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A poorly implemented Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be as bad, or worse than, having no ATS at all. The question you must ask yourself is, “Who is in control: me or the ATS?” Your ATS should be a tool that provides a heavy assist to your recruiting, hiring, and onboarding efforts – but the recruiting team, as well as other critical stakeholders, should be in control of the process. In other words, an ATS is only as good as the people running it.

The ATS Market Is Growing Fast

Over the next six years, the ATS market will continue to grow at a rapid pace. This is good news! This means that more companies are recognizing the benefits of having applicant tracking software to improve their talent acquisition efforts. It is also the kind of news that puts our team on high alert, because if the ATS market is growing, then two things are also happening: the talent market is tight (which we all know it is) and new ATS offerings will be hitting the market swiftly.

Both of these conditions make it more necessary than ever to have a standard, stable recruiting process in place before you implement your ATS. Only when you can clearly define your talent needs, your current gaps, and your ideal process can you choose the right ATS and implement it in a way that will actually improve your recruiting and hiring efforts. Accomplished the other way around – when you implement the ATS first out of desperation over a talent shortage or a broken process – you end up with automated chaos. A lack of transparency in recruiting performance puts your organization at risk and leads to inconsistent metrics.

At Beacon Lane, we believe that with the right process and the right ATS, you can hire better, smarter, and faster. But an ATS is not something you plug in like a computer and suddenly have unlimited hiring power at your fingertips.

Keeping Control of the Wheel: 5 Steps to Take Before your ATS Implementation

  1. Define, develop, and outline your entire recruiting process from the inside out. This sometimes requires you to step back, pause, and go back to the basics.
  2. Include all stakeholders in the process. It’s not just the hiring manager who will be impacted by the ATS implementation. Finance, IT, legal, and other areas of your organization will be impacted as well. Make sure you understand their roles and needs. Automation requires a dedicated team of internal key stakeholders who understand your organization.
  3. Choose an ATS based on the process and needs defined in steps one and two. Applicant tracking systems are not one-size-fits-all; you must select a system that will meet your recruiting needs.
  4. Choose an ATS implementation partner. There are multiple processes and systems that must integrate with the ATS. Having an expert ATS implementation partner is essential to the success of your investment.
  5. Develop a User Training Plan. You can’t simply flip the switch on an ATS and expect everyone to know how to use it. Training is key to buy-in and successful recruiting and hiring. Part of that training should include how to keep the ATS from taking over – in other words: a human touch is still the key to successful recruiting and hiring.

An efficient, automated, and optimized talent acquisition process means higher revenues and a more productive workforce. An ATS can be an integral part of that process, but only when it is handled in such a way that it integrates with the stable, standard recruiting process you’ve worked so hard to develop.

Achieving Recruiting Excellence

At Beacon Lane Consulting, we define Recruiting Excellence as the right hire, for the right role, at the right time, for the right cost…every time. While this concept often seems ambitious, we continue to help clients work towards this through the ideal blend of process standardization and innovation, resulting in the most aspirational candidate experience. If you are looking for a way to straighten out your “bent” internal recruiting process, get in touch. We’d love to help.

Read what others have to say about Beacon Lane

“Here at AEG we recently took on a significant recruiting project in which we migrated from an out of date ATS to Greenhouse, which was a more up-to-date solution for us. We restructured our internal Talent Acquisition team and re-engineered processes with a focus on standardization, efficiency and scalability. The team at Beacon Lane was with us from the onset of the project, setting the vision and plan. They led us through a very organized process that covered the recruiting lifecycle and ultimately helped us map out our future state, which is what we automated.  Since going live, we have implemented several “best practice” recommendations from Beacon Lane that improved the end user experience and made the entire process much more efficient.  Implementing an ATS is a significant undertaking that requires a very specific expertise, especially if you want to fully realize the ROI. This is what we got as a result of working with Beacon Lane. I encourage HR Leaders to take the time to understand what is involved in this effort and to consider the cost of not doing it right – – and speak with Beacon Lane before doing anything.” – Joe Herrera VP, Corporate HR AEG

Be sure to read our series on developing a standard, stable recruiting function here:

Part One: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function from the Inside Out
Part Two: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 2 – Post, Source, and Screen
Part Three: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 3 – Interview and Select
Part Four: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 4 – Create and Approve Offer
Part Five: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 5 – Preboarding
Part Six: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 6 – Onboarding


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