5 Must-Have Functions To Look For When Shopping For An ATS

Emily Kocoloski   June 21, 2017  


As modern recruiters, we understand just how essential technology and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can be to the recruiting process. Harnessing the power of an ATS can mean better quality candidates, more organized back office functions, lower recruitment costs and all around better experiences for both applicants and recruiters.

Tech companies are taking note of the heightened interest in recruitment process simplification and scrambling to create their own solutions for this growing industry. So, it should come as no surprise that the recruitment marketplace is saturated with options for ATS shoppers.

But how do we cut through the hype and select a system that really works for us?

Selecting an ATS can be tricky. Each new product markets a unique feature that will supposedly flip the script on the whole recruitment process. With so many distracting, shiny capabilities, it is all too easy for providers to lead us astray from the basics that actually made the software so popular and powerful in the first place. These misleading tactics can leave us with mediocre technology that can’t perform the core functions we need.

This is a list of 5 must-have functions to look for when shopping for your next ATS:

1.     Mobility – A mobile-friendly ATS is a huge advantage for recruiters and candidates. Allowing your team to take their entire system with them wherever they go can mean more remote and onsite client work – resulting in better relationships, more hires, and stronger analytics.

When testing a mobile friendly ATS you should always place yourself in the candidate’s shoes. The system should ultimately save the candidate time when applying to your openings and attaching supportive documents. If the process is too lengthy or doesn’t flow with a candidate’s mobile device the way it should, you could be looking at application abandonment.

 Pick a provider that works with all of your mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, and laptops to ensure you can achieve the level of efficiency promised.

2.     Search Capabilities – does the ATS play well with others? Can it search through profiles and resumes to find keywords, phrases and skill sets? It’s important to find a system that lets you work within it to post/ manage job board ads and social media promotions. In this gig economy centered around niche abilities, recruiters need to know that they can rely on their ATS to quickly source specific talent.

Testing this aspect of an ATS might not be your first instinct, but as a recruiting pro, you dedicate a lot of time to building your talent pipeline through these resources. Make sure your ATS can act as a key element in your quest to stack your network with unbeatable talent.

3.     Analytics – Just as you should be able to search and post jobs through your ATS, you should also be able to run data reports while in the system. Running analytics through your system results in the most accurate data, leading you to better solutions and allowing more precise goal planning.

When focusing on the analytics feature of an ATS ask if the reports can be easily customized and readily accessible with the most up-to-date data. Yesterday’s numbers aren’t going to do you any good – you want to know where you stand now.

4.     Strong Customer Support – Think about this, your ATS holds a plethora of personal information that hackers are dying to get their hands on. This sensitive data needs to be protected by the provider.

Do your research before committing, and always ask what tests they have done on the system and who they were administrated by. Ensure that a certified third party was involved, eliminating the chance for bias.

Remember that recruiting technology is complex, and although a security breach may not have occurred you may still need assistance and support to safeguard documents. Finding a provider that can be reached quickly is important. Investigate the company’s product support pages to confirm that you have multiple ways to get in contact should you need to.

5.      Simplification – overall, this is the reason we use an ATS in the first place, right? If it doesn’t simplify the recruiting process to make hiring more efficient what is the point.

Be careful not to confuse simplification with customization. Being able to tweak an ATS while it is being built is important, but if you see a whole list of features you’d like to change then that isn’t the system for you. Your ATS should streamline that way you move through the recruiting process, and help you organize your workflow.

Request a demo and see if you can benefit from how the ATS is structured. You may be surprised by how efficiently you work with the flow of a particular system.

Modern Applicant Tracking System providers will try to hook new users on a platform that focuses on fancy bells and whistles to attract sales. Users can have those cool features, but they also need assurance that the ATS ultimately brings innovation to the core functions.