ATS Evaluation Assistance

  By Anonymous  |    Tuesday June 27, 2012

Category: Automation


Many of you may be going through the laborious and frustrating process of evaluating a new ATS (Applicant Tracking System) for your office. I know this as in my role as the technology columnist for the Fordyce Letter I receive many calls and emails from subscribers asking for my advice in this endeavor. While nothing I can say or do can alleviate the majority of your anxiety, I have developed the list of questions below, that are in no particular order of importance, to help guide you in your decision-making process. Anything you can do to make the process based more on logic and less on emotion the better. Before you begin the process ask yourself the questions from the first list. Write down the answers. Talk about them with others in your office. Be a “systems analyst” for a day. Decide as best you can before you begin your search what you are looking for. Once you have a pretty good idea of what you want, use the second list to whittle down your possibilities. Look at the second list. Delete those questions of no importance to you. Add a few of your own as you see fit. Ask these questions of all the vendors you interview. Write down the answers…compare one to another. Once you have only a few contenders…do a few demo’s. Ask more questions, check a few references. Unfortunately, you never know if you made the right decision until after you have already made your decision and have been using the new product for a few months, however, you should at least give yourself the best chance you can for success.

The top twenty questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Why have you made the decision to consider another database?
  2. What are your major objectives in making a change?
  3. Why are you unhappy with your current database…what is it lacking?
  4. Can your existing solution be modified to serve your expanded needs?
  5. Have you surveyed other recruiters for their comments on database usage and approach?
  6. Do you have the time and inclination to do a proper search?
  7. Do you need a shared-data system (are you solo, one-office, multi-office)?
  8. Are you comfortable with your candidate/client data stored on the Internet?
  9. Do you need to access your data from more than one location?
  10. Do you want a database for resume searching or an entire office solution?
  11. What is your one-time, annual, and/or monthly budget for a database?
  12. How large is your existing contacts database and are you going to convert or start over from scratch?
  13. What growth are you anticipating over the next 12 months…24 months.
  14. Are you willing to do your own backups and other database maintenance?
  15. If you are not a solo operation, is everyone in the office committed to using a database and sharing data?
  16. Do you need to have your database integrated with your website?
  17. Do you need to create email lists from your search results?
  18. Do you need to have your personal contacts in the database?
  19. If you do staffing, do you need integration with payroll, etc.
  20. Can the database you are considering make you money or save you money?

The top twenty questions to ask your prospective vendor:

  1. Does your product have a resume-parsing feature…what does it parse…duplicate checking?
  2. How much data entry is required after parsing? How many data fields per candidate?
  3. How many screens do you have for each candidate?
  4. Do you allow an unlimited number of attachments, phone numbers and email addresses?
  5. What are your start-up, monthly, annual and on-going costs for service, support, and/or training by type of service?
  6. Are all the drop-down and other data fields user-definable?
  7. How does your product handle searches…simple search/advanced search/text search?
  8. Can you create email lists from your search results?
  9. Do you offer a mail/merge feature for letters and/or emails?
  10. Is your product web-based, web-enabled, local or available in different formats?
  11. Do you have a built in task manager – calendar?
  12. What are your training procedures for new clients…new hires?
  13. Does your product track the placement process…new candidates… interviews… offers… placements?
  14. Are you able to save letter/email templates or forms and/or other repetitive communication?
  15. Do you have a data field for the source of the candidate?
  16. Do you offer data conversions…how much does it cost?
  17. Do you offer scalability…what if my office grows/expands?
  18. How is reporting handled…user configurable…static?
  19. How is support handled…guaranteed response…extended hours?
  20. How long have you been in business…number of clients / users…references?

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