When most of us go through the laborious process of selecting an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the tendency is to compare one product against another, and pay the closest attention to those features that we feel are most important. Most take a close look at the way candidates are entered into the database, searching mechanisms, list building features, activity tracking, reporting, etc. With good reason, as these are the common reasons most of us use an ATS in the first place. There are other issues however, that I feel are important to the selection process as well. Issues that may not affect the user when first using the product, but ones that could be of great importance down the road. Take the following issues into consideration when comparing your prospects.
Make sure your new database is able to grow and expand as you grow and expand. What if you decide to add a new recruiting specialty? Does this product support an ability to easily add all the buzzwords and keywords required for the new business? How many users can you add? Opening an office in another city? Make sure the database can handle that as well. Adding an international clientele…how does the database handle these entries?
If you are anticipate a vendor status to the government, or even the possibility of a subcontractor or vendor to another government contractor, you may need to use OFCCP compliant products and services. Make sure the product you are evaluating has the proper reporting capability to easily comply with these complicated government regulations.
Date of Inception / Number of Users:
Just because a company started operations six months ago does not necessarily mean they do not have a great product. Many that have been around for years are frankly not that great but have great name recognition and/or good marketing. Once I was part of the first group of users for a wonderful database product. This was both good and bad. The bad part there were the usual bugs in a new product that were frustrating to deal with from time to time, however, the good part was the customer service was excellent and I also has some influence over issues that later users probably didn’t. You should get this information from all your vendor prospects but use it as a guide only, not a major determining factor.
You need a solid support team. Nothing is more frustrating that being out of business due to a software problem or usability issue and not being able to get your vendor’s technical support personnel on the telephone. You need a commitment from your vendor that they will provide ongoing support for your product. Your vendor should offer a web-based Help system, maybe FAQ’s for you to check for quick answers and most importantly, an in-house technical support staff that you are able to talk to when you call them, not when they get around to calling you back. Do they offer guaranteed response times? The best some can do is a 24-hour response guarantee. Do they offer extended hours? Check references here.
The more training you get up front, the less frustration and telephone support hold time you will experience down the road. Some vendors charge for this and some don’t but either way, make this part of your database vendor selection process. Costs can vary widely. Many charge an up front fee and others may charge you on a per-call basis. There may also be an annual fee for support. Check to see what their policy is when you add a new hire to your staff. You will need this person trained on the database as well. What happens when you add a new employee that needs training? Ask questions and compare.
In closing, there is a lot more to consider than just the major features most of us are concerned with. All of the ATS’s that I have ever seen parse resumes, allow searching of your records, create reports and custom lists, and track activity. So, the issues mentioned above at times are the way one vendor sets itself apart from the others.