57% of organizations plan to implement new HR technology in 2015. Here are tips for upgrading your applicant tracking system.


When was the last time your organization reevaluated your applicant tracking system?  How do you know that with your current ATS your recruitment efforts are as efficient and effective as possible? According to a new report at CMS Wire, many small and medium-sized employers have been putting up with outdated, legacy applications that are in desperate need of an upgrade.


-fully-mobile interfaces (if it’s not mobile, don’t buy it)
-streamlined job and offer approval processes
-advanced interview scheduling tools that integrate with Outlook and Gmail
-recruiting analytics that feature KPIs
-employee onboarding features

With these functional and technological advances, now more than ever, it makes sense for small and medium-sized employers to reevaluate outdated systems and investigate more modern hiring software.

With the most modern applicant tracking systems, your team will get work done faster while using fewer internal resources. In fact, some 57 percent of HR professionals who responded to a survey conducted by The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit have indicated that they do in fact intend to buy and implement new human resources technology solutions in 2015.

If you aren’t certain about which new applicant tracking system will work best in your organization, here are some tips for how to get started with your reevaluation.

Learn the difference between the different types of applicant tracking systems.
The recruiting software market is divided into two main categories. There are specific solutions designed for staffing firms and there are specific platforms for direct employers. Find solutions that are specifically designed for your needs and avoid vendors that claim to have a system that can be customized for any type of recruiting. For example, direct employers should make sure that providers of interest only sell to employers.

Tap your peers for recommendations.
Listen, anyone that has used an applicant tracking system will have an opinion. In fact, opinions about applicant tracking systems are typically pretty strong.  Start by talking to people in your industry, recruiting practitioners in your building and don’t forget to query your social networks. Recommendations are a great place to start your reevaluation.

Avoid websites that claim to offer free software advice or free selection guides.
Most sites that list applicant tracking systems and offer reviews and selection advice are merely advertising vehicles for vendors that pay to be listed and reviewed. Advice sites mostly fail to evaluate vendors thoroughly and by the very nature of their business model, they are, by no means, objective and can’t be. Always speak with a short list of vendors directly.

Make a shortlist.
Do a Google search for applicant tracking systems and bookmark vendors’ sites that look interesting. Do they show you product? Do they describe the key features? Do they talk about support and training? What about pricing? What is the vendor most proud of? Do they speak to you? These are all questions to keep in mind as you narrow down options that look interesting.

Schedule web-based sales demonstrations.
This is the best way to review your short list (3 or 4 unique vendors is a good number) of applicant tracking systems efficiently. Most applicant tracking systems have similar types of features. Focus on how deep vendors go on the most critical features that will help you and your team be more efficient, effective and compliant. Plan to spend between 45 and 75 minutes with each vendor.

Free trials of applicant tracking systems are a waste of time.
Unlike CRM and other database-driven solutions, free trials of applicant tracking systems are mostly a waste time.  Applicant tracking systems are involved and have lots of touch points that will never be accurately simulated with a trial or sandbox account. Rather than hobble through what will likely be a frustrating trial, ask your top vendors to set up guided work sessions and additional demos to examine areas of interest and ask pointed questions that will help you make your final decision.

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