At the core of the performance of any applicant tracking system (ATS) are its integrations. A full suite would include not just job board integrations that enable a single submission to a host of free and paid job boards, it would also extend to:

  • Social media integration with LinkedIn , Twitter and Facebook
  • Full integration with a trusted background check provider
  • Integration with popular office productivity tools such as Slack and Zapier
  • Give you a headstart on employee retention with better screened and qualified candidates

Since LinkedIn remains the venue for most recruiters’ working lives, an ATS should offer deep integration with the world’s favorite resume repository. Things to look out for include the ability to:

  • Use your personal LinkedIn account to sign in to your ATS and post jobs to your own professional network
  • Connect to your LinkedIn Recruiter account to post jobs ads
  • Buy a LinkedIn job ad directly from your ATS (without the need for a LinkedIn recruiter account)
  • Access to LinkedIn Cross Awareness that enables your hiring team to view full LinkedIn profiles inside their ATS, as well as make candidate information stored on your ATS available in your LinkedIn Recruiter account.
Data Science & Big Data Engineering Recruiter at Xcede. ATS Software User.
Niall Wharton @NiallWharton
Data Science & Big Data Engineering Recruiter
Xcede

It's simply a wonderful product and service. The Workable dream has been sold to many internal recruitment consultants (rightfully so), but it's just as helpful to agency recruiters like myself.

  • Prevents candidate ownership issues in a far better way than most submission portals.
  • Easy access - no time wasted in providing information about the candidate.
  • Clear and open communication between agency recruiter, internal recruiter, and hiring manager. The perfect relationship maintainer.

Analytics

Recruitment analytics offer a high level view of your whole recruiting effort. Recruiting without the right tools is a disposable experience. To extract full value from any recruitment process the steps taken need to remain visible and repeatable. Recruiting metrics are not just about measuring things, they exist to answer questions about your business and to help you improve your hiring. Which recruiting metrics to use remains contentious

with some organizations overly focused on Cost Per Hire (which is open to widely differing interpretations). Some effective recruiting Key Performance Indicators worth tracking are:

Most effective recruiting organizations favor a flexible suite of analytics in their ATS that allow for custom reports and a variety of high-level visualizations. Look for an ATS that has the ability to break down reporting areas like candidate flow and candidate source into data that can be exported to Excel.

Complying with the thicket of US equal opportunities employment laws can consume your time and fray your nerves. This process cries out for automation so opt for an ATS with an EEO Reporting feature.

Performance

As we pointed out previously when discussing vendor viability, the right balance of features is ineffective without a viable product and business supporting it. It’s worth checking independent review sites such as Trust Pilot, Getapp, Capterra and Software Advice to see how actual customers rate each ATS on its efforts at avoiding downtime.

A minimum should be an up-to-date status page that details all scheduled downtime. But it’s worth spending some time on your chosen ATS vendor’s Twitter timeline to see whether their ATS performance is drawing complaints.

Similar research should quickly establish what levels of support customers can expect from specific vendors. Look out for tiered support tied to the value of your account (with subscription-based SaaS applicant tracking software). At the one extreme you should expect 24/7 support globally but most vendors offer business hours support concentrated on the region where they’re based.

Security

When choosing a cloud-based ATS over an on-premise solution it’s logical to ask some questions about the security of your data. Here are 5 to ask an ATS vendor regarding security:

  • Does the ATS have an ongoing or regularly scheduled process of security and penetration testing of their infrastructure by a reputable third party?
  • Does the ATS offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which includes uptime guarantees?
  • What is the historical uptime percentage of the ATS?
  • Does it have a DDoS mitigation infrastructure in place?

Data ownership

Due diligence in choosing the best applicant tracking software would include a clear agreement on ATS data. Check the vendor’s privacy policy and terms and conditions to make sure that you retain exclusive ownership of all your data (if there are exceptions, make sure that they are clear and justifiable), and make sure that you will be able to export your data if you decide to move to a different vendor.

Search functionality

Without a powerful search facility the full promise of an ATS as a candidate database is seriously undermined. Find out whether the ATS search includes natural language processing, semantic search and any extras.

If this sounds confusing ensure that it enables candidate search by name, headline, tag, education/work experience/skills. Does the search draw data from resumes, cover letters and summaries?

A final feature to look out for is what kind of search is offered on the support section of the ATS. Does it offer prompts and auto-completes to offer help documents relevant to your questions? If not, keep looking.

Robyn Porter
Robyn Porter
HR
CFO Systems LLC

As the HR leader for several small businesses and as an HR consultant, I have used and recommend the Workable ATS whole heartedly! Pros Easy to integrate with other recruiting portals/boards automatically Ease of use Affordability Can brand different companies or departments and keep track with one login Collaboration tools with your hiring team Tracks EEOC compliance Support team is very friendly and helpful

Customization

When choosing a SaaS ATS one of the theoretical cons is the comparative lack of customization. An on-premise solution can be customized, in theory, to meet any hiring needs. In reality this is only an option for businesses with a large in-house developer capacity. If that doesn’t describe your business (or is not what you want your developers working on), look for an ATS that allows significant personalized settings. Look out for customization options for:

Take time to understand how your ATS vendor deals with managing classified hiring information. The best ATS options enable clear, customizable hierarchies within hiring teams governing which comments are private between the hiring team and the candidates, as well as notes that are not visible to everyone on the hiring team.

Users should be able to invite hiring team members with different status, i.e. admin, hiring manager, team member that govern their viewing and editing permissions, as well as dictating which communications they’re copied into during the hiring process.

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