Recruiting for a small business can be quite different from recruiting for a large company. Big companies have many luxuries that small businesses do not, including internal recruiters and/or outsourced headhunters. In a small business, the individuals in charge of hiring often have other responsibilities as well, making the task much more difficult to prioritize.

This is where an applicant tracking system (ATS) can be incredibly helpful. An ATS is software designed to make attracting, engaging, screening, and managing candidates easier. Different ATSs have different features and vary in price, but they all have the ability to process and organize applications much more quickly than a single person could, saving your company both time and money.

Given that there are so many ATSs to choose from, how do you find the right one for your small business?

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Determine Your Budget

Look at your budget. How much do you already spend on recruitment, and how much room is there for ATS costs? Could other elements of recruitment spend be slashed to free up more money for an ATS, if necessary?

If you go into the shopping process with a set ATS budget, you won’t overspend on a system that offers more functions than you need, nor will you underspend on a system that doesn’t do enough.

2. Consult With Your Company’s Hiring Authorities

If you are not the person who will be doing the hiring and using the system, be sure to consult with the person or people who will! Those who actually do the hiring are better positioned to identify the functions your ATS will need to best serve your company.

3. Consider Choosing Something Customizable 

With so many ATSs out there, you can easily find yourself with a system that has more bells and whistles than you really need. Luckily, some systems are customizable, allowing you to only purchase the parts of the software that you actually need. The other nice thing about customizable ATSs is that you can expand their features and functions as your business grows, making them solid long-term investments.

4. Choose Between a Web-Based System and Desktop App

Some ATSs are web-based, meaning they run on the cloud and can be accessed through any internet browser. Others are desktop-based, meaning they are downloaded to a computer and accessed locally. Consider factors like your work environment, your travel habits, and how many people will need access to the system when choosing between a web-based and a desktop-based ATS.

5. Prepare for a Learning Curve

You are buying an ATS because it will help you save time and money on your recruiting process. If the system is incredibly complicated and tough to pick up, you will spend more time learning how it works than actually using it.

While many ATS providers have tutorials and great customer support, it is important to take into account how tech-savvy you are before purchasing a system. If the ATS comes with more features than you think you can handle, find an option that works better for you.

6. Find Out About Commitments and Subscription Options

Some ATS vendors offer month to month subscriptions, while others require long-term contracts. Given the size of the commitment, you want to be sure that you purchase the right ATS. Some vendors offer free trials or demos, which can be incredibly helpful in determining if the system’s features work for your business.

Finding the right ATS for your small business is not easy, but these tips should send you down the right path. Remember to consider all of your options and consult with your team before making any decisions. Happy hunting!

Paige Garner is the marketing coordinator for Proven.

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