5 tips to gain Hiring Manager buy-in for a new Applicant Tracking System
If you’re currently implementing an ATS or have an ATS already in place, you might be experiencing the difficulties of getting Hiring Managers across your organisation to utilise the new system. The difficulty is that in a large organisation, the Hiring Manager could be anyone from a Catering Manager to a Professor of Medieval Anthropology. A Hiring Manager is a catch all term which encompasses any staff member overseeing the recruitment of new additions to a department. Engaging a group of people with such diverse skill sets, experience level and willingness to participate is complex. So, what can be done to gain Hiring Manager buy in?
Understand their challenges:
The better you understand your Hiring Managers, the better you can support them. If they struggle to find time to get to grips with a new system, create a directory of ‘how to’ guides – from recorded demonstrations up to manuals. Address their knowledge gaps in the initial system phasing and you have a better chance of each Hiring Manager being willing to use it. Leaving them to their own devices could easily alienate them from engaging with the system.
Before implementing a system, give plenty of notice. Internal emails, announcements, posters – any method you have at your disposal is good news for adoption rates. If you catch people unawares, prepare for the possibility of resistance and irritability.
Ensure adequate support:
Allocate team members to be points of contact while a new system rolls out. This could be creating a support email and taking it in turns to monitor queries. Utilise intranet forums and even offer face-to-face support clinics. This will not only build on support and give the opportunity for group coaching, but for Hiring Managers to meet and support one another and reduce their reliance on you and your team.
If your desire is for a Hiring Manager led, self-service system (Hiring Managers owning a significant chunk of recruitment activity, rather than just rubberstamping), be prepared to wait. Alison Miller of Lincolnshire County Council estimated that it took 8 months to see the change become fully operational. There will undoubtedly be teething pains while things settle down and Hiring Managers get used to their new responsibilities. The benefits in the long term will more than outweigh the difficulties in the short term.
Use your influencers:
Whether it is early adopting Hiring Managers to senior staff within the organisation (CEO, Head of Department, etc) – the more advocates for your new ATS system, the better. Cultural change is driven when new standards of acceptability are set. Embrace this and engage with your leadership team to ensure cooperation at the highest level.
So, while Hiring Managers can be the bane of your life, they can also become fantastic assets to a recruitment cycle – if they get the right support! The efficiencies your organisation can gain – be it time, financial or candidate experience – is worth the upfront time investment.