Manually looking through all the applicants to every vacancy can take a huge amount of time – but an Applicant Tracking System screening is here to help!

An oversubscribed position can prove as draining on your time and resources as its under-filled counterpart. Quantity does not mean quality, and searching for a glimpse of talent within a high volume of CVs and application forms can be exhausting.

A comprehensive screening process is invaluable.

Here’s our 3 stage checklist:

  1.  Determine your criteria

Do you have a consistent criterion against which to measure your candidates? Ensure it relates back to the original job description and keep it as specific as possible. 

  1. Connect with your colleagues

Are more than one of you screening candidates? Make sure you all have the same criteria in front of you, a shared understanding of the role’s key responsibilities and similar expectations of who you’re seeking for the role. 

  1. Start with the basics

Do candidates have the right to work in the UK? If you have hundreds of applications to wade through, begin with the simplest of screening questions to start filtering unsuitable candidates.

With that sorted, how could an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) help you out?

  1. An ATS provides order

Consider the time you spend wading through stacks of CVs or opening an onslaught of email attachments for popular roles. And how about the mammoth Excel spreadsheet needed to keep track of all those applications?

Now close your eyes, just for a moment, and visualise the calm, crisp order of an ATS. Imagine that central, cloud-based database within which all your candidate data sits, ready for you to view in one fell swoop. Picture the seamless integration with your existing HR systems to keep everything neatly in one place. And then breathe…

  1. Applicant Tracking System screening helps you to filter candidates…

Using screening question tools can help you to begin to filter through the noise and determine some of the basics at a glance, such as the right to work in the UK, as we mentioned above.

If you’re looking for more detail, some Applicant Tracking Systems can offer more sophisticated screening tools such as questions that are specific to a certain role. For positions which are particularly over-subscribed, these questions can help you to quickly establish whether a candidate possesses the specific qualifications of experience needed.

  1. …and then helps you contact them quickly 

Once you’re ready to progress candidates to the next stage of their application process, say goodbye to arduous copying and pasting email addresses or sending multiple messages.

Instead, sit back and enjoy the efficiency as your ATS delivers automatic bulk emails, professionally branded and personalised, to each shortlisted candidate.

  1. An ATS makes it simple to share

Sharing candidate details with your colleagues and managers over email, memory stick or shared spreadsheet can be inefficient and potentially insecure.

An Applicant Tracking System should allow you to share jobs, folders and candidates simply and securely – and you should also have control what they see. If you only want to share shortlisted candidates or a certain pool of applicants, you can set these permissions within your ATS.

Using an Applicant Tracking System cannot totally replace human judgement.

And it shouldn’t. We’ve all known tales – and perhaps even starred in them – of the candidates who didn’t quite meet the criteria or didn’t have required experience but caught the eye of a recruiter with their personality, enthusiasm or candour and went on to be outstanding team members.

But Applicant Tracking System screening tools really can make a difference.

At the Hireserve User Group, Rob Hargrave, Shared Services HR Project Management at the University of York, spoke to the audience about his team’s experience of ‘Job Specific Questions’, the next step on from preliminary screening questions.

With some roles greatly oversubscribed, these not only ensured the University was able to collect relevant information about candidates for specific roles upfront, but also led to higher drop-off rates of unsuitable candidates, put-off by the screening process.

Normally, of course, we’re advocates of the shortest, simplest application process possible, to aid candidate experience. But for organisations facing mass applications for specific vacancies, stemming the flow with an additional layer of screening questions can make a real difference.

Rob Hargrave shared that the use of Hireserve’s Job Specific Questions actually saved his department half an FTE (Full Time Equivalent). That team member is now able to spend time on more valuable tasks.

Use your Applicant Tracking System to make life that little bit easier for you. Combine technology with professional experience and human instinct. And make sure you understand exactly what screening tools your ATS can provide you with to make a positive difference to your screening and recruitment process.

What’s next?

Find out more about our Applicant Tracking System

Hear more from the Hireserve User Group – social recruiting

Discover the importance of candidate experience

If you’d like to find out more or talk to us, please do!

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.