Bias is unavoidable.
And while it might be impossible to stamp out bias entirely, it’s important to be aware of the biases you do have and work to correct them.
In certain cases, though, there’s no time for self-reflection or self-correction. You only have one shot to make the right decision.
Your hiring process is one of those cases.
You might think you’re being fair and balanced, but to err is human. And everyone, like it or not, possesses hidden biases that cloud their judgement.
You know what’s not biased, though? An applicant tracking system (ATS).
ATSs are specifically designed to track candidate information that’s relevant to a particular position and to help you stay compliant with legal standards. Below, we’ll discuss three ATSs that can help you do just that. But first, we’ll take a look at why this matters.
At the end of the day, compliance in hiring means always hiring the most qualified candidate for a position.
Compliance means you don’t let any biases or prejudices get in the way of your hiring decisions, because you must articulate position-related reasons why you’re accepting or rejecting any given candidate.
One reason to stay compliant is to avoid lawsuits. That’s a no-brainer.
An ATS, on the other hand, is built to help you juggle all of these compliance laws, or at least offer you the opportunity of storing the hard data that shows you haven’t violated any regulations.
This long string of legal requirements might send you into a defiant rant about the overreach of the federal government, but it’s important to note that compliance laws also promote diversity in the workplace. And diversity is a good thing.
As this helpful infographic concludes, diversity is also just “the right thing to do.”
So the only thing left to do now is pick an ATS that will put you on track to hire the right person for the job every time. But with over 300 systems to choose from, how do you pick the one that’s right for you?
You can start by taking a look at Capterra’s picks for applicant tracking systems that make compliance a breeze.
Without further ado, our picks for ATSs that make compliance simple are:
- Crelate Talent
We picked these systems because they each have:
Below, we’ll discuss each solution’s features, the qualities that make them easy to use, and their price tags in detail
In addition to offering all the features Capterra’s Software Lab tracked for their Top 20 Most Affordable ATS Software report, SmartRecruiters has a few other features that put it ahead of the curve.
SmartRecruiters offers candidate-focused features such as:
- One-click apply
- Mobile application capability
- Candidate portals that provide important applicant information such as the status of their application
Not only do these features decrease application obstacles for candidates, but providing automated status updates also decreases your recruiters’ workloads by cutting down on the number of update emails they need to send.
There are also tools available for your hiring team such as:
- Collaboration tools
- A mobile app for remote access
- A marketplace with over 250 integrations to connect with tools you already use.
In addition, SmartRecruiters keeps the employees you already have in mind by offering a referral engine, enabling your team to tap into the talent your talented workers already know of.
Ease of use
SmartRecruiters’ job post creation process can seem daunting at first. As one of our testers described it, there are “so many steps” in the form.
But all those steps are intended to help you create an eye-grabbing job post that will attract qualified candidates.
Once you’ve written up a job description and qualifications, you can publish your post to your SmartRecruiters’ career page, job widget and Facebook app. The system also recommends the best channels for you to advertise your open position based on title and industry. For an additional fee, you can choose from many popular career sites in SmartRecruiters’ Marketplace to post your job. Finally, you have the option to ask coworkers for referrals and promote the vacancy on various social networks.
Taking the time to include so many details in your job post ensures that your applicants know everything they need to know about the position before applying, so you’re already more likely to start off with qualified candidates. If someone doesn’t meet the requirements, you can easily point to the gaps in their resume that led to their rejection.
It also ensures that everyone on your hiring team knows the qualifications. Outlining all the job requirements clearly makes sure your interviewers stay on track when asking questions and that they don’t ask anything about a candidate that’s not relevant to the position.
While the process of creating a job post took a little longer than average during our Software Labs tests, SmartRecruiters can save you time in other areas.
If you need to upload candidates manually into the system, for example, because you received a resume as an email attachment, SmartRecruiters’ resume parsing tool takes a candidate’s information and uploads it in a readable format to their profile. Our testers noted that the upload is quick, and the parsing is accurate.
Accurate parsing means you won’t miss qualifications candidates have listed by inputting information manually or just scanning a paper copy of a resume. Creating digital copies also creates an electronic database of applicants that others can refer to, including others who might question whether your hiring process follows all the rules. In this case, a paper trail doesn’t always have to be made of real paper.
You can continue this documentation process throughout the interview. Anyone involved in the hiring process can give candidates a star rating and provide evaluations and notes. SmartRecruiters puts a candidate’s rating and hiring pipeline status right at the top of the page, so it’s easy for everyone to see how an applicant is faring.
Prompting your team to submit detailed evaluations, as well as providing a numerical ranking system, such as star ratings, helps ensure that everyone involved in the hiring process is justifying whether to hire or reject a candidate for objective reasons, not subjective reasons that could be considered biased.
Capterra’s Software Lab tested SmartRecruiters’ free version of its system. In my experience conducting user testing, free software often feels clunky and can be a pain to use. Not so with SmartRecruiters’ free version, which received a User Experience score of 90 out of 100.
Though it’s missing more robust reports and the ability to customize elements such as your company career page, it makes the essential activities of posting jobs and tracking candidates easy. In the words of one of our testers, “I really like this system. I didn’t need much training because it was so intuitive. The user interface is clean and simple, yet still contains key information.”
What customers say
SmartRecruiters’ paid and free iterations also score well outside of our Software Lab setting, with an average Ease of Use reviews rating of 4.5 out of five stars.
If you only need the basics for an ATS and don’t do a lot of hiring, SmartRecruiters’ free version might be a good fit for your team. However, if your organization requires more customization or robust reporting, SmartRecruiters’ paid version is the most expensive option of the three solutions we’re discussing.
At $395 per month for its “SMB Success Bundle,” SmartRecruiters might seem like a steep purchase at first glance. However, when you consider that the average hiring discrimination suit costs $125,000, SmartRecruiters’ price tag starts to seem more reasonable.
In its own words, SmartRecruiters’ “ideal customers require a combination of ease of use, intuitive candidate experience, and robust enterprise features.”
If you’re a small or medium business, SmartRecruiters’ lowest pricing plan is good for up to 100 full-time employees, and its free version offers the necessities for posting jobs and tracking candidates.
But generally, SmartRecruiters’ higher price tag for its other plans, makes it a system probably best suited for businesses who are bit larger. However, if you’re an SMB looking for an ATS with features you won’t grow out of, SmartRecruiters’ robust enterprise features might do the trick for you.
In addition to having all the features Capterra’s Software Lab tracked, Workable has quite a few other features that will save your recruiting team time.
Other notable features include:
- The People Search tool, which claims to save recruiters 30 minutes of research per candidate
- Interview scorecards
- EEO- and OFCCP-compliant integrated background checks
And if you’re having trouble figuring out how to navigate the system despite its No. 3 ranking on our Top 20 Must User-Friendly ATS Software report, Workable provides 24/7 support for its users so you’ll never be confused for long.
Ease of use
Not only do Workable’s job post forms prompt you to add all necessary details, they also offer tips specifically related to compliance and job board optimization.
Building this type of instruction into the system means that even if you don’t have a dedicated recruiter, anyone in your organization who needs to hire a new team member can write up a compliant job description.
To keep track of all critical qualification information, you can customize application forms for each position, requiring candidates to answer questions related to specific job requirements.
You can also give applicants the option to apply with one click on LinkedIn to create a more seamless experience.
Once you’ve created your job posting and application form, you can automatically publish your opening to 14 free job boards, including Indeed and Glassdoor, as well as choose from many paid job sites.
Workable also prompts you to prepare your team for upcoming interviews by giving you the option to create interview scorecards. These customizable scorecards help you keep track of all candidates using the same criteria and ensure that everyone on your hiring team is keeping the right skills and qualifications in mind throughout the interview process.
An interview scorecard also acts as an outline or guideline for questions your hiring team should ask candidates during the interview. Plus, continual tracking from your entire team that’s solely focused on specific job requirements means everyone can turn in objective notes about the interview based entirely on job requirements.
If everyone on your team gives one candidate a “thumbs down” for communication skills, while another candidate gets all “thumbs up,” that’s clear evidence that one candidate was more qualified than the other, especially if you make sure everyone notes the reasons behind their ratings.
Once you start receiving job applications, you can upload resumes to the system to create informative candidate profiles. Workable’s resume parsing tool takes a while to load, but you can let it run in the background while you perform other tasks. The end result is worth the wait, as searchable copies of candidates’ resumes are added to their profiles.
As your team starts evaluating candidates, their ratings are displayed front and center in their profiles, so you can easily see where each candidate stands.
Keeping candidate ratings front and center means you always start from an objective place when comparing potential new hires, making it less likely that any unconscious biases creep into your decision-making processes.
Workable’s simple layout, as well as the tips and tricks it peppers throughout the system, contribute to its high User Experience score of 88 from our testers.
What customers say
Actual users also find Workable easy to use, giving it an average Ease of Use reviews rating of 4.7 out of five stars.
Since Workable scored the No. 1 spot on our Top 20 Most Affordable ATS Software report, you know you’re getting a good deal with this system.
Whereas the average applicant tracking system costs about $225 per month for a team averaging five open positions per month, Workable costs about half that. All plans come with unlimited users. And if you don’t do as much hiring as we projected in our pricing scenario (five open positions per month), you can sign up for Workable’s “Pay As You Go” plan for $50 per job, per month.
Workable considers itself “a great solution for ambitious companies.” Its high user friendly and affordability rankings also make it a good fit for smaller companies that have never used an ATS before.
Finally, the option to only pay for job postings as they come up makes Workable a system you should consider if you don’t do a lot of hiring but still want access to a customized job board and application forms.
Crelate Talent is geared toward recruiting firms. It can be used by hiring managers within companies, but if you’re an agency looking for a user friendly solution, Crelate should be on your list of systems to consider.
Notable features include:
- Customizable workflows
- Client submittal templates for agencies
- A 4.9 out of five star average customer service rating
These features show that you can configure Crelate to fit and compliment your existing processes. And while following your own path might not always be compatible with compliance, it’s actually a pretty good step in the right direction in the case of an ATS.
A big part of compliance is tracking the right information. And a system that works with what your employees are already doing means they’re not changing up their routine to accommodate a new system. And that means they’re more likely to put information into it in the first place. Let the paper trail begin!
If you’re not up to making those customizations yourself, Crelate’s team will help you tweak the system to your heart’s content. Bonus points: if you’re switching from another ATS, they’ll help you migrate your data so you can keep all the information you’ve already tracked.
Ease of use
Crelate’s Windows 8-esque tiled interface gives its system an uncluttered look and makes everything easy to find.
You can brand your job posts or, if you’re an agency, brand them with your clients’ logos.
After uploading a resume, a candidate’s experience and qualifications are parsed into the system in an easy-to-read, searchable format.
Once you’ve gathered all that information, Crelate’s client submittal templates help you relay everything to your client, so they can get a full picture of a potential new hire.
Submittal templates help make sure that not only has your agency followed a hiring process in line with compliance laws, but your client can continue the interview process in a compliant manner, as well. Having all that information means your client will have everything they need to make the right final decision and choose the candidate that’s most qualified for the job.
Capterra’s testers gave Crelate a User Experience score of 84, referencing its sleek interface that makes everything easy to find and intuitive.
What customers say
Actual users also seem to find Crelate Talent intuitive, since they give it an average of 4.8 out of five stars for Ease of Use.
Crelate has the same cost rating as Workable. It’s slightly more expensive, but it still costs about half as much as the average ATS on the market. With their “Essentials” plan ($55 per user per month, recommended for small businesses), you’ll have access to all the necessary features for your hiring team. For $69 per user per month, its “Professional” package gives you access to more plug-ins, more opportunities for customization, and their mobile app.
According to Crelate, it “focuses on professional recruiting teams and firms,” and is “perfect for a recruiting team within any talent-centric business, such as staffing and professional services firms.”
If you’re a small recruiting team looking for an affordable ATS, both Crelate’s Starter and Professional packages will likely fit your budget.
If you’re ready to make sure your company stays within the letter of the law regarding its hiring practices, our guide to purchasing an ATS can help you with your research process.
Capterra recommends that companies demo and trial three to five different solutions before deciding on one. Luckily, we’ve discussed three applicant tracking systems in detail here, so you’ve already got a head start. For more systems that might meet your needs, you can take a look at our Top 20 Most Affordable and Top 20 Most User-Friendly ATS Software reports
Remember, while an ATS can help with compliance in clarifying job requirements, tracking notes, and storing information such as background check results, it can’t do all the work.
Make sure everyone on your hiring team is aware of best practices regarding interview questions. It’s common knowledge (or should be since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed several decades ago at this point) that you can’t ask an applicant about nationality, religion, age, marital status, or gender. However, there are some nuances, such as not asking potential hires how long their commute is, that you might want to go over with your team.
One way to ensure that everyone sticks to an interviewee’s qualifications rather than asking about personal issues is by using an interview scorecard, like the ones Workable provides. Scorecards can help you outline the important information you need from a candidate while still giving interviewers the opportunity to ask questions in their own style.
Finally, remember that compliance doesn’t stop with the hiring process. Once you’ve hired talented individuals, you should continue to avoid discrimination in the workplace. HR scandals don’t look good on anyone.
Looking for Applicant Tracking software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Applicant Tracking software solutions.