How Applicant Tracking Has Turned Hiring on its Head

Back when Ronald Reagan was president and young people were wearing pastel colors and big hair, the most effective way to find a job was to buy the Sunday paper, browse the want ads, and spend Monday trudging from one employer to the next filling out paper applications. Employers went through each and every application until they found a winner.

More than three decades later, things have changed dramatically. Online job applications are now the norm, and thanks to something known as applicant tracking, HR departments are spending a lot less time weeding through applications in order to line up interviews.

The TalentFocus and PayFocus solutions from Dallas-based BenefitMall both make use of applicant tracking technology. BenefitMall explains that applicant tracking has turned recruiting and hiring on its head. If you would like to know how, keep reading.

A Basic Explanation

Applicant tracking is more than just a new computer system. It is an entirely new way of looking at managing the recruiting and hiring process. It starts with a cloud-based software solution that connects hiring managers, the HR department, and job applicants in a single environment.

A typical applicant tracking system is managed by HR. Hiring managers can input their open jobs into the system on an as-needed basis. The system then posts those jobs on internal company servers and, where applicable, third-party jobs boards.

Applicants apply directly through the company’s system. Whether they find a job posting through an online board or by browsing the employer’s website makes no difference. Application is ultimately made inside the applicant tracking system. That is where the magic happens.

Centralized Data Collection

The benefits of the applicant tracking system quickly become apparent when applicants begin applying for an open position. The system acts like a centralized data collection point from that moment forward. Then the data can be used for a variety of purposes.

Let’s say a hiring manager posts a job with very specific criteria. The application for that job can include multiple touch points that link applicants who meet the requirements to that open position. Because the system works automatically, HR workers and hiring managers are not having to sift through hundreds of applications. The software does it for them.

Those applications that do not meet requirements for the open job are not dismissed or forgotten. Rather, they reside in the system along with their key data points. Should another job be listed at some point down the road, all of those existing applications will be screened for eligibility. Those that fit the requirements are then presented to hiring managers.

Data for Onboarding

Imagine the applicant tracking system guiding an application from submission all the way to hire. Now you have a new hire who needs to be onboarded. Guess what? All of the data entered during the recruiting process is automatically transferred to employment records. The HR and payroll systems are automatically populated without the new hire having to go through and enter all the data the second time.

Data essentially follows new hires all the way through the onboarding process. This makes for a more streamlined process not bogged down by endless mounds of paperwork and the extra time it takes to complete it.

Applicant tracking has turned hiring on its head by eliminating almost all of the unnecessary and duplicitous effort that goes into recruiting and hiring. Through automation and artificial intelligence, applicant tracking is giving the HR department and hiring managers more time to do more important things. It is giving job applicants access to more jobs, more employers, and more choices.