13 Features Staffing Agencies Should Look For In An Applicant Tracking System

Top staffing agencies know that in order to compete, they need streamlined and efficient job posting, screening, and hiring processes; a Staffing Agency Applicant Tracking System can help your agency to reach those goals.

But with so many different options out there, how are you supposed to know what to look for? What features are key to increasing productivity and creating a smoother workflow for your recruiters, candidates, and clients?

If you’re in the market for applicant tracking software geared for staffing agencies, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. With my 15 years in the recruitment industry, I’ve put together a list of 13 features you should be looking for in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) for your staffing agency.

1. Advanced Search Options

The data in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is only helpful if the system’s search functionality is robust and intuitive. Recruiters need to be able to filter applications at the click of a button. Keywords and phrases, skills, former employers, degrees, location, or years of experience should all be searchable. There should also be Boolean search, allowing your team to add modifiers like “and” and “or” to further filter candidates. For example, your staff should be able to search for candidates with 4 years of experience who also live in Chicago.

A system that allows recruiters to save searches is also important, so they can be notified when there are new candidates that match open job requirements. This will save your staff from repeating the same search over and over, looking for new potential applicants.

And don’t forget Executive Search. An executive role may not need to be posted on a job board. But you will want to be able to create a shortlist of the best candidates from your existing contacts. An ATS with advanced search options will help you to find top talent and communicate with them in a streamlined, professional way.

2. Job Board Integration

Your recruiters are perusing your own internal database for candidates, but they need to be able to search the major job boards for talent as well. Your ATS should integrate with sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, and CareerBuilder, capturing candidate data and expanding the search field. With this integration, you can find both candidates that you already have on file and candidates that have created profiles on the job board sites, all from within your Applicant Tracking System dashboard.

Then, you’ll want the software to rank those candidates, making the review process easier on your recruiters. The end result? A ranked list of candidates from across the internet that all match the job search parameters, ranked in order of highest match. From here, your talented team will review the possibilities and start reaching out to potential hires.

3. VMS & ATS Automation

Copying job details from a VMS into your Applicant Tracking System is time-consuming and leaves room for errors. But an ATS that can automatically import the job postings saves time and improves accuracy.

VMS & ATS automation means new jobs will be automatically published to job boards as soon as the job record is processed. Positions will be filled faster, freeing up your staff to do more outreach and personal work. The result will be more placements and more revenue for your staffing agency.

4. One-Click Job Posting

You’re probably posting open positions to as many places as possible — social media, career pages, job boards, Google for Jobs. All that posting is repetitive and takes time.

A good staffing agency geared Applicant Tracking System will let you distribute your job opportunities to your own career pages and all the major third-party platforms with the click of a button. It will also be able to post to your social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

And finally, it should push out SEO optimized postings to Google for Jobs. Google for Jobs often returns the first results when a candidate searches for a specific position, so getting the SEO right is key to matching your open position with top talent.

5. Customizable Workflow

Every staffing agency has its own unique needs when it comes to technology and an Applicant Tracking System. So a one-size-fits-all approach to the recruitment process won’t work for your business.

Instead, look for a program with a customizable workflow, so you can include all the steps your team will take to manage candidates. You can add your own hiring stages, from the initial candidate search through the interview process, and all the way to making the offer and onboarding. With a customizable workflow, you can add multiple interviews, testing, reference checks, and more.

6. Candidate Management

Once you’ve set up your workflow, how do you know where the candidates are in that process? An Applicant Tracking System must have a candidate management component, so your team can keep track of each individual’s place in the hiring life-cycle.

Your team should be able to tell at a glance whether a candidate is due to be interviewed or has been removed from the pool of applicants. An intuitive, visual dashboard will help your staff to stay on top of each applicant’s status, providing a streamlined process for both your team and the candidates.

7. Robust Security

With a massive database of sensitive information for both clients and candidates, advanced security is a must for your ATS. Email addresses, home addresses, and other confidential data can all pose a major threat if they fall into the wrong hands. An applicant tracking system should have advanced security features if it’s going to provide a safe place for all of this private information.

You’ll also want to make sure your ATS is GDPR compliant. GDPR (General Data Protection Legislation) regulates how private data is used and stored for European Union citizens. If you ever see candidates from the EU, GDPR compliance is a must. To start, you must get permission to store the data of any applicant in your tracking software. Also, your ATS must be able to delete a candidate’s data upon request and provide proof that you’ve done so.

This is just the start of GDPR requirements. So make sure you verify that your ATS is covering all of their (and your) bases when it comes to this legislation.

8. Ease of Use

An Applicant Tracking System is only helpful when it’s being used (and used properly) by your staffing agency. And if it’s too complicated or inconvenient, your recruiters will “forget” to use it.

Look for easy onboarding and a simple, intuitive user interface. You’ll want to work with a team that will help you to migrate your current data, so you can hit the ground running. Ask questions about the type of training and education they’ll provide to your employees.

Plus, look for a system with demos, manuals, and tutorials. These educational resources will help you and your team solve small issues quickly, instead of waiting for customer support.

Speaking of support — don’t underestimate it! Consider factors like average response times and if they use a ticket system, so your request doesn’t get lost in someone’s inbox.

9. Mobile Capability

These days, we’re always working on-the-go. So your ATS should have a fully functional mobile platform that lets your recruiters access candidates, contacts, jobs, and placements wherever you are.

Viewing resumes and client info will let your team continue making progress on placements, even if they have to be away from the office for a while. The idea isn’t to encourage your staff to work 24/7. Rather, it’s to make it easy for them to view a resume or log calls right from their phones.

Make sure the software is available on any mobile device — unless you plan to buy your whole staff matching cell phones or tablets!

10. Email Integration

Email integration is one of the biggest time-savers in the world of applicant tracking. A good email integration will show a recruiter’s entire email history with a certain contact, all in one place. This means less time hunting down information, and more time in meaningful communication.

It can show the recruiter any open leads, jobs, and opportunities associated with a candidate. And it will let you instantly access resumes, attachments, and signed forms right from you remail inbox.

You’ll also be able to add candidates to open jobs through the integration without even opening the ATS. Minimizing the back and forth between email and your applicant tracking software can save hours of your team’s valuable time.

Another benefit — an email integration keeps contact info and candidate status in the tracking system. So if a recruiter leaves, you’ll still know the status of all their contacts. Another recruiter will be able to take over with little interruption and no need for repeat conversations.

11. Onboarding Tools

Applicant tracking software for staffing agencies doesn’t stop being useful when a candidate is hired. A good ATS will also have easy-to-use onboarding tools that can save you time and improve the new hire’s experience.

Onboarding functions should include sending forms and documents for e-signature and managing timesheets and expenses.

Also, look for a customizable candidate portal. This will be a place where new hires can enter timesheets, update availability, and upload documentation.

12. Analytics

Once your Applicant Tracking System is up and running, what kind of data is it returning?

Your ATS should let you create sharable reports and scorecards, so you can track employee performance and placements. These reports will provide useful information that your team can use to grow.

For example, you should be able to monitor which sources bring you the most placements, so you can focus on that platform more in the future. You’ll also want the option to generate forecasts that can reveal future opportunities. And you should be able to track recruiter performance. See who is excelling and who needs some more guidance.

Analytics can also be useful on the candidate side of your staffing agency. Survey new hires and generate reports that plot the data. Did they feel supported and nurtured through the application process? Are there any steps that could be made simpler for candidates?

If your ATS doesn’t let you customize your reports, you can’t guarantee that it will provide the data your business needs to grow and be successful.

13. Automation of Recruiter and Sales Activities

50% of sales happen after the 5th attempt to reach a prospect, but the average sales rep only makes two attempts to reach a prospect. That’s a problem!

That’s why choosing an ATS that automates as much of the communication and tasks of your team is critical.

For example, the ‘Sequencing’ function of the TrackerRMS platform can be used for business development, sending emails according to a pre-designed sequence:

  1. Send an initial promotional email
  2. If no reply after 7 days send a polite reminder email
  3. If no replay after 7 further days send a “thank you anyway” email and close the sequence

Once they “react” to your email or text (reply or click a link etc) we will stop the sequence automatically and our in-built workflow will create a Task, create a Lead, add them to a list etc in order to progress within TrackerRMS.

It also includes built-in sentiment analysis to assess whether replies are positive or negative in nature and act accordingly, for example:

“Please remove me from your list”, or “I do not want to know about your product” would result in a negative reaction, despite being a reply, whereas:

“Please tell me more”, or “Call me to discuss” would result in a positive reaction we would want to pursue.

The workflow rules for reactions and what we do in each eventuality is fully in your control!

The Best Applicant Tracking System

In our humble opinion, the best applicant tracking system out there, Tracker, has all of these features! We include them all at incredibly affordable price points so you can have access to the features you need to see major growth in your staffing agency without breaking your budget.

Reach out to our team for a demo of everything Tracker can do, and how it can make your team more organized, more efficient, and more productive through 2020 and beyond.


About Tracker

Tracker is a leading recruitment and applicant tracking software designed for Staffing Agencies of all sizes. Our industry-leading support, onboarding and technology will improve both your recruitment speed and quality. With over 20 years of experience, our ATS System is built with you, the staffing professional, in mind.

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