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Choosing the Right Applicant Tracking System for Your Business

July 21, 2016

dog doorThere are times when we assume that bigger is, of course, better. A bigger house, a bigger car, a bigger office. Through experience, we come to learn that bigger is definitely not always better. Just like a bigger house isn’t necessarily the best fit for a single person, or a sports car the right choice for a family of eight, your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) isn’t necessarily the better fit, just because it’s the biggest option on the market.

In the world of Applicant Tracking Systems, there are three different profiles companies generally fit into:

  • Small/Mid-Size Business
  • Staffing Agency
  • Enterprise

Knowing where your business falls within these categories will better serve you as you navigate the available options. When determining which ATS is the right fit for your organization, there are several key factors you will want to consider:
Bigger Isn't Always Better

  1. Ease of Use – Your ATS needs to be easy to use, not only for recruiters and other HR staff, but for anyone involved with the hiring process who will be utilizing the system. A bigger ATS can be cumbersome to navigate, oftentimes having features irrelevant to your company that can complicate your processes. They also require considerably more setup time, and are limited with regard to making changes tailored specifically to your company. Consider the length of time your staff would need to spend in training. Time away from work is cost prohibitive and means lost productivity. Many applicant tracking systems are intuitive, and can have you up and running in no time. You’re also going to want to look for a system that is efficient at handling several tasks with a few easy clicks. Many of your potential candidates spend a considerable amount of time searching for jobs on social media. Look for an ATS that can post roles on social media and job boards at the same time it posts them on your company website.
  1. Candidate Experience – Applicants need to be able to interface with your company simply and quickly. Bigger applicant tracking systems normally require log-in access, which can be frustrating for a potential candidate. They often ask applicants to go through a series of EEO questions, regardless of whether or not it is an EEO company. For some organizations, complex pages featuring careers may not be the best display, especially for those businesses having fewer jobs. Your ATS should be an experience that matches the brand and feel of your company.Business cartoon showing a consumer that has been on hold for so long they have died, 'Your call is very important to us... Please continue to hold...'.
  1. Customer Support – This is perhaps one of the largest factors to consider when shopping for the right ATS. Large ATS providers can integrate their Human Resource software with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), sometimes interfacing with multiple systems within the existing operating system(s) of an organization. This type of program requires dedicated resources within the company such as a project manager and IT support. Depending on the size of the enterprise, there is sometimes a dedicated HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) team who handles the management and support of the system. If you’re not in the market for a large ERP, it’s important to ask whether or not your ATS vendor is able to offer quality 24/7 support, and how the software will integrate with your company website. You will also want to consider who specifically is providing customer support, and where they are located. Is the call center outside of the country? Consider the process with which users will be getting assistance. With bigger applicant tracking systems, it is common for users to log tickets, and wait for a response. When dealing with smaller providers, you are typically working with someone with recruiting experience, who answers the phone immediately, and responds to emails quickly. These are normally the same people who assisted with implementation, whereas with a bigger ATS, the implementation team is not the same team you will interface with as a user moving forward, as you will have many people to coordinate with, as well as different service levels. Working with a bigger ATS can mean a less nimble, less configurable process with which to make changes and solve problems.
  1. Cost – Working with a bigger ATS means incurring significant cost with regard to the complexity of system setup and custom implementation. Many times, these systems are priced on headcount which translates to hefty fees. It’s important to research the differences in ATS software in order to compare features against your budget when determining the right fit for you.
    Piggybank and calculator
  1. Turnover/Growth Projection of Vendor – With the number of ATS options on the market, it’s not surprising that many of them disappear seemingly overnight. Ask how long they’ve been doing business, how many employees they have, what experience they have, and what types of clients they already support. Do your research; Google them to find reviews, and ask around about them. Check in with your peers and colleagues within the industry to find out what they may know as well. You may consider asking for references from current clients. Also, ask about their funding and growth philosophy.
  1. Portals for Internal Candidates and Employee Referrals– Something to consider if you are with a larger company especially, is the availability of portals for internal candidates to apply for new positions, and to refer new employees to your company. Companies who make it easy for their associates to navigate their ATS are more likely to remain an employer of choice.

While there is a lot to consider when choosing the best Applicant Tracking System for your company, it’s a worthwhile investment that will have a huge impact on your business. Take the time to do your due diligence as you search for the ATS that matches your company needs.

To find out if The Applicant Manager is the right fit for your company, contact us.
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