When shopping for recruiting software, most people look at two things: features and price. They check to see if the solution has the basic features that they need and whether it fits their budget. While obviously important, we have found that looking at an applicant tracking system (ATS) based on just these criteria won’t necessarily guarantee the best fit for your organization. Instead, focusing on the value that an ATS can bring to your organization is more important.
In this post, we’ll examine what value means when shopping for an ATS.
What the Best Applicant Tracking Systems Have in Common
Many ATS solutions have been developed with similar principles and feature sets, such as the following:
- Attracting and Engaging Candidates. An ATS helps HR teams reach prospective candidates with the news of a position while also creating a positive experience that inspires them to apply. Features used in this function include mobile optimization, simple job board posting, and an employee referral platform.
- Interviewing and Managing Candidates. An ATS can help you more easily communicate, move candidates through the hiring process more efficiently, schedule interviews, and touch base with your hiring team. Most applicant tracking systems offer email templates for automation, interview scorecards, workflows, recruiting dashboards, features for EEOC and OFCCP compliance, and other tools for hiring managers.
- Offering and Onboarding Phases. The best applicant tracking systems provide tools that help you seal the deal, such as approval processes, integrated background checks, digital offer letters and onboarding recommendations.
Many ATS providers offer most – if not all – of these features, which is why it is important to look more carefully at your needs to understand what will provide you with the most value.
Delivering on Value
When we talk about “value,” it’s important to define what exactly we mean by the term. Value ultimately comes down to getting the most ROI possible for the least amount of money.
Value is typically expressed as a straightforward relationship between perceived benefits and perceived costs, where value = benefits/cost. In the case of software, “benefits” are the things that the features allow you to do, provided these things are important. For example, being able to use an ATS to create a sourcing report adds a significant amount of value, as long as the report is something you would rely on to determine where you will spend your recruiting dollars. Conversely, if you only ever post your positions on the same three free job sites regardless of what the sourcing report says, then the ATS’ reporting feature is of no real value.
Think about it: Have you ever made a purchase because you were “sold,” even though it was a purchase you never planned to make, and it didn’t really add value to you? That’s what we all want to avoid.
To some degree, it’s a numbers game. If a given solution costs $90 per person per month, and your HR employees are paid $30 per hour, the solution must save the worker more than three hours of work every month to break even in terms of value. Any further time savings further improve the solution’s value and ROI.
Other value factors aren’t so easily quantified – for instance, saving your employees stress and headaches is a boon for any solution, but how can you assign that a monetary value? Even if you can’t say that a feature set is worth a specific amount of money, the intangible, unquantifiable aspects of value are still important to consider.
However, when we mention “the least amount of money,” that doesn’t inherently mean “lowest price.” Most consumers don’t want to pay more than they have to for anything, but make sure that the solution meets your needs. It’s like making quick decision to buy something that was cheap or on sale, only to realize that the item didn’t work or broke after a few uses.
So, as with any key purchase, think about what the value is of an ATS given your exact circumstance. You don’t want to pay too much, but you want to pay for what you need.
Factors That Contribute to an ATS’ Value
Here are the three key value-focused factors recruiters look for when choosing an ATS.
The software solution you choose can have all the features in the world and be priced competitively, but if your team doesn’t use it, then what do those features matter? An ATS needs to be simple and intuitive for recruiters to really use it as intended. If the software is overly complicated, requires a lot of training, or takes a lot of steps to perform simple tasks, then your team will either not use it or only use it for certain tasks. In other words, you won’t get the ROI from the tool that you should be. Further, if the ATS turns out to be a more of a deterrent for applicants – an extra hoop to jump through – rather than an easy way for them to submit information, it might be hard to justify the value.
To get the most value out of an applicant tracking system, you need it to be able to adapt to your organization’s unique hiring needs. While an out-of-the-box solution can be powerful, it will never be as effective as a tool that has been adapted to your internal workflows. In a configurable ATS, you can easily customize steps to work in the order that is most efficient for you and your team. Different positions may require different sequencing for certain steps, so you can easily make adjustments in the ATS to ensure a seamless process for each position and its candidates.
For instance, hiring a night-shift security guard will require fewer, less rigorous steps than hiring a new CEO. If you have an open position that requires special attention, a good, flexible ATS will have no problem making additions and adjustments for phases like multiple interviews or salary negotiations. The right ATS gives you the ability to quickly make the configurations yourself.
3. Service and Support
Things happen: Even if the system uptime is 99%, or you’ve been a recruiter for 25 years, there will come a time you have a question. You could simply want to know if what you saw could be a glitch or you could wonder whether the ATS has a specific feature that can further streamline your recruiting process.
The best applicant tracking systems have dedicated, knowledgeable support teams so you can reach out and talk to a real human being any time you have a problem, technical issue, or even what you may think of as an obvious question. Of course, to be helpful, support has to be timely and responsive. When you’re recruiting, you need help now – not later.
To get the most value out of your ATS, fast and responsive service and support simply must be a part of the package.
Would You Like to Learn More About the Best Recruiting Software Solutions for Your Organization?
ATS solutions have become a crucial tool for HR teams, and there are many options which you can choose from. When you consider adopting an ATS with the idea of value, not just pricing, the choice often becomes much clearer.
Knowing the importance of value in an ATS can be very different, however, from knowing how to identify the value any given solution possesses. How can you and your team evaluate a potential ATS for the value it provides?
A fantastic place to start for a prospective ATS buyer is third-party software sites like Capterra or G2Crowd. There you can get an idea of an ATS’ feature suite, the support and customer service it offers, potential integrations with your existing software, levels of customization, pricing, and so on. From there, if a given solution seems like it has potential, you can contact the provider for a demo to see it in action and learn how it might save your employees time and effort – and provide value for your organization as you look to hire more talent.
Would you like to learn more about how an ATS can help your hiring team and your organization? Contact TAM today to speak with a representative from our experienced team full of former HR and recruiting professionals, and see how an ATS can start providing value to your business.