Demo'ing 4 ATS systems tomorrow, what questions should I be asking?

Ok all of my recruiter friends out there. From a staff aug recruiting perspective if you are looking at a new ATS systems what features and/or functionality is going to be most important to you? What big questions would you have.

Tomorrow I will be looking at 4 ATS systems the are: Bond Adapt, iCIMS,
Bullhorn and MaxHire.

Any thoughts on any of these would also be appreciated.


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You ought to throw cBiz on your list...

I've used the application for about 5yrs now as a thick client app. I've found the browser-based applications to be too slow for me. One critical thing you need to determine is are you projecting to manage/facilitate a large inflow of data (ie. resumes, applications) or are you looking to organize/record outbound activity as well (networking calls, prospect companies, etc..). I've found many ATS systems aren't necessarily made for active recruiters. They simply capture and manage an incoming flow of candidates from job postings.


I recommend that you consider the needs of your organization and ask the vendors questions that will determine if their product meets those needs.

Be cautious of answers that are delayed, or if the presenter says that they will need to get back to you as that may indicate that some creativity on their part may be required to meet your needs. Creative solutions are not always complete when it comes to ATS solutions, so they may not have the solution completely planned out.
I would also recommend ADP's Virutal Edge.
Make sure you cover customizing the ATS to fit exactly what your company needs. At the last place I worked the person that was in the position before me chose our ATS and was not very thorough. When I stepped in there were TONS of changes that needed to be made that weren't covered, so we ended up occurring a bunch of costs!

I would also cover your customer support. Are you going to have 1 account rep assigned to your company, or will it be a "call desk"...etc It can be VERY frustrating when you have to call their 800 # and speak to someone who has no familiarity with your account.
We selected SendOuts because we could customize it to our liking. BullHorn came in second. I'd want to be sure that the system accounts for all stages in an interview process and is easy to use.
Maybe I'm biased as an analyst, but I think one of the most important things is the ability to produce reports off of the ATS data. Of the four you mentioned, MaxHire impressed me in that regard due to the ease-of-use throughout their offering, including their reporting functions, as well as the ability for you or a contractor to build custom reporting by directly querying the database.

With any ATS, I'd recommend looking at the provided reports and customization capabilities to make sure you can leverage this aspect to provide coherent and useful reporting, both for your personal use and for other stakeholders in your company.

I am a current iCIMS user and would be glad to speak with you about iCIMS in detail if you like.

I would ask about the level of technical support you can expect to receive. I would also ask about what type of flexibility they have in making changes/customizations to your specific business needs and costs associated with those changes. I would askabout what flexibility they have in the terms of their contracts (one year or multi-year deals vs. month-to-month).

Good luck to you in your evaluation process. If I can be of help to you, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Take a look at TargetRecruit at It basically addresses most of the limitations that most of the current ATS systems have and is highly customizable. One of our customer evaluated 67 ATS and rated it to be number one and they are looking to migrate out of one of the systems you are evaluating. In addition to its customizationability and expandibility, it also has mobile version and addresses most of the questions that Eric suggested.

Also look at the great customer reviews at

I demo'd 8-10 ATS late 08, and went with Bullhorn. I felt it integrated really well with the sales side, and since you use the "Bullhorn" email client within the same app, you don't need Outlook installed on your machine. I also like the fact that everything is tracked within the database. If an email comes in/goes out and the contact/candidate is in the database, it's tracked. The mass mailing feature is good, the integrated career portal is good, lots of other neat features.

I guess the biggest thing was the integrated email and the ability for things to be tracked. We all know how sales people are not thrilled with documentation. But, it's a must. I've seen this happen numerous times in the last few years. A Sr. sales person leaves, and the company is stuck with a bunch of client contacts and no you basically have to start an account from scratch.

Hope this helps...


Vikki Hawkins said:
Holy Chicka!

I definitely want your insight into BOTH. The integration piece for sales and recruiting was one of the number one reasons they started looking.


Cindi K said:

I am on Bullhorn currently and have a good friend on MaxHire. Let me know if you want insite in to either.

Based on our previous work together, make sure to ask about sales/recruting integration; auto lgging of e-mail, and (for your co) auto-post to job boards....


Ask if the workflow and templates can be customizable.

Get the price breakdowns for user licenses.

Ask about pre-screening, scheduling capabilities.

Ask about the ability to to add notes and documents to a job or to a candidate profile.

Ask about adding new candidates to the ATS and how much of the information is parsed and how much has to be done manually.
Thanks for the post

much care

I've been using Maxhire for almost a year now as an ATS, and we just moved all of our salespeople onto the platform as well to use as a CRM. It is apparent to me that Maxhire is really geared more towards the recruiting side of the desk - candidates/client contacts are tracked all together as "people" (there is a radio button to differentiate the two). Every user in the system is a "recruiter," which irks my salespeople but otherwise isn't a big deal.

I like the fact that Maxhire is .Net based, not browser based (personal preference). Maxhire offers very good functionality and fair reporting capability. Getting technical support is slow, but they have a very good help file that covers most of the bases if you take the time to review it. Bulk emailing works very well and integration into Outlook is solid. I use the system to manage my tasks & schedule very effectively. Keyword searching and saving the results (in lists or against a job order) is easy.

Sendouts offers more customization, but they don't have a dashboard capability and have been slow to develop one (over a year now and still not rolled out).

I did not want to abandon Outlook, so that pushed Bullhorn down the list.

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