What do Small Businesses Want in an ATS?

Bennett Sung Corporate Recruiting, Market Trends, Staffing

Small businesses, or those with less than $100 million in annual revenue, are big consumers of applicant tracking system software, according to online ATS reviewer Software Advice. Their needs are distinct from those of large enterprises as well. Here are some insights from Software Advice on what small businesses want in this kind of recruiting technology:

Manual is On the Way Out
Most small-business ATS buyers in 2014 still use manual processes like email and spreadsheets to track their candidates. However, this proportion decreased from 2013, when 67 percent of small businesses managed candidates manually. Now, only 60 percent do.

"Very small companies [that] don't have any software and are just using Excel spreadsheets" are a fairly common ATS buyer type, according to HR consultants Hugo Perreira and Timote Geimer. "When they start growing they realize they need a solution."

ATS Software Helps Companies Grow
Small businesses in Software Advice's research tended to say they needed an ATS to support growth, as well as for efficiency reasons. Past a certain point, it is no longer practical to manage a mass of spreadsheets and email inbox folders to keep track of relationships with candidates and potential candidates. For companies that are entering a phase of concentrated growth, it may be necessary to hire rapidly in order to scale up to meet current business needs. Inefficient tracking processes can slow the entire recruitment timeline to a crawl, which is bad for business. With the right applicant tracking system, however, companies can hire quickly and even create a candidate funnel for future recruitment needs.

Certain Features are In Demand
Small businesses looking for a new ATS, or for one to replace their current version, have specific features in mind that they want. One of the most popular in 2014 is social media and job website integration. Small companies want their ATS to post job openings for them to the places where job seekers are most likely to look, and many gave this ability as a primary reason they'd upgrade an existing system.

Small businesses also want a searchable database, reporting functions and resume parsing in their ATS solutions. This means just any ATS will not be the right solution for every small business, and decision-makers must do their research to obtain the software that is right for them.

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