Is Applicant Tracking System Software a Necessary Investment ?

If you are using a recruitment tracking spreadsheet for your hiring process and you are still not sure if you should invest in applicant tracking system software then this article should help you make that decision.

Well, this article may or may not change your opinion but it will definitely give you a different perspective on recruitment automation.

Let’s look at every stage of the recruitment process. We will compare how we could accomplish different tasks using candidate tracking or recruitment tracking spreadsheet vs applicant tracking system software.

Job Posting

When you are working on a new job position you want to advertise it to different recruitment channels. It is a great way of attracting candidate applications. There are various ways in which you can post a job to

  1. Company’s career page
  2. Different job boards
  3. Social media
  4. Employee Referral

Recruitment Tracking spreadsheet or excel sheet cannot help you in posting jobs to the above channels. There may be an extremely remote possibility of developing such functionality using Microsoft’s web-service tool kit. However, I never came across anyone who might have implemented it.  Even if it is possible, you will have to hire someone with those skills; and trust me those skills are very rare to find because those are not in demand and developers may not be willing to work on it.

If you are using candidate tracking excel sheets, the only way you can post jobs to different recruitment channels is by manually posting it there. How efficient is that?

Applicant tracking system software or an ATS can do this with a click of a button. You can pick and choose different job posting channels and post your jobs in a couple of seconds.

The whole purpose of recruitment technology such as ATS or online recruitment software is to ease the job of a recruiter or hiring manager. Companies that develop recruitment software will always make sure that they give the latest and the greatest to their customers.

Candidate Sourcing

In general, there are two ways you can gather candidates resumes.

  1. Candidate apply for the job after they know about the job opening
  2. You source resumes from online job boards

The above methods are used by companies as well as recruitment agencies or staffing companies.

A. Candidate Applying For The Job

If you are using a recruitment tracker or excel sheets for your recruitment process then you must be receiving resumes in emails. You could also use google forms to have candidates submit their resumes.

In either case, you have to manually download a resume from each email or from google form and store it on a shared drive.

If you are using an applicant tracking system software, then you need not worry about downloading or moving resumes to different places. Online applicant tracking system software not only uploads the resume of a candidate into the cloud but also extracts important information like name, email, phone, job, and qualification details and store it into a recruitment database.

B. Sourcing Resumes From Online Job Boards

As a recruiter, you would be searching candidates on online job boards. When you come across a suitable candidate you would download his or her resume. You must be storing resumes on a shared drive.

ATS or recruitment software can help you to integrate with job boards. With such integration, ATS can directly import resumes and upload resumes into the cloud. However, some leading job boards (read number one in their region) are reserved about such integrations and may allow it on case to case basis. Well, there is an alternative that some recruitment software may provide and these are called as a browser extension (heard about Chrome extension ?). Such an extension can allow you to directly upload a resume into your applicant tracking system software.

With a recruitment tracking sheet or excel sheet, you cannot achieve any of it. Imagine, the amount of time and resources you can save with integrations like above that ATS provides.

Candidate Database

Candidate database or recruitment database comprises of two things

  1. Resumes
  2. Other details about candidates outside the resume such as their progress in the recruitment process, interview feedback, conversation details, etc.

Resumes can be stored locally or on the shared drive such as google drive.

If you are looking to perform a multilevel search, you will not be able to do it. For example, if you are searching for a Financial Analyst from New York who has worked on Derivatives, then you will not be able to perform this search if you are storing resumes on a shared drive. You will have to do multiple iterations.

If you are using applicant tracking system software you could perform a multi level search in one go. Not only that, but you could also store other details such as candidate feedback, salary expectation, etc. You could store such details in candidate tracking excel spreadsheets as well, but you won’t be able to link the repetitive entries. Meaning, if the same candidate appears again in your database, you will not be able to link previous details with the current one automatically.

Applicant tracking system software provides countless advantages when it comes to the candidate database. ATS using the Candidate database facilitates advantages such as advanced search, recruitment analytics, various automation such as recruitment marketing, emailing, calling, etc. Recruitment tracking excels spreadsheets cannot provide such automation.

Candidate Prescreening

At a candidate-prescreening stage, a candidate is evaluated on the basis of prerequisites such as salary expectations, job locations, work shift timing if applicable, etc.

Candidate prescreening is performed using one of the below methods

  1. Phone Screening
  2. Candidate Prescreening Form

Phone screening should be the same irrespective if you are using ATS or a recruitment tracker. However, some advance ATS can automate phone screening for you.

Candidate prescreening form can be embedded in a recruitment tracker using google form. The same functionality also provided by applicant tracking system software.

applicant tracking system software vs recruitment tracking spreadhseet

Resume Screening

Resume screening can NOT be performed if you are using a recruitment tracker spreadsheet.  Hence, a recruiter has to depend on manual screening. Manual screening is mostly performed using keyword searches. Resumes are stored on a shared drive and then keyword search is performed. Also, you cannot perform a multi level or multi-word search with ease.

Most ATS help you search through your resume database using keyword search. Such searches are performed in a quick time. However, keyword search is error prone. Also, searching is not resume screening!

Today with innovative solutions and with the advancement of AI in recruitment,  few applicant tracking system software use machine learning and natural language processing to help you screen resumes contextually. Such recruitment software work as a domain expert and screen resumes like a pro!

Scheduling Interviews

Interview scheduling demands high coordination. If you are using recruitment tracking spreadsheet then you will have to call candidates and hiring manager every time until the interview is set up.

ATS can help the hiring manager and candidate choose their preferred slot automatically. Some ATS provides video interview facilities on their platform. It saves a large amount of cost on logistics.

Is Applicant Tracking System Software A Good Investment?

I think the more important question is if you want to higher the best candidates sooner? Do you want to close open positions faster? If the answer is yes, then you need to be more efficient and productive with your recruitment process. You need the right recruitment tools to help you get there.  You should find if your online recruitment software provides all the important features. A good applicant tracking system software helps you achieve this with ease. Here is a reference guide for buying an applicant tracking system, ATS.

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Amit Gawande

Amit Gawande is a Co-Founder of CVViZ, an AI recruiting software. He has more than 15 years of experience in software development and leading large teams. He has built products using NLP and machine learning. He has recruited engineers, programmers, marketing and sales people for his organizations. He believes in using technology for solving real-life problems.

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