min read

Selecting the best ATS for your organization: a full guide

There are too many ATSs to choose from, so where to start with your selection? Read the full guide.

July 26, 2021
Yuma Heymans
July 28, 2023

In today's competitive job market, finding the right talent to propel your organization to success is crucial. With countless applicants vying for open positions, managing the recruitment process can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor.

That's where an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) comes in.

Introduction to ATS

An ATS is a software application that streamlines the hiring process by automating the various stages of recruitment, from job posting and application management to candidate selection and onboarding. As a vital tool for HR professionals, an ATS not only saves time and resources but also ensures a more organized and efficient hiring process.

The Value of an ATS

  • Improved efficiency by automating repetitive tasks: an ATS minimizes manual intervention, resulting in a more streamlined and efficient recruitment process. This frees up HR professionals to focus on higher-value activities, such as candidate engagement and strategic planning.
  • Enhanced Candidate Experience An ATS allows organizations to communicate with candidates effectively, offering timely updates and feedback. This fosters a positive candidate experience, which ultimately contributes to a stronger employer brand.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making An ATS provides HR teams with valuable data and analytics, enabling them to make informed decisions throughout the recruitment process. This can result in better candidate matches, reduced time-to-hire, and improved overall hiring outcomes.

The Challenges with ATSs

Despite the numerous advantages offered by ATSs, there are some challenges that organizations face when selecting and implementing a system

  • Integration: Integrating an ATS with existing HR systems, such as payroll and benefits management, can be a complex process. Ensuring seamless integration is crucial to maximizing the system's potential and minimizing any potential disruptions.
  • Customization: Organizations have unique recruitment processes, and an off-the-shelf ATS might not cater to specific requirements. The ability to customize the system to meet an organization's needs is essential.
  • Compliance Maintaining: compliance with various employment laws and regulations is crucial for organizations. An ATS must be designed to adhere to these requirements and stay updated as regulations evolve.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the process of selecting the ideal ATS for your organization, discussing essential features, evaluating providers, and exploring best practices for implementation.

Selecting the right ATS for your organization

Choosing the ideal Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for your organization is crucial in ensuring an efficient and effective recruitment process.

However, with numerous options available in the market, making the right decision can be overwhelming.

These are some of the most used ATSs in the world

  1. Workday
  2. Greenhouse
  3. OysterHR
  4. Zoho Recruit
  5. Teamtailor
  6. iCIMS
  7. Lever
  8. Taleo (Oracle)
  9. Jobvite
  10. BambooHR
  11. Bullhorn
  12. SmartRecruiters
  13. JazzHR
  14. Breezy HR
  15. ApplicantPro
  16. ClearCompany
  17. Avature
  18. PeopleFluent
  19. Newton
  20. SuccessFactors (SAP)
  21. Crelate
  22. PCRecruiter
  23. Kenexa BrassRing (IBM)
  24. Cornerstone OnDemand
  25. Freshteam
  26. Recruiterbox
  27. CEIPAL TalentHire
  28. ADP Workforce Now
  29. Lumesse TalentLink
  30. JobDiva
  31. Workable
  32. Comeet
  33. Paycor
  34. CATS
  35. Ascentis
  36. Talentsoft
  37. Saba TalentLink
  38. Cezanne HR
  39. ATS OnDemand
  40. TribePad
  41. HireHive
  42. Clinch Talent
  43. Harri
  44. Fountain
  45. MyStaffingPro
  46. Hireology
  47. Pereless Systems
  48. HR Cloud
  49. Kronos Workforce Central
  50. HR Manager Talent Solutions
  51. TalentNest

That’s a lot to choose from, and this is not even close to all of them.

Every ATS has its own ideal customer, some are made for startups, others for huge enterprises, some are made for recruitment agencies, others for inhouse recruitment teams and some don’t make a distinction.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process of reviewing and purchasing the best ATS for your organization's unique needs and requirements.

Steps to follow in reviewing and buying the right ATS:

Step 1. Assess your organization's needs and set a budget

Begin by analyzing your organization's unique requirements and challenges. Consider factors such as company size, industry, hiring volume, and your current recruitment process. For example, if you're a small tech startup with a high hiring volume, you may require an ATS with robust sourcing and candidate engagement features.

Identify your recruitment pain points, such as time-consuming manual tasks, lack of communication with candidates, or difficulty tracking applicant data. This will help you determine which features are most important for your organization.

Next, establish a budget for your ATS investment, taking into account initial software costs, implementation, customization, training, and ongoing support. A clear budget will help you narrow down your options and make more informed decisions. For instance, if you have a limited budget, you may want to prioritize cost-effective, scalable solutions that can grow with your organization.

Step 2. Research and shortlist ATS options

Conduct thorough research to identify ATS solutions that align with your criteria in terms of features, budget, and compatibility with your organization's needs. 

Utilize resources such as software review websites (e.g., Capterra, G2), industry forums, and professional networks to gather insights and opinions from experts and users.

Create a shortlist of potential ATS providers based on your research. For example, if you need an ATS with strong reporting and analytics capabilities, you might shortlist systems like Greenhouse, Workday, or Lever.

Step 3. Evaluate features, functionality, and support

Compare the features and functionality of the shortlisted ATS solutions in detail, considering aspects such as:

  • User-friendliness: Is the system easy to navigate and understand? Does it offer a visually appealing and intuitive interface?
  • Customization options: Can the ATS be tailored to meet your organization's specific recruitment process and workflows? For example, if you require a custom application form or unique hiring stages, ensure the ATS supports these features.
  • Integration capabilities: Does the ATS integrate seamlessly with your existing HR systems, such as payroll, benefits management, or learning management systems?
  • Reporting and analytics: Assess the system's ability to provide valuable insights and data-driven decision-making tools. For instance, does it offer customizable reports on key performance metrics, such as time-to-fill or source of hire?
  • Customer support: Inquire about response times, availability, and support channels (e.g., phone, email, chat). For example, you might prioritize providers with 24/7 support and dedicated account managers to ensure a smooth implementation and ongoing assistance.

Step 4. Conduct product trials, demos and make a decision

Request product demonstrations from the ATS providers on your shortlist. These demos will offer a hands-on understanding of the system's features, user interface, and overall functionality. Prepare a list of questions and concerns to address during the demonstration, such as:

  • How does the ATS handle duplicate candidate profiles?
  • Can the system automate communication with candidates at various stages in the recruitment process?
  • How does the ATS ensure compliance with local and international employment laws and regulations?

Based on your research, demonstrations, evaluations, and budget considerations, select the ATS that best aligns with your organization's needs and recruitment goals.

In conclusion, by thoroughly assessing your organization's needs, researching available options, evaluating features and support, and conducting product demonstrations, you'll be well-equipped to select the

By following these steps, you will be well-prepared to select and implement the right Applicant Tracking System for your organization, ultimately enhancing your recruitment process and contributing to your organization's overall success.

Final Tips for Successfully Using an ATS

Encourage Team Collaboration: Promote collaboration among HR, hiring managers, and other stakeholders by utilizing shared notes, integrated communication tools, and real-time updates. Foster a culture of open communication and encourage team members to actively engage with the ATS to streamline the hiring process.

Leverage Automation: Take advantage of the automation features offered by the ATS to save time and reduce manual tasks. Automate candidate communication, such as sending acknowledgment emails when applications are received or notifying candidates about their application status. Utilize automated workflows to move candidates through the hiring process efficiently.

Utilize Reporting and Analytics: Make data-driven decisions by leveraging the ATS's reporting and analytics capabilities. Monitor key performance metrics, such as time-to-fill, source of hire, and candidate quality. Use these insights to optimize your recruitment process and make informed adjustments to your hiring strategies.

Continuously Train and Support Users: Offer ongoing training and support for your team to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest features and best practices. Encourage team members to provide feedback on the ATS and address any challenges or concerns they may have. This will help improve overall adoption and user satisfaction.

Plan for Scalability: As your organization grows, your ATS should be able to adapt and scale accordingly. Evaluate your chosen ATS's scalability options and ensure that it can accommodate your future hiring needs. Keep an eye on emerging trends and technologies in the recruitment space and work with your ATS provider to implement relevant features or integrations as needed.

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