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Why Every Retailer Business Needs an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

All multi-location retail companies depend on consistent products and services to build a positive brand. However, they don’t always rely on a consistent hiring process. Managers often lack the resources to effectively recruit; after all, hiring is usually a secondary responsibility to running a store. The result: sub-par hires and high employee turnover.

Attracting and hiring employees that will help you achieve business growth and ultimately stay with the company requires specific skill sets and technology tools. Applicant tracking systems (ATS), which are a type of recruitment software, can help retail businesses attract and hire employees and turn their hiring into a competitive advantage.

4 reasons every retail business should use an ATS

I. Make decentralized, store-centered recruitment efficient

In retail and other branch-based companies, finding and attracting candidates is the responsibility of many people. It could be a mixture of recruiters and talent acquisition specialists, but often falls to the store managers themselves. This makes the hiring process store-centered and driven by store managers.

By providing the right technology for your store managers, you can empower them to make better hires and grow quality teams without losing focus on day-to-day operations.

Having an applicant tracking system that is easy to learn and use, you can encourage store managers to adopt the new technology and make efficient hiring for their stores.

With an applicant tracking system, it’s easy to design a consistent hiring process that the business needs and leads to better hires.

By making the hiring process structured and easy to follow, store managers can spend less time on recruiting while reducing employee turnover and increasing performance.

An ATS can provide store managers, district managers and regional managers with access to their jobs, candidates and stores and encourage them to collaborate easily with the home office when needed.

Your store managers will have a standardize recruitment process across the entire organization, and each of them will follow the company’s best practices.

II. Free up time and resources for your store managers

While the main role of a store manager is to sell and increase the company profitability, they also have a key role in attracting the right candidates in order to hit their targets. So it’s important that they have simple, streamlined tools that allow them to recruit on the go.

With an Applicant Tracking System, each store manager has a dedicated portal that’s easy to use.

With built-in screening measures and plenty of automation options, you can spend more time interviewing top candidates.

A good ATS will sort and rank applicants, contact them by email, and archive their details in a searchable database.

III. Provide better candidate (customer) experience

Whether it’s in-store or online, delivering a great customer experience is vital for your retailer business, and it’s no different with your recruitment. Quite often your customers are your potential candidates too! By providing a user-friendly and efficient streamlined experience, your candidates can appreciate their experience and you can improve your brand image.

By having the right ATS, you should be able to seamlessly integrate your candidate journey into your website or dedicated careers site.

IV. Make faster and smarter business decisions

Using an ATS, you’ll be able to collect valuable data and insights that will help you make smarter and faster decisions about your recruitment and your overall business.

By having personalized analytics, you’ll be able to constantly optimize your hiring strategy and make a bigger positive impact on your business.

There are several features available in ATS solutions, but some of them are more relevant to the retail industry than others. Here are the most relevant features that every retail business should be looking at when assessing an ATS.

Key ATS features for retail business

Screening for Personality

Most employees in retail companies directly interact with customers. Having employees with the right personality can help to sell more products and increase customer loyalty. Therefore, hiring for personality becomes very important in any retail company.

Using an ATS software can help you rate candidates’ personalities using a suggested rating system.

Organizing Employee Referrals

Internal referrals are a valuable way to find great employees while retaining the employees that you have.

You can use an ATS to organize your employee referrals program and provide an easy tool for your employees to recommend their friends and family members for open positions.

Planning for Seasonal Peaks

Most retail businesses can be affected by seasonal shifts in sales.

Using an ATS, you can access your historical data to accurately plan for seasonal shifts and determine the number of employees that you need to hire. Then you can use the ATS to proactively post jobs, so that you have plenty of time to screen candidates before you actually need them.

Data-Driven Decisions

Using an ATS, you can have valuable analytics data about your entire recruitment process. You can easily create reports that measure and monitor, in real-time, all aspects of your hiring process.

You can monitor and measure the effectiveness of your sourcing channels.

You can have reports by store, by district, or by region. You can have reports by each type of user (Store Manager, District Manager, etc.).

Having such reports will give you valuable insights and help you to make optimal business decisions.

Store Career Site

Have a dedicated section in the career site for each store to instantly publish the jobs that are related to that store.

Store Managers can share, in front of their store or online, a link to their career site to encourage candidates to apply for jobs.

Store Dashboard

Instantly view the status of all jobs and applicants. Be able to track all the pending tasks such as interviews to be scheduled, new hires to be onboarded, etc.

Job Creation and Management

Be able to create jobs from scratch or from job templates and publish them instantly on the career site and external job boards.

Candidates Search

Search and compare a high volume of candidates based on key criteria such as keywords, availability, or personality assessment score.

Automated Communication

Be able to quickly select a bulk of candidates, and automatically send them emails (rejection, acceptance, interviews, etc.).

Interview Management

Easily schedule interviews and send automatic branded emails to prepare and remind candidates of their appointments.

Offer Management

View all offers pending candidate approval, start onboarding for candidates who accepted them, and review reasons given by candidates who rejected offers.


Leverage personalized email templates to prepare new employees for their first day, plus share the onboarding schedule and employer branding material.

Web-based ATS

If you want to manage your entire hiring processes without IT staff involvement, you can opt for a Web-based ATS.  Such system requires no software to buy or hardware to install or manage. Users simply login from any web browser and manage their jobs, candidates, reports and much more online.

When it comes to selecting an ATS for your business, certainly having the features is important, but there are other critical elements that should be considered.

Things to consider when you implement an ATS for a retail business

When you decide to embark on an ATS implementation journey, there are several key takeaways you should keep in mind.

I. Knowledgeable deployment team

The implementation of an ATS in a decentralized environment requires a highly skilled and knowledgeable implementation team. It is critical to make sure that your internal implementation team members and your vendor team have the right knowledge and expertise to successfully drive your project.

It is crucial to take the necessary time to design the solution and make the right implementation decisions. The detailed business requirements should be collected at the beginning of the project and should be regularly validated throughout the design process.

Having some representatives from the field (store managers, district managers, etc.) on the design team is the best way to ensure you are meeting your business needs and building a solution that solves your pain points.

II. Ease of Use

Without an ATS, job requisitions are usually created manually for the store managers and are loosely supported by the HR team. The data fields in the job requisitions can be inaccurate and/or incomplete.

Using an ATS, you can address this challenge by creating job templates for every store and for every type of job. These templates pre-populated almost every field on the job requisition, in addition to providing the correct candidate selection workflow and populating almost all fields on the offer grid downstream. The candidate selection workflow enhanced the store manager’s efficiency in the selection process by hiding candidates that had not completed their application, or candidates that did not meet the basic requirements. Using the job templates can vastly improve the store manager’s ability to hire quickly and effectively during peak season.

III. Security

One typical requirement most retailers have is that no store manager should have access to any jobs or candidates that are not associated with their particular store. In addition, there are some data that the company does not want to be viewable to store managers.

Best practice in ATS implementations suggest that this requirement be addressed through creating multiple user groups, driving security throughout the system.

It is also crucial that the ATS must be configured to meet complex security requirements set forth by the corporate Human Resources team.


Your retail business is unique, so it deserves an Applicant Tracking System that caters to that uniqueness. It’s worth it to take the time researching the ATS solutions, viewing demos, and comparing options before you commit to a solution that may not be right for your company.

You don’t need a big budget to make big improvements to the way you manage your hiring.

You can take advantage of our free online ATS and start exploring all the features that are covered above.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and start hiring better talents, faster.