It's 2024: here's why your company needs an ATS

It's 2024: here's why your company needs an ATS

What is an ATS?

An ATS (short for Applicant Tracking System) is a type of software used by companies around the world to track and manage their hiring process. From collecting and sorting through resumes, to scheduling interviews and offers of employment, an ATS has tools to streamline each of these stages.

For that reason, any serious company should be using one. Hiring through any other method wastes your team’s time and provides a poor candidate experience. Let us tell you why…

Benefits of using an ATS: company benefits

1. Applicant tracking

One of the clearest benefits of an ATS—we mean, it’s even in the name— is how much simpler it makes it to track applications. The older method of doing this was through emails and spreadsheets: you’d ask candidates to apply through email and log the progress of their application in a spreadsheet.

As anyone who uses spreadsheets regularly will know, they can get messy — fast. An ATS, on the other hand, is a spreadsheet’s well-ordered cousin. Most will let you sort between different job listings and view applications right through the software. No time wasted and minimal manual entry.

On top of organizing your applications, a good ATS will have search features to let you filter candidates by name, location, and anything else they provided when applying. They even allow you to access a candidate’s resume without downloading it, unlike Google Forms or email, which your computer’s storage will thank you for.

2. Automation

The most time-consuming part of recruitment is wading through applications to build your shortlist. An ATS can automate much of this, though, saving hiring staff time and stress. The top ATSs can look through applications and pick out specific keywords or years of experience to create a smaller pool of candidates.

Speaking on a company level, though, we’re not massive fans of this. It removes the human element of someone’s application and could remove top talent who only narrowly don’t qualify. The good news is that it’s not required to use this feature.

Custom application flows can also be implemented depending on the department that’s hiring. Need candidates in the art field to submit a portfolio? No worries. Need a link to published work from writers? You can require it. An ATS is there for your team to customize to its needs. In the games industry, where we work, this is essential when so many jobs are portfolio-dependent.

You can even automate the process of sharing your listings across popular job boards. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a long task, it’s still nice to shorten it! Most ATS services support the larger job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn — and even Hitmarker in GoHire’s case.

3. Simplified data collection

Link tracking is used from marketing to human resources, to see where traffic is coming from and to understand which source is most effective. Most ATS providers give you the option to add UTM tracking to your job links.

That way, if you want to run a promotion on a hard-to-fill role, you’ll understand exactly where to prioritize your budget and which platforms brought in the best candidates.

4. Collaboration

ATS platforms allow multiple hiring managers to share notes on candidate applications. Not all hiring managers specialize in the same area, so this is very valuable — especially when hiring for technical roles.

Some ATS services also allow users to sync up their online calendars so everyone is kept in the loop with interview availability and when staff are speaking to different candidates. Rather than needing to send messages to check when different candidates are being spoken to, you’ll have that information readily available to you.

5. Streamlined onboarding

After selecting a candidate to hire, the process of onboarding can often be more complex than it should be. Back-and-forth emails, contracts, and introductory meetings that all need to be seen, attended, or signed.

With an ATS, a company can keep all of this in one place rather than having to track it separately. Required paperwork, for example, can be added to the calendars of all parties involved in the new hire to let them know when it’s due. This makes for a much smoother hiring process for candidates and companies.

Benefits of using an ATS: candidate benefits

1. Ease of use

Although many ATS benefits are on the company’s side, candidates aren’t completely left out. The main benefit to job seekers is how much more intuitive an ATS is to apply through compared to other methods.

Instead of having to scour a company website for the correct email to apply to, and guessing what materials are required, this is all condensed into one application form for the candidate. This means nothing gets left unsaid when the candidate is considering what to send in, and the company knows they’ll be receiving the correct application documents each time.

2. Improved communication

One of the major frustrations with job hunting is the lack of communication; that awkward point where you’re wondering whether you’ve been successful, rejected, or still under review? A huge candidate benefit of top ATSs is that they’ll allow companies to send bulk actions, such as emails or alerts, to candidates at different parts of the recruitment stage.

These need to be triggered manually, so you won’t be mass-emailing candidates whenever they’re moved between categories, but it makes it so much easier to give people the courtesy of staying informed. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also beneficial to a company in the long run. You want to be known as someone who treats their potential hires well.

Drawbacks of using an ATS

Anything with benefits has to have drawbacks, too. But they may not be as drastic as you think.

1. Costs

There is no standardized price for using an ATS. This is in part because many enterprise-level pieces of software like SmartRecruiters, Greenhouse, and BambooHR offer bespoke quotes for each company’s needs rather than monthly packages.

Workable does provide pricing, starting at $129 per job or $335 per month. The price increases based on the company’s headcount.

GoHire has three tiers available at $89, $150, or $290 per month. All companies are billed the same, regardless of size. Annual discounts are available at both Workable and GoHire.

Some ATSs then offer additional services on top of their access fees. If you’ve previously used a different ATS system, and are looking to transfer your data over to a new one, you’ll likely have to pay a pretty penny to move it all across.

2. Automation

We’ve previously discussed how automation is a benefit, however we’d be lying if we didn’t admit there are issues with letting AI do the heavy lifting. Whilst automation in screening candidates can sound good on paper, it can result in some great applicants losing out before they’ve even reached you.

Common causes of this can be certain resume types, like those with graphics on them. Some pieces of software can struggle to read text on these backgrounds.

Ultimately, it’s a company’s choice whether or not they use automation in screening candidates, but we’d lobby against it. An ATS still saves a tremendous amount of time, even if you don’t utilize all its features.

Why an ATS is still a good investment

Smarter hiring can (and will) save a company resources across the board. The money you invest in an ATS solution will be paid back in the time your staff save — just be sure to select one that’s right for your company’s size.

Larger companies with hundreds of roles will need a bespoke solution with custom pricing. Smaller companies will be better-served with a low subscription or per-job cost offering.

If you’re looking to invest in an ATS, you can make use of a 14-day free trial with GoHire through our partner link here →

Companies in gaming will even be able to post directly to our platform through GoHire — and we’ve said how saving time is the name of the game.

Article written in collaboration with GoHire.