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Does ATS Work for You or Against You When Hiring for Engineering Jobs?

The Pros and Cons of Using an ATS in the Hiring Process

Are you considering embedding an ATS into your hiring process for your vacant engineering jobs? Could it make your recruitment process smoother and more efficient?

ATS, or applicant tracking systems, have been hailed as the answer to hiring faster and more effectively. They certainly offer many advantages. However, these are accompanied by disadvantages when not used properly. These must be taken into account when hiring for engineering talent.

In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of using an ATS to help you benefit from the advantages and eliminate the disadvantages. This way, you should maximize the effectiveness of your hiring strategy.

What Is an Applicant Tracking System?

ATS is software that helps hiring companies to manage their recruitment workflow. Depending on the ATS you choose, it can do a range of hiring tasks for you – from jobs posting to interview feedback.

One of the most used applications within an ATS is resume review, helping to reject candidates based upon screening for minimum requirements.

The Advantages of ATS

Let’s start with the good stuff – how an ATS could benefit you.

ATS can help you identify the best candidates

ATS reviews resumes at lightning speed, and can identify those with the minimum qualifications and experience. This helps you to respond to quality candidates faster, and that can make a significant difference when hiring for engineers: the most talented tend to get hired fast.

ATS can automate repetitive tasks

At every step of the recruitment process, there are tasks that must be conducted. Many of these, like sending follow-up emails, are labor intensive.

Using an ATS system, you can automate many repetitive tasks, such as posting to jobs boards and initial resume reviews, as well as using it to schedule interviews and remind candidates of next steps. This reduction in time allows HR and hiring managers to focus on more meaningful work.

ATS can improve the candidate experience

It’s crucial to stay connected to candidates throughout the hiring process, but this can be challenging. The features of an ATS include sending out standard letters, giving feedback after interviews, and ‘managing’ at each step of the process. The result is a more satisfying candidate experience, which reflects positively on your brand as a preferred employer.

ATS can improve speed of hire

The best engineering talent will not hang around to hear from a hiring manager. If your hiring process doesn’t move along and keep candidates informed at each step in a timely fashion, you risk losing the best. An ATS can speed up your hiring process.

ATS can help you develop an engineering talent pool

When all your applicant details are entered into an ATS, even those who are rejected will remain in the system. This can be a fantastic way to improve your talent pool, and match previously rejected candidates to more suitable vacancies.

The Disadvantages of ATS

There’s always a flipside to the coin, and before you invest in an ATS – or if you are already using one in your business but are experiencing mixed results – you should be aware of its disadvantages when not used properly.

ATS can eliminate the best candidates

ATS is a computerized system, and like all computerized systems the output is only as good as the input.

When an ATS reviews a candidate’s application or resume, it will search for skills, experience, and qualifications that you specify. If a candidate doesn’t use the same keywords that you specify to the ATS, that candidate could be rejected. Similarly, if you have asked for seven years of experience and a candidate only has six, he or she will be rejected despite being the most suitable candidate otherwise. This is why properly setting your keywords you are searching for is very important.

ATS may not integrate with your current systems

If you are adopting an ATS for the first time, it will need to integrate with your existing HR systems. This may take input, work, and investment from your IT team. If integration isn’t possible, you could eliminate many of the advantages of an ATS in your hiring process. Take the time to select the right ATS that would best suit your company’s needs.

ATS is a computerized system – it can be temperamental

Being a computerized system, an ATS can be frustrating. For example, if resumes are not formatted in a specific way, your ATS may not scan it properly. These resumes may then be rejected, and you’ll miss talented candidates.

ATS can be tricked by poor candidates

Candidates who know how to play the ATS game can trick your system into believing they are ideal for your vacant engineering role. You’ll be wasting time interviewing candidates based on no more than their ability to litter their resumes with the keywords your ATS is searching for.

Should You Invest in ATS?

An ATS is an investment. If it works well, it can help you to hire more effectively and efficiently. However, while helping you to automate many repetitive processes – which can streamline your hiring process – it does have its downsides if not set up properly. The most harmful of these is that you can miss the best candidates, because of a lack of proper keywords. Take the time to properly set up your ATS keywords to avoid this.

The bottom line is that while an ATS can help you, it can never replace the experience and human quality of a recruiter. The best ATS may help you hire quality candidates, but a specialized staffing agency will help you hire the best candidates.

To learn how you can leverage our experience and expertise, our networks, and our capability as a service provider to reduce the workload on your HR department and boost your talent acquisition, contact Precision Personnel today.

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