What should an applicant tracking system do?

More importantly, what do you want and need from your applicant tracking system? In theory, it is an easy answer, “I want an applicant tracking system that will save me time and money.” But, what features and tools will you need to accomplish this? To select an applicant tracking system, start by identifying your software needs:

1. Review your Hiring Process
* Document the steps, interaction, and points of frustration in each step of the hiring process.
* Recruiting
* Qualifying the Applicant Pool
* Interviewing/Selection Process
* Hiring
* Determine the information you want to collect, and how you want to collect it.
* Examine the HR software programs that you are currently using, and decide if it would add value to integrate with the applicant tracking system.

2. Define the Goals, Needs, and Wants of your System
* Complete a list of goals, needs, and wants by answering the following questions:
o My company’s goals are to…
o The system should improve my….
o I need a system because…
o The current process lacks….

3. Select who you want to access the system, and how they will get there
* Are you interested in a system that is installed on a computer, or a hosted solution that is available online?
* Whom do you want to provide access to the system? (Recruiters, Hiring Managers, other professionals?)

4. Determine a Budget
* If possible, have your budget preapproved making certain you have allocated for all possible costs:
o Implementation – Upfront fee to configure the system
o Installation Cost (For installed software) or License Fees (For hosted solution) – Fee to acquire ongoing access to the system
o Training – Initial fee to teach the users how to use the system
o Ongoing Costs – Additional costs associated with maintenance, support, upgrades, etc.
o Customization Fees – Fees for configuring or customizing the system to your process
* Be prepared to receive quotes on all ends of the spectrum. Ask the vendor for firm quotes with detailed descriptions of the product and services offered.

For more information, download the applicant tracking selection toolkit.

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