ats questions

Questions to Ask When Selecting an ATS

By: Dave Rietsema
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ATS Selection Questions

Selecting an applicant tracking system (ATS) is a big step that has the potential to change the way that employees are hired. When hiring practices shift, it can have an impact on many other aspects of the workplace like corporate culture, turnover rate, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Since the implications of a new ATS can be so dramatic, it is important to ask the right questions – of both yourself and the vendors – when looking to select a new system.

What Can You Actually Afford?

Many companies get in over their heads and purchase an ATS that they can’t really afford and don’t really need. There are several different pricing structures for applicant tracking systems, so make sure you understand whether you will be charged by the number of employees in your company, the average number of applicants using the system, the number of people that will be using the system, or some other basis. Temper expectations about ROI and make sure that your company will survive footing the cost even if your cost per hire doesn’t decrease immediately.

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Is the System User-Friendly?

User-friendliness is an important consideration, since the system will need to be used on a daily basis for some of the most important HR tasks. If your key hiring managers and recruiting team cannot figure out how to use the system effectively, you will have wasted a lot of time, effort, and money. It may help to let some of your key hiring staff play with the system during trials and ask questions during demos.

Does the System Have the Functionality You Require?

This is a tricky one, because not all applicant tracking systems are created the same. It is not enough to assume that all of the different systems will have the same options for posting to social media sites, posting to job boards that work well for your company, and working with employee referrals. You must do some investigating and ask vendors explicitly about things that you are unsure of.

What Are the Stipulations of the Contract?

A flexible contract can be very valuable if the system that you select does not turn out to be as compatible as it seemed. Being locked into a contract with a vendor and a system that does not work well with your needs can be detrimental to your business. You should also check on the stability of the vendor so that you know they are not going to default and end up voiding your contract.

What Kind of Support and Updates Are Available?

Having local vendor support available can help immensely in situations where your system is not working the way you need it to or you need extra help with something. Regular updates are also very necessary, as technological advancements are made frequently. The vendor should be able to tell you how often updates will be done and what kind of in-person support is available along with online and phone resources.

By asking the right questions throughout the ATS selection process, you may end up selecting an ATS and vendor that fits your needs well and lasts you for years.

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