SmartRecruiters Blog

4 Reasons to Look Beyond the Applicant Tracking System

In this age of APIs, end users and social media, my one recommendation is to think of applicant tracking as a mere feature within your integrated recruiting platform.

The market for recruitment technology is taking off. There’s been approximately $2.3 billion in human resources technology investments over the last 5 years. And the buyers are demanding more quality. In a 2014 study by Software Advice the 6 most common reasons to purchase an applicant tracking system were efficiency, company growth, current features missing, consolidate systems, current is cumbersome and modernize. Price is not the issue when purchasing technology to manage recruiting; it’s about solving the issue of how to manage the company’s recruitment efforts. Companies are willing to pay to solve this problem.

When evaluating the technology that powers your recruitment efforts, here are 4 reasons to look beyond the applicant tracking system:

1. Not Designed to Help You Source Across Channels

What good is an applicant tracking system without applicants? Even if the ATS has all the bells, whistles and workflows, using an applicant tracking system without sourcing channel integration is like going to a party where there are no other people. Your recruiting analytics needs a single dashboard.

2. Unwieldy & Poor Candidate Application Process

It’s amazing how much companies pay to drive traffic to job ads, career pages, and their social networks, only to fail to capture information from those interested people due to a lengthy application form.


3. Cumbersome Experience & UI for Hiring Teams

Every time a clunky ATS scares the hiring manager from using the ATS, the company loses money from time and resources inefficiencies. Needing a manual reminder to take interview notes costs the company money. Missing a job interview to scheduling error costs the company money. Every time the job poster doesn’t know what screening questions to ask and not ask, it costs the company money. Every time a hiring manager doesn’t leverage a template to send a standard email, it costs the company money.

Long story short, before committing to an applicant tracking system, make sure that your hiring managers have a high propensity to actually use the system. Companies that hire the best have hiring managers that are highly engaged and collaborative participants in the hiring process.

4. Limited Insights as Sourcing & Hiring Data is “Off-system”

Sourcing channels depend on quantity and quality. If the sourcing budget is not tied to the candidate lifecycle, return on recruitment budget can not be accurately measured. Top talent acquisition professionals look for a dashboard with cost per candidate, cost per interview, and cost per hire across the entire company, each department and role. Seeing the company’s historical recruitment performance, and having it filterable by sourcing channel creates smart, data informed decisions for your next recruiting dollar.

If companies want to take their talent acquisition efforts seriously, they have to be ready to review what is working and not working. Too often the legacy applicant tracking system is holding companies back. But companies don’t want to rip and replace their entire recruitment management every year. The foundation of a company’s recruitment technology is a long term decision. In this age of APIs, end users and social media, my one recommendation is to think of applicant tracking as a mere feature within your integrated recruiting platform.

David Smooke

David Smooke was the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at SmartRecruiters and is the Founder of ArtMap Inc & AMI Publications.