Transforming Recruitment: Harnessing AI and ATS for a Strategic Advantage banner


Transforming Recruitment: Harnessing AI and ATS for a Strategic Advantage

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Why adopt an ATS?

Have you considered the benefits of implementing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in your recruitment strategy? This powerful tool can streamline your hiring processes, enhance your overall recruitment effectiveness, and improve the candidate experience. It's particularly useful for onboarding remote employees and independent contractors, ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR, and reducing administrative burdens. The value an ATS can bring to your recruitment strategy is significant.

While traditional recruitment methods have their strengths in attracting talent and fostering personal connections, they also have significant limitations. These methods can be time-consuming, labour-intensive, and often limited in reach, making it difficult to access a diverse pool of candidates. The manual processes involved can lead to inefficiencies and biases, potentially overlooking highly qualified individuals. As a result, while traditional recruitment methods have their merits, they may not be sufficient in addressing the complexities and demands of modern talent acquisition.

Did you know that UK companies typically invest a staggering 27.5 days in hiring an employee, excluding the training and onboarding periods? This duration can stretch even further in group hiring scenarios, making the need for an efficient hiring process even more crucial. With the right tools and strategies, such as an ATS, you can take control of this process and significantly reduce the time and resources spent on recruitment. This empowerment allows HR professionals to make strategic decisions that can shape the future of their organisations.

Making a bad hire can be a costly mistake, and it's not an isolated incident but rather a frequent occurrence. According to a report from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), 85% of HR decision-makers interviewed admitted to making a bad hire. The financial and temporal expenses of repeating the recruitment process can be significant. They can also adversely affect staff morale, reduce productivity, and potentially damage a company's reputation and brand. This underlines the urgency of adopting an ATS to minimise the risk of bad hires and their potential impact on your business.

What are the current ATS adoption trends?

Companies' adoption of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) has been steadily increasing. According to JobScan's survey reports, over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies utilise ATS. Additionally, 66% of large companies (defined as having more than 250 employees) and 35% of small organisations (with 249 or fewer employees) rely on these systems.

An ATS streamlines and oversees a company's recruitment process by centralising and organising job applications, resumes, and candidate data. It automates tasks such as resume parsing, matches candidates to job criteria, and facilitates applicant communication. It reduces time-to-hire by generating job descriptions and assessing candidate suitability with AI assistance, enhances the candidate experience, and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion by identifying untapped talent pools

Companies using applicant tracking systems gain valuable insights into their recruitment process, such as time to hire and cost per hire, enabling them to refine and improve their recruitment strategies.

How is AI enhancing the use of ATS?

AI-powered Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are designed to optimise every step of the hiring process. From scanning resumes for key skills and qualifications to predictive analytics that can identify potentially successful qualified candidates, these systems are becoming a central part of HR and recruitment strategies.

This means a quicker and more efficient hiring process for employers. For job seekers, it is a new landscape to navigate. By integrating AI into ATS systems, companies can automate administrative tasks and perform sophisticated analyses of candidate data.

A survey undertaken by Hays found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of employers anticipate that staff will use AI tools in the future. Additionally, AI technology has demonstrated significant potential in sourcing and evaluating talent.

According to a recent article in SelectSoftware Reviews, the latest ATS statistics show that:

  • 25% of businesses plan to implement AI-driven ATS software by 2027.
  • 88% of businesses already use AI in their hiring process.
  • Approximately 25% of organisations use AI or automation to support activities on behalf of human resources (HR), with
  • 79% of organisations have integrated AI or automation directly into their ATS. (Source: SHRM)
  • 64% of survey respondents currently use AI or automation to filter out unqualified candidates and
  • 62% of hiring managers agree that AI can help source better job candidates. (Source: HRD)
  • 37% of HR professionals believe that AI reduces bias within the traditional hiring process

Selecting the right ATS

Choosing the right AI-powered ATS is not a decision to be taken lightly. Recruiters must navigate a complex landscape of factors, from cost and features to technical compatibility and compliance. They must also be mindful of potential biases and limitations inherent in AI technology to ensure fair and effective recruitment outcomes.

Without human insight, AI-enhanced algorithms can embed bias into an organisation's entire recruitment process. An example of this was Amazon’s ill-fated AI recruitment tool, which was proven to be gender skewed, having been built on data predominantly submitted by male applicants over a 10-year period! Although AI offers an efficient method for screening large volumes of candidates, the absence of personal interaction may inadvertently exclude individuals who excel in face-to-face discussions.

Therefore, it is crucial to validate AI-led decision-making, ensuring optimal human input and testing. Nonetheless, recruitment processes that achieve a harmonious balance between human judgment and technology stand to benefit both employers and candidates in the future.

The Advantages of an AI-powered ATS

AI-powered ATS systems vary significantly in quality and capability. While some function as basic resume processors, others excel as advanced champions of the candidate experience. Here are key AI features to look for in an ATS:

Automate elements of the screening process:

The ability to analyse and match candidates’ qualifications and experience with job requirements helps recruiters shortlist candidates who are the best fit for the position, saving time and effort.

CV screening:

Cover letters and CVs are analysed to extract pertinent data, such as accomplishments, education, experience, and skills. Candidates can also be ranked based on suitability, eliminating unfit or irrelevant applicants.

Resume parsing and ranking:

Efficiently sifting through extensive applications, swiftly pinpointing and prioritising top candidates according to diverse criteria such as recruiter-defined parameters, requisite skills and experience, and alignment with organisational culture.

This functionality employs natural language processing (NLP) to analyse resume content and assign scores based on the alignment of a candidate's qualifications with the job description. As a result, you can promptly identify top talent within your applicant pool, saving numerous hours that would otherwise be spent manually reviewing resumes.

Assist with job posting:

The creation and dissemination of job postings across diverse online platforms, job boards, and social media networks such as LinkedIn. Some advanced ATS systems can also recommend appropriate job titles and keywords to optimise job descriptions, enhancing job listings' visibility and effectiveness.

Candidate sourcing:

Employing AI algorithms to search for potential candidates across multiple sources, including online job portals, social media platforms, and internal databases, enables recruiters to broaden their talent pool and identify passive candidates effectively.

Candidate matching:

Identification of the most suitable candidates for each job posting by assessing their profiles against job requirements and corporate culture. Additionally, it can identify passive candidates who may be interested in exploring your job opportunities.

Candidate engagement:

Assist recruiters in nurturing a talent pipeline and maintaining a quality talent pool by automating communication with candidates, scheduling interviews, and even predicting a candidate’s future success in a role based on historical data and sophisticated algorithms.

Candidate communication:

Automated communication features in ATS systems, including chatbot integrations, streamline the candidate experience by promptly sending acknowledgement emails, interview invitations, and rejection notifications. These tools ensure professionalism and efficiency throughout the hiring process, enhancing their perception of your organisation while optimising HR resource utilisation. Chatbots, gamification, and virtual reality can also make the application process more engaging.

Interview scheduling:

A feature that allows recruiters to schedule interviews with candidates directly within the system, eliminating the necessity for extensive back-and-forth communication.

Predictive analytics:

Utilising historical hiring data to predict outcomes, such as candidate performance and tenure, enhances decision-making by providing informed, data-driven insights. This capability optimises recruitment strategies progressively over time.

Bias reduction:

AI employs objective standards and data-driven techniques to mitigate human bias and discrimination in hiring decisions. It also monitors and identifies potential instances of bias, such as disparities based on race or gender, within your hiring process.

Diversity and inclusion Tools:

Advanced AI-driven ATS systems combat unconscious hiring bias by anonymising applications and stripping away identifying details like names, photos, and addresses. This approach enables recruiters to evaluate candidates based solely on qualifications, skills, and experience, fostering a more inclusive hiring process. By incorporating features that identify and mitigate biases in job descriptions and applicant data, these platforms support diversity and inclusion initiatives and ensure compliance with record-keeping requirements.

ATS re-engagement:

Automatically reconnect with previous candidates for new job openings that match their skills and experiences. This feature provides recruiters with access to a pre-vetted talent pool, allowing them to leverage existing resources before initiating new candidate searches. This capability saves valuable time and resources by eliminating the need to start the candidate search process from scratch for each new position, utilising a repository of potential matches already present in the ATS.

Keeping it real

With the advancement of automation and AI, ATS systems are increasingly capable of handling repetitive tasks, allowing HR and recruitment professionals to concentrate on adding strategic value to their organisations. However, these systems also present challenges like algorithmic biases and data security concerns. It is crucial to be proactive by monitoring performance, verifying results, and continuously reviewing and refining the system's algorithms while ensuring rigorous data security measures.

Human oversight and intervention remain essential in the hiring process. AI is designed to enhance the capabilities of recruiters and HR managers, not replace them. It enables them to hire the best talent and focus more on candidate care and other strategic aspects of their roles that require human attention.

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