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21 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Best ATS

Picking the right Applicant Tracking System (ATS) makes all the difference in reaching your hiring goals. The ability to properly monitor and manage both active and passive candidates not only helps you reach and improve hiring targets for the year ahead, but also helps you optimize to scale your business forward for future growth.

At Lever, we have over 1,700 customers who have taken time to weigh in on what matters most to them. Here’s a list based on their answers of the most insightful questions you should be asking when choosing the right Applicant Tracking System for your company.

Types of Applicant Tracking Systems

There are many types of ATS’ on the market and it’s important to weigh each one before choosing the best ATS for you. In What is An ATS & Why Do You Need One, we highlighted how critical it is to think like a marketer and ensure your Applicant Tracking System is not only easy to maneuver for you, but for your candidates as well.

It’s important to start the process with at least 3-5 systems in mind that you can compare and run through a request for proposal (RFP) process. This will ensure you’ve covered your bases and reassure other talent leaders that you’ve done your homework to pick the best one for your company.

What Is the Primary Purpose of an Applicant Tracking System?

First and foremost, your Applicant Tracking System needs to track candidate data — within a secure network that easily allows open communication (sometimes candid) safely across the company. Having spoken with many talent pros over the years, communication can make all the difference to securing the absolute best hire as quickly as possible.

Secondly, it should allow your team to aggregate talent data easily for reporting while also allowing the team to nurture a pool of warm pool of candidates, who you can reach out to when the right role comes along.

The Best Applicant Tracking System

Popular applicant tracking systems all promise similar things —to speed up hiring, track goals, and help you place the best talent for the right roles at your company. It’s only with rigorous analysis and exploring the top options on the market that you can make the best decision for your company and your hiring needs.

"Great vision without great people is irrelevant." --Jim Collins

Candidate Engagement Questions:

  • How is the system built for easy sourcing?
  • How do you nurture passive candidates with personalized email drip campaigns?
  • What options are there to recommend which candidates are best for roles?
  • Does it sync to tools that your team frequently uses, like LinkedIn Recruiter?
  • What is the candidate apply process like?
  • What are the options to easily post jobs within outside networks, like job boards?

After assessing candidate engagement, it’s time to dive into questions around how you can easily manage your candidates in a system that is set up for long-term hiring success.

Candidate Management Questions:

  • Is it easy to advance sourced candidates through the pipeline?
  • What are the options to sync your email with the system?
  • How is it to manage tasks within the system?
  • How are the requisition and offer management features?
  • Is there a focus around diversity hiring?

Congrats! You’ve checked off everything there is to know around candidate engagement and management. Once you have the right candidates in your pipeline, now is the time to evaluate how scheduling and planning out your interview process will work in your new ATS.

Scheduling and Interviewing Questions:

  • Can you easily customize the interview process by job listing?
  • Is there a way to ensure all calendar invites and rooms are booked?
  • Can the system sync with other tools like Slack to ensure no interviews get missed?
  • Do you have interview kits and scorecards ready?
  • How easy is it to enter feedback, especially confidential comments?

Lastly, it’s important to select an Applicant Tracking System that has seamless reporting features, integrates easily with all your other systems, and is a secure network for all of the great candidates applying to your company. This last set of questions can help you ensure you choose the best ATS for your business.

Reporting, Integration & Security Questions:

  • Are there nurture and sourcing reports to easily monitor your time to hire?
  • Is implementation easy and is there ongoing support?
  • Is the system secure for: EEOC/OFCCP, GDPR & SOC 2 compliance?
  • Is the data encrypted for protection?
  • Are there custom access controls?

Want to learn more about choosing the right Applicant Tracking System for your company? Download our new eBook, How to Choose the Best Applicant Tracking System.

Further reading

5 Reasons to Switch Your Applicant Tracking System

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Modern Applicant Tracking System Requirements

The first Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was designed to do little more than store data from applications. Prior to the Internet, candidates sent in physical resumes and the recruiter’s job was to choose the best from the stack. Early recruiting platforms simply digitized the process. But now, more than ...

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How to Stress Test Your 2019 Hiring Plan

You’ve got your company’s hiring plans for 2019. Now you have to plan out your talent acquisition staff headcount to meet those goals. It can feel like looking into a crystal ball with only your best guess coming back to you. You could be at least a little bit worried about meeting your targets—after all, ...

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