Why an applicant tracking system is essential to hiring success

Two happy coworkers talking in office

4 mins, 13 secs read time

Let’s talk about today’s job market. It’s uncertain, unstable and confusing, but there are ways businesses can come out on top – and it starts with your recruiting process. An effective and structured recruitment process allows companies to attract, hire and even retain top talent.

That’s why it’s essential for growing organizations to invest in a great applicant tracking system (ATS) that can help optimize their long-term hiring efforts. In fact, Jobscan reports that 98.9% of Fortune 500 companies rely on an ATS to manage their hiring processes and improve their recruiting strategies.

We sat down with Jaime Engle, a Greenhouse advocate and Principal at Lantern Partners, to learn more about the most important factors to consider when investing in an ATS.

Greenhouse: We’d love to learn more about your story. What brought you into the hiring space? And has it been a linear path or has there been some twists and turns along the way?

I began my career in agency recruiting in 2013 and then went internal in 2015 to my first corporate recruiting role at Uptake Technologies. I was the 30th employee, but we grew to 850 employees in the three years I worked there. Later, I moved to B2B software and tech startups before landing in executive search, where I’m currently at.

It’s been pretty linear since it's typical to start in staffing and then develop an interest in going internal. Going back to the agency side was a twist for me, but I'm excited to level up my recruiting skills.

Greenhouse: You’ve worked in the recruiting space for a while and have a lot of experience with implementing and using an applicant tracking system. When is the ideal time to invest in an ATS as a growing business?

: Investing in an ATS is like making your first HR hire. People tend to make it a little later than they should, but usually around the 50th employee is when it makes sense.

If increasing headcount is one of the top three priorities for your business over the next 18 to 36 months, there is no greater investment than an ATS that will catapult your work forward rather than bogging down your recruiting team. Investing in an application tracking system should be aligned with those goals, and organizations should consider a robust ATS. My favorite is Greenhouse.

Greenhouse: How has it helped from an efficiency and automation standpoint?

I've primarily used Greenhouse in my seven and a half years of being an in-house recruiter, and I love how it empowers hiring managers and recruiting teams to manage the hiring process themselves because it's user friendly and intuitive. It's so easy to figure out that even those who aren’t recruiters can be partners and move candidates forward in the process themselves. Having a strong ATS is much more important when you're internal and can tailor it to the company culture because you're part of it and understand it. It's pretty essential for an internal recruiter to advocate for and invest in an ATS.

Greenhouse: What are some essential factors that recruiting teams should look for when evaluating and choosing an applicant tracking system?

If growing through headcount is the goal, then it’s important to find an ATS that supports and doesn’t inhibit that growth. Find an ATS that makes workflows more efficient, collaborative and streamlined.

From a bottom line perspective, does it make sense for the company to invest in it? Is the return on investment worth it? In my experience, there was always a need to hire software engineers and data scientists. If there are always evergreen positions or if you’re hiring year round, then it makes sense to consider an ATS solution.

Greenhouse: Given the current economic climate and unpredictable market, what advice do you have for businesses looking to optimize their ATS and recruiting processes?

Every business is currently trying to do more with less. When you're assessing an applicant tracking system, consider these questions:

  • Will this make my life easier or harder?
  • Will this tool help me move faster or will it be a roadblock?
  • If it helps me move faster, how can I harness that?

An ATS isn't working if it's the worst part of your day and prevents you from moving faster. A good ATS helps you accelerate your progress and propels you to the next level.

When I used Greenhouse, I checked our database of candidates before posting a job opening since I knew previous applicants already expressed interest and were familiar with the company.

That’s one of the most important reasons why a company should invest in an applicant tracking system. All of your previous work lives in one place, creating a single source of truth with an abundance of warm leads. That information can help strengthen your employer brand and is a great source for future talent.

Interested in scaling your sourcing and hiring needs? Learn more about Greenhouse Recruiting and Greenhouse Sourcing Automation by connecting with a member of our team today.

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