Team Building: Exploring Applicant Tracking Systems - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Exploring Applicant Tracking Systems

Labor seems to be a constant issue for those in the lawn care and landscape industry. This means you probably have at least one job posting up at all times and you have a number of resumes to sort through.

Because applying for jobs online is relatively easy, many unqualified applicants can think it’s “worth a shot” to apply whether they have the experience you’re looking for. When you have an abundance of applications and not a lot of time it can be daunting to go through them all, and you might get frustrated with a number of them not having the relevant skills or qualifications you mentioned in the posting.

It can be tempting to accept any resume submitted due to the constant need for workers but taking the time to be selective can help you hire employees who are going to stay for the long run. A tool you can consider using to help sort through job applicants is an applicant tracking system (ATS).

What Is an Applicant Tracking System?

An ATS helps collect, sort and analyze online job submissions. The system can evaluate applications for appropriate experience, skills, education or other qualifications you are looking for. An applicant tracking system help save time as they are able to sort out the top candidates for your HR team.

You can have an ATS scan resumes for keywords, work history, years of experience or whatever aspects matter most for that role. Some systems can rank applications so it’s easier to focus on those the system has identified as a great match.

They can also track where candidates found the job posting providing useful information on where to focus your recruiting efforts, and what platforms aren’t working.

Applicant tracking systems have a lot of different capabilities depending on the software you choose to use. Some of the common features include resume storage, keyword search, automated resume ranking and evaluation, pre-evaluation questions, and the ability to email candidates interview requests.

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates you can track them through the process showing if an applicant is on the first or second interview stage, if they’ve been extended an offer and more. A good ATS can keep candidates up to date if their application has been submitted successfully and if they’ve not been selected for an interview.

There are numerous applicant tracking systems to choose from each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some options to look at include JazzHR, Oracle Taleo, iCIMS and Greenhouse.

Pros and Cons of ATS

Because applicant tracking systems can easily sort through applications much faster than a person could, it cuts down on the wait time for a highly qualified individual and lowers the risk of them deciding to pursue and accept a job elsewhere.

One of the disadvantages to applicant tracking systems is that occasionally promising candidates can slip through the cracks. Some systems depend on keywords to identify good hires so sometimes an individual who didn’t include those keywords can be overlooked.

While applicant tracking systems weed out those who aren’t a good fit for a current job opening, it keeps the resumes on file so if another opportunity arises, the application can be flagged for that other position.

Some applicant tracking systems have difficulty reading certain resumes if they are formatted the wrong way and they can eliminate candidates due to an inability to read the information. Make sure you list the instructions for your candidates to follow so they are less likely to be overlooked by the system.

Applicant tracking systems can be a major help when it comes to sorting through resumes, but it’s important to remember they aren’t infallible.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.