If you’re trying to make your traditional ATS work for high-volume hiring, we’re really sorry – we know that’s a tough gig. Here's what you need to look for in your shiny new high-volume ATS.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have changed the hiring game. These are amazing bits of kit. But, if you’re trying to make your traditional ATS work for high-volume hiring, you've got our sympathy – we know that’s a tough gig.

It probably means you’re still sifting through hundreds (or thousands!) of CVs, going back and forth with candidates and hiring managers to book interviews and then endlessly, constantly chasing working right admin to get new hires on board.

We’ve seen it first-hand: Doing high-volume hiring with an ATS better suited to HQ roles results in an exhausted recruitment team, a lacklustre candidate experience, lower retention stats and little-to-no information about diversity along the recruitment funnel. And why?

Here’s a clue:

40% of HR professionals say the most common issue plaguing their ATS is a lack of features.

Anecdotally, the feedback is "too many features that work for corporate, none of the efficiency features you need in volume".

Since Weirdly is, in essence, a volume-ATS (or CRM) built around a talent community, we know a thing or two about the features that can make the most difference to a company needing lots of frontline staff fast. Here’s what to look for in your next ATS or CRM for high-volume hiring.

1. Omni-channel messaging – contact candidates their way

For most frontline roles, the people you’re looking for are not sitting in front of an email inbox all day. Email may suit your team, but it’s not the only – or even the best – way of contacting your candidates. The average email open rate across industries is only 21.5%. That’s a lot of candidates leaving your emails sad and unopened in their inboxes. According to one 2021 report from Indeed, 28% of job applicants report having ghosted on an interview over the past year, and 76% of employers had candidates not turn up.

Choosing an ATS that lets you communicate with candidates across a range of channels solves all that. Emails are still important when you come to make an offer and get people on board, but nothing beats texts or even WhatsApp for nudging candidates down the recruitment funnel. With an average open rate of 98%, text messaging is almost fool-proof for getting the word out. That’s especially important when you need to ping information out to candidates fast.

2. Responsive workflows

An ATS you can configure to your workflow? That’s the bare minimum. If you’re looking for real screening speed, you need your system to automatically adjust to your workflow or application requirements, according to a candidate's response or where they are in the process. For example, Weirdly automatically serves up different assessments depending on the job family your candidates selected. It can also be set to request more information if a candidate is successful to a certain point in your screening.

3. Built on a talent community

Talent communities are all the buzz in high-volume recruitment, and rightly so. Having a group of pre-screened, nurtured candidates you can call on the second you have a role to fill – that’s the dream. And that’s what a good ATS for high-volume recruitment should deliver. You can grow your talent community however you like. Most Weirdly clients simply funnel any unsuccessful candidates into their talent community and then use our messaging capability to keep them engaged. The crucial part: unsuccessful candidates leave that initial experience still feeling great about the company. Others recruit specifically for the talent community and then have candidates apply for roles as they come up. The quality of your new talent community is important too – it has to have an easy way of keeping in touch with candidates and filtering them for key criteria like the date they registered their profile, their process status, proximity to specific stores or locations and diversity attributes.

4. Quick-filter longlists on key criteria

An ATS designed for high-volume recruitment should be able to sift through thousands of resume data points and create a longlist based on your most important criteria, like shift availability, age-range and location. That takes out massive amounts of admin heavy-lifting (and let’s face it, spreadsheets) to deliver an instant longlist of pre-qualified candidates. When your goal is reducing time-to-hire without impacting quality, this feature is a must-have.

5. Good CRM visibility

This is a basic feature but surprisingly important. If you’re going to get good people into the right jobs and keep great-but-unsuccessful candidates for other jobs, you need an easy way of organising them. Unless your ATS is designed specifically for high-volume recruitment, you’ll be left manipulating candidate data in spreadsheets. Weirdly, as an alternative, lets you see all candidates across all job openings, ranked by how well they align with your most important criteria in the live analytics dashboard – a fast and easy way to understand your bias bottlenecks, track the success of your assessment, spot trends and anomalies and see who and where your candidates are.

6. Video interviews

Video is an amazing way of pre-vetting new team members, so you’re only spending precious interview time on people who are most likely to suit the role. Your new ATS should make that easy, with candidates being able to record and upload video from within the application process. Weirdly does this one better – we found from research that video questions can disadvantage candidates from historically underserved communities. That’s why clients can offer candidates the option to submit an audio or written answer, too.  

7. Max the automation

Of course, where there are manual processes, there’s wasted time. So, look for an ATS that automates as much of your recruitment workflow as possible – we’re talking longlist generation, candidate updates, interview scheduling and getting working rights and contracts sorted automatically. That’s not just important for your team’s workload, it’s also critical to your candidate experience, especially if you’re recruiting Gen Z.

In recent research into the needs of GenZ candidates, we found a surprising 79% said they didn’t feel bad or felt neutral about getting a rejection, but what they struggled with was a lack of communication. Sending them updates is critical to how they feel throughout the process. It can also get candidates through the funnel and into jobs way faster – we’ve seen some of our biggest retail clients get their process so streamlined, they're seeing some candidates go from application to hire in 42 hours and, in some instances, that drops to 2 (!!).  

The small-but-mighty features of a high-volume ATS

Whether you’re implementing a new ATS or looking for a high-volume companion to your existing system, it’s clear there are some deal-breakers. To suit the high speeds and high volumes of recruiting masses of frontline roles, start with ensuring you have the basics – a way of creating instant longlists, building and nurturing a talent community and automating to streamline interviews, candidate comms and onboarding. You also need those small-but-mighty extra features – look for omnichannel comms capacity, easily-accessible real-time data, longlist filtering, a smart screening experience, responsive workflows and end-to-end automation. They’re the features that have clearly been designed for the needs of both high-volume recruiters and candidates – and it’s those that will make your ATS really sing.