Is Your Applicant Tracking Software Working?

Every month, it seems like data from the Labor Department continues to point to the fact that hiring is up, and unemployment is down. When there are more job openings than there are candidates to fill them, this can present unique challenges for hiring managers and HR. If you’re not finding qualified applicants, it might not mean that they’re not applying. The issue can be with your applicant tracking software (ATS).

Making Sure Your ATS is Working

One of the reasons why companies rely on their ATS is to help speed up the time to fill, and close the gap between requisition and onboarding. However, time to fill continues to be an issue that many employers struggle with.

Depending on your industry, it can take 50 or more days to fill an open position. This can create serious challenges for workforce, impact your ability to take on new projects, and affect the way you manage customer expectations—all of which can impact your bottom line for the worse.

Is competition the reason why time to fill remains high?  

Having more qualified candidates in the pool can definitely slow down the time to fill. Some employers might feel like they can take their time, since there are so many qualified candidates out there. However, competition isn’t the only reason. In fact, your ATS might be the culprit. We’ll explore three signs that might point to larger issues with your ATS.


Every ATS is different. Is yours still supporting your hiring process? Download our comprehensive ATS evaluation worksheet, and find answers that can point the way to a more dynamic solution.  

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Qualifying Applicants

If you’re already using an ATS, then ideally it helps you stay organized when you’re hiring, speeds up the time to fill, and helps simplify the onboarding process. At the very least, most ATS systems are designed to help you:  

  • Post job openings.
  • Track and manage candidates in a central database.
  • Follow-up with candidates.
  • Import, qualify, and score resumes.
  • Keep track of where you’re at during various steps of the hiring process.

When your ATS is going along smoothly, it might create something of “set it and forget it” mindset. However, since hiring needs change over time, you want to be sure your ATS is keeping up. Is yours?

Here are a few signs that could suggest that it’s not:

1. Job candidates have raised issues about your application process

One of the selling points of an ATS is that it will help enhance the candidate experience. However, what happens if candidates raise issues or concerns about your application process? Have messages gone unreturned? Was the process clunky, or did it require redundant steps?

To help you turn this type of input into constructive feedback:

  • Openly invite applicants to offer feedback about the application process. You can do this through a simple survey question. Even some applicants who don’t go on to the next step might enjoy sharing their opinion as a way to engage with your brand.
  • For applicants that make it to the phone or face-to-face interview phase, ask them clarifying questions about their feedback. This can provide more insight into ways that your ATS is either working or not working for you right now.

2.  Hiring managers aren’t using your ATS

Going around the accepted hiring process to avoid using your ATS might sound far-fetched in some environments. However, some hiring managers look for ways to avoid using the ATS, especially if they’ve either had issues in the past, or aren’t getting the results they want.

  • They might begin focusing exclusively on employee referrals, and not open jobs up to outside candidates right away. Even though employee referrals can be a strong way to meet talented  workers, it’s not a best practice for hiring managers to make this their only way of seeking candidates.
  • Hiring managers might decide to focus on social media as a way to engage with potential candidates. When they do, are they driving candidates back to your applicant portal?
  • If hiring managers are looking for ways around your ATS, ask them to discuss the issues or challenges they’re experiencing. Are they unhappy with the quality of candidates? Do they want more control over a specific hire? What can HR and hiring managers do to bring the ATS up to speed?

3. You’re having a difficult time narrowing your candidate pool

If your ATS is qualifying more applications than your hiring team can handle, or more than they’re looking for, then now might be a good time to revisit the way your ATS is qualifying them.

  • If your filtering options are too broad, it can let more candidates get through this level of your ATS screening.
  • Perhaps the places you’re sourcing candidates from no longer fit your needs. Posting jobs on social media, which we mentioned a moment ago, might not be the best way to narrow your candidate search.
  • In the end, you might decide to review the filters you use on job sites, and decide if you need to change the way you manage your online search for talent. Do you need to be more niche-focused with regards to skills or professional experiences? Is there a better or more focused job board than the ones you currently use?

Even if your ATS has been a solid fit in the past, now can be a good time to revisit the experience through the eyes of candidates and hiring managers. You might discover that your ATS is only part of the challenge, which can help you focus your search, and capture great candidates in the hot job market.


myStaffingPro’s applicant tracking software helps you source and score candidates, so you can solve your hiring needs quickly and effectively. Contact a representative today.

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