IntroductionChapter 1
How an ATS works
Chapter 2
Three Core Types of ATS's
Chapter 3
ATS Feature Checklist
Chapter 4
What else should you know?
Share

What is an
Applicant Tracking System?

And how to choose the best one for you.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that helps teams hire. 

The decision of which applicant tracking system to use is a big one. You can't afford to get it wrong, but you can't afford to spend hours on product review sites either. This guide will help you find your own best answer to the question of which is the right ATS for you.

The goal of an ATS is to streamline the recruitment and hiring process, automate the boring, repetitive stuff and make it easier to spend more time engaging with your best candidates.

Here's how a typical ATS works

  • Enter your open position
  • Post it to job boards automatically
  • Sort and organize applicants based on job criteria
  • Score and discuss candidates with your team
  • Track candidates through the hiring pipeline
  • Make an offer and onboard your new hire!

Depending on the type of ATS you choose, the features will vary...sometimes dramatically. 

Certain ATS's may come packed with features you'll never use. Others might be missing the core functions your team needs. And there are literally hundreds of ATS's to choose from.

At Breezy, we are obviously, an ATS. But that doesn't mean we're right for everyone.

We're going to check our bias at the door and give you an honest view of the vendor market so you can decide for yourself which is the right ATS for you.

What's the right recruiting software?

Meet the 3 core types of applicant tracking systems

Anyone who's spent more than 5 minutes at an HR conference will tell you, the vendor market is HUGE.

And a lot of ATS's (a.k.a. recruitment or talent management systems) will tell you they can do it all. But the truth is, no two companies are the same. A Fortune 10 business with a massive global HR department is going to need one type of tool, and a growing startup is going to need something else entirely.

So how do you narrow it down? 

Here's our helicopter view of the ATS market.

#1 Built In

First, you've got your off-the-shelf ATS's that usually come wrapped into your current HR software. Many of the biggest and best-known HR tech brands (we won't name names, but you know who they are) offer an ATS or ATS functionality as part of a larger payroll, compliance and benefits administration system.

  • Pros: Built-in ATS's are easy because they're there. You can do your payroll, taxes, compliance, hiring activities and all other things HR-related from one central system.
  • Cons: Because these tools were originally built to handle technical HR issues, there are usually few CRM-type features such as email nurture, text messaging, etc.

Best for: Companies where each department has full-proof recruitment and hiring strategy. If you just need to sign-off on hires, send offer letters and get people into the system, a built-in ATS will do the job.

#2 Enterprise

Like all things enterprise, the ATS tools at this end of the market are large. Many of the vendors in this space are big, global companies that have been around for decades. Because of their size and history, these products tend to be very advanced and capable of handling large-scale hiring goals.

  • Pros: Enterprise ATS's offer advanced features including detailed reporting and analytics and can usually integrate with your other HR tools.
  • Cons: All those advanced features cost money and depending on your size and budget, the ROI may not be there. Plus, the larger an ATS becomes, the harder it is to provide solid customer service. If you're going to need help getting set up, you may need a more engaged support team.

Best for: Surprise, surprise: enterprise companies! If you've got a big in-house hiring team with hundreds of roles to fill every month, you'll be able to glean awesome insights from this type of ATS.

#3 SMB

Let's face it, the Fortune 500 list isn't what it used to be. And with the rise in small-to-midsize organizations, there is also a growing number of ATS's designed with their unique needs in mind. Many of these can integrate with your other systems if needed. They also tend to have better customer support than some of the larger products.

  • Pros: An ATS with a focus on SMBs will usually have a strong CRM component with features that help you engage candidates better.
  • Cons: Because resources are limited for some of the vendors in this segment of the market, you could end up with a product that feels outdated, lacks the features you need or isn't nice to look at. 

Best for: Growing companies who are building and/or optimizing a high-touch recruitment and hiring process. 

In case you're wondering, at Breezy, we fall into the last category

Many of our customers are talent pros at growing organizations. People who care less about filling a certain number of roles within a certain time frame, and more about getting the right person in the role.

ATS Feature Checklist: Which ones do you really need?

Alright, now that you have an idea of the category of ATS you're looking for, let's take a closer look at some of the most common features to help you decide which ones you'll actually use.

To keep things easy, we'll break it down into three simple categories just like we did with the types of ATS's.

Recruit the right candidates

These are the features that help you attract the applicants and candidates you need. Remember, if your goal is to fill hundreds of open positions quickly, you'll want to look for a system that lets you easily advertise your open positions in all the right places. If you're after quality candidates first and foremost, you may want to focus on finding a system with a great employee referral site and robust candidate database.

The Features

  • Customizable career and employee referral sites 
  • Searchable candidate database to source and engage passive talent
  • Automatically post to the top job boards
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Analytics to track the views, visits, applications, and quality hires you're getting from each source

Score, track and engage your top candidates

Here's the biggie. Once you've got your stacks of applications, now you need to dive in and decide who you want to move to the next stage. The following features can help you and your team make all the right calls throughout your hiring process, while providing a stellar experience for candidates.

The Features

  • Automated emailing, texting and templates
  • Automatic pre-screening questionnaires
  • Simplified interview scheduling
  • Customizable pipelines for different positions and hiring stages
  • Customizable stage actions to automatically organize applicants
  • Automate and assign tasks to team members
  • Candidate scorecards for apples-to-apples comparison
  • Automatic reminders
  • Drop and drag pipeline management

Make your offer and onboard your new hire

Once you've gotten everyone on the same page about who your next awesome hire will be, it's time to lock it in. A great ATS will help you maintain an unforgettable candidate experience from the initial application phase right up to the background check and job offer.

The Features

  • Fast, accurate, compliant background checks
  • Automated reference checking
  • Digital offer letters
  • eSignatures

What else should you know

This ATS stuff can get complicated.

One way to simplify your decision and choose the best ATS for you is to think in terms of your ONE core hiring metric. Is it quality of hire? Time to hire? Turnover?

To make the best decision, you need a system that was built to meet the needs of an organization like yours and you also need to know exactly what you want to get out of it. 

And there are no wrong answers.

Whether you're trying to build a long-term pipeline of ready talent for high turnover positions, or you just want the entire team 100% focused on finding the right candidate, make sure your system is simple—even fun—to use. Because the last thing any of us needs is another tech product collecting dust and license fees.

Are You ready?

Start optimizing your recruiting process today.

Breezy HR is end-to-end recruiting software to help you attract & hire great employees with less effort. We believe HR should be fun, easy and most of all, human.

Get Started for Free