Talent Acquisition

Does Paying for Your ATS Really Pay Off?

Sponsored by Mighty Recruiter

HR transformation is always an exciting undertaking for an HR team in a growing SMB, and recruiters are now joining in the action. In the previous decade, HR transformation focused on lining up the organization’s people, processes, and technology so as to create a rich employee experience.

Recent advances in cloud computing, applicant tracking solutions, and digital business models have broadened that focus to include the candidate experience.

Yet all too often, HR transformation just means spending too much money on too much technology. Brilliantly conceived transformation plans end up only creating more bureaucracy, multiplying processes, and automating dysfunction. As a result, another big capital expenditure fails to bring about meaningful change, or create a candidate experience that funnels in the best talent effectively.

None of this is to say that HR technology is a waste of money. Rather, SMBs might be better able to build the candidate experience they want using free applicant tracking solutions. A free solution might also succeed in freeing up resources that can be better applied to making your organization the one candidates choose to engage with.

Conventional buying guidance leads to conventional results

For most SMBs, deciding whether to implement a free or paid applicant tracking system is determined by the number of users, and the processes to be managed. A free ATS is typically sufficient when there are only a few users, none of whom is a full-time recruiting professional.

Likewise, if just a few hires are needed at any one time, or if hiring is normally done in succession, one role at a time, then a free solution will do. The reporting capabilities of most free applicant tracking systems should also suffice for organizations doing lower volume hiring.

The decision to purchase usually arises if several users across multiple business functions need regular access, or if multiple simultaneous hires are expected, or if in general, hiring is intended to be handled as a parallel process. Such organizations are also likely to need the reporting capabilities of a paid solution for compliance, measuring recruiting performance, and informing sourcing strategies.

HR transformation and software implementations are a power couple

But they don’t have to be expensive dates. HR is often depicted as making big software purchases in order to justify its existence, and then getting asked to make big changes to the organization for free. Yet HR doesn’t help its own cause much.

By adhering primarily to conventional buying guidance to determine what level of ATS service to acquire, HR establishes yet another system to measure itself, and not business impact.

HR needs to break this cycle. One way it can do so is to get more strategic about its ATS configuration, such that it helps recruiters contribute to results throughout the entire organization.

Below are four fundamental organization-level objectives that ATS software effects. Determining what portions HR can accomplish for free through its own resources, what ATS software can do for free, and what still needs to be acquired helps build a solid business case. More importantly, it sets the stage for authentic transformation, one that is enabled by technology, not defined by it.

1. Eliminate inefficiencies throughout the entire hiring funnel

While it cannot fix organizational processes that are fundamentally broken, ATS software can catalyze much needed operational improvements. Common ones include standardizing workflows, eliminating unnecessary activities, creating clear ownership, and simplifying administrative tasks.

As with any software implementation, there is a learning curve, and consequently, improvements may not be visible until a few hiring cycles later. It is also common for new ATS software to conflict with existing recruiting workflows.

2. Fill in gaps

Gaps may be incompetencies, processes, software functionality, or hiring performance. Whatever the gap, the big question for the organization is whether new ATS software will integrate smoothly with the people, processes, and technology of the existing system.

3. Expand the system

In this case, the organization must determine whether existing recruiting technology can scale in order to meet anticipated future needs, and what must happen to make it possible. This is not a trivial undertaking. Organizations often need to develop new competencies and manage conflicts with existing recruiting workflows.

4. Streamline the existing system

Usually precipitated by a major organizational change, or existing software reaching the end of its lifecycle, organizations periodically need to consolidate their software stacks. Maintaining adequate performance and employer branding are the most frequent challenges in this case.

About the author: MightyRecruiter is a free intuitive, comprehensive, and transformative recruiting solution. Source passive candidates, track and manage applicants, post free jobs, and hire the most relevant candidates to your jobs, all at no cost.

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