November 15

The Pitfalls of Applicant Tracking Software in Hospitality Hiring


Here’s Why Using Applicant Tracking Software Makes Hiring Harder for Hospitality Jobs.

We understand why you might use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Organizing the flow of applicants, managing those applicants, and then easily onboarding and adding hires to your payroll is much more convenient and efficient when done in one place.

Unfortunately, using an ATS is a poor experience for applicants, decreasing the number of resumes you receive for open roles. In fact, according to SHRM, the average dropout rate for applicants who click apply but never complete their application is upward of 92% when using an ATS.

With the hospitality industry’s challenging labor market, using applicant tracking software isn’t doing you any favors.

So, let’s break down why applicant tracking software makes that first step in the hiring process so difficult and what you can do about it!

The Average ATS Application Experience

No matter what stage of the hiring process you’re in, it’s always beneficial to consider the job seeker’s experience. You’re trying to attract talent, not push them away, so in order to really captivate them, you need to understand them.

So imagine, after spending an hour or more crafting a resume you’re proud of, you visit an employment site like Poached Jobs to begin your hospitality job search.

You register an account, upload your resume, and are ready to start applying for jobs.

After reviewing a few jobs, you find one that seems like a great fit. You click to apply, thinking you’re ready to submit the resume you just uploaded and add a cover letter.

Instead, you’re taken to another website with the same job description and see a big button to apply…again. So, you click to apply (here’s where the eye rolls start).

Now, you’re asked to set up an account with this second website (your ATS) and go through those hoops before you land in the application process, where you can upload your resume…again.

After uploading your resume, you are now taken through various steps to re-enter the information on your resume—the one you just uploaded—for the second time.

At this point, the applicant has spent way too much time handling redundancies that have only made their application experience inefficient and, unfortunately, bad. I mean, there’s a whole Reddit thread making fun of this stuff.

Hiring in hospitality is hard enough. Don’t let using an ATS in your restaurant be the reason you can’t make good hires. It will only cost you more money to deal with high burnout and turnover rates.

Why Applicant Tracking Software Pushes Candidates Away.

If you need it broken down even further, here are the main reasons your ATS is excluding skilled and qualified candidates.

  1. Your ATS takes them to an unexpected site.
    A while ago, we asked job seekers what qualities of a job post are discouraging, and being sent to a different website made the list.

    When a seeker finds your job through a job board and is then re-routed, you are just creating an additional step for the job seeker. The key to increasing conversion rates is to create an experience that’s quick and easy for job seekers—using an Applicant Tracking System doesn’t help with that.

  2. Your ATS is time-consuming.
    As displayed in the previous section, the user experience when applying through an ATS is time-consuming. Job seekers have to register an account, upload a resume, manually fill out a ton of different forms, and do the occasional personality test.

    This process is way too long for today’s standards. It discourages the seeker from actually completing the application because you’re asking them to do way too much. And no, you don’t need to withstand a lengthy and redundant application experience to be a good cook with a solid work ethic.

  3. Your ATS is outdated.
    Your ATS likely isn’t optimized for mobile, and being in a generation where almost everything is done on a mobile device, you’re missing out on capturing the most applications possible.

    What’s already a time-consuming process on desktop only doubles on mobile—making the drop-off rate for successful hospitality candidates even higher.

  4. Your ATS creates a virtual black hole.
    Job seekers, especially the ones that really want to work with you, are eager to know where they are in the application process and if you already hired someone. After spending hours trying to figure out how to apply on your website, they at least want to know that their application was seen!

    Not all ATS systems only provide updates, or a job seeker has to figure out how to log back into their account to see their status. Poached Jobs takes care of this issue by sending the applicant updates when their resume has been viewed, when they’ve been contacted, or when an interview is requested through push notification, text, or email.

A Better Solution for Hospitality Hiring

Skip the ATS when you’re just trying to attract candidates and set up interviews. Your applicant tracking software is only hurting your hiring success rate.

When using Poached Jobs, the application process for job seekers is quick and seamless. Job Seekers can quickly upload a resume or build a profile and quickly submit applications with a one-click apply feature. They can also add a cover letter before or after their application is submitted.

We also offer intuitive and free tools to help you organize your top applicants, send messages, and schedule interviews. Additionally, by using the Poached Dashboard, you can also take advantage of our Poached Shifts feature allowing you to book skilled workers as freelance hospitality professionals.

As the nation’s leading hospitality employment site with over 1,000,000 hospitality professionals looking for work in the industry—Poached is built to get your jobs in front of the best candidates and streamline your hiring process.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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