6 steps to choosing the best Applicant Tracking System for your business

CHRIS KEELING • 19 Mar 2019

  • Is the key to your success engaging top talent with your employer brand?
  • Do you need to dramatically reduce the amount of money spent on job advertising?
  • Is it essential that new hires start with the business as soon as possible?
  • Want to curb a run-away spend with agencies?
  • A good quality applicant tracking system (like Jobtrain) can help with all the this. Choosing an ATS which effortlessly supports your recruitment strategy can bring a huge return on investment.

With so many applicant tracking software providers out there, we’ve put together a few pointers to help select the system for your business and needs; both now and in the future.

1. Create a wish list

Start by looking at internal processes. What works well and what could work better? What processes does the new system need to support? What reports will be needed?

We know recruitment is a fast moving sector, so think about what’s needed now but also what’s needed to support growth moving forwards.

The aim is to create a requirements list and understand which are ‘must-haves’ and which are ‘nice to haves’.

2. Avoid “the tail wagging the dog”

As recruiters, the last thing we want is to end up with an ATS which dictates how the business recruits. What we need is a flexible system which supports innovation and change.

Armed with our wish list (or functional requirement for the analysts out there), the next step is to start to seriously consider what’s on offer in the marketplace. We’ve got a couple of obvious and some not-so-obvious insider questions to share with you here:

  • Is the software a standard solution in its own right (‘off the shelf’), or is it built for you?
  • The only thing you can count on is change – examine how much it will cost to add on new features when you need them.
  • What’s on the innovation roadmap for the ATS? Can you influence new development for the solution?
  • What’s the process for making changes, what’s chargeable and what’s not?
  • What can a ‘SuperUser’ update and what can only be updated by your supplier?

3. What quality of support can you expect?

Isn’t it always the case when a key campaign is launching that the mind goes blank and you need help, and need it quickly? Whether your query is urgent or not, check if there’s a UK based help desk. Who can contact the helpdesk – is the service available to all users including hiring managers, agencies and candidates?

On the account management side, what kind of relationship can you expect? Will you only hear when there’s a new add-on feature released or can you count on a partnership with you key account manager – will you feel supported and able to drive successful ROI from your new ATS?

4. Can the system walk the talk?

Think about the candidate journey, is the candidate portal mobile friendly, can you customise the look and feel so the candidate experience is seamlessly branded, are interviews easy to book online and connect with their new manager before the start date?

5. How secure is my data?

With so many well-publicised data breaches and GDPR strengthening regulation, it’s vital to review closely how secure your solution is. Personal data is a company’s responsibility and the provider will be processing and storing this on your behalf, so understanding what measures and standards your provider has in place are paramount.

Here’s a couple of questions to get the conversation started:

  • Ask if the applicant tracking system is ISO27001 certified. This is the main information security standard and is important in assessing how your system and its data are hosted.
  • Ask too if the solution is independently ‘penetration tested’. This is a test for security vulnerabilities.
  • Check where your data is stored. As a minimum, it should be stored within the European Economic Area but preferably in the UK.

6. It’s good to talk

As they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. Before the final decision is made and contracts are signed, make sure your shortlisted ATS providers share details of some of their clients. They should be more than happy to facilitate this.

Reach out with trusted colleagues in your network – LinkedIn can be a useful tool for recommendations. Talk to your fellow recruitment professionals and find out what they think of their ATS.

We hope this guide has been useful! If you’d like to know more, please drop us a line – we’d really like to hear from you!

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