Best Practices

Optimal Applicant Tracking Systems for Small Businesses

Brandice Payne | Author

Brandice Payne

Senior Manager, Content & Customer Marketing

Posted on

April 17, 2024

Small businesses face more significant challenges as the labor force continues to shrink, hitting a new low of only 64.9% of the working-age population as of 2021. Those numbers will likely get even thinner as more Americans age out of their working years. 

As more small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of technology to streamline operations, the applicant tracking system or ATS is a must-have component of your hiring operations. The HR tools in an ATS, from automation to organization, allow your business to hire more effectively, even if your HR department is small or non-existent.   

Regardless of what sector you operate in, an ATS boosts hiring productivity—from resume parsing to collaborative hiring.

Adding a new piece of software doesn’t have to be an expensive investment, either. Connect with Gem to learn about our ATS platform and hiring CRM, built with your specific industry in mind.  

Navigating ATS for Small Business Growth

Small businesses often have a limited capacity for hiring. Staff are crucial components of operations, and even larger organizations can only afford limited numbers of HR professionals, leaving many organizations looking for ways to enhance recruitment efforts and hire the right candidates. 

Indeed, CEOs feel that upwards of 40% of company time is spent unproductively. That level of lost productivity is detrimental to small businesses, especially those engaging in candidate sourcing for individuals who meet the skills necessary to perform successfully.  

An ATS allows small businesses to do more with their limited time resources by streamlining the recruiting and hiring processes. For instance, an ATS can evaluate candidate profiles, sorting the most qualified ones to the top. 

Applicant tracking software also compiles data, giving you greater visibility into your recruitment pipeline. Viewing various real-time reports gives you data-driven insights into where to dedicate recruiting resources to land top talent. 

ATS in Financial Services: Security and Compliance

The financial services industry had not fully recovered from the 2008 collapse when the pandemic rolled through. Things looked even more bleak when Silicon Valley Bank went under in 2023, forcing even tighter compliance measures. 

Small businesses in the financial service industry often look for candidates with FINRA, CFA, CPA, CFS, and other certifications to comply with government regulations. An ATS can help evaluate candidates who meet these requirements and filter those candidates to shortlists. 

An ATS can also help with outreach, allowing your small business to attract top talent from tech and fintech firms. Paired with a CRM, you can use your ATS to post job openings, post to social media platforms, and engage potential candidates through various channels.

The best applicant tracking systems will comply with security and compliance regulations, giving financial service professionals peace of mind. Luckily, with Gem, you can have that confidence, and you gain access to a matching CRM to help you reach those top recruits wherever they hang out online. 

Tailoring ATS for Life Sciences Recruitment

Life sciences such as biology, medicine, pharma, and biochemistry and their supporting teams, like sales and customer service, often require specialized knowledge and advanced degrees. These demands put extra recruiting strain on small businesses that operate in the life sciences industry.

Luckily, an ATS can ease those challenges and protect private data through integrations with HRIS, CRM, and even social media platforms like LinkedIn. You can use these interwoven systems to personalize messaging that attracts talent. 

An ATS, like the one from Gem, can even provide customizable pipelines, allowing you to cater your recruitment process to your business's unique hiring needs and requirements. Finding the right candidates with the skills you need becomes easier as you customize your ATS to attract, filter, sort, and hire these individuals. 

Streamlining Manufacturing Talent Acquisition

Small manufacturing operations likely require skilled individuals well-versed in various procedures and techniques to craft unique parts. Skills-based job placement is a huge advantage of recruiting software that small businesses can take advantage of. ATS software’s customizable pipelines make it easy to fill skills-based jobs with the right new hires. 

Plus, you can leverage an ATS to change the perception of the industry through strategic outreach campaigns. Control these campaigns with one click from user-friendly interfaces and show candidates that manufacturing is undergoing a digital transformation. Additionally, you can reduce your workload through automation, such as:

  • Collecting candidate information from career sites 

  • Scheduling interviews with potential candidates from career pages

  • Moving candidates to the next stage in the pipeline

  • Assigning pre-employment aptitude assessments

  • Conducting initial video interview screening

  • Requesting information from candidates to run background checks

  • Tendering offer letters from templates 

  • Reporting results of diversity-based recruitment efforts

Using an ATS can make it feel like you have extra help in your human resources department. The all-in-one platform makes it intuitive to keep tabs on multiple requisitions, outreach campaigns, and pipelines so you can staff every open position. 

Agile ATS for Staffing Agencies

Juggling the hiring for one company is challenging enough, but staffing agencies need to manage the recruitment of multiple organizations at the same time. The key to their success? A quality applicant tracking system. 

The flexible nature and scalability of the best ATS platforms make it easy for agents to manage multiple hiring funnels and recruitment pipelines from a single system. Likewise, staffing professionals can keep everyone on the same page through unified inboxes. 

Additionally, cloud-based ATS software with AI can manage high-volume requisitions by evaluating vast numbers of applications and resumes and shortlisting ideal job applicants for follow-up review. When recruitment agencies finalize candidates, they can then easily loop hiring managers into the conversation to make the final hiring decisions. 

ATS platforms help manage dynamic databases with diverse talent pools. Invested stakeholders can interact with candidate profiles through seamless integrations that drop into existing tech stacks to expand capabilities.  

The Power of Automation and CRM in ATS

We’ve already mentioned the power of a candidate relationship management (CRM) platform, but it’s worth exploring in a little more depth. A CRM unifies the candidate experience by collecting, processing, and organizing every interaction you have with a potential employee. 

The modern workforce demands a more personalized approach to recruiting, and the ability to track interactions with top talent is invaluable for hiring team members. By using a CRM, recruiters can personalize those interactions, enabling them to highlight the employer brand and attract skilled individuals to the team. 

A CRM is vital in maintaining a warm pipeline with leads ready to interview whenever a job opening arises. It’s even possible to review silver-medal candidates to re-evaluate their fit when the same role—or a similar one—opens up in the future. CRMs also make it easy to update job descriptions and job postings and review job board activity from a centralized hub. 

Leveraging Data Insights in Small Business Recruiting

Modern ATS and CRM systems need data to power the algorithms that make them work so well. Fortunately, these systems are also excellent at collecting data, allowing various models to produce insights for data-driven decision-making. 

Small businesses can take advantage of these models using historical data to understand what makes a job seeker successful in any given role. These insights lead to better hiring decisions, happier employees, and better retention. 

In turn, you can utilize ATS and CRM data to glean insights from other areas of your hiring efforts, including the onboarding stage, recruitment effectiveness, employee referral rates, and more. However, it’s best to partner with a provider who can help you make sense of all that data. 

The Gem platform is the perfect solution for that data analysis. You can build customizable dashboards to gain clarity into a number of metrics, providing a unique way to understand your business. 

Advancing Small Business Recruitment with Gem's Solutions

Small businesses and startups are the backbone of the economy, with more than 33 million of them spread across the United States alone. Unlike large corporations and enterprise-level organizations, small businesses don’t always have dedicated staff to hire the best candidates. 
To level the playing field, SMBs turn to ATS software to help them automate time-consuming tasks, sort candidates based on specific criteria, and analyze data to aid in decision-making. This functionality gains even more power when combined with a CRM to help personalize messaging and candidate tracking. 

No better partnership of ATS and CRM exists than Gem. The Gem platform has all the recruitment tools you need to run successful recruitment campaigns, regardless of business size or industry. Explore how Gem can help you start reducing your time-to-hire for the best candidates! 


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