An applicant tracking system can be tremendously helpful in saving your organization time and money filtering, organizing, and tracking job applicants. But not all systems were created equal. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) offer differing capabilities and features. In this article, we’ll explain how to choose an applicant tracking system that suits your HR team best, so you can save time and focus on more valuable recruitment work.

Gather insight from recruiters to identify the best applicant tracking system for your organization

The first step in choosing an applicant tracking system is to speak to the people who’ll use it on a daily basis: recruiters, hiring managers, HR professionals, and so on. Have them share their thoughts about:

  • Pain points
  • Areas where they feel they spend too much time
  • Repetitive tasks that could be automated
  • Room they see for process improvements 

This information will be invaluable in helping you choose a helpful and effective ATS.

List your priorities

of priorities to help you identify the best ATS. Bonus points if you can order your list by priority ranking: This can make it easy to see which features you may be willing to compromise on if it becomes clear that a compromise is needed.

Examples of ATS priorities include:

  • Assistance with compliance
  • Mobile functionality 
  • Ability to post to multiple job boards
  • Integrations with systems you already use
  • Straightforward job application processes

Determine your budget and implementation date

Now you’ll want to clarify your hard limitations. How much do you have to spend on an ATS? When do you need to have it up and working? These factors will play a significant role in eliminating certain ATS candidates.

Do your research

Now that you’ve gathered all of the information above, you’re ready to make a list of the applicant tracking systems worth considering. Use this information to narrow your ATS contenders down to the top three based on how each meets your priorities and fits your budget and implementation deadline.

Test the ATS out

When you’ve narrowed your search down to a few applicant tracking system options, it’s time for the fun part: participating in demos. When doing product demos, these best practices can help you choose the best ATS:

  • Invite all stakeholders and people who will be using the ATS to test it out themselves
  • Don’t hesitate to stress test the system and ask vendors difficult questions
  • Don’t allow the shiny new toy you’re testing to distract you from practical matters: Always refer back to your goals to assure the ATS truly meets the needs you’ve identified

Ask questions

Before, during, and after the demo, don’t hesitate to ask the ATS vendors questions. Some things you may want to ask about include:

  • Time frames–How long will this take to implement?
  • Training–Will the vendor help get your team up to speed and trained on the ATS?
  • Scalability–How will the ATS scale as your team and organization grow?
  • Cost–How much will you be charged for the software, licenses, set-up, storage, and support? 
  • Set-up–What exactly does the implementation process look like? 
  • Support–What ongoing customer support does the vendor offer as you use their system?

If you’re still undecided after your demo, it can also be helpful to read reviews about the ATS you’re considering. It’s also a good idea to speak to companies that use them to get more clarification about real-world experience working with the system.

Choose your ATS

At this point, you should have all the information you need to decide which applicant tracking system is best for your organization. Now it’s just a matter of signing the contracts, making the purchase, and going through the implementation process to set up the ATS and train your team on using it.

And remember, evaluation doesn’t have to stop here. You can continue to measure the ATS’s effectiveness to ensure that your organization gets great ROI from this purchase. Keep a close eye on key recruitment metrics and how the ATS compares to your previous processes.

How to select your ATS

Congratulations! Now you know how to select the applicant tracking system that best meets your needs. Armed with this information, you can choose the ATS that makes a real difference in saving you time and helping optimize your recruitment process.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.