Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.


Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.


Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: buso23 via bigstock