SmartRecruiters Blog

HR Tech Chicago ’16 ATS Shopping Guide – 5 Key Requirements To Look For

Hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place, this year’s HR Tech is going to be as exciting as ever. The show itself should prove again that HR tech is hot, as investors continue to pour money into the talent acquisition space. Not only that, it will showcase some amazing innovations around how employers can leverage technology to better find, engage, and hire talent.

So as you shop for new Talent Acquisition tools, below are five key requirements you should look for when looking for a new Applicant Tracking System. So buckle up, enjoy Chicago, and hit the show floor to find your next piece of recruiting software:

Candidate Relationship Management


Candidate Relationship Management is where the heavy lifting is done and a majority of the recruiting value is added to your business. Put simply, it’s where technology supports a company’s ability to better source and attract top talent. CRMs became popular in the mid and late-2000’s as add-ons to the legacy Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like Taleo and Kenexa Brassring. With today’s modern ATS, CRM is no longer an add-on – It’s native to your system’s architecture, workflows, and User Experience.




Let’s not forget that the legacy ATS was built to run a compliant hiring process back when Human Resources was called the “Personnel Department”. In those days the real recruiting work was done by third party staffing agencies. As employers built internal recruiting teams, the function evolved into something much more strategic (even changing its name to “talent acquisition”) with specialized roles around research, sourcing, and coordination. Talent Acquisition has become a high-value service delivery department that requires intense collaboration between hiring managers, interviewers, coordinators, sourcers, and recruiters. The modern ATS will leverage native collaboration tools to add speed to the hiring process and ensure consistent quality in your hiring decisions.



A Marketplace

How many third party vendors do you need to integrate to run your performance management process? Probably none. However, recruiting is different. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of vendors today adding serious value and competitive advantages at every stage of the recruiting funnel. Sourcing tools, advertising channels, assessments, video interviews, background checks, and the list goes on. Leveraging these tools to optimize your hiring process is the right decision for your organization. However, not integrating them into your ATS slows everything down and causes recruiters and hiring teams to get overwhelmed. The modern ATS makes consuming these tools as easy as downloading apps on your phone. They should have a marketplace with hundreds of these vendors pre-integrated and a seamless part of the user interface.


API concept with hand pressing a button

A Platform, the world’s leading CRM system, became the sales and marketing OS when they launched the “” platform. At that point, it was game over for companies like Siebel and Oracle, and they never caught up. It was a moment of strategic brilliance in the history of B2B software. HR tech is catching on. The modern ATS should be an open platform with published API’s (ask to see the vendors developer site) that allows it to easily connect to other cloud applications. They’ll also have a developer program that allows you to build your own apps on top of it. Even if you don’t plan to develop your own apps, or have the resources to do it internally, the cost of doing so is coming down so don’t rule it out. Having a true platform should also tell you something about the ATS vendor’s foresight and vision.


Vector flat customer experience concepts


User experience has quickly risen to the top of the list for most company’s requirements. It matters a lot: a shift to strategic talent acquisition falls flat on its face when the hiring teams won’t use the hiring software. The future of your workforce won’t stand for applications that clearly look like something their grandparents used, require hours of training, don’t work on their phones, nor have an accompanying native mobile app. And the candidates you want to hire have a lower attention span than a goldfish. Therefore, you have to provide them with an easy way to apply from any device and using whatever social profile they choose.

Have a great time walking the floor and be sure to stop by the SmartRecruiters booth #1636 where we’ll be giving away Amazon Echos and Trackrs, and giving demos that highlight all of the above. And as an added bonus, we’ll all be in Chicago when the Cubs start a *possible* historical run to the World Series – even if you can’t buy a ticket to the live game, go watch one at one of Wrigleyville’s famous bars like The Cubby Bear or Murphy’s.

See you in Chicago!

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson is the Chief Sales Officer for SmartRecruiters.