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What is an ATS and why have one

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Welcome to Recruiting Made Easy. In this series, we review some frequently asked recruitment questions. We cover recruiting processes, technology and regulation. First in the series: What is an Applicant Tracking System? 

If you work in HR or Internal Recruitment, you may have heard of or used an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). But what does an ATS do and why is having one so important to recruiting success? Read on for the basics or check out the free ATS Buyer Guide if you are selecting an applicant tracking system.

So, What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An ATS helps any employer to manage and automate the recruitment process. It provides a secure, central repository for candidate data, including their CVs and applications. It should help you at every stage in the recruiting process, including advertising, shortlisting, interviews, employment offers and on-boarding. An Applicant Tracking System makes recruiting more efficient and more successful.

Who should use an ATS?

Everyone! A good Applicant Tracking System upgrades your entire recruiting operation so it becomes more productive, profitable and efficient. It doesn’t matter whether your organisation is big or small. Benefits vary, but employers using an ATS often mention the following:

  • Automated access to free advertising options
  • An easier, more inclusive application process for jobseekers
  • Higher percentage of relevant job applications
  • Savings of up to 90% on administration time
  • More efficient, more transparent on-boarding
  • Easy recruiting compliance and reducing confidential waste

Employers using an ATS report more placements in less time and at lower cost than employers without one. 

Is an ATS the right choice for recruitment companies?

Recruitment companies recruit for their clients so they need a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). A CRM helps to manage prospects and customer communications, including new job orders.

Recruiting software for recruitment companies combines some ATS and some CRM functions. So, employers should find an ATS made for employers rather than one for recruitment companies. An employer ATS is more focused on internal recruiting requirements, including:

  • Flexible options for applicant data capture including criminal convictions, disability, existing relationship with current staff member, etc.
  • Flexible distribution of Manager vs HR responsibilities.
  • Shortlisting options to support compliance and fair recruitment.
  • Stronger team reporting and management options.

In HR and internal recruitment, you don’t need CRM features, so always choose an ATS for employers.

Find the best Applicant Tracking System for you

Let’s help you work out how you recruit today. Then you’ll be in a better position to choose the best ATS for your organisation.

  • How do you recruit now? Record each recruiting step.
  • How often do you perform each recruiting step?
  • Identify the steps that take most time.
  • Note down what you do well and want to preserve.
  • Think about what you what you would like to do better.
  • Summarise what you want others to do better.
  • Note any critical recruiting or compliance issues to resolve.

Your notes form the basis of an ATS wish list. That puts you in a better position to start looking for the best ATS to meet your requirements. 

Does the ATS make recruiting easy?

Here are some questions you should ask before you select your ATS:

  • Does the ATS specialise with organisations just like yours?
    Applicant Tracking System providers specialising in your market understand recruiting scenarios that you haven’t yet thought of.
  • Is the applicant tracking system genuinely easy to use?
    Getting full value from an ATS means using it. So, the easier it is, the more you’ll get from it. Try to avoid systems that require training for infrequent users like some line managers.
  • Can the ATS post vacancies onto job boards that candidates use?
    Look for MultiPost functions that include free-to-post resources like Indeed, Google for Jobs, GOV Find a Job and Adzuna. Check out other national, local and specialist job board connections too.
  • Can candidates apply for jobs easily?
    You want people to apply for jobs easily, so they require easy access from any device. Applicants can come from job boards, your website, social media and other places, so check out all the routes.
  • Is the system quick and easy to implement?
    Look for an ATS that is simple to implement. Try to avoid an ATS that requires service or system fees when you alter the way you work.
Recruiting functions, compliance and reporting

Here are some of the more complex questions you should ask before you select your ATS:

  • Does the applicant tracking system help with repetitive communication?
    Writing the same response each time takes too much time. Look for an ATS with flexible templates to personalise candidate communication at every recruitment step.
  • Is the ATS application form flexible enough to meet your requirements?
    You may work with just a candidate CV. You require much more information to meet regulatory requirements like safer recruitment. Make sure an ATS can capture what you need from applicants.
  • Will the system help you with fair recruitment and remaining lawful?
    Can the ATS capture and manage protected characteristics to ensure that your organisation can defend against discrimination.
  • Will the ATS provide useful management information?
    You’ll want to know where your candidates have seen your vacancies, how long your shortlisting takes and other information that helps you make better recruiting choices.

Do you want to go a little deeper into the applicant tracking subject? Check out the free ATS Buyer Guide before choosing the best ATS for your organisation.

Download your free ATS Buyer Guide

Free ATS Buyer Guide

ATS Buyer Guide - Cover
ATS Buyer Guide

Our free ATS Buyer Guide is available for download at the bottom of this page. It is written for employers who are trying to make recruiting more successful. It’s perfect if you are an HR Lead or internal recruiter and you’re trying to find the best Applicant Tracking System for the job. With so many choices, basic guidance is hard to come by. We believe that our ATS Buyer Guide can help you make case for an ATS. It also helps you compare options and select the best Applicant Tracking System to meet your own requirements.

What’s in our ATS Buyer Guide?

You know the author of this ATS Buyer Guide is a vendor. We know that you don’t want an ATS sales brochure dressed up as a guide. So, you’ll get some useful tips on building a case and deciding what you need. Your free ATS Buyer Guide is part of our Recruiting Made Easy Series and guide sections include:

ATS Buyer Guide - Basics
ATS Basics
  • Do you need an ATS?
  • Building a case
  • Calculating your budget
  • Key ATS features
  • Hidden costs

We hope this ATS Buyer Guide helps all employers, big and small. Larger employers should easily justify the purchase of an Applicant Tracking System. The administration savings alone make a compelling case. But, smaller employers also benefit from using an ATS. They too can make big savings and enjoy the same advantages as their bigger competitors.

Just in case, what is an ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a recruitment software system. It helps you to advertise, shortlist, interview, offer and on-board new starters. An ATS can save as much as 90% of administration time and helps you to recruit more successfully at lower cost:

ATS Buyer Guide - Features Section
ATS checklist in handy sections
  • Reach more potential candidates more easily.
  • Improve your applicant experience.
  • Share and process applicants faster.
  • Reduce administration time by up to 90%
  • Ease compliance with industry regulations including safeguarding and safer recruitment.
  • Remain lawful and adhere to data protection regulations.
Download your free ATS Buyer Guide

Your free ATS Buyer Guide will download automatically after completing the form below. If it doesn’t appear at the foot of your web browser, please check your downloads for the ATS Buyer Guide .

We hope you you find the guide useful and please feel free to offer your suggestions for future improvements.

Please use your company email and not a personal email address
Please select all reasons that match your issues and at least one.
Want to know more?

This guide forms part of our recruiting advice for HR and internal recruiters.

CVMinder ATS is an award winning Applicant Tracking System and all enhancements are guided by its Ambassador customers. They and we ensure that it always manages real world recruitment requirements. According to Care customers, it’s the best Applicant Tracking System for Care Providers. According to Schools and Colleges, it’s the best ATS for Education.

CVMinder ATS is low on price and BIG on function. Contact us now to find out more.


Employment Reference Requests from your ATS

Managing employment reference requests is one of the most time-consuming jobs for any HR Department. For those with safeguarding obligations, new employees cannot start work until all checks are complete. So, delays in collecting employment reference requests can affect an employee start date.

Finding new staff members is hard enough, so getting them into work quickly is a priority. Your ATS should help you as much as possible.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the key features an ATS should offer.

Creating Your Own Referee Record

It’s important for employers in Care, Education and some other sectors to keep an accurate record of each referee in addition to returned references. If there are future disciplinary issues, you may need to return to them.

Your ATS should help you copy a referee directly from a jobseeker’s application. You can complete any outstanding information, correct a typo in an email address and so on.

Applicants sometimes provide referee details later in the recruitment cycle. They can arrive by email, phone or post. Your ATS should allow you to create referee record from these sources.

Employment Reference Request Templates

Your ATS should send personalised reference requests quickly and conveniently. It should let you build reference request templates and include merge fields. Merge fields populate the applicant name, referee details, job details and other information automatically when sending the request. Here you can find an example employment reference request template with merge fields.

Reference Documents

When preparing your reference request, you may wish to attach some standard documents. These could include a confidentiality statement, your data protection policy, or safeguarding statement. If you do, your ATS should offer a secure place to store them for easy access. Click-attaching documents is more convenient and more accurate than searching for them in a local directory structure.

Send Your Employment Reference Request

Once sent, reviewing the ongoing status of your employment reference requests should be easy. Your ATS should help you track these. It should know when reference requests were sent, because most should be sent via your ATS. But, there will always be cases where reference requests were made outside of your ATS. It should help you track these too. As references are returned, you’ll want to uptick the status to show that they have been received and reviewed. Only once a reference has been reviewed should you close it for any further action.

Where is an Employment Reference Returned?

Most HR teams monitor a central email address such as hr@yourcompany.com. It shouldn’t matter who makes the request. Your ATS should make sure that replies go to that inbox.

Employment Checks

Employment reference requests may be just one of your jobs when completing employment checks. If you manage a number of checks, your ATS should bring everything together in one area of the system. Completing all checks and uploading supporting evidence should be convenient and audit ready. A good Applicant Tracking System should leave you feeling totally secure by highlighting any outstanding checks on approach to start date.

Want to know more?

CVMinder ATS helps employers recruit for themselves. It manages advertising, applications, selection, interviews, offers, employment checks and more.  It’s a low cost, award winning Applicant Tracking System and it’s developed in the UK. To recruit like the professionals and reduces your annual recruitment costs, contact us now to find out more.

Template for Employment Reference Request

Example Employment Reference Request Template

Congratulations! You may be reading this because you have selected your new employee.  Now it’s time to take up references and check the reliability of the information you received.

If you are looking for an example Employment Reference Request template, one is included in this post.

Firstly, let’s deal with some of the myths and issues when requesting references.

What can you ask when making an Employment Reference Request?

Getting an employment reference is important for all employers. Receiving amore detailed reference is of particular concern for regulated employers with safeguarding or security concerns. However, some HR teams believe that they are not entitled to ask for certain information in a reference request.

Be aware that an employer is entitled to ask for either a basic reference or a detailed reference. According to ACAS, the referee may provide the following details:

  • Answers to questions from the employer requesting the reference.
  • Details about skills, ability and experience.
  • Details about character, strengths and weaknesses re the applicant’s suitability for the new role.
  • How often the applicant was off work.
  • Disciplinary details.
  • The reason the applicant left the job.

The amount of detail included in the reference is actually up to the person who provides it, so long as there is no company policy to limit this.

What a referee cannot say

Information provided by the referee:

  • must not be misleading
  • cannot include irrelevant personal information

Additionally, details provided about your applicant, their role and their performance must be fair and accurate. If a reference includes opinions, the supporting evidence must be provided.

For example, if your applicant’s performance required improvement in some areas, the reference cannot state that the applicant excelled in their job.

Reference confidentiality

A reference is generally confidential between the prospective employer and the referee. Stating that the the reference is confidential between both parties is good practice.

The Data Protection Act 1998 provides an exception with respect to confidential references. This means that the referee is not obliged to give a copy of the reference to the person they referenced. However they may still choose to give a copy.

Once a worker starts with their new employer they may ask the employer to see a copy of a reference. This is where things get a little more complicated. If it was confidentially requested, the employer can say that the reference was acquired in confidence. However, if the reference was negative and influenced an employment outcome, the worker could make a stronger demand.

The employer should gain permission from the referee to disclose the reference either in full or in summary. If agreed and the referee’s name was not known to the worker, the employer could remove the referee name when giving a copy.

If the worker thinks the reference is unfair or misleading, they may be able to claim damages in a court. The previous employer must be able to back up their reference by supplying evidence such as examples of warning letters.

Employment Reference Request Template

We hope that our examples of suitable Employment Reference Request templates help you.

Each employment reference request template denotes name, telephone number or other information as a {{field}}. Just populate your real data in their place.

If you use CVMinder ATS you may recognise these fields. CVMinder ATS is a low cost Applicant Tracking System that sends Employment Reference Requests using templates created by the employer. CVMinder ATS users you can copy either Employment Reference Request template straight into your reference template section.

Example Employment Reference Request Template when considering Safeguarding

Subject: Confidential reference request for {{applicantfullname}}

Dear {{refereefirstname}}

I write to request an employment reference for {{applicantfullname}}, a person we believe to be a former employee of {{refereeorganisation}}.

Your reference is important in determining {{applicantfirstname}}’s suitability for employment with {{company}} and forms part of our commitment to safeguarding and safer recruitment. It should be treated as confidential between us as we do not share references with employees unless there is a legal requirement to do so. The Data Protection Act 1998 provides an exception with respect to confidential references, meaning that you are not obliged to share your reference directly with {{applicantfullname}}.

Should you require any guidance on providing a job reference then please refer to the ACAS guidance by visiting https://www.acas.org.uk/providing-a-job-reference/what-employers-can-say-in-a-reference

I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions at your earliest convenience and preferably within 3 days of receipt of this email. A later response may cause a delay to {{applicantfirstname}}’s employment with us. Your answers should be accurate and supportable by evidence.

Please reply by inserting your answers below each question and returning this reference to {{myemail}}

In relation to {{applicantfullname}} and employment with {{refereeorganisation}}:

  1. What was your name and position at the time of {{applicantfirstname}}’s employment with you.
  2. On what date did {{applicantfirstname}} commence employment?
  3. On what date did {{applicantfirstname}} finish employment?
  4. Was {{applicantfirstname}} in full time, part-time or other type of employment with {{refereeorganisation}}?
  5. What was {{applicantfirstname}}’s official job title?
  6. What was {{applicantfirstname}}’s working relationship with you, {{refereefullname}}
  7. Please comment upon {{applicantfirstname}}’s punctuality and attendance during this period of employment. Please refer to your official records when answering this question.
  8. Was {{applicantfirstname}} ever subject to disciplinary action? If so, please provide details from your official records.
  9. Are you completely satisfied that {{applicantfirstname}} is suitable for work in an organisation with safeguarding obligations?
  10. We would be grateful for any further comments.

We are obliged to contact referees upon receipt of an employment reference so that we can validate its provenance. To this end, we have your contact telephone number listed as:

Tel: {{refereephone}} (amend if incorrect)

Should you have any questions or concerns related to this reference request then please email me by return using {{myemail}} or contact me by telephone on {{myphone}}

Many thanks in advance and kind regards,


General Employment Reference Request Template

Subject: Confidential reference request for {{applicantfullname}}

Dear {{refereefirstname}}

I write to request an employment reference for {{applicantfullname}} who we believe to be a former employee of {{refereeorganisation}}.

Your reference is important in determining {{applicantfirstname}}’s suitability for employment with {{company}}. As a matter of course we do not share references with employees unless there is a legal requirement to do so. Under Data Protection law you are not obliged to share your reference directly with {{applicantfullname}}.

Should you require any guidance on providing a job reference then please refer to the ACAS guidance by visiting https://www.acas.org.uk/providing-a-job-reference/what-employers-can-say-in-a-reference

I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions at your earliest convenience and preferably within 3 days of receipt of this email. Your answers should be accurate and supportable by evidence.

Please reply by inserting your answers below each question and returning this reference to {{myemail}}

In relation to {{applicantfullname}} and employment with {{refereeorganisation}}:

  1. What was your name and position at the time of {{applicantfirstname}}’s employment with you.
  2. On what date did {{applicantfirstname}} commence employment?
  3. On what date did {{applicantfirstname}} finish employment?
  4. Was {{applicantfirstname}} in full time, part-time or other type of employment with {{refereeorganisation}}?
  5. What was {{applicantfirstname}}’s official job title?
  6. What was {{applicantfirstname}}’s working relationship with you, {{refereefullname}}
  7. Please comment upon {{applicantfirstname}}’s punctuality and attendance during this period of employment. Please refer to your official records when answering this question.
  8. Was {{applicantfirstname}} ever subject to disciplinary action? If so, please provide details from your official records.
  9. We would be grateful for any further comments.

Should you have any questions or concerns related to this reference request then please email me by return using {{myemail}} or contact me by telephone on {{myphone}}

Many thanks in advance and kind regards,


Other Employment Reference Request Templates

There are many employment reference request template options because there are many reasons why you might be asking for an employment reference. If you have comments or suggestions then don’t hesitate to contact us with your thoughts.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about requesting employment reference requests from your ATS, why not contact us now.

Best ATS delivers Interview Management

Reduce the number of Interview No-Shows

Scheduling Interviews is time-consuming and locks up diary space. With interview no-shows on the increase, what’s going wrong and what can you do to fix it?

Candidate No-Shows

Many HR officers report an increase in the number of interview no-shows. They’re experiencing candidate drop-outs, even after confirming on the day of interview. This change of behaviour puts pressure on HR departments because line managers can lay blame at HR’s door.

The increase in candidate no-shows seems consistent, with and without recruitment systems. So, what’s changed?

Recruiting has Changed

More employers are advertising their own vacancies. More job boards offer 1-click methods of application. Applying for jobs is increasingly convenient and resistance-free applications seems attractive to employers. However, that 1-click convenience has been weaponized by applicants.

Applicants still complain about poor feedback from employers. Too few employers take the time to update applicants on their progress. In response, applicants have become less selective.

Silence encourages jobseekers to apply for more roles to improve their prospects. They spend less time reading job adverts and more time clicking. To back this up, most HR officers report an increase in the numbers of unsuitable applicants.

However, the strongest applicants will develop more options with more employers. It is against this backdrop that we must consider interview no-shows.

The Applicant

HR officers expect that if somebody applied for a job, they should want the interview. But, we forget that their specific interest in our vacancy might not be as strong as we would like. We forget that the applicant might have other job options. And we forget that some people just can’t say no.

Candidates should be able to confirm interviews with ease. That goes without question. But, we believe they should also feel more able to decline their interview if they’re not going to turn up.

Scheduling Interviews

Your Applicant Tracking System should help. Scheduling an interview should update the applicant. Unconfirmed interviews should trigger automatic reminders. Declining an interview should be as easy as accepting it. You shouldn’t need the best ATS to achieve these goals.

What about self-scheduling interviews? This allows a candidate to schedule their own interview within an offered period. It sounds great, but does it work? Evidence is to the contrary. HR Heads tell us that self-scheduling can lock out diary time waiting for confirmations that never arrive. Weaker candidates are also blamed for locking out prime times at the expense of better applicants. If recruiting starts with 1-click applications, we can begin to understand why this happens.

Finally, should your best candidate see a reducing number of interview slots upon revisiting the diary, they can quickly feel part of a herd. Your candidate can calculate a reduced chance of interview success. This alone can make an interview no-show more likely.

What your ATS Should Do

The best Applicant Tracking System will get the balance right. It should offer options for pre-confirmed interviews in addition to those requesting confirmation. Sending invitations should be as simple as specifying the type, date, time, location and other details, before releasing an invitation from a template.

Your candidates should be able to click-confirm their interview. They should also be able to decline or request a change. Your ATS should send automatic reminders of confirmed interviews close to the date. It should also send reminders to confirm or decline interviews that are outstanding.

The option to decline should be prominent, so that confirmations will be more reliable. That leads to more successes and fewer interview no-shows.

Review any of the 1-click application methods, if you are using it. Find some balance so that convenience doesn’t win out over serious intent. For example, take a look at the way in which CVMinder ATS can achieve more applicants with Indeed Apply.

Tracking Interview Status

Line managers should be able to track all upcoming interviews. They should also receive email warnings when applicants haven’t confirmed. That saves time or helps managers and HR officers to intervene.

Bringing interview confirmations to the attention of managers relieves the pressure on HR officers. Managers can see much more clearly that a candidate confirmed. There’s nobody to blame in HR.

Interview Management Summary

Managing Interviews always be challenging. But we can do some things to reduce the number of interview no-shows . Review how easy it is to apply for your jobs with 1-click application methods and make appropriate changes. Then review whether applicants find it as easy to decline interviews as accept them. Try applying for one of your own jobs so that you can run through the process and check things out.

Want to know more?

CVMinder ATS is an award winning Applicant Tracking System. Our Ambassador Customers in education, care and hospitality shared the best of their experiences on the subject of interview management. They shaped new features that make interview management work better rt reduce the number of interview no-shows. Contact us now to find out more.

Best ATS Job Advert Analyser

Optimise your adverts to get more job applications

HR officers and internal recruiters would generally like more job applications from people who are suitable. People generally start by writing an informative advert. Then they post the advert on an appropriate job board and hope. However, adverts sometimes fail to attract relevant job applications in the numbers required. It is true that salary, location and some other factors can influence applicant numbers. However, something much simpler is often overlooked.

To improve results we must understand how jobseekers find jobs on job boards. Most jobseekers want to see relevant results when they search for jobs on a job site. If the jobseeker is looking for catering jobs in the local area, they don’t want to see IT jobs or Tecahing jobs.

Relevance is determined in different ways by each jobsite and they don’t generally give you that magic formula. So what can you do to optimise your adverts so that they are seen by more of the right people? If you can get that right you should receive more relevant job applications.

Here are some top tips to lift your job adverts further up the search results.

Choose the right Job Title

It may seem simple, but use an industry recognised job title that people will search for. We know that some employers like to create special titles for their workers, but the world down’t know them. Use a title like “Cleaner” rather than “Sanitation Operative”. This one correction can give your advert a much greater chance of discovery.

Repeat the Job Title

The search ranking of your job can be influenced by your liberal use of its job title and other words / phrases throughout your advert. The more you mention a job title, the more likely it is that your advert will be appear in search results. But, beware the job board anti-spam detection. If you go too far, you may hit the spam detectors and that will diminish your ranking. A reasonable target is to repeat the job title 3  times per two hundred words.

Tell jobseekers what the job is

It sounds basic, but many adverts start by describing the employer or what the employer requires of the jobseeker. That is a no, no because jobseekers read a job advert like recruiters read a CV. In fact, they don’t read it on a first pass! They qualify whether they should read your advert by scanning it.

To get more job applications, you need to spell things out quickly. Jobseekers want to know what the job is, so make sure your first sentence delivers that information. Tell jobseekers what your job is, the scale of it and why you are recruiting.

Don’t start with your “We are a lovely group of people with high commitment to our staff” story. Instead, start with “We are looking for an experienced chef to work in team of 6. Reporting to the head chef you will be preparing Italian classics with a twist for a over 150 covers during weekdays and Saturdays … ” – you get the picture.

Avoid adding Contact Details

Job boards can react badly to email addresses, web addresses and even telephone numbers in your adverts. This is particularly relevant for free job postings on Indeed and others. They want to track jobseeker behaviour and count the number of application clicks. Directing jobseekers away from the job board will work against this and you. Indeed diminishes an advert in search results if you include an email address or URL.

Your advert should read easily

Split your advert up with titled sections and bullet lists. It makes your job advert easier to read. Don’t forget that your advert isn’t being read word for word. Jobseekers scan it to find the information they need to qualify their interest. If you make it easy for them, you might get more job applications.

If your job board prefers plain text, use capitalised text for headers and a character of your choice for bullets. The best Applicant Tracking System will do this for you automatically.

Order of sections might be:

  • A summary of the job
  • A summary of the minimum / ideal criteria for applicants (education / skills / experience etc.)
  • Remuneration summary
  • About the employer
  • About the recruiting process (optional)

The titles for these sections could be:

  • The role of Chef
  • Skills and experienced required to become our Chef
  • Chef salary and benefits
  • About our restaurant
  • How we recruit for the role of Chef

By including the job title in some oft your section headings, you will also help to improve your advert’s ranking in search results.

Avoid dirty formatting

Avoid horrible formatting when copying from Microsoft Word. Job adverts look unprofessional when fonts, paragraph structures and colours change erratically. Again, the best Applicant Tracking Systems will manage this for you automatically. Alternatively, copy the text to a plain text editor like Notepad before uploading to your job board.

Job Analysis

Use a job analyser built on these and other useful rules. CVMinder ATS has one. It calculates a score, highlights areas for attention and gives remedial advice for each advert.

Among other measures, the CVMinder Job Advert Analyser reviews:

  • The structure of the job title
  • Job title discovery in the advert body
  • Whether attached documents might double up on information collection
  • Dirty formatting
  • The length of the advert
  • Sentence length
  • Use of headers and bullets

Want to know more?

CVMinder ATS is an award winning Applicant Tracking System. It manages recruitment from advertising thru on-boarding and is so simple to use. CVMinder ATS is low cost and perfect for employers in Care, Education, Hospitality and other markets.  It also helps you to get more job applications by helping you to optimise your adverts. If you want to know more, then please contact us for further details.

Get more job applications with better adverts

How to write job adverts that get more applications

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could receive more job applications from people with the right skills, experience and personal qualities? Unfortunately, many HR Heads and Recruiters complain after receiving too few applications or too many applications from the wrong people. The conversation often starts “Indeed just sends me rubbish …” or “Job boards are a waste of money …”

So what is going wrong? Is the job board deficient, your job unattractive, or could there be something wrong with our advert? You might be surprised to hear that in most cases, the advert is to blame.

In this short blog, well learn how to write job adverts that get more applications of the right quality.

There are so many reasons why the right candidate won’t see your job advert, or read it when they do. Reasons include:

  • Your job board selection
  • How old the advert is
  • The job title you are using
  • Salary issues like omitting it, or headlining the wrong amount.
  • Location issues
  • The ‘wall of text’ job description
  • The “you must have” type of advert
  • Whether you Optimise your Job adverts

Let’s take a quick look at how your job advert is discovered and how jobseekers read then qualify your job.

First up …

People don’t read your job advert!

Really? True.

Direct feedback from jobseekers confirms that most don’t read your job adverts in full unless they’re convinced they should. They scan it for clues for relevance, just like you do with CVs.

As an employability expert, I have presented CV advice to groups of jobseekers. I tell them that the CV they have been slaving over for 6 months isn’t read by recruiters. They look shocked and instinctively disagree. When I tell them how they scan and avoid reading adverts, they generally laugh with embarrassment.

You’re reading the opening paragraph of a CV … “I’m a lovely person who can work alone or as part of a …”, yawn! Skip to most recent job title. “Working from home, 2018 to present” Does it fit? No. Skip to previous job title. Does that fit? Skip to far history. Anything matching here? Nope. Reject!

You read sections of a CV if you believe there is sufficient reason to do that. So do jobseekers with our advert. Now we know that jobseekers do what you do. It’s just that they spend longer writing their CV than you do writing your advert.

Now let’s cover some of the other points, like how jobseekers discover your job in the fist place.

Finding your job

Jobseekers often start with an internet search engine like Google. They find job boards by using search terms like “admin jobs in surrey” or “care worker jobs”. Alternatively, they head straight for indeed or another well-known job board.

Each job board has its own method for showing the most relevant jobs to jobseekers. Each job board has its own special algorithm and that often considers advert age, job location, job title and the number of times a job title is mentioned in the advert.

So, if you have a “Care Worker” job, make sure that the job title is repeated several times in the advert body. That should improve its chances of appearing in search results.

Reviewing your job

Jobseekers scan adverts for critical information. Before they read anything in detail, they want to know:

  • What the job is
  • Location
  • Salary

If there’s a fit, they may look for the following:

  • Required skills, experience and education
  • Responsibilities

If interested, they will consider:

  • Organisation type
  • Size of organisation
  • Personal prospects

The first line of your advert should clearly state what the job is. Don’t waste a valuable opportunity to grab their attention by giving a history of your organisation and why it’s great employer.

Make sure you split sections up with titles and bullet points to make scanning your job easier.

What, where and salary

Most job boards prefer you to give the plain job title as the title of the advert. Indeed is just one job board that complains if you include other details like location and salary. Read why your jobs aren’t appearing on Indeed if you want to know more.

Your mission is to get basic information into your job advert near the top. “We are looking for a senior PHP Developer to join a team of 5 other developers in our Maidenhead office …” would be a good first sentence.

To supplement this, write a headed remuneration section, giving the salary and benefits. A headed section makes it easy to find.

Responsibilities and Requirements

As jobseekers go on to qualify your job, they want to know what type of work they will be doing. They may try to understand how it helps them with skills or career development and whether the work will be interesting enough.

Bring the job to life so that people can visualise it. Don’t make the mistake of only listing the qualifications, skills and experience you need.

Write something about the organisation, its ambition and the potential influence of the role. Think about the scale of the opportunity, the level of autonomy and the impact you’re expecting from your new employee.

When you do list responsibilities, it’s a bad idea to infill with basics like ‘Write good quality PHP code’. The best potential applicants can qualify out because the brief sounds too junior.

In Conclusion

You can get more job applications by writing better adverts. Just recognise that there is a science to writing them. Yes, it’s more work and you might not be able to fix any recruiting barriers like your location or salary. But, making your adverts easier to find could help you reach more jobseekers. Making them easier to scan could develop more interest and more job applications.

Want to know more?

Stuart Haddow is the Product Director for CVMinder ATS. He has been a Board Member of successful Software Companies, a Recruitment Business owner, delivered CV masterclasses to senior executives and advisory classes to jobseekers.

CVMinder ATS is an award winning Applicant Tracking System for employers. It comes with an Advert Analyser to help you get more job applications.

Contact us now if you would to know more about job advertising or our Applicant Tracking System.

GDPR Checklist for internal recruiters

The new General Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force during May 2018. It’s time to make sure you’re compliant with this handy GDPR checklist for recruiters.

GDPR obliges organisations to manage personal information more securely and acquire individual consents to store and process that data. It covers electronic data and manual filing systems, so that’s pretty much any information that can be used to personally identify someone.

Internal recruiters handle a lot of personal data, from CVs and application forms to proof of address, conviction information and much more.  Our GDPR checklist for internal recruiters should help you to determine how ready you are.

After conducting research, organisations like Trustarc found that approximately 1 in 4 companies haven’t yet started their GDPR implementation.

GDPR applies to you if your organisation:

  • operates within the EU.
  • operates outside the EU offering goods or services to individuals in the EU.

The fines for GDPR breaches are staggeringly high so getting it wrong could be a very expensive mistake. The maximum fine for non-compliance could be €20 million or 4% of your global turnover!

There’s no exemption for small companies and Brexit won’t change a thing, so let’s get straight into GDPR checklist for internal recruiters. It’s not exhaustive nor is it a project plan, but you may find some points that you haven’t considered so far.

GDPR Checklist

We present the following GDPR Checklist for internal recruiters in easy sections. To gain more detailed information about your GDPR obligations, go to the Information Commissioner’s Office and check out the Guide to General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR Basics


Know who your Data Protection Officer (DPO) is. Your DPO will know how the procedures for data beaches and can be a great point of reference for GDPR. It is always advisable to have a DPO, but you must have one if your organisation:

  • is a public authority
  • performs large scale monitoring of individuals such as online behaviour tracking
  • carries out large scale processing of special data categories including criminal convictions.

If you share Personal Information with other organisations, seek written confirmation of GDPR compliance. For example, you may work within a franchise, an Academy Trust or other group of organisations using shared central services. Do not share personal information with another organisation unless you have written confirmation of their GDPR compliance and Consent from the individual concerned. See below for details regarding Consent.

Data Retention Periods

Set data retention limits for each type of information. As good way to start is by creating categories of information based upon sensitivity. For instance, criminal conviction information is very sensitive whilst some photographic evidence of a building project is less so. Retain increasingly sensitive information for decreasing periods.


Update your organisation’s Data Protection Procedures (DPP) to take account of GDPR.

GDPR Consent and data acquisition
  • Consent
    From now on, demand electronic or written consent before you accept personal information. This is a very specific point in the GDPR regulation. The terms of consent should be very clear, particularly if you hold data for children. Terms should state what information you will hold, for what purpose and shared with whom. The method of consent should be explicit and granular and should not default to consent without action. So, pre-ticked consent boxes are not allowed under GDPR.
  • Inform
    For those who haven’t provided you with consent, inform them that you hold their personal data. State the reason for keeping it and seek consent before 25th May 2018. You may not be able to confidently use personal information that has been collected without consent.
  • Withdrawal
    Create a process that allows people to withdraw their consent at any time. This prevents you from continuing to process their personal information against that point of consent. For example, candidates may withdraw their consent to receive job alerts. In that case you may not alert them to new vacancies.
  • Company Handbook
    Control the future acquisition of personal information by your organisation. For instance , you should update sections of your Company Handbook to deny all but HR and internal recruiters the authority to receive CVs from third parties.
Access and Rectification
  • Right to be informed
    Individuals have the right to know that you have their data. They also have the right to access it and to rectify their personal information. Complete a data audit so that you can determine where you are storing personal information and for whom.
  • Subject Access Request (SAR)
    A GDPR best practice recommendation is for organisations to provide secure, self-service access to one’s personal information (Recital 63). If you don’t support this, establish a procedure so that you can validate an individual’s identity and respond to their request. Processing should be free of charge in most cases.
  • Corrections
    Create a procedure to respond to correction requests. Responding to such requests should be non chargeable in most cases. If you offer secure, self-service access to one’s personal information, self-correction should also be supported.
  • Right to be forgotten
    Create a process to manage individual deletion requests because the right to be forgotten is a mandatory GDPR requirement. It is particularly important when the lawful basis for processing personal information is based solely upon consent. Refer to your data audit to check whether you hold personal information on spreadsheets, paper, email, a CRM system etc. If you offer secure, self-service access to one’s personal information, you should consider offering an option to delete one’s personal information.
GDPR Security
  • Security
    Data security is fundamental to GDPR, so being able to evidence secure systems and processes is critical. Email is insecure and you can read Geoff Duncan’s blog to find out why https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/can-email-ever-be-secure/. If you can’t easily secure, control and manage email in line with a GDPR policy, avoid using it to store personal information. If in doubt, our advice is to delete every email containing personal information such as a CV. That in itself could be difficult to manage across any number of employees.
GDPR Terms
  • Terms
    Make available the terms agreed with any individual under which you are storing and using their personal information. You can make those terms available in a secure, self-service system.

What now?

Our GDPR Checklist for Internal Recruiters suggests that you start with a data audit then work through the other points. Once you know where personal data is, bring your employees up to speed with their obligations. You may have a lot to teach people if you find evidence of any of the following:

  • Distributing personal details on paper.
  • Emailing personal information between staff.
  • Sharing personal information with friends in other companies or with friendly recruiters.
  • Allowing paper copies of personal information to travel home with employees.

Also, control your offline or paper copies of personal information. You should work to avoid situations such as employees leaving branded application forms on public transport, or disposing of CVs in household waste.

Get a GDPR compliant Applicant Tracking System

Ensure your future GDPR compliance by implementing an Applicant Tracking System that acquires candidate consent for you. CVMinder ATS has been acquiring candidate consent since it first launched. It also offers secure, self-service to personal information, supporting review and modification.

Among others, Schools and Care companies use CVMinder ATS because it helps them to manage employment checks and other points of recruitment compliance.

CVMinder ATS is the easiest Applicant Tracking System available. It’s simple to use, quick to deliver and easy to learn. Capterra, part of the Gartner Group, has awarded CVMinder ATS best value Applicant Tracking System 2017 and best support 2017.

Don’t delay. If you want to ensure that your recruitment in your organisation is GDPR compliant, please contact us now for more information or to set up a personal demonstration.

GDPR Checklist footnote

GDPR represents a significant change to the way in which organisations manage and process personal information. It’s great news for individuals and will help to tackle poor practice in the recruitment industry.

This GDPR Checklist for internal recruiters is to help you to think about the tasks ahead and structure your approach. GDPR is a live concern and some of the detail is subject to alteration. However, the main GDPR requirements are clear, so don’t wait for future amendments before getting started.

GDPR and 1-Click Apply

GDPR. Is this the end of 1-click apply?

Let’s discuss 1-click apply. We’ll check out the benefits, some disadvantages and why General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gets in the way.

What is “1-click apply”?

“1-click apply” has been offered by job boards such as The Caterer,  Indeed and TotalJobs. It allows jobseekers to submit job applications with a single click. Personal information, a  CV, covering letter and other documents are all packaged and delivered with ease.  It’s so easy that some jobseekers apply for too many jobs too quickly and without thought.

The perceived benefit of “1-click apply”

“1-click apply” promises frictionless job applications that are quick and convenient. That results in more job applications for employers and the evidence is certainly there to support it. The job boards and employers should be happy because everyone wants more job applications. But wait, is there a downside?

The downside of “1-click apply”

HR managers and internal recruiters suggest that “1-click apply” is responsible for a number of unforeseen issues:

  1. There are more irrelevant job applications. There’s no buffer to stop jobseekers looking before they leap. Those applications soak up valuable time.
  2. The best candidates can be hidden in a bigger pile of less useful applications. That’s not great when the market is so competitive.
  3. The proportion of interview no-shows seems to increase. Weaker up-front qualification by the jobseeker can result in poorer interest overall.
  4. What about compliance and GDPR?

1-click applications could be unintentionally reducing the average quality of job applications. They also shoot personal details across to other systems without consent!

GDPR, a “1-click apply” killer?

GDPR is here and it’s a game changer for the recruitment industry. Under GDPR rules, personal information must be secure and less easily distributed. Organisations receiving personal information will be subject to obligations such as:

  1. Supporting individual consent for holding and processing personal information for a specific purpose. Consent must be via a positive opt-in, not to be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity.
  2. Informing applicants that personal data has been received.
  3. Offering access to personal information to validate lawfulness of any data processing.
  4. Supporting the right to be forgotten.

1-click apply passes personal data from a job board to the receiver’s ATS or email system. Up until GDPR came along, the applicant had no knowledge of the target system and no consents were captured in advance. Receiving systems could be home-grown, supplied by a vendor, living on an office server or hosted in the cloud. Receivers could be in any country and demonstrate varying levels of data security. Whoops!

1-click must change if it is to be GDPR compliant. Thankfully it has for some job boards. For example, Indeed released Indeed Apply. With it, your ATS can instruct Indeed to request necessary consent(s) from the applicant. Critically, applicants give consent before Indeed sends personal information to the ATS.

Indeed Apply is much more than that. It allows an ATS to give it questions that it should ask any applicant. Everything is completed on Indeed before being packaged for delivery to the ATS.


“1-click apply” seems like a good idea.  It decreases friction in the process and encourages more people to complete their applications. However, when made too easy, employers receive thoughtless applications and that spoils the potential gains.

We must also conclude that 1-click it isn’t GDPR compliant. However, adding one or two more clicks to gain the required ATS consent(s) and this does satisfy GDPR. 1-click must therefore morph into quick-click for most jobs boards. Perhaps they should take a lead from Indeed.

So how can we implement 1-click apply ?

You can’t. Potential fines for any GDPR breach are eye watering, so a “safety first” approach is the right approach:

  1. When receiving personal information, ensure that you’re receiving it in an ATS rather than an email system. Have your ATS gain consent(s) in advance of receiving personal information by any quick-click methods.
  2. Ensure each applicant can access and edit personal information in your ATS. Even if a job application came via quick-click methods, the applicant should have a way of accessing it.
  3. Your ATS should prevent the speculative distribution of personal information without the prior consent of the candidate. This point is directed at recruitment companies.

Raw “1-click apply” cannot survive GDPR. But, requesting additional consent(s) for pre-packaged applications is hardly inconvenient. Consider adding some application questions. Questions make applicants pause for a moment and that can reduce the number of irrelevant job applications. The more you ask, the fewer irrelevant applications you’ll receive.

Indeed resolved the GDPR / 1-click issue with the introduction of Indeed Apply. You can get low friction recruitment and full compliance so long as you have an ATS that works with it.

Want to know more?

If you’re looking for an ATS that works with Indeed Apply, check out the article ‘Get more applicants with Indeed Apply‘. CVMinder ATS can build complete application forms on Indeed Apply automatically.

If you you would like to review your recruitment approach and check it for GDPR compliance, then please contact us now. We’re here to help.

Post apprenticeships to Recruit an Apprentice with the best recruitment system for Training Providers

Post vacancies on Recruit an Apprentice automatically

Training Providers find apprentices and place them into apprenticeship vacancies with local employers. Now Training Providers can post apprenticeships on Recruit an apprentice automatically.

Training Providers

Apprenticeships are big business and Training providers are cashing in. Government-subsidised training fees are a big incentive for employers. But, they need an Ofsted regulated Training Provider to deliver the education component of this great pathway into work.

Training Providers include independent companies, Colleges and some larger organisations with training departments. Each acts like a recruitment agent as they attract, qualify and place people.

All apprenticeship vacancies must be advertised on GOV Recruit an Apprentice (RaP). This is a free service, but one that takes quality seriously. All apprenticeships are quality checked by the service. That means that some apprenticeship adverts can be rejected for missing or inaccurate information. Checking can also take time, so Training Providers have complained that their apprentice can be found well before their advert goes live on RaP.


There are other free apprenticeship adverting options. Post jobs for free on GOV Find a Job, for instance. They recently extended their job types to include apprenticeships. You can also make use of free postings on Google for Jobs. In Kent, post apprenticeships for free on Apprentice Kent. Unfortunately, Indeed will only accept apprenticeship vacancies from RaP.

To post apprenticeships on more than one job board takes time. That is time that Colleges don’t have because they offer their services free of charge to employers. They would like to post jobs on RaP and other services with a single click. The answer is an Applicant Tracking System with MultiPost.

CVMinder HUB

CVMinder HUB is a recruiting system for Training Providers. It manages the full recruitment lifecycle and has a MultiPost function. That means that Training providers can post apprenticeships for free on RaP, GOV Find a Job, Google for Jobs and other websites with a single click.

CVMinder also manages work placements, enrolments and includes a powerful employability module. It helps Training Providers to recruit faster at lower cost and do lots more besides.

Want to know more?

If you post apprenticeships on Recruit an Apprentice you could benefit from posting them more widely with MultiPost. Contact us now to find out more.