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What Is the Best Process for Choosing an ATS for Your Business?

Stephanie Sparks

For small- and medium-sized (SMB) businesses, a purpose-built applicant tracking system (ATS) streamlines the hiring process and frees up valuable time by automating and organizing each step. This automation makes it easier to source and connect with quality candidates, empowers more collaborative hiring, streamlines interview coordination and feedback, offers a positive candidate experience, and helps make offers more quickly to applicants. And that not only saves valuable time and money, but also ensures you can fill open roles in your business more quickly.

But before you make the move from manual recruiting to a new ATS, it’s important to have a game-plan that establishes how you will evaluate recruitment software and identify the right solution for your company.

At a high-level, the process for selecting recruitment technology can be broken down into four stages:

  • Planning

  • Research

  • Consideration

  • Selection

We’ll explore all four stages and the requirements for each to help you start the journey of moving from manual recruiting to an applicant tracking system in your company.

The Planning Stage

The planning stage involves considering your unique hiring needs and where an ATS can benefit you the most.

Estimate your timeline & resources: Determine your decision-making timeframe, implementation and training timeline, estimated budget, and resources dedicated to supporting the process. Choosing an ATS that ensures you are up and running quickly is critical in supporting your move from manual recruiting to more streamlined hiring.

Determine must-have functionalities: Identify and determine the list of recruiting capabilities you know would benefit your hiring process most. Take time to research different platforms at a high-level and list which applicant tracking systems offer capabilities you define as critical to your success. For example, the following elements should be considered essential:

  • Customizable workflows
  • Task automation
  • Free job posting
  • Hiring team identification
  • Real-time input & feedback
  • Career page integration
  • Branded communications
  • Guided interviews
  • Digital offers

Assess your need for integration today and tomorrow: Many growing companies adopt recruitment software that can manage their current talent needs and then integrate with other HR and business systems for the future. Look for an ATS that can support you now and, when the need arises, can integrate with:

  • Job boards and job syndication
  • Assessments
  • Background checks
  • Career page services
  • Calendars and scheduling
  • HRIS and payroll
  • Point of sale systems
  • Single sign-on
  • Time and attendance
  • Video interviews

Consider your level of recruiting complexity: Be aware of the differences in platforms regarding your company size and recruiting complexity. For small- and medium-sized businesses, selecting recruitment software tailored-made for your recruiting needs and your hiring workflows is vital.

Determine your budget: Before you determine how much you can spend on an ATS purpose-built for your business, make sure you factor in how much the lack of an ATS actually costs your organization now. Break down costs such as:

  • Time spent sourcing candidates
  • Time spent reviewing resumes
  • Time spent coordinating and conducting interviews
  • Time spent providing feedback on candidates internally
  • Time spent making manual offers
  • Total spend and cost for posting on jobs boards
  • Overall time required to fill each role
  • Overall cost per hire
  • Average time new hires stay in your company
  • Hiring manager satisfaction

Once you have these pieces of information, you can begin to identify the total cost of hiring in your business. Whatever your budget is, make sure to factor in the current costs of hiring now versus the ROI that an ATS could deliver to your company both in the short and long-term.

The Research Stage

Below are some areas you should look for when evaluating a short list of solutions. Consider whether the recruitment technology helps you:

Source Better Talent: Look for capabilities that will help you manage your candidate pool and source from top channels with a single click, post your jobs online, and easily manage resume screening while on the go.

Easily Track Candidates: Make sure you can easily track new candidates with a centralized tool. This includes building custom workflows, assigning tasks, and sending emails automatically to ensure the recruiting process moves forward.

Collaborate as a Team: Ensure an ATS makes the hiring process more collaborative with all hiring team members. It should offer real-time input, seamlessly organize your interview process, and get on the same page to make better hiring decisions, faster.

Create Custom Reports: Look for an ATS that can help you identify how well your recruiting efforts are working. Ensure the recruitment software can measure the hiring metrics that matter most to your business and then fulfill reporting requirements to protect your organization.

The Consideration Stage

By this stage, you will have researched providers and considered how their functionality, capabilities, and solutions fit into your current hiring initiatives and goals to automate your hiring process. Here’s what you need to do next:

Narrow Your List: At this point, it’s ideal to start comparing 2 to 3 providers that align with the functionality you need and ensure they can meet or exceed your requirements. Compare your budget and timeline from the planning stage to each vendor, and consider which provider best aligns with your requests.

Ensure the ATS provider has a dedicated support team to see you through. Consider a provider that offers onboarding assistance, data imports, and customer support through email, chat, and phone. The right provider will work with you to build a timeline, consult on an appropriate go-live date, and provide dedicated support to ensure those timelines are met.

Request a Consultation: Even before requesting a trial or demo and seeing the recruitment software in action, it’s wise to reach out to each potential ATS partner and discuss your needs. Gauge this discussion with the provider to determine how well they respond to:

  • The circumstances in your hiring that have led you to consider an ATS platform.
  • The size of your organization and your recruiting complexity.
  • Budget and timeline expectations.
  • Team availability for a trial or demo so it can be scheduled.

The Selection Stage

Once you’ve discussed expectations and participated in demo calls or software trials, you’re ready to narrow down your selection. This is an excellent opportunity to ask your top ATS vendors for references that match your organization’s size and industry.

Consider exploring rankings from independent researchers, researching online reviews from G2 or TrustRadius, or asking for feedback from contacts from your own network. Personal reviews from current and past users can go a long way in influencing your decision, providing an authentic insight into the functionality and usability of the ATS.

Ready to Get Started?

For companies seeking to move from manual recruiting to an applicant tracking system, find out how streamlining the hiring process with recruitment software can help you better compete for candidates and hire faster. Contact us today to discuss your hiring needs. Or if you are ready to get started, see JazzHR in action with a free 21-day trial.



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