For many small businesses, finding qualified workers is a constant struggle. You need to compete with larger companies for the best candidates, but you have limited resources to put into the recruitment process. Applicant tracking tools for small businesses can help you simplify the hiring process to prevent you from wasting precious resources and losing out on top talent.
What are applicant tracking systems for small businesses?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps employers manage the recruitment and hiring process. Some applicant tracking tools offer a wide range of features that handle the entire process from beginning to end, whereas others are narrower in focus.
The system may offer the following applicant tracking features:
- Post job ads to job boards. Some systems link to a specific job board, whereas others automate postings on multiple job boards.
- Screen a database of resumes for candidates who meet the employer’s criteria. You can automate the screening process to filter out candidates who don’t match your needs.
- Automate email messages to candidates. Prompt communication can help you reach out to candidates before they find a job with another employer.
- Facilitate job interview scheduling. Some applicant tracking tools make it easy to schedule interviews at times that work for the candidates.
- Host a career web page. Some applicant tracking tools provide you with a branded page.
- Store resumes from applicants for future position needs. You won’t need to start from scratch the next time you have a job opening.
Why use an application tracking system in your hiring process?
The hiring process can be expensive and time consuming.
According to SHRM, the average cost per hire is $4,700, but it can be much higher. In some cases, the total cost to hire a new employee may be three times the position’s annual salary. If employee churn is high, you could end up spending more on hiring new employees than you do on their actual salaries.
The hiring process also requires time – and the amount of time it takes appears to be increasing. According to Robert Half, employers said hiring a new employee could take up to seven weeks in 2021. In 2023, they said it could take up to 11 weeks.
All of this can be a major strain on employers. It’s especially difficult for small businesses that lack resources and operate on thin profit margins. However, the hiring process is too important to neglect. You need to find top job candidates who can help your business succeed, which isn’t easy – especially when bigger companies are competing for the same individuals.
An applicant tracking system can help your small business streamline the process.
How can an applicant tracking system help small businesses?
Applicant tracking systems can help your small business by:
- Automating processes to help your team save time. It’s great when your job ad attracts a lot of attention, but going through a huge stack of resumes can take time. Applicant tracking systems can screen resumes, allowing you to focus on just the best matches. Applicant tracking tools can also automate job postings, communications, and scheduling, saving your team additional time.
- Speeding up the recruiting and hiring process. Imagine you find the perfect candidate in your stack of resumes. You reach out to set up an interview as soon as possible – only to find out the candidate just accepted a new position with another company and is no longer interested. If you’re too slow, you can miss out on some of the best job candidates. Worse, when you have a position you need to fill immediately, every day that passes can hurt your company. An applicant tracking system can cut the time required by streamlining and automating the process.
- Improving organization to enhance efficiency and control costs. Without a dedicated applicant tracking system, small businesses may fall into the trap of having a disorganized hiring process. For example, if you keep resumes in multiple locations, you could misplace the resume for some of the best job candidates. Plus, when you need to hire for a new position in the future, this lack of organization may mean you have to start over from scratch. Applicant tracking software for small businesses can help you track applicants and store information for future job needs.
What to Consider When Choosing an ATS for Job Postings and More
As a small business owner, you can’t afford to waste your limited funds. This means you need to be selective about what systems you invest in. When choosing an applicant tracking system, ask yourself the following questions to identify the best system for your small business.
- What is your budget? Some companies offer low-cost or free applicant tracking systems, whereas other systems can be pricey. Determine your budget before you start looking.
- Which features do you need? Some systems come with numerous features, all of which may sound good. However, the price tends to increase with the number of features, and some elements may not fit your needs or provide good value to your company. Figure out what you need your system to do, what you would like it to do, and what you don’t need.
- Will the system scale with your company? Some inexpensive systems offer only basic features and limit the number of tasks you can complete. If you select a barebones system, it might suit your current needs, but what happens when your company grows? Adopting a new system can be a time-consuming and expensive task. If it’s likely you will outgrow your chosen system in the near future, you might want to reconsider.
The Best Applicant Tracking Systems
The best applicant tracking system for one company might not be ideal for another.
Some applicant tracking systems are designed for specific industries; others are aimed at businesses of a certain size. When checking reviews, consider whether companies similar to yours are using (and happy with) the software.
You have lots of application tracking software options. For a list of 10 to consider, read this article on the most popular ATS options.
Additional HR Support
An applicant tracking program can help the hiring manager at your small business take control of the hiring and recruitment process. However, employing workers requires a lot more than this – and your small business may not have all the in-house resources it needs. Higginbotham can help. we offer HR services including outsourcing, consulting, and payroll services. Learn more.