your job back to this careers portal where the applicant can click on the job they are interested in and apply but…….and this is the biggie…….they don’t email you their application, they upload it into your ATS saving your inbox from a blizzard of emails.


You then just login and pick up the application neatly logged against the job the candidate applied to. Assuming it’s a decent ATS you’ll also then be able to give hiring managers restricted access so they can review only the applicants to their jobs:



The result?


Adios to all that painful administration !!!








2. Even more admin killer tools !!!


Every ATS worth the name will have lots of other admin killing tools to annihilate the admin that too often swamps SMEs who don’t have a team of 10 recruiters to share the load.


Here’s some typically painful admin generators:


  • having to read every resume…...good, not so good and ‘oh my god did they even read the job description’ bad.

  • manually rejecting every applicant.

  • arranging interviews.

  • chasing line managers for feedback.




So whatever ATS you choose, make use of all these admin killers. They’ll have bulk email rejection tools, the ability to add screening questions to auto reject unsuitable applicants, tools to arrange interviews so applicants can ‘self service’ and pick their own slots and dozens of other things that will reduce the admin you have to do by 70-80%.




The result?


You can stroll up to work 3 hours late and leave 4 hours early because you’re not chasing your tail doing admin all day. Ok so we don’t recommend you become part time all of a sudden but a good ATS will do all the drudgery for you letting you focus on the important stuff like sourcing the best people. Speaking of which…..




3. A good ATS will help you source more of the applicants you want…..for free


Most ATSs worth their salt can post your job to top job search engines like Indeed, Glassdoor and Simply Hired with just a couple of clicks. Typically they allow you to list your jobs free with applicants routed back to apply at your ATS powered careers portal. 



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You should find these sites are a great source of applicants for free but a decent ATS will allow you to boost responses with paid listings to get more visibility for your jobs. Again all this can be controlled through your ATS.


The result?


You’ll have to spend less with the big paid job boards because you’ll start hiring people free.

4. A good ATS will let you go after the Holy Grail of all recruiters…...the passive candidates !


The what?


The passive candidate…..you know, the ones who aren’t actively looking. Usually the best candidates aren’t the ones looking for a job. They don’t have to. They are looked after nicely by their current company or get headhunted so they never need to resort to trawling round the big paid boards.


Here’s some ways a good ATS can help you attract those passive candidates:


  • it will help you build a talent pool of applicants in a searchable format which you can dip into anytime. Any star applicants can be logged into your ATS’s talent pool for future sourcing.

  • it will help you exploit social media….you or anyone else can socialise your jobs across Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin with a couple of clicks


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  • it will massively improve your employee referral programme (you do have one…..right?). A good ATS will have a tool that allows you to create your own in house referral scheme, tracking all referrals from your employees so you know who to give that nice $500 bonus to. Referrals are by far the best source of applicants so a good in house referral scheme is an absolute must if you’re going to win the war for talent:


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 5. Oh no, tell me you’re not manually creating reports via Excel?


Ok, so you are. Never mind. Time to look at what an ATS can do for you.


You want stats? No problem a decent ATS should be able to tell you all of these:


  • where you’re best candidates are coming from

  • which staffing agencies are any good

  • cost per hire

  • time to hire


as well as snapshot reports on what’s happening right now:


  • vacancies open

  • number of applicants in the last x number of days

  • how many applicants currently at interview

  • how many applicants currently under offer

  • complete lists of all applicants




6. Stay compliant with high quality and easy to produce EEO/Diversity EEO/Diversity monitoring stats


As the title suggests, a lot of companies use application forms but without an ATS that information can’t be collated properly because the applicants have to fill it in and email it back to you.


Get your hands on a decent ATS and you can build your own application form with the data collated internally rather than emailed to you which means the ATS will then be able to produce detailed management information for you on the type of person applying to you by:


  • gender

  • ethnicity

  • veteran status

  • sex

  • disability

  • religious beliefs






7. Onboard new hires very, very easily


Once the candidate is hired that’s only half the battle won. Now you’ve got the nightmare scenario of having to onboard them. Yup, all those forms that need to be filled in, all those details you need from them, all those things that need to be done internally before your new hire joins……...you have to manually organise the lot. No wonder you’re over worked !!!


Do you really need to do all this work or can an ATS do it all for you? Well the good news is these days a decent ATS should have an onboarding module built it to do much of the work for you.


So instead of having to manually send out to your poor new hire multiple forms getting bank details, insurance info, next of kin, W-4, I9 and not forgetting all those documents you need them to review like your health and safety procedures, equality at work policy etc etc…….it’s often a long, long list but an ATS with an onboarding module will allow you to create an onboarding portal where the new hire simply logs in completes the info you need. All you will have to do is select what information you want them complete via a few ticks in your ATS and voila…...new hire portal is set up. 




8. We all hate them but sometimes you just have to work with a staffing agency


A decent ATS should have an agency portal. That’s the place you can go to create PSLs of your staffing agencies for your various different divisions/departments.





Alright so you might be thinking well I can do this already…..”it’s called email”. True but with an ATS you can bulk message your agencies rather than having to send out the job spec to multiple agencies individually, they will typically login to an agency portal and any applicants they submit will then be logged alongside all your other applicants and that’s really the crucial thing:


    The key benefit of an ATS is that all your recruitment is coordinated from one place,  with all applicants, no matter where they’ve come from, stored in the same place.



In addition, another huge benefit of using an ATS to manage your agencies is that you can keep track of what you’re spending with them and via a decent reports section, you can see who are your best performing agencies with a couple of clicks:










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