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ATS Tips

As the economy begins to recover and businesses think about hiring again, now is the time to implement an ATS if your company doesn’t already have one. Visit to learn more.

There is a lot of advice out there as to what type of ATS you should buy, and all the options can make it quite a daunting process. A recent article from Onrec provides some great advice from business professionals as to how you should go about selecting and implementing an ATS.

Most experts agree that you should first consider what size and scale of a system your business really needs, so that you don’t end up paying for features and solutions you’re not even going to use. In that same respect, the hiring needs of a small business will differ from those of a large company, so each may benefit from using different ATS.

“When choosing an ATS provider the first thing you should think about is what exactly you want it to do,” Paul Clark, director of GTI Recruiting Solutions, said. “For example, do you want to better manage the applications once they come in? Are you inundated with CVs and want to switch to online application forms? Or maybe your business wants to keep CVs as well as a short application form. What reports do you need the ATS to produce? Do you want to reduce the processing time of applications – if so, which areas of the recruitment process are currently running slow? Do you need the ATS to send information to your HR system?

“Once you have a list of requirements you can use this to assess the suitability of potential ATS suppliers and also compare like-for-like,” he continues. “Getting the initial specification right can save you so much time when it comes to choosing a provider. Also, consider your potential budget; this will determine if you go for a bespoke solution or an ‘off the shelf’ solution.”

Second, you should look at your ATS system as a new employee.

“Choosing the right ATS for you is no different to hiring a new member of staff to work for you,” Phill Gillespie, sales and marketing manager at PeopleBank, said. “That’s ultimately what a good ATS should be; a very productive administrator and a key member of your team – who never goes on holiday or off sick!”

Third, the ATS should be adaptable, so you can modify the system and its features when your business needs change. Fourth, you should decide whether it’s more beneficial to spend the bulk of your money on an integrated ATS or a new career Web site with recruitment videos and other tools to increase candidate traffic.

Fifth, have a list of questions you may want to ask the company providing the ATS. Some questions to consider include:

  • What happens if something goes wrong?
  • How secure is the data?
  • Is the data hosted on a server owned by the vendor and in a secure environment?
  • Is the server replicated elsewhere?
  • Will the system cope with high volumes of candidates?
  • How will the implementation be managed and by whom?
  • How long will it take?
  • Who will be trained and what will be involved?
  • How is ongoing training managed and is this included in the license fee?
  • Who will be supported after the system is live? (e.g. core HR users, candidates, agencies, line managers etc).
  • When is support available and on what basis? (e.g. online, e-mail and phone)
  • Can you put me in touch with current customers that use your ATS?
  • Will the vendor be around in a year?
  • If the server my business is on went up in a puff of smoke, how long would it take to get my business back on line?
  • If I want to leave your service, will you charge me? And how much?
  • What are the likely extras I may pay for?

Finally, take note of how much time and money the ATS will ultimately save your company.

“An effective applicant tracking system will help grow your talent pool, enabling you to identify potential candidates as soon as the vacancy opens up,” Chris Phillips, vice president of international marketing at Taleo, said. “This saves significant sums by reducing both the need to advertise and the costs of sourcing candidates from agencies.

“Finally, because an ATS can be configured to provide a standard framework from which to identify the most suitable candidates, it provides greater accuracy and objectivity than would otherwise be possible when making hires,” he added. “For employers, this means a decrease in staff attrition, saving you the cost of having to re-recruit and onboard new employees.”

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