The Essential Guide to ATS Optimization

Collectively our team has been in the Talent Acquisition market for decades, and over the years our clients are regularly asking us “why should we optimize,” and “when?”  In a time of unprecedented organizational change, rapidly changing labor markets, and constantly evolving technology having an efficient and well-tuned Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a must.  As your recruitment processes grow, and adapt to a dynamic Talent Acquisition environment, you’ll need a highly sophisticated system.  The challenge lies in the unknown; understanding how you are leveraging your ATS, and what enhancements are available are the first steps towards ensuring your recruitment process keeps pace with your organizational needs.  This article outlines the critical steps and decisions you’ll need to make when determining when and how to optimize your ATS.

Why Optimize Your ATS?

A recruitment process and corresponding system configuration that you built years ago may no longer suffice in a larger, more dynamic environment.  Organizational changes, different TA priorities, and evolving technology can result in your recruitment process feeling cumbersome or outdated.  Maybe a new leader has come in with different expectations and goals; or a shifting talent market means that strategies that were successful previously no longer yield the necessary results.  Optimization can uncover functionalities or alternate processes/configurations that can better align with your current needs. or that you weren’t even aware you needed.

When is the Right Time to Optimize Your ATS?

Similar to “why”, knowing “when” to do a system optimization is also critical.  What are the time, opportunity, and actual costs of carrying your inefficient processes and sub-optimal ATS configuration?  How are your older processes and configurations impacting your time to hire?  Do you trust the data and analytics coming out of your ATS?  When your process and tools aren’t optimized it’s hard for your team do to their jobs, and for your organization to accurately measure TA performance.  Optimization can help reduce the time to hire, improve your data integrity, reduce costs, and drive user performance!  If you’ve reached a point where your processes are no longer driving your expected results, or you can’t trust that everything is working as it should, it may be time to peek under the hood.

What You Need to Know Before Optimizing Your ATS

Optimization is not an overnight process; it requires time to assess, plan, design, and implement, before you can begin to enjoy the results. Understanding both the strengths and weaknesses of your current ATS is vital to a successful optimization.  Similarly, to be successful, we must understand your recruitment process and have a good grasp of your overall TA strategy.  Finally, involving key stakeholders is our standard practice.; having your recruiters and hiring managers involved alongside TA leadership ensures that your system is optimized to your organization’s needs.

Our clients have often let technology dictate how to design their recruitment process, adopting unnecessary constraints and reducing their own effectiveness.  We teach our clients to make their technology work for them and not against.  An ATS optimization will allow you to do just that.

The Outcomes of a Good ATS Optimization

After a successful optimization, your team will be set up for success.  Your recruiters will be happy spending more time recruiting and less time dealing with administrative tasks and processes that are now automated or streamlined. Your hiring managers will be able to interview more, better candidates and have the right visibility into the system. You will trust your data be able to make data-driven decisions. Finally, you will attract more, better applicants and your time to fill will decline.

Optimizing your ATS is not just about upgrading technology, it’s about aligning your system with your evolving needs and ensuring it supports your recruitment process.  An optimized ATS is a key driver for a more efficient, effective, and engaging recruitment process, and Velocity HCM can help you to build it.