Evaluating Applicant Tracking Systems? Do This One Thing

evaluating applicant tracking systems

Be honest: have you ever bought tools or technology for your team that you later regretted? I’m guilty as charged.

In taking on a fresh marketing leadership role, I once bought a cool, shiny piece of software that perfectly solved the top challenge I’d experienced in my prior role. Sadly for me, that same problem truly wasn’t an issue in my new job, where the team’s size and stage translated to a different slew of key challenges. Needless to say, the new tool gathered virtual dust. I got out of my contract as soon as I could… but not before I’d wasted valuable money and team time.

I share my past failure not because I’m proud of it (I’m not), but to illustrate a clear piece of advice that emerged in speaking with talent leaders I admire about how to evaluate applicant tracking systems and end up with the perfect one. Whatever you do, go into the ATS evaluation process with a clear understanding of your company’s top recruiting priorities. Keep those priorities top of mind as you explore the options.

And, in defining your recruiting priorities – if I may give you a modicum of tough love for a second here – don’t be lazy. Maybe you do know your organization’s recruiting pain points cold without consulting the broader team… but if you don’t pause to get feedback from other constituents involved in hiring – whether they are sourcers, recruiting coordinators, hiring managers, interviewers, executives, or even candidates – you risk overlooking critical blind spots that cause deep pain to a bunch of people who are instrumental in determining your hiring outcomes.

Once you’ve got those pains down, the job of identifying the right technology for you becomes more straightforward. To make it even easier for you, we’ve created a simple ATS evaluation worksheet covering some of the most fundamental pains in the hiring process, and providing a few prompts on what to look for to resolve those pains. (Please note that this worksheet is designed for companies up to a few hundred employees; if you’ve grown beyond that, my pal Jason Seiden is a font of great knowledge.)

Download the worksheet. Make it your own. And if you need further inspiration, check out our new guide on how to choose an applicant tracking system.

By taking a well thought-out approach rooted in your prioritized challenges and opportunities as a company, you should end up with a system that’s genuinely ace, not doomed to rip-and- replace.