7 Questions to Ask Before You Choose an ATS Vendor

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

Confused businessman looking for the correct wayBersin by Deloitte has reported significant growth in the sales of applicant tracking systems. They estimated that the market grew by somewhere around 25 percent from 2010 to 2011, tracking small to large size organizations. Recruiting technology decision makers have a very involved choice to make when picking the right vendor. Here are some FAQs with a little guidance to help out.

What can it do?

It is mind-blowing how quickly recruiters have outgrown their spreadsheets and embraced recruiting technologies like applicant tracking systems. In a recent study conducted by Software Advice, it was revealed that over 40 percent of those companies looking to replace their ATS are doing so because they “need more robust software”. 

Pull your recruiting team in on a “must-haves” meeting. Give them some time to do their own research, take a few demos and report back on the features that matter the most to them.

Is it user-friendly?

This is probably the most overlooked category by recruiting tech decision makers, and it can cause the most issues when implementing the new software. The software that you demo with a vendor by your side and tote bag full of swag on your arm is going to somehow magically operate very differently when you’re presenting it to your team. Be sure that the employees who will actually be using the software are comfortable with it.

What about integration?

Recruiters have a platform and system for just about everything these days, and if they all don’t work together, what’s the point? Find out how this ATS is going to work with your website/career page, social media outlets, job boards, etc.

Can we really afford this?

More information from that Software Advice study indicated that high cost was one of the top five reasons that companies decided to replace their current ATS. Career coach, Tamara Joiner put it best when she said:

“Be realistic and stay within the parameters of your business’s actual needs. Not every organization requires the software with the most bells and whistles. The size of your organization and volume of annual hiring are important factors to consider. If you operate like a Toyota, you don’t need the Mercedes.”

Do we need to be cloud-based?

Unless you can and want to deal with the hassle of handling all of the updating and management of your ATS with your own IT resources, you should go cloud-based. Besides that, all the cool kids are doing it. Recruiting software tech pro, Josh Bersin said: 

“Nearly every major HR software provider now offers their solution in the cloud, making it possible for corporate HR managers to stop the frustrating cycle of upgrading systems every year or two….And once you buy a cloud-based system, you are out of the cycle of major upgrades every few years because the vendor does this for you.”

How’s the support and training?

I have seen many employers leave their free ATS for this very reason. Surprisingly enough, even some costly vendors won’t offer the appropriate support. Look for 24/7 phone support, updates and upgrades, knowledge libraries for the system and training programs.

What can we expect to be automated?

Check out the standard automation features in today’s ATS. You should expect automated updates to your career page, job listings on social media and job board listings. Aside from that, you should make sure all your bases are covered with automated communications with candidates. 

That’s a lot of homework, but I hope you noticed a trend in much of this advice –include your team in your software decisions. The people who are going to use the software the most are the ones who will need to be a part of this decision. Happy hunting!

Read more in ATS

Sean has worked in the Human Resources industry since he graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After working in HR as a generalist for a government contracting company, he moved to the HR Technology arena and began assisting companies in the selection and implementation of HR software.

While selling other companies' software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter and Cyber Train.