Whether you are looking for your first applicant tracking system (ATS) system or considering investing in an upgrade, the best starting point is a clear understanding of your needs. The first step to achieving this is to map your existing hiring process.

11 questions to get started with evaluating applicant tracking software:

  • How you do hiring planning and budget costs?
  • How are your job ads written?
  • How and where do you post your jobs?
  • How do you currently collect applications?
  • How do you progress candidates through from applied to hired?
  • Do you use pre-screening questions or job-related assignments?
  • Do you work with external recruiters?
  • Who is on your hiring team (this may differ from one position to another).
  • How many steps does a candidate go through prior to a final interview?
  • Do you conduct background checks prior to a final offer?
  • What kind of data and reporting do you use to improve your hiring process?

Now step back and think about how this could be improved. What are the pain points? How do you cope with the volume of applications, how are communications between your team during hiring, how well does your interview and call scheduling work?

$4000 Cost per hire in the US

Graduate candidate

$5134 Cost per US graduate hire.

Graduate candidate

The point of this exercise is to identify the gap between how things are done now and what your ideal recruiting process would look like. If you sailed through the 11 questions and liked your own answers you’re in a happy minority. Most companies, of all sizes, find recruiting a struggle.

The vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses are still using email and spreadsheets to run their recruitment . Less than one in five SMBs has switched to applicant tracking software, according to most estimates. But the big switch has begun, spreadsheets are great for many things, they suck as a hiring tool.

Milan Stanojevic, Backend developer at TradeCore. ATS software user.
Milan Stanojevic @coldwater_yu
Backend developer

It works wonders for our team. We don't have an HR manager, and going through candidates is everybody's job. Workable makes it easy and hassle free. Integration with LinkedIn is also an invaluable feature.

Larger companies have long since adopted software for their ATS needs but many of the enterprise solutions adopted by Fortune 500 firms have inherited the same bureaucratic dysfunction they were meant to cure. It might seem sensible to cram in features for all eventualities but feature-heavy applicant tracking software can be both expensive and unwieldy.

Hiring processes are not the same at an organization with 2,000+ employees as they are at a firm with 250 employees, or one with 25. By being clear from the outset over your real hiring needs you can eliminate the prospect of paying for features you don’t need and concentrate your investment on an ATS that does the best possible job on the features that you do need.

Tim Sackett, HR/Recruiting Talent Pro. ATS software user.
Tim Sackett @TimSackett
HR/Recruiting Talent Pro

We moved into this space in our history where recruiting technology has never been so affordable, meaning organizations no longer have an excuse not to have it. Great tech is so cheap now that if you don’t have it, you’re making a personal choice to stay in the dark ages of recruiting! For SMBs this has never been more real. SMBs can now have even better recruiting technology than their enterprise peers. While enterprise folks get big, vanilla based recruiting technology, SMB shops can move faster to integrate the latest and greatest tech on the market. It’s such an exciting time to be in talent acquisition, the availability of world class technology is transforming how we all recruit on a daily basis