Recruiting & Hiring Blog for HR Professionals

How Applicant Tracking Can Align Hiring Strategy With Hiring Practices


Recent research by the Brandon Hall Group found more than half of organizations (61 percent) feel their top talent acquisition priority is hiring better talent. However, upon further investigation, it’s clear many of the same organizations are not taking the steps necessary to help achieve that goal.

The majority of survey respondents reported their hiring cycle is four weeks or longer, and 20 percent indicated it takes eight weeks or more to hire new employees. There are a variety of reasons why hiring cycles may be longer than desired. For example:

  • Paper processes may inhibit efficient collaboration between HR and hiring managers. When people pass around paper resumes, it’s a recipe for delays and misplaced information. By the time these organizations get around to contacting the best candidates, they may have already been snatched up by the competition, and then the process begins all over again to identify the “next best” candidate in the pile of paper applications. Applicant tracking systems solve these problems by eliminating paperwork, centralizing applicant information and automating communication and workflows.
  • The organization isn’t getting applications from the most qualified candidates. Manually posting jobs to online job boards can be time consuming. In addition, organizations may not know which job boards are the most productive for different types of positions. Leveraging technology throughout the position posting process can help. Many applicant tracking systems can automate postings, which means there is no delay in getting open jobs in front of as many talented candidates as possible.
  • Once the best applicants are identified, phone tag can slow the process of scheduling interviews. Quickly getting the strongest candidates on-site for an interview is an important step when capturing the best talent. If HR and hiring managers play phone tag with applicants, the scheduling process alone can drag on and lengthen the hiring cycle unnecessarily. A better approach is to rely on the email interview scheduling capability built into many applicant tracking systems.

The other key aspect of talent acquisition that affects organizations’ ability to hire better talent is planning. The Brandon Hall Group found that 44 percent of organizations felt their planning efforts were slightly or not at all effective, and almost a quarter (23 percent) engaged in no planning whatsoever. Planning only works when it is based on reliable data. One of the best ways to gather hiring-related data is through an applicant tracking system. Yet, 45 percent of respondents to the Brandon Hall survey used tools like Outlook and Excel to support their talent acquisition activities.

Applicant tracking systems can be a powerful component in planning because they generate reports that identify the sources where the best applicants come from, as well as reports that allow HR teams to evaluate and compare job postings. It’s possible to see which postings received the most applicant traffic, calculate time to hire and generate other key talent acquisition metrics. Not only do these systems streamline the hiring process, they also provide the information necessary to continually improve and optimize the process over time.

Applicant tracking systems can help organizations bridge the gap between talent acquisition goals and reality. They provide the structure and automation needed to hire the best talent, reduce time to hire and plan more effectively for future talent needs. If your organization hasn’t implemented this type of system yet, it might be time to take a closer look and begin the journey to hiring better talent faster.

To help you through the process of choosing an applicant tracking system, download our free buyer’s guide.

How to Choose an Online Hiring and Recruiting System

Topics: Applicant Tracking, hiring strategy

This is disclaimer text. We’ve shared these tips to help educate you on social media employment screenings and considerations for your business — this information should not be construed as legal advice. But if your company chooses to screen applicants on social media or want to explore the topic even further, consult with an attorney for advice related to this screening tactic.

Photo credit: photographer via website

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