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Talent Management

What to Look for in an Applicant Tracking System

Finding the Right Applicant Tracking System for Your Business

So, you’re looking to buy an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Or you’re at least interested in learning more about how an ATS can help improve recruiting and hiring at your company?

No doubt, understanding and evaluating recruitment technology is hard. With so many different tools on the market and 200+ different Applicant Tracking Systems available, finding the right ATS for your business can be a challenge. To help, we created “Choosing the Right ATS”, which outlines everything from why you need an ATS and what features you should look for, to key questions you should ask on an ATS demo and how to build a business case for one.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the key points covered in our ATS buyer’s guide.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

For all you beginners out there, we start off with a quick overview of what an ATS is and how it will help your company throughout the three stages of recruiting:

  1. Attract and Engage
  2. Interview and Collaborate
  3. Offer and Onboard

Why do I need an Applicant Tracking System?

There’s a reason that 75% of companies use an Applicant Tracking System to manage their recruiting and hiring. Once you have a firm understanding of what an ATS is, we dive into the below reasons as to why you need one:

  • They help manage and improve every piece of the recruitment process
  • They help you find quality candidates, leading to better retention
  • They help to ensure compliance, reducing your audit risk
  • They improve your hiring brand, improving your candidate pipeline
  • They save you time and money. Enough said…

What are the key features of an Applicant Tracking System?

With so many different Applicant Tracking Systems on the market (each coming with their own set of bells and whistles), knowing which features to look for is a challenge. To help with this, we break down the core features you need amongst the three stages of recruiting below. For a full explanation of the core ATS features that you should be looking for, download our free ATS buying guide here.

Attract and Engage

The foundation of successful recruiting starts with the quality and quantity of your candidates. For this reason, your ATS feature checklist should start with functionality that helps you get your jobs in front of quality candidates, create a candidate experience that drives them to apply, and makes it easy for you to engage with them:

  • Easy Posting to Job Boards
  • Fully-Customizable Careers Pages and Online Job Applications
  • Mobile Apply
  • Employee Referral Platform
  • Social Recruiting

Interview and Collaborate

Getting candidates is the easy part. Now comes the features for actually communicating with them, managing them, and driving them through your interview stages – all while keeping your hiring team involved in the process:

  • Email Templates & Automation
  • Advanced Candidate Search
  • Outlook & Gmail Interview Scheduling
  • Interview Scorecards
  • Advanced Workflows
  • Tools for Hiring Managers
  • Recruiting Dashboards

Offer and Onboard

Even with the world’s best interview process, if you can’t effectively close candidates at the job offer stage and get them onboarded efficiently, you are doomed to fail. For this reason, choose an ATS that gives you the tools for creating a consistent, efficient approach to closing candidates and onboarding them through the following features:

  • Approval Processes
  • Integrated Background Checks
  • Digital Offer Letters
  • New Hire Onboarding
  • EEOC and OFCCP Compliance
  • Analytics and Reporting

Non-Feature “Features” to Add to Your ATS Checklist

Keep in mind, when evaluating different Applicant Tracking Systems, your checklist shouldn’t only consist of features. There are several other aspects to factor in as well:

  • Pricing Structure
  • Support
  • Implementation Timeline

Learn How to Become a Savvy Buyer of HCM Technology

For more expert advice on how to critically evaluate HR software before you buy, see our HCM technology buyer’s guide here.

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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