Recruiting & Hiring Blog for HR Professionals

How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Applicant Tracking System


Recently, Forbes published an article outlining various ways companies drive away talent. According to the author, applicant tracking systems are a major offender. While the claims may be true in some instances, they certainly aren’t the norm. Here we examine the author’s concerns about applicant tracking systems and share how the right applicant tracking solution can attract and engage top talent.

“Zombie-fied Job Ads”

Good applicant tracking systems don’t force organizations into dry and monotonous job ads. It’s not a surprise candidates dislike job ads that don’t use a human voice and focus exclusively on “essential requirements.” However, applicant tracking systems shouldn’t force organizations into stilted, cookie cutter job postings. There are applicant tracking systems designed to support your hiring process, rather than impose their processes on your company. Look for a system that allows you to customize job descriptions, interview questions and other content. That will enable your organization to share its true voice with candidates in online job postings and throughout the hiring process.

Black Hole Recruiting Portals

Not all recruiting portals are “black holes.” Without a doubt, many applicants hate online job sites that make them create profiles, accounts and passwords before they can apply for an open position. But not every applicant tracking system establishes these roadblocks. Companies with applicant tracking systems that support no-password, no-profile job applications enjoy unrestricted access to talent and candidates appreciate a user-friendly experience.

Robotic Email Communications

Who said electronic communication had to be “robotic?” After applying for an open position, nobody likes dull, automated emails. The best applicant tracking systems allow organizations to craft their own automatic emails to be sent to applicants immediately after applying. This allows companies to communicate in unique ways that reinforce their brands. Another complaint that candidates have is when their application goes into the ether and they never hear from a company again. To avoid this problem, companies need to find applicant tracking systems that can be tailored to support their workflows and track communication in each candidate’s online file.

Here’s the bottom line: To attract top talent, companies must have control over the content of all communication with candidates, as well as the communication workflow. With that said, there are ways organizations can make their job postings more compelling to the best candidates:

Explain the Company’s Mission and Why It’s a Great Place to Work People do their best work when they understand how their efforts connect with a larger purpose. The Tufts University Career Center recommends explaining in job postings why a position is important to how the organization delivers on its mission and brand.

Let the Company Culture Show When the values of employees and employers are aligned, the result is greater productivity. Offering insight into the company culture through job descriptions can reinforce whether an organization might be the right place for them. One way to accomplish this is to provide links to the company’s social media feeds and website.

Provide a Good Overview of the Role Applicants need to understand what a job entails. However, keep the list of responsibilities fairly brief – ideally between three to five items. There’s no need to include an exhaustive list of “essential requirements.”

Pay Attention to Style and Format Consider using targeted questions to catch applicants’ attention. Break up chunks of information with bulleted lists, where appropriate. Don’t forget to use a human voice in the writing and always include clear instructions about how to apply for the position.

A job seeker’s first impression of a company starts with the applicant tracking system. Start the candidate experience off on the right foot by writing compelling job postings and using a system that supports your hiring processes. Zombies and robots need not apply!

The Online Recruiting Guide: 11 Steps to Attract More Applicants


Topics: Applicant Tracking Success, Applicant Tracking Software, Attracting Right Applicants

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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