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Why your CTO and CIO are reluctant to invest in recruiting software (like an ATS)

April 26, 2021
iCIMS Staff
4 min read

To build an engaged and productive workforce, you need to rethink how you’re hiring. That includes using an applicant tracking system (ATS) capable of helping you attract and hire top talent.

There’s just one catch: you likely need buy-in and support from your technology leader. Chief Technology Officers (CTO) are typically responsible for purchasing the software. This includes vetting software for security, scalability, data reporting, and ease of integrations.

(Note: some organizations combine the role of Chief Information Officer with that of CTO so check your org chart. For this article, we’re going to refer to this technology lead as CTO.)

So what happens if your CTO doesn’t see the full value of applicant tracking software?

We’ve isolated three main reasons why some CTOs don’t trust applicant tracking systems. We’re going to examine those issues and provide you with some solutions.

Implementation struggles

Your CTO may have previous bad experiences with an “all-in-one” HCM  solution that included an ATS. But they also likely found out that those systems only include the most basic applicant tracking software functions required to recruit talent and hire new employees. Those are the systems that become difficult to implement and integrate with your other tech and processes. In other words, it’s not that CTOs dislike all recruiting software. They just dislike software that’s limited.

When it comes to applicant tracking systems, our data shows the majority of IT executives (60%) now prefer to rely on best-of-breed. They want to build their tech stack using best-in-class solutions that work together seamlessly within one platform.

Solution: Make sure your ATS provider’s key focus is talent acquisition and they’ve developed a system built with integration in mind.

User issues

“Easy to use” means many things to different people – especially when you’re talking about applicant tracking systems. It comes down to having a seamless, frictionless, consumer-grade experience.

With most companies moving to remote operations, CTOs and their teams are juggling more than they ever have before. They don’t want to add endless user issues to their team members’ plates. They also want to avoid an increase in calls to the help desk from ATS admins or end users.

To avoid user issues and stay in favor with your CTO, you need an applicant tracking software that’s easy to use. Your system should be configured in accordance with your business’s unique hiring needs and require assistance from as few IT resources as possible.

Solution: Look for applicant tracking software with good UX and a provider who supports training for admin teams, as well as a provider who will answer your calls when you need tech support. Assure your CTO that you want their team to devote more time to strategic initiatives and less on ATS user adoption.

Outdated investments

As the head of technology, IT leaders have years of experience with endless systems that support all parts of the business. They also likely have experience when these systems become obsolete within a year or two of implementation.

This has an impact on IT budgets which are already on the rise as businesses replace outdated technology. In 2020, 44% of businesses planned to increase their tech spend, up from 38% in 2019.

Solution: Give your CTO context about why you want to invest in applicant tracking software. Share your talent acquisition strategy and plans, and how an ATS will solve for problems now and set the organization up for long-term success.


IT and HR may represent two different sides of the business – the people and the technology. But they are both responsible for the experience that people have when interacting with the business. And they face the same challenges when it comes to navigating the new future of work.

As you build a partnership with your CTO, remind them that IT needs top talent, too. As technology continues to advance and change, IT will feel the impact as hiring managers. Your new ATS might just help them prevent the pain of their pending skills gap.

If you’re looking to build a better partnership with IT,  be sure to check out our step-by-step guide.

Download our guide for building a better partnership with IT

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