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Talent Management Applicant Tracking System Recruiting & Hiring

11 Features to Look for in Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

January 18, 2022
7 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


Today, most of us use dedicated, powerful software (or even several different pieces of software) to perform our jobs each day. Applicant tracking software, also known as an applicant tracking system (ATS), plays a prominent part in talent acquisition strategies for most HR teams. 94% of HR professionals said that implementing the software positively impacted their process. 

The purpose of an ATS is to help HR and hiring teams stay organized, find more candidates, and complete tasks faster. It helps them create a candidate experience that makes it easy for applicants to apply and go through the hiring process. It makes mundane duties easier, increases recruiters’ reach, and leaves a favorable impression, even on applicants who aren’t hired.

The best ATS solution for your business will positively impact not just your recruiting team, but applicants, too. Keep reading to find the top features to look for in applicant tracking software.

In the market for #ATS software? Check out @ClearCompany’s list of 11 must-have ATS features:

Top Applicant Tracking Software Features

Applicant tracking software has come a long way from its first iteration as resume-parsing candidate databases. While that sounds great, with so many solutions available, how do you pick the right one? The key to making the right decision is choosing software with a robust set of features that can adapt to your business’s changing needs. You also want to be sure the software is well-maintained, updated regularly, and has a reliable, accessible support team.

One way to determine which features are essential is by talking to your HR department about their goals for the new year. Find out where they need additional support or resources. Maybe your recruiters need to be able to more quickly locate past candidates to meet their goal of nurturing talent communities in 2022. HR specialists whose goal is to reduce time-to-hire will likely want an ATS that produces detailed, accurate reports to help them spot inefficiencies.

Luckily, the ATS market is full of options that will meet your needs. These are some of the most sought-after ATS features:

  1. Personalized ATS features 
  2. Integrates with existing software
  3. Job board management
  4. Branded career sites
  5. Cloud-based, accurate, accessible
  6. Mobile and texting tools 
  7. Candidate omni search
  8. Robust interviewing tools 
  9. Referral program management
  10. Customer service
  11. Fast, easy implementation
  12. Reports and analytics

1. Personalized ATS features

No matter which applicant tracking software you choose, it’s important to select a system that offers a variety of features that can be personalized to suit your needs. An ATS that can be tailored to fit your business’s needs will be able to weather changes in your industry and adapt as your business grows.

2. Integrates With Existing Software

Bringing in new software doesn’t mean you’re dumping all of your old software. That means an ATS that’s compatible with your existing tools is essential. You want to find applicant tracking software that integrates with the software your employees already use for recruiting and hiring:

  • Payroll and benefits software
  • Assessment tests
  • Background checks
  • Calendar apps
  • Job posting tools
  • Single sign-on (SSO)

3. Job Board Management

You can reach more candidates with an ATS that quickly and easily posts your open positions across job boards. It allows recruiters to manage posts from one central location, where they can update job posts, promote positions, and check the status of open requisitions. Find a wider, more diverse candidate pool with the help of an ATS.

4. Branded Career Sites

A branded career site helps to strengthen your employer brand, which has a greater effect on candidate experience than you might think. Your careers page is typically the first place candidates interact with your employer brand, so it’s important to make a lasting, favorable impression. Start off on the right foot with every applicant with a careers site that showcases what working at your company is all about.

5. Cloud-Based, Accurate, Accessible

A great modern hiring platform isn’t just packed with features: it’s accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection. A cloud-based platform will have the most recent information available. It gives recruiters and hiring teams the ability to share notes and look up candidate data with the assurance that their information is up-to-date.

Why does your ATS need texting tools?

  • 97% of Americans own a cell phone.
  • Text messages have a 99% open rate.
  • Candidate response rate jumps by as much as 50% with texting tools.
  • ClearCompany Text-to-Apply users have 3.5x the candidates and a 400% faster time-to-hire.

6. Mobile And Texting Tools

97% of Americans own a cell phone. We open nearly all of our text messages — 99% — and respond to them quickly. Employers say that they see a candidate response rate that’s nearly 50% higher with text messaging. It’s clear that mobile communication is a surefire way to get in touch with applicants.

At ClearCompany, our clients see 3.5x the number of candidates and a 400% faster time-to-hire using Text-to-Apply. With Text-to-Apply, candidates can submit a job application via text message in seconds. From there, HR professionals can communicate with candidates via ClearText, opening a reliable line of communication and creating a record of text conversations in their profiles.

7. Candidate Omni Search

In a competitive labor market, your recruiters are searching for untapped talent pools — one being past applicants. Your ATS should have advanced search capabilities that allow recruiters to quickly search candidates based on information like requisition status and location. With smarter search functionality, recruiters can stay connected to a large pool of engaged candidates who may be the perfect match for an open role in the future.

97% of Americans have a cell phone — so if your #ATS doesn’t include texting tools, it’s time for an upgrade. Check out @ClearCompany’s 11 must-have ATS features:

8. Robust Interviewing Tools

The applicant tracking software you select should make it simple to schedule interviews, ask fair questions, and evaluate candidates. There are a variety of tools to look for that can help your teams conduct better interviews:

  • Video interviewing 
  • Interview scheduling
  • Interview guides
  • Interview scorecards

9. Referral Program Management

Employee referrals are consistently one of the most valuable ways to find qualified candidates. Referrals are more likely to get hired, stay with the company longer, and can save employers $7,500 in recruiting costs. Look for an ATS that can help manage a successful employee referral program at your company.

10. Reports And Analytics

In order to use your ATS to inform recruiting and hiring strategy, it will need to generate detailed, useful reports around important hiring metrics. All the data your ATS collects around your recruitment and hiring processes helps you identify which are working and which need to be more efficient. With that knowledge, you can improve processes to reduce costs, remove bottlenecks, and create a better candidate experience.

11. Fast Implementation And Excellent Customer Service

While it’s not a feature of the software itself, implementation can have an effect on the success of your ATS. A bad implementation experience may lead to employees that are less enthusiastic about using a new tool. But a great ATS will have processes in place to make implementation fast, thorough, and useful. Talk to your software rep about typical implementation timelines and other companies’ experiences with their process.

Along with what to expect during implementation, you want to be sure your team will have access to adequate support once the software is installed. Ask your rep these questions:

  • Will my company receive increased support during implementation?
  • Will my company have a dedicated support representative after implementation?
  • How can we contact our support rep or team?
  • How long is the typical response time from your support team?

ClearCompany’s Applicant Tracking System is designed to help you create the most efficient, effective process for finding and hiring the best candidate for every job. The future of applicant tracking software is already here. Don’t get left behind in the search for top talent — find the right ATS for your business with the help of our Applicant Tracking System Buyer’s Guide. Download the guide today.

Your Roadmap to the Best ATS. Download the ATS buyer's guide and checklist bundle.

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