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12 questions to ask when searching for an ATS

September 3, 2021
iCIMS Staff
7 min read

An applicant tracking system (ATS)is software that enables recruiters to manage the recruiting and hiring process. To get the best possible applicant tracking software for your organization, you need to ask questions that will help you select the best ATS. You want a system that supports: 

  • Flexibility 
  • Integration
  • Compliance 

In other words, don’t just shop for an ATS. Look for a system that’s going to support your entire talent acquisition process. Make a selection that helps your organization move forward. Even if you don’t need integration now, you’ll eventually need the ability to plug into a more extensive talent system to maximize the benefits of an ATS.  

With your current and future needs in mind, ask these questions when you shop for an ATS. 

1. Does the ATS support virtual recruiting?  

If the answer is no, stop here. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s apparent that you must find an ATS that supports virtual recruiting. A cloud-based ATS ensures recruiters are empowered to find and hire talent — even when the unimaginable occurs. 

2. What career site options are part of the ATS?

An on-brand career site is a powerful way to engage candidates and showcase all your organization has to offer. Find out if there are options to customize the site to reflect your brand and demonstrate your value as an employer. 

3. Are candidate relationship management (CRM) system integrations available for this ATS? 

A CRM empowers recruiters to build talent pipelines. These systems also assist with automated email marketing, functionality to host recruiting events, and options for job recommendations. Even if this isn’t a current need, you may need these features in the future. If you’re curious, here’s how CRM specifically supports long term talent acquisition as opposed to short-term recruiting. 

4. Does the ATS integrate with any HCMs or HRIS? 

A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or Human Capital Management (HCM) system gathers, saves, and holds an organization’s employee and HR-related information. When you hire an applicant, they become an employee. With ATS-HCM integration, you can seamlessly transfer the new hire data you need. 

5. Can the system support video interviews? 

Video interviews enable you to interview applicants anywhere around the globe. Whether it’s a two-way video experience or candidate pre-recorded responses to recruiter questions, having this ability is key. Especially when hiring for a remote workforce, video interviews make a massive difference in enabling recruiters and hiring managers to connect with candidates. Plus, candidates really like video interviews. Here’s why. 

6. Can the ATS improve your offer management process? 

The right applicant tracking software can help you draft offers, tracks the job offers you’ve made, and makes it easy for applicants to accept jobs. Rather than wasting time writing new offer letters for each position, recruiters can spend their time making new hires feel welcome. 

7. What type of employee onboarding solution is available?  

When onboarding new employees, you’re required to meet various employment regulations. Software solutions can eliminate the need for paper forms and reduce the hassles around employment eligibility verification, I-9 completion, and background checks. An onboarding workflow allows new employees to manage their documents and removes the need for HR employees to perform endless data entry tasks.  

8. How does the ATS support job ad posting? 

Job boards are one of the top three sources of hirewhich means it’s essential that your ATS helps you maximize their value. Find out if you can post open positions to multiple boards, and even better if you can do so at one time. This level of automation is a true time-saver. 

9. Will the ATS help you manage both passive and active candidates? 

Active candidates are people who are actively looking for a new job. They typically become part of your talent pool when they apply for a job via your ATS. What about the amazing people who aren’t actively looking but might be interested if they found the right position? Ideally, your ATS should offer ways for you to connect and collect information about those passive candidates, too. 

10. What type of recruitment marketing automation is available? 

With the right software, recruiters can schedule recurring email campaigns to engage talent pools regularly. They can share opportunities, upcoming networking events, and company updates. If you want this option, be sure the ATS has options to integrate with this software. 

11. Is the ATS mobile and text-friendly? 

Today’s candidates are searching and applying for jobs on their mobile devices. According to Glassdoor, 58% of their users look for jobs on their phones. If you want to reach as many candidates as possible, they need mobile access to your site. Once they’re in the talent pool, recruiters need a way to communicate with candidates via text message securely. 

12. Does the ATS easily connect with E-Verify? 

All employers need to verify employment eligibility. An ATS that easily connects to the federal verification system, E-Verify, helps facilitate your hiring process to get new hires in position faster. 


Small, medium and large organizations can all benefit from an applicant tracking system that helps make the hiring process friendly, equitable, and efficient. Ask the right questions now so you can choose an ATS that sets you up for success with a strategic, streamlined recruiting approach.  

Learn more about how to evaluate, adopt, and excel with an ATS. Download the The Business Case for a Focused and Inclusive Applicant Tracking System.

Download Your ATS Business Case: How to Advocate for the Tools You Need

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