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5 secrets to choosing an applicant tracking system (ATS)

May 4, 2021
iCIMS Staff
3 min read

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that allows recruiters to manage their recruiting efforts. The software allows a company to collect candidate information, organize and filter based on skills and experience, and screen for viable talent to fill open positions. An ATS also creates a single source of truth that provides valuable data for HR professionals across the company.

To make the most out of your applicant tracking software investment, you need to understand the secrets to choosing the best applicant tracking software. There are five elements you must have in your ATS:

  • Flexibility
  • Integration capabilities
  • Compliance
  • Modern approach
  • Strong support model

When you search with these secrets in mind, you can find an ATS that will support the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process your organization needs to move forward.

You need the flexibility to meet your current and future needs

We may do our best to predict what’s on the hiring horizon. But, as COVID-19 showed us, things can change at any time. According to Gartner’s research, when assessing HR technology, it’s imperative to “evaluate vendors not just on their requirements as defined at the moment of selection, but also for their flexibility once needs change.”

One secret to choosing an ATS is finding a solution that works for you now and will also adapt as your organization grows, faces challenges, or responds to unprecedented external changes. Look for applicant tracking software for its ease of configuration, methods for innovation, regular releases, and integration capabilities.

You want integration capabilities that allow your ATS to work with your tech stack

Thanks to agile integration, you can have the best of all worlds. An ATS built with integration in mind allows you to access a top-tier applicant tracking system and enable it to work with your other HR tech stack. These technology integrations allow you to manage your workforce expertly and efficiently.

Your ATS can help you manage labor compliance

According to Ceridian’s research, increasing compliance and regulatory complexity, rapid tech development, and a shortage of skilled talent are the top challenges facing businesses today.

Recruitment teams come into contact with a large amount of confidential data that comes in through job applications. Your ATS should not only comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, but also ensure you’re following local and federal labor regulations around background screening and other hiring practices.

Your ATS should support a modern, innovative approach to recruiting  

Archaic systems are a turnoff. Your applicant tracking software should be designed for today’s digitally-savvy users. This means it’s easy to access on preferred devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It should also incorporate video, texting, and AI to make the candidate experience as engaging and user-friendly as possible.

You want to connect with an ATS partner who helps you in the journey

When it comes to HR tech, you shouldn’t feel like you’re on an island. One of the most important secrets to choosing an applicant tracking system is finding a provider that offers a strong support model. As you embark on the journey to level-up your recruiting processes, you want a partner who will help – not hinder – that process. As you connect with providers, be diligent. Ask the questions you need to be answered and find a partner company that shares your culture and approach.

It’s no secret that whether you’re a huge organization or a small business poised for growth, you need an applicant tracking system to make the hiring process friendly, equitable, and efficient. By choosing the right ATS, you’re enabling better candidate experiences and empowering recruiters, hiring managers, and HR partners with a strategic, streamlined recruiting approach. That’s a secret worth sharing!


Learn how to advocate for the applicant tracking software your team needs. Download our Business Case for a Focused and Inclusive ATS.


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