applicants in your handWith 52% of US employers still struggling to hire staff, the talent war is showing no signs of abate. CEOs are looking for ways to beat the competition in the race to sign top talent. Naturally, they will be expecting their HR teams to be putting forward proposals that will help the business to compete more effectively in the talent war. New HR and talent technology is one such potential initiative. Five years ago, applicant tracking technologies were merely supporting recruiting department workflow. The development which has occurred between then and now has generated enhanced functionality that can truly transform your talent attraction initiatives and put you ahead of your peers. Below, I have outlined seven of the most powerful and enabling new features that are now available today amongst applicant tracking systems. If you find your system lacks these capabilities, it may be a good time to find a system that includes them.

1.) Social-media Integration is a must

It is staggering to think that social-media was very much in its infancy: five years of mainstream adoption – which means that older applicant tracking systems can be forgiven for not being social-media integrated. However, with social recruitment very much in the mainstream today, it is not surprising to find that many existing recruiting software systems developed social functions recently and many new startups have developed with social technology in their core. This functionality will enable your recruitment team to quickly share and distribute jobs, globally, across all major media social-networks and to track applicants’ profiles and status updates.

So, if you want to effectively tap into what is a key recruitment channel in today’s marketplace, you should upgrade your software to gain this functionality.

2.) Smart Phone Integration also a Necessity

A recent survey by Comscore revealed that ‘77% of jobseekers use smart phones to find jobs‘. The market has responded to this and there are now a broad selection of applicant tracking systems on the market which enable some form of smart phone optimized access to your company’s jobs portal and candidate application system. If your current applicant tracking system does not support smart phone and mobile access, then you are ignoring a key recruitment channel and it is time to consider upgrading your software to gain this functionality.

3.) Cloud-Enabled Applicant Tracking Software – Can You Work from Anywhere?

The US and global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile; people need to be able to work effectively from the office, a satellite office, a client office, from home, a cafe, or even overseas. In fact, a Forrester survey suggests that nearly 50% of US employees are telecommuting.

Thankfully, over the last 3 or 4 years, cloud-enabled recruiting software – which allows recruiters to access the system from any computer with a browser and internet connection – has exploded on to the market. If your applicant tracking system is not cloud-enabled, but you currently have or could benefit from a mobile recruiting team, then it would be a good time to upgrade to cloud enabled software.

4.) Online Application Portal – Get Your Jobs to Market Faster

The idea of an online application portal which you publish to from the applicant tracking system is not a new thing. Yes, this functionality was around five years ago, but it was in a more basic form and was awkward for both candidates and recruiters to use. If you find your current job application portal cumbersome, or you simply don’t have one, then it may be a good time to consider a new system. This is because modern online applicant portals (connected to applicant tracking systems) are much more geared towards usability, they also allow you to publish directly to the popular jobs boards and job search engines – both these features will save you time and money.

5.) Enhanced Resume Parsing Functionality – More Targeted Shortlists

Resume parsing capability – which is where a system automatically reads resumes from e-mail/web applicants and creates shortlists – has improved dramatically. The algorithms are more sophisticated meaning that it can process a broader range of resume formats and delivers much better quality candidate matching, providing you with a much better quality short-list. If you are finding that your auto-generated short-lists are simply not targeted well enough, it is time to check the market for a potentially better option.

6.) Powerful Reporting

Do you find it easy to extract reports from your applicant tracking system? In fact, research shows that 38% of companies don’t even report on recruitment and of those that do, 62% of them rely on spreadsheets for their work-force reporting with most being dissatisfied with the quality and reliability of this approach.

If you recognize this scenario within your business, then it really is time to consider upgrading to a new applicant system as most modern systems come with powerful reporting capabilities and reliable recruitment metrics which will save you significant time and give the recruiting department greater visibility.

7.) Increased Task Automation – Save More Time

Automation is not a new thing and it is likely that your current recruitment software system will already automate many laborious manual tasks. But, the automation component of applicant tracking systems are constantly evolving and  it may be possible to automate tasks and workflow that you couldn’t automate five years ago. So, if you are finding that your team are still doing many laborious repetitive tasks, it is worth considering if a new system could automate some of it.

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