How can Hireserve ATS help public sector recruitment teams?

On this page, we’re going to explore all elements of public sector hiring and the role that an Applicant Tracking System, like Hireserve ATS, can play in supporting HR and Recruitment teams.

You’ll find links to relevant blog posts, case studies, resources and features in focus.

With over 20 years in the recruitment software space and experience working with dozens of public sector bodies, local authorities and government organisations, we’re uniquely placed to understand your challenges.

So how can we help you?

Let’s start with the beginning of your journey as a university or college HR & Recruitment team, and why you might need this page in the first place: Your pain points.

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“We are always looking for ways to continue saving time and money for the Council, and to increase efficiencies in the Resourcing Team. With Hireserve ATS, I am confident we can do this. The system seems to have endless capacity for change.”

Features in Focus

Public sector recruitment pain points and challenges

More so than ever, we’re aware of the challenges facing local authorities and agencies, and the communities that they support.

As HR and Recruitment professionals, it’s likely you’re working with tighter budgets than ever, but with an ever-increasing pressure to place the diverse talent you need – particularly in services roles.

Each organisation is unique, so you may be facing additional challenges to the ones we’ve covered below. (If this is the case, why not talk to us about how we can help you?)

But, in our experience, these are some of the most recruitment common pain points for councils, public bodies and government agencies:

Local talent shortages

For local authorities in particular, you may face challenges in terms of sourcing talent in your local area. This may be especially difficult in more rural areas across the UK, with smaller populations.

There’s also the needs of your local community to consider. Public sector organisations in certain areas may have more demand for particular service areas – which again can result in sourcing challenges for you.

Compounding the considerations of your local talent pool are general sector shortages. Whether in education, front-line health or social care, some jobs are inevitably going to be harder to fill than others due to a lack of qualified candidates across the board.

What can help? We’ve made it all sound doom and gloom, haven’t we! Thankfully there are a few Applicant Tracking System tools which should be able to help. Build talent pools and use branded, personalised automated email communications to keep your passive talent engaged.

Your professional careers site should also support your hiring efforts, promoting why your organisation is a positive place in which to build a career. You could also use areas of your careers site to celebrate your local area – perhaps to encourage candidates from a wider geographical area to apply.

Hiring for niche or hard-to-fill roles

We’ve touched on this briefly already, but as a local authority or council, it’s likely you’re going to have some tough roles to fill.

From social care to fire fighters, you’re not only facing sector shortages, but also the challenges of sourcing candidates with some very niche skills.

What can help? Configurable aplication forms and candidate screening tools, such as Job Specific Questions, can help you to immediately gauge whether an applicant has the required skills and experience you need.

‘Refer a friend’ or employee referral schemes may also help you to source hard-to-find talent. And a range of Applicant Tracking System reports will also be valuable – meaning you can review previous successful sources and channels in placing hard-to-fill roles.

What’s more, a reduction in recruitment admin and time may free up some of your team to work on more strategic activities, or focus on recruitment marketing for niche roles, for example.

Balancing a wide range of vacancies

Alongside niche roles is the sheer variety of jobs that you hire for.

From environmental health and refuse collection, to youth services and school site managers – you could have any number of wide-ranging vacancies open at each time

What can help? A strong ATS should enable you to create customisable application forms and workflows, designed for each specific department and/or vacancy. This enables you to collect the information you really need, and at bespoke stages of the process to suit your hiring journey.

Again, talent pools can be immeasurably valuable in these instances too, as you can tag candidates in terms of skills and experience.

On your careers site, it will be important that you have a powerful search function to help jobseekers to filter through current vacancies. You may want to enable them to search via job title, department, keywords, salary or more.

Extra resource! What do candidates want from you in terms of their job-hunt?.

Limited budgets

After years of austerity in the UK, and continued pressures on local services in the wake of Covid-19, local authorities and public bodies are still facing budget challenges (and likely scrutiny in terms of their spending).

What can help? Use your reporting suite in your Applicant Tracking System to help measure the effectiveness of your spending. Some, like Hireserve ATS, should offer a ‘cost-mapping’ tool, which enables you to plan your recruitment campaign budget, and to track where it is being spent.

With an ATS, you should also see a reduction in your recruitment agency costs. Typically, we would expect to see agency usage reduce by at least 25%.

In our experience, this is due to an increase in direct hires. With the right recruitment software, you should be able to free up more time and resource for your team, provide a stronger candidate attraction and engagement experience, and possess a better understanding of the performance of your sources.

Safeguarding and pre-employment checks

Once you’ve sourced a new hire, it’s essential to ensure that you can place them quickly – especially if their skills are in high demand! And with certain job types requiring extensive safeguarding and background checking, this can often be where delays occur.

What can help? Look for an Applicant Tracking System that includes a pre-employment checks module. This will ensure all your new starter and onboarding data can be held securely within the system.

With the Hirechecks module in Hireserve ATS, you can record evidence of essential checks, such as Right to Work documentation, DBS certification and other background or safeguarding checks and procedures.

You can also configure different workflows for each of your vacancies, assign actions to internal stakeholders and trigger automatic reminders and tasks at each step of the candidate journey.

Public sector customer in focus | How does Lincolnshire County Council recruit?

Lincolnshire County Council faced some of the challenges listed above when they implemented Hireserve ATS. Discover how they utterly transformed their recruitment process….

Read the inspiring public sector recruitment case study now!

Key to Lincolnshire’s success was empowering their internal stakeholders. Using Hireserve ATS recruitment software, the council enabled their 300+ Hiring Managers to self-serve.

From initial screening and shortlisting, through to interview scheduling and offer, aHiring Managers now drive all key areas of the recruitment process.

This has enabled the HR and Recruitment team to focus on higher value, strategic work, such as enhancing candidate experience or drilling down into reporting, rather than the more transactional elements of their role.

New resource! Looking to get more from your data and analytics, to help you recruit more cost-effectively and efficiently? Why not get your guide to ATS Reports today.

Are you a public sector organisation looking for specialist recruitment software?

We may have some resources to help you focus your business case.

Choosing an ATS Guide

If you’re a public sector body, local authority or government organisation, we’ve created this resource to help guide you through the ATS selection process.

Topics include:

  • Pricing structures and what to look out for
  • How to evaluate customer care and support
  • Tips to assess a supplier’s approach to information security
  • Guidance around Applicant Tracking Systems and Data Protection
  • …and more

Get your Choosing an ATS Guide now.



The complete ATS Buyer’s Toolkit

Are you still building your ATS business case? Or about to, but not sure where to start?

The complete ATS Buyer’s Toolkit has a range of resources and templates to help you build an effective ATS business case. The kit includes:

  • Interactive ROI calculator
  • Stakeholder information template
  • Handy ATS demo checklist
  • Implementation planner
  • And more…everything you need to help you present a compelling case for a new Applicant Tracking System.

Download your toolkit today!


ATS Implementation Guide

If you’re considering a new ATS for your public sector institution, the prospect of implementation may not be an inviting one.

In this guide, our aim is to address some of the fears around talent acquisition software implementation, and to focus on the practical ways you can prepare for your upcoming project.

Get your guide today

Local authority in focus | How does Merton Council recruit for public sector jobs?

With over 1500 staff, Merton Council were facing an Applicant Tracking System which was no longer fit-for-purpose, and Hiring Manager disengagement. 

Following a rigorous procurement process, Hireserve was selected as its Hiring Manager Portal provided the most user friendly and easy to use interface.

Read the case study now!

“[Hireserve ATS has] streamlined the process massively. A big plus for me is the referencing that can be done through the system. My team used to have to prepare each reference letter and attach it to an email individually to send out just one request for one candidate. We used to spend an awful lot of time doing that!

Now with Hireserve ATS it’s much, much easier. Once a candidate has given us their reference details, it’s literally just ticking a box and the email automatically goes”. 

Looking to engage your Hiring Managers? Download your copy of the Ultimate Hiring Manager Handbook today.

Want to see what Hireserve ATS can do for your organisation?
Book a demo

Hireserve ATS is trusted by

“Hiring managers have found the system much more intuitive and user friendly.” – Merton Council


Read case studies

Discover the difference an ATS can make.

Our customers and partners are a diverse mix of organisations, from charities to Universities, to large corporate enterprises and leisure organisations.

All have their own unique and complex recruitment needs and Hireserve ATS is agile enough to meet them all.

Read the Hireserve recruitment software case studies.

About Hireserve

Why do clients in the public sector trust and use Hireserve ATS?

Trusted for over 20 years.

Established in 1997, Hireserve is a leading provider of recruitment software, trusted by in-house recruitment teams across the world.

Customers recommend us for our award winning customer care initiatives, dedicated team of specialists, and our highly flexible technology – designed to meet any and all of your compliance and regulatory processes.

ISO 27001 accredited and a Crown Commercial Service supplier on G-Cloud12 framework, Hireserve is a safe pair of hands for your public sector needs.

“The Hireserve team have been consistently extremely helpful. Their support has been nothing less than exceptional”