Surprisingly, the first step to choosing an Applicant Tracking System is not actually looking at the different options out there. As brought up by the folks at Aon Consulting, the first step to implementing an ATS is looking internally to determine exactly what you need. This may take some time and effort (two things people are not usually eager to give up) but in the long run it will actually make the department far more effective.

The second step is to look at where the department is going instead of where it is, as “[s]etting strategy for the future is perhaps the single most important task an HR executive can take” in this decision-making process. Formulating a specific mission or goal for your department keeps everyone focused on what will make the best choice in the end.

The final step is reviewing what you’ve found and selecting the essential criteria for your ATS. Once you’ve established what you need, then it’s time to find out who can provide it. Jake Stupak (a.k.a. The ATS Guy) has recently launched TheATSGuide, a directory of current ATS options that can be easily compared. Aon’s analysis does mention the advantage of SaaS (like CATS Applicant Tracking) for the simple fact that it can change and improve without you having to do anything on your own system.

As the article so smartly says, “Rather than looking at the next best thing in technology, employers should look at the next best thing for their own organization: how to improve the hiring process before introducing technology. This helps reduce risk and prevent costly mistakes.”

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