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Top 5 Applicant Tracking System Mistakes: Part 1 – Failure to Adopt

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Welcome to a new Bullhorn blog series entitled, “Top 5 Applicant Tracking System Mistakes.” The 5-part blog series, written by one of Bullhorn’s senior sales engineers, discusses five common slip-ups recruiters make while using the ATS inefficiently. Find out what these mistakes are and how to avoid them!

The use of an applicant tracking system, or ATS, can save recruiters countless problems and headaches, but only if it’s used effectively. Too many times I see recruiters using the ATS, but making unnecessary mistakes that slow them down. An ATS should accelerate your recruiting process and increase productivity – ensure that your team isn’t making this first mistake!

1. Failure to Adopt:

Although this seems like a common sense issue, it’s amazing to see the tolerance companies have for many of their employees not utilizing their applicant tracking systems properly or even at all. The idea that staffing and recruiting is a relationship business is still mostly true, but utilizing technology fully to create and maintain those relationships is crucial for sustained success and growth.

Aside from employee performance issues, software adoption is most likely going to be the mistake that most harshly affects your bottom line. Why is failure to adopt so expensive? First, it costs recruiters time if they don’t know how to perform tasks. Second, it disrupts recruiting processes when the full feature set of the software isn’t being utilized. Many times the latter is due to the user giving up too early after being introduced to the ATS. He or she ends up defaulting to the more comfortable – and less effective – manual way of doing things.

Failure to adopt can be spawned from overarching usability issues. If you are evaluating different solutions, keep in mind that many applicant tracking systems are not as intuitive as you might think. If you look at many of the sites we all use like (Facebook, Gmail, etc.), they are very intuitive. What I mean by this is that whether or not I receive any instruction, I can still poke around these sites a bit and be off to the races and fully functional. You need to ensure that your ATS is easy for people to use effectively. Recently, the industry trend has been a return to simplicity and focus on usability. This is evidenced by the interfaces provided by new players in the marketplace, as well as refresh initiatives carried out by veterans like Bullhorn.

Your ATS should be built to run like the open road; when a highway is smooth and traffic-free, you barely know it’s there – you’re only focused on your destination.

How to Avoid:
If you are not on an intuitive ATS and a replacement is not an option, then you might be able to kick start better adoption by:

  • Implementing management and leadership initiatives that start with promotion of the system, stating how they expect the system to increase sales and placements – it’s important for end users to understand that management “believes” in the product they are using and why. People like to be inspired to be better at whatever they are doing and if management is indifferent or even discouraged in relation to the ATS, employees will also be.
  • Fixing the configuration – all systems will have some level of configuration and it might be time to revisit those tools to ensure that form and function match your model to promote adoption. Many times people have configured their system to the nth degree and set up all sorts of restrictions on what people can and cannot do. Although seemingly attractive from a managerial perspective, this can often lead to end users being both inefficient and annoyed by what they perceive as unnecessary steps.
  • Providing training – get creative based on your corporate culture. No one wants to hear “go to the online help center.” Some help engines can be incredibly frustrating when it comes to finding what you want. Some simple ideas include:
    • – Actual refresher training courses for existing personnel
    • – Periodic emails with “How-Tos” or “Did You Know” from power users or management
    • – Lunch and Learns – Buy lunch for your employees, bring everyone into a conference room, and have an instructional session on a specific topic

Check back next week for Parts 2 & 3 of the new Bullhorn blog series, discussing more common mistakes recruiters make in the ATS.