The common misconception is that an applicant tracking system, or ATS, is only meant for large companies, but almost any business could benefit from using one. Don’t assume they’re too expensive either. Applicant tracking systems come with varying features, fees, and payment options so anyone can afford them. Some are even free, like Recruiteze. If you’d like to try our ATS for small business hiring then start your free trial here.
An ATS for Small Business? Yes, You Need One Too
What is an ATS?
An ATS is on-premise(stored locally on your pc) or cloud-based(stored on a secure external server for remote access by owners and authorized persons) software that helps business owners streamline all of their hiring efforts, from accepting applications, selecting candidates, interviewing candidates, to onboarding.
Common features include:
- Accepting, storing, and sorting resumes
- Allowing resumes to be searched by a variety of parameters
- A custom careers page
- A custom job page
- Resume formatting to make resumes easier to read
- Custom emails
- Automated responses
- Tracking each candidate’s progress through the hiring process
Features vary greatly depending on the ATS itself, but the idea with all of them is to automate and streamline as many tasks as possible to make hiring more efficient, so you can hire better candidates, save on hiring costs, and spend more time doing other things for your business.
Why choose an ATS for small business?
Small businesses need an ATS as much or more than a large company. You don’t need to waste a second or a penny. You may never have had a careers page before and having an ATS to help you create one could be a lifesaver. Most applicant tracking systems are mobile responsive, meaning you can use them on any device, which will help you optimize your hiring process to reach a broader range of candidates in a way they will actually respond to(most applicants use mobile devices at least some of the time to find a job).
We describe one of the benefits of a careers page designed with an ATS for small business on the page for our ATS , Recruiteze,
“Your custom responsive careers page and application allows candidates and customers easy access to information and creates a level of professionalism expected in today’s marketplace.”
There are so many ways an ATS will save you time. Applicant tracking systems can upload a new job to many online job boards in an instant. They can automatically send a considerate rejection letter to candidates you can’t hire, so you can provide a great candidate experience and still tackle everything you need to do. If you have a partner who handles the hiring of candidates for certain jobs, the ATS can send them directly to that partner.
In one of our posts on recruitment productivity killers, we pointed out emails and candidate administration functions as two of the top 5 time sucks. These two areas are some of the primary focuses of applicant tracking systems. An ATS will send automatic emails to candidates for rejections, invitations to interview, updates on job status, and more. It’ll also help you schedule interviews, prepare for interviews, organize candidate information, track candidate progress, and more.
In that post on productivity killers, we said,
“As a recruitment professional, you’re always going to have to handle candidates, and that’s always going to take time, and it’s not always going to be productive time. However, the more organised you are, the more efficient you can be – and the minimum amount of time is wasted.”
Applicant tracking systems also provide you with crucial reporting and analytics that you may struggle to manage yourself. This will help you optimize your hiring process for costs and time and to improve the process so you hire better employees.
In a previous post on myths associated with applicant tracking systems, we highlighted that an applicant tracking system is extremely cost effective,
“Customers actually save money when they equip their organization with a modern Applicant Tracking System. The ATS will not only minimize the time and effort involved in the recruitment process but also boosts the efficiency of in-house teams without increasing the headcount of the HR team.
Consider the money you are spending on talent acquisition drive without the software. Keep in mind this cost is due whenever you go for a recruitment drive which may be multiple times a year.
Poor hires cost a business a lot of money. Not only did you waste the investment you made with the original hire because they may not have even made you enough profit to cover the cost of hiring and training them, but your whole business saw a drop in productivity and reputation. No business needs this, but small businesses can afford it even less.
Also, if you’ve got a lot of competition, you want to stand out among the crowd. If you can have a faster hire time and more options for candidates to apply to your jobs, you could tip the balance greatly in your favor. People will tell their friends and family, if you want a job, try them, they’ll hire in a week versus that company over there that never responded to me or hired me after a month.
What is your cost of recruitment annually?
And, if you are outsourcing the recruitment to a third party, you need to calculate additional costs as well.
The chances are good that the figure you just calculated is a lot higher than you actually expected.”
Recruiting costs a lot of money, particularly when you factor in the not-so-obvious costs associated with training and rehiring employees. If you can optimize this process, your ATS will probably actually save you money, rather than being an additional cost.
How to Choose an ATS for small business?
The most likely pitfall you can run into with an ATS for small business is that a poorly chosen ATS can be more hassle than it is worth. If you don’t understand it, are paying for more features than you need, or have to get multiple applicant tracking systems because one doesn’t serve all your needs, you may find yourself more frustrated than helped.
Prepare to do some research. You’ll need to:
- learn the features applicant tracking systems offer.
- determine which features you have to have, would like to have, and don’t need.
- compare the features of different applicant tracking systems.
- compare the customer service and security policies of each ATS you consider.
- consider month-to-month billing rather than contracts.
- look for varying payment plans that will offer you only the features you need.
- try any free trials and demos offered to you.
Don’t assume the most popular or most feature-packed option is the best applicant tracking system for you. It may be much more than you need, in both functions and cost. If it’s too burdensome, you’ll probably stop using it.
Read our previous post on how to choose a small company applicant tracking system in which we cover several things you need to consider about your business when choosing an ATS.
Use free trials to learn for yourself what features do and to get a feel for an individual applicant tracking system. Also look into any demos offered. This way you can see the ATS in action and ask questions before purchasing.
You can’t skimp on security. If your data is lost or hacked, it could be devastating for a small business. Some people have been put out of business because of the financial and reputation damages associated with a data hack.
Choose an ATS with options for you to change plans and customize it so the ATS can be as flexible as you are.
You might want to read reviews from users of applicant tracking systems you are considering. It will give you a user-end view of software and help you get an idea of what you may or may not like about it. If you’ve never used an ATS before, you can foresee problems similar businesses have and what they learned about choosing an ATS for their needs.
An ATS for small business is not an odd idea. In fact, an ATS can make it much easier for a small business to optimize tasks that are slowing them down and costing them money as well we to get started with things like a career page and analytics that they so far haven’t tried. They are not too expensive, because so many people now offer low cost and even free applicant tracking systems. They don’t have to be too hard to learn or use either, because different applicant tracking systems offer varying features so you can pick the one that best fits your needs. Any business owner can benefit from an ATS. Just do your research.
The Best ATS for Small Business Hiring for 2018
Recruiteze is a free online ATS for small business recruiting, talent tracking, and hiring. There’s so many benefits to using our free applicant tracking system that I can’t list them all. We’re mobile ready, cloud based, and ready to help you make recruiting easy. The best option you have is to give a try! Click here to get started with your free trail today.