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The ATS Landscape: Understand Your Options When Switching ATS as Your Company Scales

Have you considered onboarding to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that supports your company’s rapid growth? 

Before diving into how best to select an ATS platform or as important, migrate to one that makes the most sense for your business, it’s helpful to understand the various alternatives that are out there and the constraints from each of them.

If you’re struggling with your recruiting and hiring programs in any way, you’re likely using one of the below approaches, and should look to switch to a platform more well suited for a fast growing company.

(We’ve built a comprehensive guide to help you choose your next ATS. Download your free copy of our ATS Buyer’s Guide for High Growth Companies to learn more.)

Common Approaches to Managing Your Recruiting and Hiring Program

  1. The first and most problematic option you may be relying upon is one where you have no ATS or any formal system.  Not surprisingly, this is the worst position you can be in.  Trying to track things via email, post-its, etc is untenable regardless of your hiring activity or team size.
  2. Marginally better is tracking applicants with spreadsheets, shared docs or some other type of jury-rigged home-grown system.  This may have been somewhat viable when your team was small and you were only hiring a person or two at a time. But once any company enters high growth mode, and expansion of the team is paramount, you’ll be quickly overwhelmed — and your talent acquisition efforts will suffer.
  3. Some companies may think they’re well positioned because they do have a “recruiting” system in place, but many of these fall well short of what’s truly needed for high growth firms. These legacy, older applications simply don’t have the most modern capabilities to meet the needs of companies that want to implement a modern recruiting program.  Such traditional systems are great serving as ‘automated gatekeepers’ for applicants but don’t lend themselves to engaging experiences for those looking to be hired or collaborative experiences for those actually doing the hiring.
  4. Perhaps the most confusing segment of the ATS landscape are modern-looking ATS that, while modern-looking, are less fully featured and lack the performance capabilities needed by high growth companies.  This type of application has an intuitive look and feel and more functionality than traditional platforms but lack automation surrounding data entry and intelligent workflow management.  For companies that have hiring programs that are an integral part of their operations with multiple jobs and departments, i.e., high growth companies with extensive hiring needs, these ATS are simply not comprehensive enough to deliver the needed results.  Teams end up working twice as hard, trying to work around the system, and typically find low ATS adoption rates across the organization.
  5. Another category of applications you could find yourself with are ‘end-to-end’ HR systems.  Such apps, while providing important functionality across key elements of the HR function (e.g. employee management, payroll, etc.) usually have only very generic and basic recruiting and hiring capabilities and lack important ATS functionality like automation, customization, etc..
  6. Lastly, there are modern, comprehensive applicant tracking systems that bring the collaboration, automation, visualization and intelligent workflows to companies to improve the experience for everyone involved (from all sides) in the recruiting ecosystem.  These platforms also typically offer tight integration with a wealth of related platforms and applications, from job boards to HR systems.

If you’re involved in ongoing recruiting efforts at a high growth company where there are numerous positions across departments, and you’re not using this (last) type of modern ATS, you’re making the job significantly harder and likely ending up with suboptimal results: longer hiring cycles, less hiring efficiency and more expended resources.

PS – to discover which hiring solution works best for your high growth business, download the free guide.

How Do I Know If I Have a ‘Modern’ ATS That Supports High Growth?

To start, look for these factors in your ATS: 

  • Task and workflow automation
  • Ability to set reminders, alerts and notifications
  • Interview scheduling assistance
  • Can set permissions and privileges to protect sensitive info (e.g., salary expectations) 
  • Customization on an individual user basis
  • Customization on a template / position / candidate basis
  • Advanced search functionality based on skills and experience (e.g., to search candidates in your own database)
  • Tools for individual contributors (e.g.,  interview question bank)
  • High engagement employee referral program
  • Tailored to deliver a superior candidate experience

If you don’t have any or all of these factors, consider researching other ATS options. Our guide walks you through the process. Download it for free here.

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