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Applicant Tracking System Recruiting & Hiring HR Resources

What Do the Best Applicant Tracking Systems Have in Common?

April 19, 2022
9 min read

Your Guide to Choosing the Best ATS


Think of a few things you would consider “the best,” for example, the best restaurants in your city or the best route to take to work. When we name something “the best,” our preference is subjective, but our criteria for comparison remain inside parameters. You may consider a local dive “the best” restaurant in your area — you like their food and the lively atmosphere. However, someone else might choose a high-end new bistro to be “the best” based on their preference for the menu and ambiance.

In some ways, defining what the best applicant tracking systems (ATS) have in common is similar. What one company sees as “the best” ATS may not fit another company’s needs. Luckily, there is a range of ATS options available today that offer solutions for companies whose industries, sizes, requirements, and goals vary widely.If you’re wondering what an ATS is, take a quick detour and check out our post: What is an Applicant Tracking System? A Complete ATS Guide

While ATS requirements differ, there are still many features and qualities that an ATS needs in order to remain a top competitor and help you reach your recruiting and hiring goals. That’s why, in today’s post, we’re taking a look at the capabilities that best-in-class ATS solutions will offer, both in the software and as an organization.

With so many #ATS options on the market, it can be hard to decide which #Recruiting software is right for your company. Find out what the very best ATS solutions have in common:

Understands Your Business Needs

When you choose an ATS system, you want it to be the best possible option for your organization. Whether you’re switching applicant tracking systems or starting from scratch to streamline your recruiting process, vetting software can require a substantial time commitment. You have to reach out for a demo, find a time that works for everyone, attend the demo, and then regroup with your team — for every ATS you consider. 

Suffice to say, the process takes time, so you want to ensure that the ATSs you demo understand what your business is looking for from the very first call. You can make this easier by doing some homework before you begin attending demos. Meet with your team to establish a list of what the ATS needs to offer and features that would be nice to have but aren’t a must. Check out our ATS Buyer’s Guide for an in-depth look at how your team can prepare for the search.

Download our ATS Buyer’s Guide to find tips for every stage of the ATS purchasing process.

Provides Client Testimonials

As we mentioned, much of what constitutes the best ATS is subjective — what works great for a small business won’t always work for a larger company's needs. That’s why top ATSs know that in order to make an informed decision, you need to hear about the success similar companies have experienced with their solution. As you’re vetting recruiting software, great ATS providers will be able to offer case studies and customer testimonials that demonstrate the positive impact of their product on various businesses.

Scales With Your Business

Whether your business is new, growing rapidly, or at its ideal headcount, you need an ATS that can handle the current size of your business and adapt as it grows. You don’t want to go through the demanding process of selecting and utilizing new software only to start the whole process over again in a year or two.

To determine if an ATS is suitable for your growing business, here are just a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Does the ATS have clients that range in size from small businesses to enterprises?
  • Can I start with a small set of features and add additional tools as my business expands?
  • Will I need to upgrade my ATS right away if the business grows faster than expected?

While those aren’t the only questions to think about, they can get you on the right track toward a best-fit solution.

Fast, Guided Implementation Process

Implementing a new piece of software, especially one that plays such a big role in your organization, can be an intimidating task. Between transferring data to a new system, training employees on how to use it, and the uncertainty in the first few days it’s running, it can be a chaotic process. But it doesn’t have to be.

The best ATS providers will put your implementation fears to rest. Here are a few questions to ask about their process:

  • How long is a typical implementation process, from contract signing to up-and-running?
  • Who is the main point-of-contact implementation?
  • Does the ATS offer training for my HR team on how to use the software? 
  • Who do I contact with questions or problems after implementation?

Implementation is a good indicator of whether or not the ATS has great customer support. It should be efficient but not rushed, and your team should know who to contact when they need help. The ATS should also provide training that is personalized to your company’s needs.

Ongoing, Accessible Support and Training

A great applicant tracking system will provide training opportunities and resources that users can access whenever they need to troubleshoot or learn how to use a new feature. That shouldn’t stop after implementation, either — they will also keep you informed of feature updates and new product releases and offer additional training when it’s needed.

The best applicant tracking systems will ensure you have resources like a help center or community portal, and if that isn’t enough, a customer support representative who can answer your questions. During demos, you can ask questions to find out how — and how quickly — you can expect to receive support if needed:

  •  Will my organization have a dedicated account manager or customer support team member to contact with questions or problems?
  • How quickly can I expect to receive a response and get my issue resolved?

User-Friendly for HR, Candidates, and Hiring Managers

While the best ATS solutions do give you plenty of chances to learn, you still want to choose software that is easy to use for everyone who will interact with it. If it’s a breeze for candidates to use, but your HR team finds it clunky or lacking important tools, the ATS isn’t going to be effective. You also want to be sure that hiring managers can navigate the portions of the software that they will need to use, like candidate profiles and interview scorecards. 

During ATS demos, ask to see different user views of the software, run through workflows, and how to submit an application. When comparing ATS solutions, think about how quickly new employees will be able to learn how to use it and how it will impact candidate experience. Make sure that there are recruiters and hiring managers on demos to get their feedback on using the ATS.

If the implementation process for your new #ATS is too long and disorganized, it may not be the best software option. See what great ATS solutions have in common:

Offers Mobile Tools

In today’s world, just about everyone — 97% of U.S. adults — has a phone in their pocket. Think about how often you check your text messages versus your email inbox — chances are, it’s much more often. Your candidates are no different, so the evolution of ATS software has resulted in solutions equipped with mobile tools so you can reach more candidates and hire them faster.

For example, recruiting teams using ClearCompany’s Applicant Tracking System have access to mobile tools that drive real results:

  • ClearCompany’s ATS offers a smooth mobile experience where candidates can access your career site, job posts, and applications from their phone.
  • Text-to-Apply allows your candidates to submit job applications via text message. Text-to-Apply gives candidates the chance to apply to open positions fast — and they will! Text-to-Apply users see 3.5x the candidates and have a 400% faster time-to-hire.
  • ClearText makes it easy for recruiters and candidates to connect and move forward with the hiring process. Considering we respond to 95% of text messages, it’s a great way to keep candidates engaged and speed up hiring.

The benefits of text recruiting are too numerous to land on an ATS that doesn’t have those tools. Expand your talent pool, engage with candidates, and keep up with the competition by ensuring your ATS offers mobile and texting tools.

Seamless Integration with Other HR Software

Your HR team is probably using a variety of software solutions to handle all the moving parts of people management, like payroll, background checks, and more. And while you might be exploring new ATS solutions, you may not want to replace all of the software your team currently uses. As you and your team explore ATS options, keep a list of the software tools the new ATS would need to integrate with so you don’t waste time on demos.

Collects Analytics and Generates Reports

If you’re still thinking, “Why use an applicant tracking system?” or “Does my team really need an ATS?” — we saved arguably the best reason for last. One of the biggest reasons to use an ATS is because of the deep insight your HR team will gain into your talent acquisition process.

ClearCompany’s ATS provides our users with reports on a variety of important recruiting questions. They can get access to data and analytics that point out inefficiencies and strengths and inform strategic HR decisions in the future. Some questions hiring teams can answer include:

  • What is our time-to-hire? Time-to-fill?
  • How many candidates are submitting applications during a given time frame?
  • Where do most candidates find our job posts? 
  • Are we posting to a sufficient number of job boards?
  • Are we attracting qualified candidates?

The knowledge your HR team will gain from an ATS with recruiting analytics can have an extremely positive impact on the whole process. You can reduce blind spots, fix problems, and streamline processes, all the while making decisions informed by your company’s real recruiting data. Then, you can see the results and watch those important metrics improve.

Choose an ATS That’s Part of a Talent Management Platform

There are lots of ATS solutions you could use, but none offer the end-to-end talent management capabilities of ClearCompany. Our ATS is best-in-class due to its unique position as a module of our Talent Management platform. With ClearCompany, you can seamlessly manage the entire talent lifecycle for every role at your organization:

With the complete platform, you’ll be able to find best-fit candidates, prepare them for their roles, keep them connected to your organization, evaluate and improve their performance, and retain them long-term. But first, switching to a leading ATS like ClearCompany can take you from simply hiring employees to hiring the right employees. 

If you’re looking for an ATS equipped with the tools, support, and insights to take your recruiting strategy to the next level, get started by signing up for a demo with the ClearCompany experts.

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