Considerations Before Purchasing Recruiting Software/ATS

Updated: November 15, 2010

The benefits to an ATS include:

  • Finding the right candidates within the least amount of time and for the most minimal cost.
  • Matching candidate profiles to job descriptions and short listing candidates through automated screening processes that lessen the activities required by your recruiters.
  • Storing candidate information in a central repository for easy retrieval later.
  • Reducing the dollars spent on employment ads.
  • Eliminate paper applications!
  • Generating reports and metrics to track recruiter productivity.
  • Integration with HRIS = reduction in paper and reduction in time spent creating employee records.

These are just a few of the benefits to an ATS. With the right software and implementation, managing the life cycle of a position is fairly effortless with an ATS. From the inception of the need (job requisition), the required requisition authorizations, budget considerations, candidate tracking, candidate communication, employment branding, and new hire records creation, an ATS IS your 13th man.

How do you select the right software? The selection of an ATS can be difficult because the many users across the organization want their own needs to be met. Additionally, whether or not you choose to integrate the ATS with your HRIS will play a integral role in the selection. It is critical to define a selection process that incorporates the needs of the organization but ensures effective decision making. Be sure to include HRIS in the evaluation of your final choices.

The selection process should include:

  • Identifying your needs BEFORE beginning your search. Create a checklist of non-negotiable functionality requirements. Do you need the system to perform screening to filter applicants? Is automated requisition approval important? It is important to follow structured steps to help simplify the process. Define your needs.
  • 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.
  • Looking only at ATS vendors with proven track records of success.
  • Asking for references.
  • Participating in software demos AND including your HRIS team, if an integration is being consider (highly recommended).
  • Cost is obviously a factor to consider, but consider ALL costs in your selection process. Make sure you know what the implementation fee, monthly maintenance fee, transactional fees (if any), training costs, and customization fees are as you narrow down your selection.

The most important factors to consider - questions to ask the vendors:

  • Can I create requisitions and will I have automated sign-off approval capabilities? With the ability to create requisitions online, you should also have the ability to identify positions that are new, replacements, full-time versus part-time, department & region specific, etc. Typically every field on the requisition can be reported on. Imagine being able to generate a report showing, for example, only replacement positions in the Northeast region, within the sales department.
  • Can the software integrate with the company website? Having a career portal is critical for not only easy searching by the candidate, but for employment branding as well.
  • Can the system automatically screen and ranking candidates based on the job description on each requisition?
  • Does the system allow an automatically generated bulk email functions? This allows the recruiter to send instant communication to all applicants not selected in one click. Additionally, the ability to schedule interviews and track the interview progress (1st interviews, 2nd interviews, interview notes, etc.), is imperative.
  • Does the system produce various reports and metrics? Being able to track "Time to Fill", "Cost per Hire," and "Applicant Source" is necessary to evaluate the ROI and develop the processes and protocols for enhanced efficiencies. Additionally, being able to produce ad-hoc reports based on requisitions fields should be high on your list of non-negotiable functionality requirements.
  • Does the system have Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) metric reporting tools, including Diversity, Gender and Military Service data? The ability to capture, track and report applicant EEO data should be an option available in the ATS you select.
  • Can the software integrate with our HRIS platform? This is extremely important if the goal is to reduce the time spent creating records and reduce data inputting errors. Integrating the two systems allows for seamless data flow. Don't forget to include your HRIS department in your final evaluations!
  • Is the system easy to use? This is the number one factor to consider. Your ATS is only as good as the people using it. If your recruiters and managers do not utilize the system due to complexity, it's of zero value.
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