Guide to choosing an Applicant Tracking System

So you’re interested in buying an Applicant Tracking System and tackling some of those common pain points associated with recruiting? Great to hear! But now comes the real work. Buying an ATS isn’t as hard as it seems but you do need to do your due diligence. After all, it’s an investment of time and money, not to mention this will be the system that drives recruiting and hiring for your company! Below, we outline the key steps for buying an Applicant Tracking System. Follow them to guarantee you are making the best decision for your organization.

1. Assess Pain Points

To best guide your search for an Applicant Tracking System, it’s important that you first define the specific areas of recruiting where you and your team struggle most. Below are some common examples but take time to identify the challenges unique to your organization.

  • Getting enough qualified applicants
  • Keeping track of and communicating with candidates
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Collecting job and offer approvals
  • Gathering interview feedback from hiring managers
  • Moving candidates through the stages of your hiring process efficiently

2. Determine What’s Most Important for Your Team

After assessing your pain points, you should have a good idea of your “hot” areas in recruiting that are most important to key in on. Maybe it’s creating a better candidate experience. Maybe it’s doing a better job of managing candidates. It may be both of these and more but knowing what you are trying to accomplish gives you good direction when reviewing feature and functionality offerings of different Applicant Tracking Systems.

Important to note here- although features will be a major driver of your ATS search, there are several other important factors to consider when evaluating Applicant Tracking Systems:

  • Price structure – Will you be charged more as you grow?
  • Level of customer support provided?
  • Implementation process and timeframe – How easy is it to get up-and-running?

3. Understand the Landscape

As you dive in and begin reviewing your ATS options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With over 200 Applicant Tracking Systems on the market, finding the one that fits your organization best can be a challenge. But not to worry, independent review sites like G2Crowd provide a good overview of the top offerings. Also, you should look for core functionality that every ATS should provide, such as:

  • Integrated job postings to leading job boards
  • Centralized dashboard to manage jobs and applicants
  • Customizable email templates that can be sent directly to candidates
  • Interview scheduling tools
  • Automated alerts and interview feedback reminders for hiring managers

4. Establish Budget and Get Initial Buy-In

After doing some initial research, you should have a general idea of what you are looking for in an ATS as well as the price range you are comfortable with. As a good baseline for pricing, Newton’s Applicant Tracking System comes at a flat-fee of $399 per month for unlimited features, support, and employees. Pretty good deal, right! This is just one pricing model though so look around and see what else you can find to develop the full picture.

Depending on your organization, implementing an Applicant Tracking System may be an initiative that requires managerial or executive buy-in. With some general pricing information procured, this is a good time to begin those conversations. Use the below two resources to help prove the ROI of implementing an Applicant Tracking System at your company:

5. Define Your Timeframe

With budget solidified, you now need to establish your timeline. Did you need an ATS yesterday or is this more of a long-term project? This is important to know because some Applicant Tracking Systems take months to implement and the process can become a full-time project. At Newton, we like to keep implementation simple. We can have you up-and-running in under 2 weeks, not to mention we assign you a personal launch manager who guides you through the whole process. Another benefit of knowing your timeline is that it will help you have more meaningful conversations as you begin to do product demos with different Applicant Tracking System providers.

6. Complete Demos With Your Shortlist

Once your research is complete and your budget and timeframe are locked in, you should have a short list of Applicant Tracking Systems that you are considering. The next best step here is to complete live product demos with each of these finalists to see how they work in real-time. If you’re not sure what you should be asking on these demos, we have put together a list of 50 questions to ask on an Applicant Tracking System demo here.

Additionally, beyond features and functionality, be sure to drill into things not specifically related to the product like implementation timeframe, pricing, support, and customer satisfaction. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a case study to see real world examples of how that given ATS has helped a company like yours recruit and hire.

If you want to kickstart your ATS demo process, request a demo of Newton’s system here and we’ll be happy to take you through our system and answer any questions you may have!

7. Make the Decision!

With demos completed, you should have the information you need to make a final decision. If you have two finalists where functionality seems on-par, have them provide additional information regarding the below factors to see if one differentiates itself from the other:

  • Support
  • Ease-of-implementation
  • Hiring manager adoption
  • Etc…

Also, at this point don’t be afraid to ask for customer satisfaction stats, additional case studies, or to speak with current customers to finalize your decision. When your decision is made, if you need to make one final business case for the ATS you have selected, use our Applicant Tracking System business case template to get your whole team onboard.

8. Enjoy Life!

With your newly implemented Applicant Tracking System you will be freed from those tedious, manual recruiting tasks and have time to be more strategic in your role. Not convinced how much an ATS can improve recruiting and hiring at your organization? Read our case study with The United Way of Greater Cleveland to see how they realize the following benefits with Newton:

  • Save 30 hours / week organizing and sending resumes to managers
  • Reduced approval time for jobs and offers by two weeks
  • Cut time needed to schedule interviews by 24 hours
  • Save 60 hours a year managing new-hire paperwork and onboarding tasks

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