Why a good ATS is at the heart of every startup plan6 min read
Taking a leap of faith and starting a company can be fraught with challenges. We already know that startup hiring can easily become a founder’s nightmare if it’s not properly thought out ahead of time. While you begin to plot your company’s exponential growth, it’s important to also plan the hiring of new employees to support your startup plan. Without a proper talent acquisition plan in place, you may find very quickly that you:
- spend more time trying to attract candidates than on your primary tasks;
- wind up with subpar talent or struggle to hire the right profiles;
- fail to engage good candidates when they do apply.
In startups, the early days are critical. Without the right talent, your ship will sink. Sunken hours in fruitless tasks can easily translate into lost production time, customers, and deals.
Applicant tracking systems can offer loads of benefits when it comes to getting started early and planning your talent acquisition strategy. Below we’ll discuss some of the key benefits and how having a good ATS at the heart of your startup plan can help your businesses grow faster.
What is an ATS?
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) do exactly what they say on the tin: track your candidates throughout the hiring process. From application to final offer, your ATS should be able to give you and your team complete visibility over your talent pipeline. Generally, an ATS should:
- Aim to save recruitment teams time, effort, and money.
- Manage the process of attracting, vetting, and qualifying the right candidates.
- Improve the communication between internal hiring parties and external candidates.
- Improve talent acquisition strategy by giving improved visibility over measuring your recruitment and goals for recruiting teams.
- Reduce paperwork and improve documentation in the hiring process.
- Provide an internal database of candidates to draw from when a requirement arises.
For most startups, an ATS is rarely among their first investments or even worked into the startup plan. After all, why do you need to track the two candidates you hire over the space of a couple months? Why would you need an overview of a talent pipeline that is very sparsely populated?
An ATS is an important investment because, hopefully, you won’t be a startup forever. You’ll need a startup plan that can scale and that should include your hiring. An ATS will help you grow faster in four ways:
1- Set solid foundations for hiring
Everything at the beginning of a startup and in a startup plan is about balancing growth and laying solid foundations. This principle should extend to your hiring. It can be easy to be lured into starting your hiring just using Gmail, spreadsheets, and maybe a couple folders on your desktop to store all of your candidate information. While this may work for the first couple of hires, soon you’ll find that your recruitment “system” is no longer fit for purpose. Processes will start to feel as if they are duct taped together. And the manual tasks associated with using too many tools for one job (hiring) may begin to result in:
- Poor candidate experience: missed emails, applications that go with no response, poorly prepared interviews can all leave perfectly qualified candidates with a sour experience.
- Growing time to hire: long delays and time wasted going back and forth by email to find times to interview can negatively impact your time to hire. With a growing time to hire, good candidates may be snapped up by the competition!
- Poorly maintained candidate data: No one wants to risk a GDPR violation, and keeping candidate data spread across emails and spreadsheets can pose a substantial risk.
- Lost candidate opportunities: Talent pools are a great opportunity to engage with candidates who have previously applied to your positions. As a growing startup, some candidates may not be fit for a position at the moment, but maybe later as you scale. Unfortunately, if you cannot keep track of them, you may be missing out on prospective talent that is already engaged with your brand.
An ATS solves many of these issues by centralizing your hiring onto one platform. While at the first couple hires it may seem excessive, you’ll certainly thank yourself later. Having a centralized system early on will help you scale seamlessly as you add progressively more people to your team.
2- Start reporting to optimize
In every startup plan, there will be some metrics and KPIs to track. In order to optimize your processes and grow, you have to first measure. The same should be true for your hiring. And just like your commercial metrics, there will be many ways of measuring your recruitment: acceptance to offer rates, time to hire, quality of hire, and more. But only if you have a system in place to do so.
An ATS can offer multiple reports to monitor, track, and optimize your recruitment. One of the most used reports in Recruitee is the time to hire report, which breaks down by role, how long each candidate spends on average in each stage of the recruitment process. This report is handy particularly because it can point out bottlenecks at different steps in your hiring. With this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to optimize your process.
3- Begin with an awesome candidate experience
The candidate experience is a crucial part of converting the right candidates into great employees. But there are a couple elements that are required to get it right: a good employer brand, great communication, and an easy application process. Without a central tool like an ATS to support your improvements in these areas, the candidate experience can start to feel like a very daunting task.
A good ATS should be able to bolster your employer brand, promote timely and effective communication and streamline your application process. With Recruitee, you can build your very own careers site that can become your primary platform for showcasing your employer brand. Tell your candidates about your company, mission, and perks (with a few employee photos) to make sure they know who you are. A stronger employer brand early on will assist in building a better candidate experience to carry with you as you grow.
Not all ATS offer a strong employer branding feature pack, however, most should at least be able to help streamline your communication and applications. Your ATS should also be able to assist in tracking your communication in one place, ensuring that no email goes missing or application unseen. Finally, many ATS offer an improved application process on the candidate-side, with information fields pre-filled from social profiles and easy to answer screening questions. Both of these elements will help you build a better candidate experience and attract great talent early on.
4- Set yourself apart from other companies
Despite its importance, many founders fail to build a recruitment strategy or an ATS into their startup plans. Many prefer to start their hiring with an amalgamation of tools, which they may soon outgrow. This means that with a good ATS implemented in your team, you’ll be able to set yourself apart in your hiring. With great communication, a clear employer brand, and measurable hiring outcomes to help improve your process, you’ll be well on your way to making great hires.
ATS at the heart of your startup
Bootstrapping your business doesn’t mean you should cut corners when it comes to your recruitment. In fact, laying sturdy hiring foundations should be an important feature in your startup plan. You will need an all-star team to propel your startup from the start and an even better one to keep it growing later on. Make sure you’re prepared to scale your business and your team with the right software to support your goals.