5 Questions to Ask Before Buying an Applicant Tracking System

When you hire a new employee, you’re selective. During the interview(s), you ask all the right questions to identify their skills and weaknesses. You conduct the necessary due diligence to ensure the best candidate is being placed.

Your applicant tracking system will help facilitate thousands of placements, so it’s important to approach your software selection with the same level of detail – if not more.

While this may seem like a daunting task, the right company will be able to provide all the answers you’re searching for (and more) even before you ask any questions!

However, to ensure the best return on your time and monetary investment, it’s important you start the conversation with the 5 key points listed below. Ask these, and you’ll be well on your way to acquiring the best applicant tracking system for your business:

Does it Have All the Features You Need?

The best way to determine this is by sketching out your ideal workflow, from acquiring leads all the way to making a placement. Send it to your sales rep before the demo, and ask them to walk you through it step-by-step using the applicant tracking system. This way, you’ll get the most value out of your demo!

Remember, no applicant tracking systems are the same, and there’s no doubt that some are better than others. The best applicant tracking systems don’t only offer more features and integrations than others, they also provide a level of flexibility that allows them to adapt to your business needs. Make sure to seek out a company that has a built-in CRM system to support sales team as well as your recruiters.

Even if you don’t have a sales team yet, it’s important to consider the growth rate you expect to experience over the next 5 years. Switching staffing and recruiting software can be a lot of work, so we want to make sure you’re on the right track out of the gate. If you expect to grow considerably in the coming years, it’s wise to invest in an applicant tracking system that has the robustness to support your booming business.

Does it Fall Within Your Budget?

Applicant tracking systems have different price points and pricing structures. As many applicant tracking systems are cloud-based, it’s very likely you’ll see different payment models for each one. Some of the most common you’ll see are listed below:

  • A monthly subscription fee based on the number of users who’ll use the system
  • A monthly subscription fee based on the number of employees in your company
  • A flat subscription fee, regardless of the number of employees or users you have

Something important to ask is which features are included, and which ones cost extra. Some companies rack up hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in additional charges just to use features that are core to your business. The best ATS systems will include key features in the basic pricing structure and their sales reps will send you a list that outlines any extra costs.

Does the Provider Offer Real-Time Technical Support?

There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a road block with an important feature, and not being able to reach help right away. A shocking number of staffing and recruiting software companies don’t offer person-to-person support. Instead, they force you to speak with chatbots, click-through long phone directories, or enter long-winded queries on their website.

When you have urgent questions, it’s essential for you to be able to quickly and easily access experienced and reliable support. When you’re looking for an applicant tracking system, make sure you ask about the technical support services. 

For example, can you call them for immediate help or do you have to wait a couple of days to hear back from someone? Make sure you understand the quality of the service offered and the different contact options that are available to you. The best ATS systems out there offer top-notch technical support.

Does it Match Your Timeline?

Setting up and implementing your new applicant tracking system requires implementation, training and sometimes data migration. This process requires a dedicated team that will commit a substantial amount of time and effort to get you up and running with your new software. The best applicant tracking systems will back you with a team that guarantees a smooth, organized and timely launch.

Confirm how long this process will take before you go live. Once you know the timeline of this process, you can plan projects and deadlines around this date so that the set-up period won’t conflict with your workflow.

Do They Offer a Free Demo?

Part of your research should include participating in a free online demo. Chances are you’ll want to do more than one, and you shouldn’t have to pay! A demo should allow you to see the applicant tracking system in action and understand how it will work for your business.

During and even after the demo, you should be able to ask as many questions as you want and need. The best applicant tracking systems will allow you to participate in multiple demos until you’re satisfied with your level of understanding.  

These Questions Should Get You Started on the Right Path

We hope this guide helps you narrow down the things you should be looking for when shopping for an ATS. There are many factors to consider, but these points will help you get off to a great start.

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