Data-driven recruitment

Choosing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to Streamline University Recruitment

3 min read · By Academic Positions · Published 2 years ago

University recruitment marketing has grown increasingly important with the growth of universities across the globe. It’s no longer enough to quickly draft a job advert and post it to free job sites. But spending hours on recruiting, managing applications, and hiring candidates from across the world can be tedious and time consuming. 

What’s more, candidates are inundated with information about schools and research programs across an abundance of channels. Automating and simplifying the hiring process makes sense for all involved. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is designed to do just that. 

As Technavio notes, “the use of an ATS reduces time spent on administrative tasks, provides better and faster curriculum vitae screening, improves the quality of hiring, and speeds up the recruitment cycle.” Universities can save time and money in the long run by investing in a robust ATS.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is designed to do exactly what the name suggests. It will track each candidate’s application progress from start to finish keeping both you and your hiring managers abreast of changes or updates during the process. 

Because the new age of recruitment is driven by data, applicant tracking systems help you make better decisions throughout the hiring process. An ATS allows you to more seamlessly post your job adverts across all your communications channels, understand how well your advert is performing, and even automate some processes like the ability to prescreen applications.

An ATS can give you critical insights like how long it takes to fill a position, how many candidates applied, and even retention data. With more and better information, you can save time and money to effectively manage your human resources. 

The Benefits of an ATS

By implementing an ATS, your university can better work with strategic recruitment partners like Academic Positions. Because you’ll have invaluable data about your recruitment processes at your fingertips, we can pinpoint areas of weaknesses and improve your hiring outcomes.

For example, having an ATS allows universities to properly track the performance of their adverts. If a job advert is not performing well, you can quickly identify it and take further actions (such as paid social media campaigns) to increase the number of applications. You can continue to track the advert to gauge improvement and adjust accordingly. An ATS also makes it easier to set up an integration with a partner job board. Your adverts can be automatically published, updated, and closed without you having to do anything.

By using an ATS, it will be easier for you to see where candidates are finding your job adverts. Access to this type of information can help you save time and resources by focusing on the channels that yield the greatest returns. If you find most applicants are finding your adverts on Facebook for example, focus on sharing more content there to engage active (and passive) job seekers.

While setting up this type of automation can seem complex, it actually simplifies the entire hiring process. A consistent, simple recruitment process will actually strengthen your employer brand. Applicants will appreciate the ease with which they can navigate the system and stay informed throughout the process. 

Furthermore, an ATS can help your university remain GDPR compliant. According to Full Fabric, “because all communications between prospect and institution are transparent, an ATS is an invaluable asset when it comes to being GDPR compliant.”

A positive experience will leave a lasting impression. Many ATSs make it easy for candidates to apply for multiple jobs at the same university, further contributing to a positive candidate experience. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing an ATS

Not all ATSs are created equal. They may have different functionalities as well as different price points. Before choosing an ATS, there are a few factors worth considering. 

You want to choose a system that will easily integrate into your existing HR tools and processes. Is the ATS cloud based or on-site and does it require any additional technical capabilities to install and use? 

Consider the sharing capabilities of the system as well. An ATS should simplify the hiring process for both you and job applicants. You want a system that will automatically post and update your job adverts, allow applicants to apply for multiple jobs, and have advanced matching capabilities. A good ATS will also allow applicants to easily share job adverts across social media platforms. 

The other area to consider is reporting and data capabilities. How easy is it to collect and analyze data using the system? What type of reports are available and how are records stored in the system? 

Some of the most popular ATSs are Interfolio, Reachmee, Prescreen, Varbi, and Talentech. These ATSs work well in university settings and will help you take the first step in enhancing your recruitment marketing.


Download your free data-driven recruitment guide

Whether you're new to data-driven recruitment or you're a seasoned pro looking for new KPIs to track, our guide will help you take your recruiting to the next level.


Download your free data-driven recruitment guide

Whether you're new to data-driven recruitment or you're a seasoned pro looking for new KPIs to track, our guide will help you take your recruiting to the next level.


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