How to Help Recruiters Fall Back in Love With Your ATS

Choosing the right applicant tracking system for your business can be a complicated process. Chances are you’ve gone through the selection process more than once. You have pros and cons to weigh, price points to consider, multiple stakeholders to please.


Not to mention the ROI to calculate and efficiencies to examine. Not to mention the fact that there are over a hundred different ones available on the market. Even if you’re an absolute genius businessperson (which we’re sure you are), it can get complicated. It’s hard to make a choice, let alone the right one.


All too often we hear recruiting leaders share with us their struggles to both achieve and maintain widespread adoption of their applicant tracking systems. Recruiters were excited at first, but now they’re in the trenches and their love has waned. But you’ve got an ROI to prove, goals to meet, and a team to keep happy. So what do you do? ? How do you get them reinvigorated?


1. Ask them why they fell out of love

The current unemployment rate is at 3.5%. That’s lower than it’s been in decades. Fewer people are looking for fewer jobs. Things are becoming more specialized and competitive.


Long story short: it’s difficult to be a recruiter right now. Their jobs are challenging, and they always need help simplifying and accelerating the way they’re finding and engaging with talent. If your ATS isn’t living up to their evolving needs, you’re left with an unhappy team - or worse - rogue recruiters working outside the ATS. That’s where you need to step in.


Open up the dialogue and ask for their opinions. Give them an opportunity to be anonymous. Their pain points are likely valid, and even likelier something you’ll be able to address. Maybe they’re having trouble keeping leads warm. Maybe they feel like they don’t have enough recruiting sources. Whatever it is, open up communication so it can be fixed sooner rather than later.


2. Get Your Recruiters Wish List

If your recruiters are like most, they will be very quick to share with you what they think is wrong with your ATS system, and also how they "wish" it would work. Remember, this is the "car" that drives your recruiting strategy and in a sense we are making them drive a car that they didn't get to pick out, so by asking them what they'd like to change about the car (without suggesting that they are getting a new car) will help you to isolate those key elements that you might be able to fix using some creative methods and new technology that you can "drop in" to your ATS.


If your ATS is like most, your recruiters will share things like the following:

  • Takes too long to enter data. Most ATS systems were built to be highly configurable and to normalize data for reporting, but this also means that it can make it horribly hard to enter information easily, so your recruiters will spend hours each day doing data entry. No recruiter likes to be an overpaid data entry person, so they will likely just not do it, which means that your ATS will be void of data.

  • Parsing tool isn’t accurate. Sometimes recruiters will get a candidate resume via a Word doc or PDF and your ATS might not have very good parsing abilities so it completely butchers the candidate data, and while trying to solve the data entry problem for your recruiters it has now become a data-correction problem. This will also cause your recruiters to give up and fall out of love with your ATS and after 1-2 bad events they will give up on this feature.

  • Candidate data in ATS is out of date. Nearly 30% of candidate data goes bad every year as they switch jobs, move, change email addresses, get new skills, etc. If there's no easy way to update your ATS with outside information your ATS will never be the 1st place that your recruiters will search for past information, forcing them to rely on outside sites like Linkedin, job boards, and others places where there is updated information - again, having your recruiters devalue your ATS as an information source for candidate information.

  • Can't do marketing / messaging (especially not to social channels) Your ATS might have a field for the Linkedin profile, which will make it easy to link to an individual candidate, but recruiters are starting to do much more social recruiting on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Github, Meetup, Quora, Instagram and other sites. Hopefully you can easily add fields to support having these social ID's into your ATS so that they can start to track candidates on these channels, but just having hyperlinked fields in your ATS is just the beginning. If a recruiter has to click on every candidate, travel to their profile page, click to send a message, type a personalized message, send the message, copy the message return to your ATS to post that they send the message, and then go to the next candidate, you've now turned them into a manual marketer + data entry person that will limit their outreach to just a dozen or so people daily.

This is where you can get creative and where tools like ZapInfo can help you to add key functionality to your ATS system to "turn on" capabilities in your ATS without having to replace it.


ZapInfo is a companion application that can make any ATS fun to use again. It’s like taking an old car and putting a brand new dashboard inside and upgrading the stereo system with bluetooth so your recruiters can have all of the newest functionally of the fanciest ATS but the engine is still your original ATS system.


For example, ZapInfo makes it 1-click easy to Zap any profile of any candidate from any site, and then Zap them into your ATS via either intelligent form filling or via an API with most major ATS platforms. This is pure magic to most recruiters and allows for instant creating and update of your candidate data, which will actually encourage them to put as many people into your system as possible.


This also makes updating your ATS candidate data easy, by allowing you to Zap your old contacts within your ATS, and then run a profile update process that will harvest the up-to-date profiles for every candidate and then you can Zap them into your ATS again, refreshing the candidate data so that it's as close to updated as sites like LinkedIn are. Imagine how confident your recruiters will be if they continuously see that your ATS data is as updated as these outside sites, they will start searching and engaging via your ATS daily as their confidence builds.


ZapInfo also adds social recruiting capabilities to any ATS, so that your recruiters can instantly search, extract and engage with candidates on most social channels, allowing them to send personalized social messages to any candidate with 1-click. This also logs the engagement and they can update in your ATS with 1-click, helping them to build their skills on where and how they engage with talent - which is at the heart of every recruiters desire to improve their recruiting skills.

3. Re-introduce your recruiters on your new/old ATS

It's common knowledge that there’s high turnover in the recruiting industry. Add to that the speed at which ATS providers are releasing new products and features, you’re likely left with lots of new team members without the proper training.


When we say it’s important to re-invest in training, we mean a few things:


  • Dust off training materials. The documentation and support you received when you first implemented won’t be relevant forever. Proactivity when it comes to the latest, greatest training from your ATS provider is crucial.

  • Create a training schedule. You can’t just retrain everyone once and hope it will help. You'll want to schedule retraining for all your recruiters on, at the very least, an annual basis. Twice annual is ideal, but not all companies will have the time to achieve this. Either way, retraining will allow you to get employees refreshed on important base features and discover new ones.

  • Customize provided training to fit your company needs. Even if you receive a lot of training information from your ATS provider, that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone you employ. Not all people learn the same. The techniques that work for one of your recruiters might not have the same impact with others. Find out their preferred ways to learn and adapt provided training materials accordingly.

4. Help them understand data

To an especially busy recruiter, an applicant tracking system can feel like a hindrance. Inputting data takes time. Managing schedules in more than one place is a hassle. So on and so forth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.


While you know this, some of your employees might not. That’s why they not only need to be trained on how to use your ATS, they need to be shown how beneficial the data they’re collecting is as well.


For example, knowing which social sites, cities, and states you’re finding the best candidates can help recruiters narrow their searches. This data can be collected from social profiles and implemented in your ATS. Social profiles can also give you insight into reasons a candidate might have abandoned the process midway through. That’s not the only actionable information your recruiters could be missing out on, either.


ATS data can answer a lot of questions. Which roles are filling slower vs. faster? Are there trends in the information regarding rejected applicants? What about successful ones? If an applicant gets stuck in the funnel, are they jumping ship or trying again? This data will make your recruiter’s job easier… as long as they’re accessing it.


5. Count on customer support

Recruiters and candidates can become frustrated with the ATS they’re working with. You know this already. That’s why you’re reading this post.


What is easy to forget is that most ATS providers also offer high quality customer support. If problems arise and you don’t have the answers, you have immediate access to someone who does. Use it - that’s what it’s there for, after all.


Feeling less powerless when they’re stuck or frustrated will help your employees better love your applicant tracking system. Additionally, a Candidate Relationship Management system can help you better keep your candidates warm while you navigate road bumps.


Just because some love stories involve heartbreak doesn’t mean they all have to. To guarantee the story between your employees and your ATS has a happy ending, you’ll have to be a proper wingman. Listen to their pain points and make changes accordingly. Take additional time to implement training that works for each individual. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support as you need it.


These steps will lead to a positive, long-lasting, respect filled relationship. Both between your recruiters and your ATS and between you and your recruiters. If you’d like to make that process even easier, get in touch with the team at ZapInfo. We have the social sourcing and data management solutions you’re looking for. You can register to try them out for free in less time than it takes to write a Valentine.