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Article on

APPLICANT
TRACKING SYSTEM
SELECTION

Submitted by
Syed Masood Hussain 54180


Dated
9th November 2012

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Applicant Tracking System Selection
Select the Applicant Tracking System Selection Team
and Requirements
Finding the right applicant tracking system that meets all the needs of your organization can be
an overwhelming task. It can be a challenge even knowing where to start when considering
applicant tracking systems and how to compare each solution. Here you will find important areas
to investigate, questions to ask and responses to analyze during the applicant tracking systems
evaluation process. This information will guide your company in the search for the appropriate
applicant tracking system to meet your needs.
Identify Applicant Tracking System Decision Makers
A company must organize itself internally before starting any applicant tracking systems
evaluation process. When preparing to evaluate an applicant tracking system, it is essential to
form a collaboration of stakeholders and give these decision makers time to arrive at an informed
decision. Your selection committee should be prepared to assess the strengths and weaknesses of
each applicant tracking system vendor. The selection committee should include these members.
 Selection Executive: This is usually a Senior Vice President (SVP) or Vice President
(VP) of Human Resources who can empower the other committee members with a clear
directive and vision. The person should also have the ability to explain the vendor
selection in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) to his/her counterparts.
 Selection Manager: This person must have a full understanding of the hiring process and
the company’s pain points in order to create proper search and selection tactics.
 Committee Member: To ensure the users' voice is represented and that a successful
adoption of the chosen solution will occur.
 Committee Contributors: These are members from other departments that provide
additional input to the applicant tracking system selection process. Those with financial
expertise can give input on the financial stability of the vendors or compare the total cost
of each applicant tracking system in relation to the project budget. IT contributors can
educate committee members on the technical capabilities of the vendors’ applicant
tracking systems and help compare each solution to your current system.

Committee members should be people who can recognize the value of technology tools,
process optimization, and customer service as it relates to your corporate vision of talent
management.
Document Your Current Hiring Process
After you have assembled your applicant tracking system selection committee, your first
assignment is to create a document that tracks the process of the employee requisition, your
hiring process, and the role of the hiring manager, the recruiter, and the candidate to complete a
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hire. Then your committee should discuss why each step is necessary and what would happen if
it were eliminated.
Simplify your hiring process and make sure each step is really adding value and helping you
produce quality hires. This will allow your committee to compare the needs of your hiring
process with the capabilities of each applicant tracking system. This evaluation is a great
opportunity to learn about best practices in hiring and to review and optimize your current hiring
process.
Identify Requirements for Your Applicant Tracking System
Now that you have clearly identified your company’s hiring process, your committee is fully
prepared to identify your company requirements for an applicant tracking system. Bear in mind
that you want to have a clear-cut answer to the following questions:
 Why are you buying this applicant tracking system?
 Is your current hiring process aligned with your company goals?
Keeping these questions in mind will help your committee make a strong case to purchase an
applicant tracking solution. In order for the applicant tracking system you choose to have a
strong connection to the ROI, your committee must create clear expectations of what you want in
an applicant tracking system.
Your applicant tracking system should build a better relationship between recruiters and hiring
managers, streamline your requisition creation and approval process, and improve your quality of
hires. Your applicant tracking system should streamline the recruitment efforts of Human
Resource professionals through automation, creating a more efficient and cost-effective hiring
process. This is the perfect time to address common HR challenges, such as:
 High volume of resumes with no effective way of accepting, reviewing and managing.
 High volume of job opportunities with cumbersome internal communication.
 Inability to access information quickly and report on all recruiting metrics.
 Losing qualified applicants due to haphazard storage of resumes.
 Duplication of recruiting efforts between various branch offices and divisions locally or
abroad.
 Excessive IT maintenance and support expenses with homegrown technology.
 Ineffective tracking of EEO compliance data.
 Struggling to get proper attention from IT for technology upgrades and enhancements.
Also, take this opportunity to consider the value of improvements from new processes and
technologies such as:
 avoiding using different modules,
 improving communication, and
 addressing global issues.
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To keep this manageable you need to identify essential "must haves" in order to eliminate
unqualified vendors. For instance, as a fundamental factor your committee may decide that you
will only consider vendors that provide a Web-based solution as opposed to an installed system,
as the hosted solution eliminates any burden on your IT team.
Identify Requirements for Your Applicant Tracking System
Identifying clear business goals will connect your priorities to your requirements. It is imperative
that your committee stay focused on its initial system requirements. The committee must avoid
being distracted by system elements that are not inline with your company’s priorities. You have
recognized the important business goals and key requirements to consider when forming your
own objectives.
Key Requirements to Consider in an Applicant Tracking System
 Process efficiencies: centralizing a process can improve a variety of tasks including, but
not limited to, job requisitions, tracking, management of employee referral and transfer
programs.
 Allows candidates to quickly and easily apply to your organization for salary and hourly
hire without going through multiple pages of questions.
 Can facilitate high-volume recruiting while remaining cost-effective.
 A highly configurable, scalable solution that can configure to our unique hiring
management process and capable to accommodate our evolving needs as our organization
grows or our processes change.
 Improved reporting capabilities: many organizations are challenged with determining
their total spends on vendors, sourcing, and comparing metrics. Coordinating through a
single source will allow for accurate centralized reporting.
 Allows recruiters to search the database on all information, and by specific parameters.
 Includes a Reporting Center that enables users to run ad-hoc reports and save criteria for
future use, as well as run industry standard reports, including cost-per-hire, time-to-fill,
source effectiveness, and more.
Build Brand Identity and Awareness
 Creating a connection between an applicant and a positive employment experience will
craft recognition of the brand. A strong brand can generate trust that will drive applicant
traffic and enhance your talent pool.
 Branded Career Center web pages may be accessible through your company’s Web site.
 Allows recruiters to easily post career information to the company Web site.
 Provide multi-language capabilities for global support.
 EEO Compliant.
 The ability to maintain an accurate measure of such information will keep in agreement
with federal regulations and avoid any legal actions against the organization. It will also
help to establish applicant quality.
 Capable of capturing, tracking, and reporting voluntary EEO data, while remaining in
compliance with the guidelines set forth by the EEO.
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 Capable of pre-screening candidates with elimination questions in order to indicate those
who meet basic qualifications for the position.
 Improved communications.
 Establishes an environment that effectively informs, will unify all the users and
streamline the organization’s operations.
 Includes a Communication Center to facilitate communication among recruiters, hiring
managers, and candidates. Also allows users to schedule appointments, leave notes and
interview feedback, to send mass messages, and auto-respond to applicants upon receipt
of resume.
Customer Support for the Applicant Tracking System
 Full user adoption depends on the level of customer support provided by the vendor
during and after implementation.
 Readily available support team, dedicated to manage company and user issues while
employing industry best practices.
 Highest level of support available at no charge to your company.
Applicant Tracking Systems Vendor Assessment
It is recommended that you ask for a Request for Proposal (RFP) from potential vendors your
committee has decided to consider. This is your opportunity to gain clarification on any topic to
help your committee determine whether the applicant tracking software can do the required job.
Your committee should consider the following major issues to devise an effective RFP:
 Does the system support the main concerns of your committee? This ties into the
previous part of the evaluation process; you must know your process completely before
you can determine what features you need. Your committee cannot be distracted by
solutions that may offer functions that are not your main priority. While they may seem
attractive, many flashy features and functions will not create any value to your
organization if they will not be adopted by your users.
 Has the vendor installed the system in another organization of a similar size?
 Your committee should have access to references that can give you insight on issues such
as customer satisfaction and follow up, the implementation process, and hidden fees.
Remember, features are of no value without strong user adoption.
 What does the implementation process entail? Having a successful adoption rate begins
with the proper implementation. You want to be sure that your chosen vendor does not
leave your users without proper training and continuous support. The implementation
should be centered on your organization’s recruitment process, not learning how to
accommodate to their system.

You should never have the feeling that your implementation program will leave you
feeling lost and unsure of the vendor’s capabilities. During the evaluation process your
committee should have the impression that, based on your department priorities and
business goals, your implementation will create a strong foundation for a long partnership
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with your applicant tracking system provider. Remember that high user adoption to the
applicant tracking system will generate a higher ROI.
More About Applicant Tracking Systems Vendor Assessment
 What is the vision and growth strategy of the vendor? The vendor must demonstrate
leadership and foresight as a market leader. In order to present a comprehensive solution,
the vendor should take into consideration your specific needs and prepare for change and
growth in the future.
 Determine whether this solution contributes to your over all business plan? In the end, the
Selection Executive will likely need to display an expected ROI in order to make a strong
case for the solution. The Selection Executive must look for savings on such things as
recruitment advertising, employee value of the use of search firms, and process
optimization provided by the vendor. The company should also save on employee
retention and candidate quality. It can be overwhelming to create a fully detailed
document of inquires that will encompass all the necessary topics to evaluate an applicant
tracking system.
 Beyond features and functions, your committee should be sure to discus the vendor’s
ability to serve as a long-term partner to your organization. As your committee conducts
its vendor assessment process, you want to be sure to consider such factors as:
1. Financial Stability: Conduct due diligence on the financial statements of all
prospective vendors under review. You will find this is a perfect topic through which
your financial committee contributor can guide you.
2. Qualities of Strategic Partners: To offer a complete solution some vendors will partner
with other service companies in order to offer their clients a more comprehensive suite of
services. Your committee should be aware of any partnerships that are involved with the
competing vendors. The information can provide an insight into the possible partnership
between your company and the vendor.
3. Recruitment Capabilities: Regardless of your company size, you need to make sure
that the vendor has the capability to support the full employee life cycle, from applicant
tracking, on-boarding, succession planning to off-boarding. This will prevent your
company from growing out of its solution, which would likely result in aggravation, a
new evaluation, and costly implementation fees.
4. Future Product Development: Be sure that the vendor conveys a strong understanding
of the challenges facing recruitment now and in the future. The vendor you choose must
be on the pulse of technology and industry news in order to adjust to your changing needs
and ensure that the solution’s configurations are being used to its fullest potential.
5. Integration with HRIS: Although you may want your IT committee contributor to
provide input on this matter, it should not sway your committee into using an applicant
tracking system that will not adequately serve the entire department. Any vendor worth
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considering should provide the capability to move key information from its system into
your HRIS system with minimal difficulty.
Summary of Vendor Selection for Applicant Tracking Systems
The timeline for a vendor selection process for an applicant tracking system can range from a
month to six or more to complete. The following is a suggested timetable that will allow your
committee to project a timeframe for the vendor selection process for an applicant tracking
system. Please be advised that this is subject to change based on a preferred implementation date.
Timeline for Your Vendor Selection for Applicant Tracking Systems
 Form a selection committee - 1 week
 Identify company needs - 1-2 weeks
Objectively assess vendors against the identified company needs with the following process:
1. Create a long list of possible vendors - 1 week
2. Request RFPs to provide clarification on any topic or concern - 4 weeks
3. Create a shortlist using your key evaluation criteria - 1-2 weeks
4. Finalize a vendor - 3-6 weeks
5. Demonstrate various systems - as soon as possible
6. Sales presentations - as soon as possible
7. Site visits - as needed
Keep in mind that the main goal of an applicant tracking system is to empower your users.
Committee members should be able to recognize and place a value upon technology tools,
process optimization, company vision and customer support in order to strategically narrow
down the vendors into a short list of real possibilities.
It is likely that your short list may not have many distinguishing functional differences; therefore
it is important to keep the less tangible elements of that vendor in mind. Your committee should
look to sources of information such as the vendor’s Web site, newsgroups, Human Resource
portals and tradeshows. Connect with colleagues at other companies that are similar in size,
needs and industry to learn from their experiences.
Partnering with a service-oriented vendor that is the most compatible fit with your organization’s
vision and goals for the future will prove invaluable for all key players in your applicant tracking
system evaluation, selection, and implementation.