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.

Thanks

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Hello Fellow Recruiters,

I hope you will take a few minutes to look at Fill-Staff 10 For Recruiters. www.fillstaff.com
You won't believe the power until you see for yourself. Wow.
CRM+ATS+ARP(Automated Resume Processing) = $$$
There are a few Excellent Demo downloads on the Products Preview page.
Watch how ResumeGrabberPro addon Finds and Processes 50 resumes in Less Than 3 Minutes.
Just got a new Job Order? Our Custom "RoboMatcher" will locate matching candidates QUICKLY.
If you would like to see a Live Demo, just call or email me.
Regards,
Bill Williams, President - Fill Staff
Ph 501-205-4350
info@fillstaff.com
Thanks to all of you for sharing the pain of this choice.
we did this 2 years ago and selected Pereless for 4 primary reasons:
integration with Outlook
Customer Service
Key word search of database
integration with our website and boards

is it perfect? NO.
hardest is updating our technical and interviewing forms. they all seem to be hardcoded. (ugh)
but their response is always swift and cordial.
cj
Thats kind of a weak thread Hijack Bill......

Bill said:
Hello Fellow Recruiters,

I hope you will take a few minutes to look at Fill-Staff 10 For Recruiters. www.fillstaff.com
You won't believe the power until you see for yourself. Wow.
CRM+ATS+ARP(Automated Resume Processing) = $$$
There are a few Excellent Demo downloads on the Products Preview page.
Watch how ResumeGrabberPro addon Finds and Processes 50 resumes in Less Than 3 Minutes.
Just got a new Job Order? Our Custom "RoboMatcher" will locate matching candidates QUICKLY.
If you would like to see a Live Demo, just call or email me.
Regards,
Bill Williams, President - Fill Staff
Ph 501-205-4350
info@fillstaff.com
Great post Martin! All very valid and useful points.

Martin H.Snyder said:
Ahhh this thread is a real beauty- it captures so much of what drives the "ATS" business thru illustrative comments. I'm gonna throw some ideas out here- take them for what they are worth, but they are coming from a person who has been involved with over 3000 "ATS" projects in 11 years with every kind of organization.


1) In the first place "ATS" stands for Applicant Tracking System. Clearly, many if not most people who recruiters work with (and need to "track") are not applicants.

2) People who wear the "recruiter" title can range from hardcore salespeople to order-taking clerks. Clerks work with applicants, usually generated by job-board posts.

2) All four of the named offerings are mature, offered by reliable firms, and have large numbers of satisfied customers.

3) All four of the named offerings have numbers of dissatisfied customers.

4) All four could easily consume 8 hours by themselves for a complete demonstration.

5) Doing 4 demos in one day and expecting to derive a non-superficial understanding with which to differentiate products is asking for trouble.

6) Some products "demo" much better than others.

7) Some products "work" much better than others.

8) Different Stakeholders on the Buy-side have different needs and success definitions.

9) Generally but not always, Recruiters and Clerks are interested in Tactical issues, owners and managers are interested in Strategic issues.

10) Tactical stuff; "Look and Feel", number of clicks, automation of admin functions, personal productivity metrics, "ease of use", fit with current practices (e.g. does this mean I have to stop using Outlook).

11) Strategic stuff; How is the vendor capitalized?, What happens if/when there is a change of ownership? What are the technical and security aspects?, what is the lifecycle costs? How do the costs change/scale up or down? What is involved with changes to the system? what is involved with wanted / needed integrations ?, management reports, legal compliance for hiring.

12) Vendors sell every single day, Buyers buy just once every number of years. There is information asymetry as to what is really important on both sides.

13) Computer "Matching" of candidates to roles is overrated because nothing can beat the brain of a skilled recruiter, and Clerks dont do matching (the Applicants match themselves)

14) Day to day click counts and the general area of email transaction and tracking is underrated (because end-users spend a great deal of time working with and around email)

15) Versatility is a key aspect of successful ATS/Recruiting software projects because people, business cycles, and methods change more often than realized.

16) Price and vendor cost structure are not always connected in the beginning, but they are always connected in the end. The lower the vendor's cost structure, the lower the lifecycle cost CAN be. Too low is naturally not good either.

17) People take this choice seriously and there is a real loyalty and self-identification with vendors in many cases- why ? Because the most important idea of all:

18) THIS DECISION IS NOT A PRODUCT DECISION: ITS A RELATIONSHIP DECISION ! These applications answer to sometimes complex needs, and to get the best out of any of them requires a good working relationship with the vendor. Yes, with some projects its a set it and forget it deal, but even that level requires a certain understanding between the parties. Sometimes its daily or weekly interactions with the vendor basically forever- nothing wrong or unexpected about that outcome either because success (and failure) occur both ways and everywhere in the middle.

19) Its not the last system any ongoing enterprise is going to select. ITs an evolving market. Find out how much and how easy it is to decommission and move along with any given choice.

and finally

20) Many times, there simply is NOT a "better" or "worse" choice- only questions of differences and focus that in the end will give about the same ROI to the buyer if they hold their end up and vice-versa. If you set out to buy a BMW and drive home in a Benz, or even a Chevy, it still all depends on how well the choice fits your exact situation, and that choice would hold for nobody else in specific, but hundreds of thousands of others in general.
If you like the .net approach versus web based, look at Cbizsoft. Customizable, works with Outlook.
Lots of interesting responses, but here is the thing, How well does each of these systems get along with your recruiting process. (and do you really have a clear understanding of what yoru process is? I find that to be a bigger problem, if you dont really understand your process hard to get a good feel for others)

When I was working the Agency sideof recruiting (I prefer corporate) the best one I ever found (which was aquired by bond) was EZ-Access. I believe it was pretty well incorporated into the new company. though you'll have to check.

anyway the reason it was the the best for me wasn't because the sales guy was good,(he was adequate) or that the company made any ludicrous promises, etc. It was because of a few simple actions that you do on a daily basis that happened almost seemlessly with that product and not with any of the others.

1) if I emailed a resume to a client, the ATS copied that action to the client file, the candidate file and the job order without my having to do a damned thing, it was designed to do that.

2) If I sent a client on an interview and posted notes in the Job order it posted that note to the appropriate client file.

3) if one of my clients hired one of my people the persons Information was autopopulated to the appropriate places in the tracking system.

My biggest beef with 'so called' tracking systems is that they DONT, track that is. Most of them are glorified data basese that force the recruiter to waste time doing NEEDLESS data management. That is something that should be incorporated into the system.

Another person suggested that company relationship is the most important aspect. I disagree, in my opinion it is the SECOND most important aspect, having a product that functions in a way that saves you time and money is more important. That the company also backs their product is also important but worthless if the product doesn't give you what you need. And for my money, Most of them DONT. Of course I tend to have high expectations.

I recall one sales guy saying that we would just have to change our process to use his software... yeah we didnt' go with that company. If it doesn't fit your needs... keep looking! though I notice you have bond on your list, I'd take a close look at it, not a bad bet, depending on your needs. How many more candidates can you recruit is you aren't wasting yoru time with data management?

Beth Havens
Geek Recruiter
We looked at Bond, iCims, Bullhorn and MaxHire. Each one had some pros and cons we are still evaluating them now.

Susan Saxbury said:
Vikki,

Could you share with me who the 4 ATS systems are? I am currently looking to acquire one, also.

Thanks,
Susan
Why thank you Tess :-)
A custom home-grown system. Which has worked very well so far, but growing pains and all...

Larry Carter said:
Just curious.. what are you using now.
I use Bullhorn and it is the Ferrari of ATS systems in comparison to the others I have used which are Vurv Express and Sonic Recruit. I owuldn't recommend even consider either of the following. Bullhorn is great because of the integrated email function, and really liked that every resume sent to a client can be tracked so yoou know when it was opened and how many times it was viewed. Pretty Cool. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend Bullhorn.

Benjamin said:
Hi Vikki,

My name is Ben Fuller and I'll be walking you through the Bullhorn application tomorrow. I've been doing sales at Bullhorn for over 8 years and no questions are bad one's. The link below provides some areas I'll be focusing on during our call and please don't hesitate to ask specific questions around your work flow & requirements.

http://www.bullhorn.com/solutions.php

Also, the following link provides a sample of our current client base within recruiting & staffing. Overall, Bullhorn's vision is to empower staffing and recruiting professionals worldwide to achieve the highest placement rates in the industry.

http://www.bullhorn.com/clients.php

Lastly, I look forward to the presentation and opportunity to earn your business.

Regards,

Ben
Hi Vikki,
You can ask about RSS Feed.
It allows you to

1. Ensure the functionality is correctly working and in a timely manner.

2. Receive the same information as your potential candidates. This is important for checking accuracy of position information and being able to quickly relate to the format if a candidate contacts you with a question or issue.
Vikki -
thanks for the discussion start - interesting - how many users do you have?
Geri Kleeman

Vikki Hawkins said:
A custom home-grown system. Which has worked very well so far, but growing pains and all...

Larry Carter said:
Just curious.. what are you using now.

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