7 min read

Integrating Applicant Tracking Systems to Streamline Processes

Applicant tracking systems have become an integral part of hiring. More than 98% of Fortune 500 companies rely on applicant tracking to organize and analyze each step of every applicant for each job opening — from application to onboarding. The rise of applicant tracking software makes sense considering how well HR lends itself to databasing and automation. Tracking, categorization, and storage are essential to managing applicants and new hires efficiently.

Analysis and tracking are especially important when it comes to ensuring that a company is following Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP) guidelines. This approach can also help companies avoid discrimination — both intentional and unconscious — that isn’t explicitly covered by these rules.

Set up properly, applicant tracking can find patterns of bias that humans might not recognize. It can ensure that older workers are no longer 30% less likely to hear back after applying for a job, for example. Analyzing the data from applicant tracking can also help fight discrimination against people of color by helping organizations see where members of protected groups are underused compared with their availability.

However, even the best applicant tracking systems can’t solve every problem associated with hiring. These systems need quality data to produce quality results, which requires a combination of automation in recruitment and standardized data collection. Perhaps most importantly, these systems also need to integrate with as many other aspects of the hiring process as possible, including pre-employment testing.

The Benefits of Well-Integrated Recruiting Software

Human error is perhaps one of the easiest ways for recruitment to fail. Sometimes it can be a minor mistake, but other times it can literally go nuclear and cost a company millions of dollars. These human errors can also result in discrimination, which impacts real people.

Every step in the hiring process that requires a person to move data from one step to another is an opportunity for a mistake. It also slows the entire process down, making hiring more time-consuming than it needs to be.

While technology in the hiring process can’t magically fix every mistake, automation throughout the hiring process can reduce and even eliminate data errors. This makes it virtually impossible for data to be written incorrectly or in the wrong data field, helping applicants avoid rejection despite meeting the proper qualifications.

Automated or semi-automated processes are clearly preferable to manual data entry. Consider our integration with Hirelink, which acts as middleware between TestGenius software and applicant tracking systems. It scrapes information from a candidate’s page and searches our database for a match. This makes it easy for a recruiter to assign tests to an applicant or, in the case of completed tests, to find scores and dispositions of each test an applicant has taken.

While a lack of full integration between these two elements means someone in HR still needs to manually enter the information into the applicant tracking software, the process has still shown itself to be faster and more accurate than dealing with two completely disconnected systems. It also gives a bit of insight into what can be done when two separate components of the hiring process communicate with one another.

Fully linking a pre-employment testing program like ours to an applicant tracking system makes it possible for each program to perform at its fullest potential. A recruiter assigns the provided test batteries to specific applicants while TestGenius takes care of the rest, pushing the results directly to the applicant tracking system without the need for any manual input from the employer. The results speak for themselves.

This is still just the tip of the iceberg, however. When HR uses a system that specializes in automating the entire recruitment process, hiring becomes even more streamlined and less prone to error.

The Reality of Full Automation in Recruitment

The average corporate job opening receives about 250 résumés. Considering some corporations add as many as 5,000 new jobs per year, that leads companies to vet a significant number of applicants. Although the average small businesses might not see quite that same volume, there is still plenty to process because those businesses are the primary creators of jobs in the U.S.

The more help a company can get when sifting through a pool of applicants, the better off it will be. An automated solution that tackles everything from job posting to onboarding is usually the best answer for saving time and increasing the chances that a company hires the right candidate. It was true in 2019, and it’s even more pertinent now that the pandemic has forced many aspects of hiring to go virtual.

Despite these advantages, many recruiters are still reluctant to embrace technology in the hiring process. According to one survey, only 49% of HR departments use any kind of recruiting software. While some of this might be due to a resistance to change, it also stems from a lack of trust in automation and a misunderstanding about testing. Many others worry about relying on systems that are outdated or built on insufficient datasets.

These concerns are valid, but instead of supporting the idea that automation should be avoided, they point out the importance of being mindful of the platforms you put in place — and the data that they run on. The right platform with a robust dataset drawn not from a single company but instead from an entire industry can actually improve retention and make sure that a company stays on the right side of the law.

Take a platform like NEOGOV, for example. Designed for governmental organizations and educational institutions, NEOGOV’s recruitment automation software focuses on relevant job sites for posting and recruitment, ensures all EEO-related data is collected, and even streamlines the onboarding process for new hires. The company prides itself on a rigorous screening process, well aware of the dangers of missing or outdated data.

This fully integrated applicant tracking platform also makes testing easier for those who use TestGenius. With full integration, we’re not only able to share data directly with the tracking software, but we can also perform additional tasks, like handling invitation management and even offering direct support to job applicants during testing.

Once you decide to move to a fully automated hiring operation, the next step is to make sure you get the right tracking system for your needs. Let’s explore some of the factors you should consider.

Choosing Recruiting SoftwareThat Addresses Your Unique Needs

In theory, an applicant tracking system should create a noticeable improvement in flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. However, how you get there will depend quite a bit on the unique needs of your company — and the industry as a whole. Retail has different needs than manufacturing, which has different needs than healthcare or finance. Look for a platform that either specializes in your industry or touts its services in a variety of sectors, like iCIMS.

For many companies dealing with a new work reality once the pandemic eventually subsides, a platform that works well in the virtual landscape will be paramount. Features like job matching algorithms, candidate ranking, and automated résumé sorting can help you adapt to a more remote-friendly world.

On top of a fully integrated system, it’s also useful to have a system that can sync with other remote working tools like Microsoft Teams. That reduces the friction between various tasks and helps facilitate better communication within the hiring department.

Keep an eye out for other features that you might want down the line as you grow your business. Chatbots, for example, have become popular in some sectors as a way to handle initial contact with applicants. The more people you need to hire, the more useful tools like this will be to optimize your workflow and conserve your resources.

Having an applicant tracking system that integrates with online employment testing is increasingly important, with many companies moving away from in-house proctoring and looking for more flexible remote solutions. Testing is, after all, a link in the hiring chain. If even one link gets disconnected, the entire chain is compromised.

With software in place that fits your unique needs both for the present and for whatever the future might throw your way, you’ll see a marked improvement in every step of the hiring process — from the start of recruiting all the way to the final step of onboarding.

How Automation in Recruitment Makes Everyone’s Job Easier

Recruiting software came into the spotlight in 2020, with so many companies trying to develop new methods for finding talent in a fully remote environment. Solutions like online pre-employment testing, remote proctoring, and virtual interviews had to be fit into what was once seen by many as a tried-and-true formula for hiring. What this rapid need to adapt really showed, however, was the inflexibility and inefficiency of many existing solutions.

A modern applicant tracking system does more than just help companies get through a pandemic. It creates a leaner and more efficient recruiting procedure. For example, when Olsson Associates was looking for a way to fill more positions without overtaxing its lean HR department, it didn’t hire more people or add new software on top of an old system. Instead, it threw out the old applicant tracking system in favor of one that would allow the company to integrate aspects of hiring (e.g., background checks, drug screening) that previously worked completely outside the system.

The new system Olsson chose, SmartRecruiters, made it possible for the organization to be ready for a remote hiring environment. It also allows the company to send emails, offers, and other documentation directly through the tracking system itself, making the whole operation easier.

When systems like these are married with cloud-based applicant testing solutions like TestGenius, they became even more powerful. Since our cloud solution is completely browser-based, it doesn’t require any additional installations from either applicants or admins. It can begin communicating with a modern tracking system almost immediately. Recruiters can then see results instantaneously and even adjust pass points on the fly, making it easier to move on to the next recruitment phase.

Even better, data on every step of this operation is being collected so it can be analyzed and used to improve recruitment for the next open position — and to help inform the onboarding stage.

How an Integrated Applicant Tracking System Helps the Onboarding Process

The onboarding process has always been a delicate balance. It’s important not to overwhelm new hires with too much information at once, but you still want to provide them with enough training to hit the ground running.

There are certain things every good applicant tracking system should be able to handle to make this possible. It should make it easy for new employees to access the information they need, it should be able to capture all the necessary onboarding paperwork, and it should reduce the number of errors by filling in fields automatically when it already has the data on file. In short, an effective system makes it as easy as possible to begin the onboarding process in earnest, educating new employees about their roles while providing a thorough orientation on the company’s general culture.

Accomplishing all of this, however, has taken on a new level of difficulty with most employees still working remotely. A manager can no longer pull up a chair next to a new hire and help guide them through tasks. New methods are necessary, and that requires having the right tool for the job.

But this is likely not a temporary situation, either. That means businesses should work to codify new onboarding practices to prepare fully for this new remote reality. To accomplish this, companies should look at the entire hiring process as part of onboarding. It’s the first impression a new hire will have, which means providing a pleasant and consistent experience from the moment a job is posted until the official start of onboarding will better position candidates for success.

The recruiting process can also provide companies with the data they need to offer a more tailored training experience. Applicant testing can provide a company with more detailed information on each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling HR to know exactly where it needs to focus.

The hiring process has undergone some drastic changes over the past year. While it didn’t happen in a way anyone could predict, this disruption has created an opportunity to improve hiring across the board.

The first step to accomplishing that is to begin the search for an applicant tracking system that offers integrations every step of the way. With the right system in place, you can find the best talent in the applicant pool and onboard new hires as efficiently and as effectively as possible, enabling your company to grow and thrive.

Are you interested in learning more about what an integrated applicant tracking system can do? For a real-time look at these sophisticated tools in action, contact us today.