The most frequently asked question I get from talent acquisition leaders and professionals is this: "What ATS do you use?" It happens at least once a week, and if I'm at a conference or in a big group I'll get the question a dozen times when talking about talent acquisition technology.
The reason this question gets asked so much is not that they really care about what ATS I actually use. They want to know if I'm happy with my ATS, and if so, why I am happy with it. They want to know because they're not happy with theirs!
This always leads to a conversation about what my ATS does for me and my company, and what they want their ATS to do for their organization. It's not always the same, which speaks to the over 1,000 ATS products around the world in the talent acquisition market.
After having this conversation a few hundred times, I've gotten a pretty good understanding of what I look for in an ATS.
Here’s What You Should Look for in Yours:
- Your ATS should help you attract talent, not just be a repository for talent.
- Your ATS should help you constantly communicate with talent in your database, not just candidates who apply to your jobs.
- Your ATS should help you build a pipeline of talent that can be activated on-demand when your organization needs it.
- Your ATS should help you improve the quality of the talent you hire, not just allow you to hire more people at a faster rate.
- Your ATS should help you predict which candidates are more likely to be successful in your environment over other candidates.
- Your ATS should deliver metrics that help you drive better recruiter performance and development.
- Your ATS should help you deliver a candidate experience that leaves each person applying for your positions satisfied with the process.
The ATS of Today
What I’ve realized is that many of the individuals who ask me this question see their ATS simply as a talent acquisition system of record. It's not a tool that is driving their talent acquisition process to improve, but only a technology to store resumes and fill job openings.
There are a ton of old and tired ATS products on the market that mostly fit this description. There is also some great ATS technology that has been developed over the last couple of years that meet all of my “shoulds”!
"Applicant tracking system" really no longer fits the description of this new technology. Total recruitment platform, recruitment automation, etc. are probably a closer description to what these new ATSs can actually do. They are certainly not the ATSs most of us think about when we think of the traditional systems.
The new ATS solutions on the market today are a competitive advantage for organizations. Talent is king, and the ability for an organization to deliver talent to your organization might be one of the most valuable commodities on the market. Your ATS should be helping you deliver this value. Is yours?
Tim Sackett, SPHR is the President of HRU Technical Resources a leading IT and Engineering Staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies in healthcare, retail, dining and technology. Tim is a highly sought after national speaker on leadership, talent acquisition and HR execution. He also is a prolific writer in the HR and Talent space, writing for Fistful of Talent and his blog The Tim Sackett Project. Tim is married to a hall of fame wife. They have three sons and one dog. He is a lifelong workplace advocate for Diet Mt. Dew fountain machines and hugs.