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Talent Management

8 Steps to Choosing the Right Applicant Tracking System

Choosing an applicant tracking system should be an exciting endeavor, not a daunting task. To free you from the time and stress often associated with selecting a new ATS, we have developed a quick and comprehensive outline of the critical points that you need to hit on while going through your selection process.

Step 1: Know the difference between Applicant Tracking Systems for employers & Recruiting Software for external agencies

Applicant Tracking Systems for Employers – Designed for HR and recruiting to manage and organize internal hiring processes. These systems maintain the one to one relationships between an employer’s candidates and the internal staff that interviews them. Recruiting Software for Agencies – Used by recruiting agencies, executive search firms, and staffing agencies to manage external recruiting projects. These systems are designed to help recruiting firms manage candidates and their contact information for many employers.

Step 2: Establish a timeline for your go-live date

When do you want to have your applicant tracking system fully activated? Take that date and work backwards.

Step 3: Outline a selection process

  1. Independent Research – Identify a core group of potential ATS’s for your company
  2. Discovery Calls – Refine your list down to a select few
  3. Product Demos – Determine which ATS fulfills your core needs

Insider Tip: The cost of “hiring” the wrong ATS far outweighs that of a couple discovery calls and demos.

Step 4: Read the fine print

Contracts can be tedious but it is very important that you understand the terms set forth by them. Be wary of vendors that require multi-year contracts. They may be looking to “lock you in” so that you don’t have the freedom to switch systems.

Insider Tip: If a vendor is worried about you wanting to switch after a year, what does that tell you about their product and service offering?

Step 5: Understand the pricing structure

The most common pricing strategy is to charge by user and/or by feature. Avoid systems that charge per job (posting) or per employee.

Insider Tip: You should never pay for support!

Step 6: Know the activation plan – Steps and Timeline

  • Stage 1. Data Collection
  • Stage 2. Kick-off Call
  • Stage 3. Account Configuration
  • Stage 4. System Education
  • Stage 5. Connect the System to Your Careers Page

Insider Tip: Find a vendor that will be your partner throughout the activation process and take full responsibility for the workload.

Step 7: Post-activation and support

You’re looking for a partner, not just another vendor. Ongoing support is essential for the successful roll-out and adoption of an applicant tracking system at your company.

Step 8: Educational resources and career development

Beyond support, your ATS vendor should provide you with ongoing educational resources that not only improve your knowledge of the application but also help you grow in your career.

Hire Faster & Smarter with Paycor Recruiting

Finding, interviewing and hiring talented people are the most important challenges growing businesses face. Paycor Recruiting is a software solution designed and built by recruiters for recruiters and HR hiring teams to help you solve your hiring problems and optimize your recruiting process.


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