How To

5 Ideas to Turn Your ATS From Graveyard to Playground

Candidate experience is one of the biggest things that recruiters should be focusing on in order to improve both attraction and retention. From the first time they hear about your agency to the communication they receive letting them know they have a job offer, ensuring a positive experience is essential to building a successful reputation and maintaining a talented candidate base.


Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) is a great method of improving candidate experience, allowing you to automate communication to increase engagement and helping to streamline your recruitment process so that everything takes less time. But if candidate experience is still something you’re trying to improve, here are five actionable ideas to help change your ATS from a graveyard to a playground.


Create a Candidate Community from your Database


Feeling connected to a brand or a community massively decreases the likelihood that you’re going to leave, and therefore a great way to improve candidate experience and make the most of the data provided by your ATS is to focus on facilitating a connection between your candidates. 


The best way to start establishing a feeling of community is to offer exclusive perks to those in your database that instantly make them feel more special and prioritised by your agency. You can advertise these perks to those outside of the community both to try and encourage them to join and also to create more of a feeling of exclusivity and advertise your candidate pool as a group with benefits.


These benefits can include 1-to-1 sessions for recruitment and career advice, salary benchmarking, access to webinars or in-person events and access to content you share such as email newsletters, videos and guides.


You can also encourage your candidates to interact with one another by providing them with a digital platform on which to do so, allowing them to form relationships and build more of a sense of community without having to make any of these links yourself. This can be particularly useful if you include candidates who have previously been placed in roles, as you can facilitate networking opportunities which is a big benefit for those joining your recruitment processes.

Community of Candidates


Enrich your Data using a Third-Party Tool 


If you want your recruitment strategy to be as effective as possible, it needs to have its roots in data. And if your data isn’t up-to-date, your entire approach to candidate attraction, experience and retention is going to be affected.


Using third-party data tools can help you to avoid this problem and really enrich your database, allowing for a great understanding of your applicants and what they’re looking for. Tools such as ZoomInfo, Lusha, Apollo and Congnism are a great place to start, helping you to get rid of any outdated data and ensure that you’ve got the insight you need to give your target audience what they want.


Not only will using these tools keep your data current, but it can also provide further insight that will give you a better understanding of the kind of challenges potential candidates are facing, the topics they are interested in, and the kinds of roles that are most popular at the moment. Understanding what your target audience is doing means that you can more effectively target them with your marketing material and ensure that you’re offering the kind of recruitment services that candidates really want.


Use Email Marketing to Better Understand Your Candidates


Email marketing is an incredibly valuable channel when it comes to candidate attraction and conversion, but you can also use it to improve the candidate experience by gathering data from your mailing list and enhancing your understanding of those on your database.


Using email marketing software, which you may be able to integrate with our ATS, allows you to create personalised pathways for automated emails delivery that are dictated by how a reader interacts with a message. For example, if in one of the first emails they receive, a recipient shows an interest in content about career development, you can create a system where they will receive more content related to this in the future, improving engagement and providing them with more relevant value.


Having access to this kind of tool is not only incredibly useful in terms of improving engagement, but it also gives you access to a lot of data about the kind of content your candidates and potential candidates are interested in and which kinds they are less keen on reading. You can use this data to inform not only the content you produce in the future, but also which topics you speak about in your outreach to new prospects and the kinds of things that you can offer your candidate database that they will find valuable.


Gmail Inbox


Create an Exciting Referral Program


Referrals are one of the most successful ways in which you can grow your candidate database, as there’s no better publicity than having your praises sung by someone who can honestly vouch for your recruitment services. But it’s also a great way to utilise recruitment software and engage those who are currently in your candidate database by offering rewards for referrals.


There are all kinds of referral programs out there, and you can tailor yours depending on the demographic that makes up your candidate database and the kinds of things they find valuable. In some cases, offering a monetary reward or item for successful referrals will provide the biggest incentive, whilst other groups may be more motivated to participate when additional recruitment services or a discount on your fees is offered.


You can also create a tiered referral scheme if just one level of incentivising referrals proves to be successful, increasing the rewards that candidates gain access to the more people they refer. This again can be a great way of building a sense of community, although be wary of creating ‘tiers’ among your candidates that lead to some people feeling underappreciated.


  • Develop Easy Processes to Standardise ATS Use


Finally, another way to make the most out of your ATS and improve candidate experience is to develop easy-to-follow operational processes that ensure all members of your recruitment agency are working together.


One of the most important ways you can do this is by ensuring that all new employees, including consultants, are onboarded so that they know how to use your ATS properly. Nothing ruins candidate experience faster than delays or misunderstandings because of a lack of experience with an ATS, so it’s really important to ensure that everyone in your agency is familiar with the software.


These processes could involve encouraging departments to share their successes and linking back to the data that inspired these successes or that they have gathered because of it, ensuring that everyone understands the motivation behind certain decisions and actions. You also want to make sure that all of your teams are aware of overall company goals and understand how their word feeds into this, instead of having siloed departments with completely different functions.


Finally, ensure that there is a process in place that means all of your marketing activity is pulling back into your ATS. Tease out data from this that may help to improve how you use this software, and ensure that candidate attraction and conversion marketing efforts can seamlessly feed into including someone new in an ATS.


Creating Processes




Candidate experience is one of the biggest factors that not only impacts how successful you are with onboarding, retaining and successfully matching applicants with the right role but also affects the success of your entire inbound marketing strategy. Ensure that you are getting the most out of your ATS in order to improve this as much as possible, but also think about the other ways in which you can take the data gathered by this system and use it to benefit your candidates further, like in the suggestions we’ve given above.


If you’re a recruiter looking for ways to improve candidate experience and better understand how the data from your ATS can improve your marketing strategy, Growth Recruits can help. Get in touch and speak to someone from our team to find out more about the services we offer and how we can take your ATS from graveyard to playground.