hiringmanagerChoosing the best applicant tracking software for your organization can be a confusing experience. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. Most vendors have a sweet spot, a set of features that address at least one critical part of the hiring process. Sit through a couple of PowerPoint presentations with sales engineers clicking through their demo scripts and lots of us are back to where we started: unsure of what to think and what really matters.

My advice is to forget about the feature checklists and focus on the big picture, end user adoption. For employers, there are very few other fundamental concepts that matter more. If your line managers consistently use your applicant tracking platform to request and initiate approvals, you’ve addressed the paper processes at the very beginning of the talent chain and created a layer of exception management that can only exist in a digital environment. Even more critical, if hiring managers consistently help drive the decisions that drive today’s hiring programs and do so on any platform effortlessly, you’ve got a solution that will make everyone happy.

Here’s another reason to focus on manager adoption as key concept driving your ATS selection. If you’re like most HR and recruiting leaders, metrics have become the front and center topic especially when you’ve recently invested in technology. I am not talking about “big data”. I am talking about measuring what matters most like are you getting candidates the managers want to speak with? How are you processing those applicants? How long does it take your line managers to make decisions?

Remember, hiring manager input is necessary to gather the most important metrics. If the recruiting and HR users are the only ones using your system, it’s only logical that the system will capture metrics exclusively from administrative users. This won’t yield helpful insights without significant data manipulation (you know, building spreadsheets by hand on Fridays). Only when hiring managers are consistently using an ATS will you be able to get holistic recruiting performance metrics that will help you automatically generate reports and have the knowledge to pinpoint bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

As you create your ATS shortlist, ask yourself: what system will garner the most adoption amongst all of my users? What system is the easiest to use and will be the easiest to roll out to new managers and interviewers joining the organization every week? What system will make the most sense from day one and require the least training? Whether or not your hiring managers will adopt an ATS shouldn’t even be a question.

Here are 5 tips to help you choose applicant tracking software that will promote user adoption.

1. Choose an ATS that works on every platform that your managers work on and remember that many people want to work on the iPads these days.

2. Shop for usability. You won’t make ATS software easier to use by buying the product with the most bells and whistles.

3. Hiring managers balk at complicated training. Any ATS that requires extensive training will only be adopted by a small number of users.

4. Remember, only features that provide the best user experience will be used. Expecting managers to do too much is a recipe for failure.

5. The 90/10 rule applies to user adoption. Choose an ATS that does well what your hiring managers do 90% of the time. Hint: think about how easy it is to review resumes and make decisions.



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