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Decoding the Algorithm: How Applicant Tracking Systems can rank your candidates and expedite the recruitment process. 

Unless you’re a tech insider, algorithms aren’t probably something you spend too much time thinking about. Until, that is, you’re about to upgrade or purchase an ATS. 

Knowing a little about how ATS recruitment software works can go a long way to helping you pick a good system for your business. 

In this blog we peek behind the curtain and de-mystify the magic of algorithms in applicant tracking software.  

Software sorcery

We know that recruiting, particularly at volume, requires a huge amount of filtering, sorting, scoring, and ranking applications. It can be a time-consuming business not just for your HR team, but for your hiring managers too. 

An ATS can help you streamline your hiring process. Its software has been designed to automate workflows and follow a set list of instructions (aka an algorithm!) to support your recruitment. Sounds great in theory. The problem comes when that software is dictating your workflows, rather than fitting into your process. Let’s look at how a good (we might even say great) recruitment ATS can work with you to rank candidates:  

Reach ATS uses it’s customisable, flexible software to rank candidates according to your criteria, speeding up the shortlisting process. It can:

  • Sort applications according to your pre-selected criteria
  • Automate rejection emails
  • Send successful first-sift applications directly to a designated team member
  • Notify hiring managers when there are applications to score (via its dedicated Hiring Manager Portal)
  • Collate scores and ranks candidates for data-driven decision making
  • Support the interview process. 

We know, pretty good right? Is it sorcery? No. Just a wealth of recruitment experience embodied in a system that’s as simple as it is smart. 

Let’s dive into the detail 

As you know, there are lots of different ways to shortlist applications dependent upon your requirements. A good ATS system should be able to flex to your needs and allow you to customise ranking rules for each type of vacancy. 

If you’re looking for that elusive needle in a haystack type applicant, you might need to cast a wide net and consider different people solutions for the vacancy. But if you’re looking for a very specific skillset and are likely to receive a large volume of applications, that’s when ATS ranking becomes the power tool you need. 

Need a killer? 

Often a disqualifier or ‘killer’ question is the best way to sort applications. Tell Reach ATS that this is a non-negotiable by selecting the ‘disqualify’ option in edit mode and applicants who don’t meet this criterion are immediately removed from the process. 

Reach ATS will then reject the application as it’s being submitted, displaying a polite message on screen for the applicant. Simple. 

This is a really quick and efficient method of ranking candidates, ensuring no further time is wasted either by the candidate or by your HR team reading through unsuitable applications. 

Allowing your ATS to do a ‘first-sift’ also provides you with a fair and unbiased process. Set your essential criteria and let the software do the sorting, avoiding any potential unconscious bias in the process.

Moving on up.

Some hiring managers prefer to review all applications themselves. In this case your ATS can be instructed to push applications to them via our Hiring Manager portal.  As soon as applications are ready to view, the hiring manager is sent a notification. When they’re ready to review the applications a simple yes/no option on the system automates the next stage of the process, either sending a rejection email from an agreed template, or moving them on up to the next stage in the process.

Keeping score.

Often the fairest system for ranking candidates is by scoring them according to a set of templated criteria. Notify hiring managers that applications are ready to read and provide them with your standard score template with a simple, pre-programmed workflow (that’s you programming your own algorithm by the way!). 

You can also schedule reminders to ensure the work is completed by a deadline of your choosing, keeping everyone on schedule. Once applications have been viewed and scored, Reach ATS automatically turns the scores into percentages for you, ranking the candidates based on that score. 

The system works for panel scoring too. Reach ATS collates scores from individual panel members and ranks the candidates accordingly. Allowing you to see at a glance the strongest performing candidates and make data-driven decisions on who to take forward to interview. And not a spreadsheet in sight! Perhaps it is magic…

Keeping in top form.  

Reach ATS also comes with a Forms Manager, this is a brilliant way to hold a variety of forms and templates for your scoring panels. It enables your team to tailor forms to common roles and provide individual forms for those not-so-run-of-the-mill vacancies. All the forms are kept in one location. Your HR team centrally manages these forms and attributes them to a particular vacancy workflow. Meaning everyone on a scoring panel will always be working from the same document.

Making friends with the algorithm.

The beauty of Reach ATS is that its algorithms all depend on you. Our customisable system means that whilst we’ve programmed it (using our wealth of recruitment and software expertise) it’s been designed to follow the specific instructions you give it. 

Perhaps you have a rule that ex-trapeze artists are allowed to apply for any roles including work at height regardless of their qualifications. Or maybe your rule is that that hiring managers must have sight of all applications within 24 hrs of the closing date. The point is that with Reach ATS you are in charge of the algorithm and your recruitment process. We’re just here to help.