Applicant Tracking System Myths, Debunked

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Many recruiters and hiring managers rely on a cloud-based applicant tracking system (ATS) to post jobs, schedule interviews, engage qualified candidates, and streamline their hiring process.

In short, an ATS is a critical component of countless companies’ talent acquisition strategies.

And yet, many TA teams lack the software today — some by choice — forcing them to rely on disparate tools and spreadsheets to drive their recruiting and inform their decision-making.

Why? Because they buy into the below myths and, thus, don’t deem ATS vital for their success.

4 misconceptions about applicant tracking systems

Here are four common ATS misconceptions we hear from some TA leaders and job seekers.

1) That AI dictates which prospects talent specialists engage and dismiss

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now commonplace in practically all ATS, in some form or another.

Many, including our complete TA solution, helps recruiters and talent specialists with several key tasks, including reviewing job applications, résumés, and candidates’ profiles at large.

What AI doesn’t do, though, is replace the human element of organizations’ recruiting efforts.

Take the Fast Resume Review functionality in our unified talent acquisition suite, for example:

  • Recruiters with Lever use this daily to speed up all the assessment of prospects in their pipeline.
  • In minutes, they can comb over prospects’ résumés and answers to custom application questions.
  • Based on this review, they can ‘skip’ (save for more in-depth review at a later time), advance (add to a nurture campaign), or archive (tag and ‘file away to potentially reach out to down the line) talent.

This evaluation is still conducted manually by those charged with screening talent, but Fast Resume Review nonetheless streamlines the task for them sans artificial intelligence.

That’s not to say AI can’t help in other ways (e.g., shortlisting prospects to evaluate, auto-archiving unqualified individuals, providing recommendations regarding which candidates to nurture).

It simply means artificial intelligence isn’t an ATS feature that can or should make important decisions regarding who talent organizations should or shouldn’t move forward with.

applicant tracking system

2) That recruiters reach out to leads in bulk without reviewing résumés

Another common applicant tracking system misconception revolves around talent outreach.

Some believe talent specialists use an ATS to simply send generic and generalized emails to prospects in bulk and don’t (or can’t) custom-tailor any of their candidate communications.

This technically may be true with legacy ATS that are short on talent-nurturing capabilities.

However, that’s not the case with modern applicant tracking systems that understand the importance of offering automated and intelligent email-nurturing functionality for TA teams — the kind that leads to higher conversions and a better candidate experience.

Lever users certainly have the option to send bulk emails, but they can do so in a personalized manner that ensures each candidate receives the most relevant and timely outreach.

That is to say, they don’t spam their sourced talent with the same messaging regarding roles. Rather, each prospect gets bespoke emails pertaining solely to a specific position of interest.

3) That the sole goal of an applicant tracking system is to serve recruiters

Yes, an applicant tracking system is only used by (you guessed it) talent teams. But that doesn’t mean an ATS isn’t beneficial for candidates as well. After all, leading ATS have features intended to help recruiters and TA specialists provide a high-quality CX to leads.

Just look at the talent acquisition strategy implemented by Lever customer TextNow:

  • Upon joining the business, the company’s new talent leaders saw its TA org used LeverTRM as its primary ATS and CRM solution. But it became clear the team wasn’t using our complete talent acquisition suite to its fullest potential.
  • Specifically, the talent leads saw many candidates its (high-priced) agency sourced for them were being largely ignored in Lever. In other words, the team wasn’t taking advantage of our CX-enhancing capabilities, like Lever Nurture.
  • By training their staff on how to make the most of LeverTRM (thanks to past experience using it) and moving their sourcing in-house, the TextNow TA org transformed its approach to connecting with and converting top candidates.
  • Just as importantly, the team ensured it could offer a world-class CX to prospective hires in its talent pool and never let a prospect ‘slip through the cracks’ of its recruiting process ever again.

“We’ve built out a kick-ass recruiting coordinator function where we’re educating candidates, making sure they’re informed, keeping them engaged, and nurturing them throughout the process,” TextNow Manager of Recruiting Operations Austin Nelson noted.

“We do all of that through LeverTRM.”

4) That an ATS is only something Fortune 500 companies need to succeed

A full-fledged applicant tracking system that helps their talent orgs improve communication and collaboration, streamline and automate many once-manual tasks, and enhance their core hiring metrics and KPIs is now table stakes for large-scale companies today.

  • But that doesn’t mean small and mid-sized businesses can’t benefit from an ATS either.

Even if your hiring ambitions are modest (i.e., looking to bring on just a few workers per month or quarter), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enable your talent team to source, nurture, interview, analyze, and rediscover talent more efficiently and effectively.

Just the opposite. A single-source-of-truth ATS with the above candidate relationship management (CRM) capabilities (like LeverCRM) empowers your TA org — no matter the size — to tackle crucial tasks with ease and stay on the same page regarding candidate activity.

From writing job descriptions (or, better yet, impact descriptions) and setting up custom nurture campaigns to analyzing real-time data related to leads and aiding HR with their onboarding process, the right ATS-CRM gives talent teams at SMBs and enterprises alike greater control over and confidence in their recruiting efforts.

Download our in-depth ATS Buyer’s Guide to find out how you can find the right solution that has both powerful applicant tracking system functionality and CRM capabilities.

ats buyer's guide