How employers implement or upgrade their applicant tracking
system (ATS) has a huge impact on
whether the project is a success or
a failure. If you focus on short-term
affordability and think only about your
immediate hiring plans, the odds will
be stacked against you.
“Many times, the dissatisfaction is
the result of the company’s lack of understanding of its own internal needs or [of]
looking solely at price or product capabilities to find the right provider,” says
Madeline Laurano, co-founder of Aptitude Research Partners, an HR technology research firm based in Boston.
Another driving force behind discon-
tent is that the traditional ATS function
has now become part of a larger talent
acquisition (TA) system, presenting tech-
nical challenges for many organizations.
“The traditional ATS does not integrate well, and it doesn’t adapt to the
fast technology leaps being made in
mobile and social recruiting. That
forces recruiters to seek out loopholes
and workarounds,” says Mike Webster,
senior vice president of technology and
operations consulting for the Americas
at Talent Collective, a talent acquisition
consultancy based in London.
Next-generation TA systems provide
end-to-end recruitment management,
including features that help recruiters
attract and engage talent not just right
now but also for future roles, experts say.
Step 1: Know Your Needs
Start the process of upgrading or overhauling your ATS by defining what you
ultimately want from it.
“Step back from the situation to con-
Step 2: Determine Fit and
sider why it’s time to replace your talent
acquisition platform,” says Leela Srini-
vasan, chief marketing officer at Lever, a
talent acquisition platform based in San
Francisco. “What’s actually working in
today’s process? What’s not working?
What parts of the process do you like?
What would you like to change?”
Avoid “feature-focused” conversa-
tions early on, says Katherine Maughan,
product marketing manager for Green-
house, a recruitment software company
based in New York City. “Instead, iden-
tify where your recruiting function feels
the greatest opportunities are, or what
they feel is most limiting to their work.”
It’s also critical to get input from
stakeholders outside of talent acquisition.
“Recruiting is an inherently collaborative
process, so sit down with the teams your
recruiters are working with regularly,”
Maughan says. “Learn what frustrates
them about your current system and what
they hope to see in the future.”
HR should also understand the orga-
nization’s purchasing priorities. “It’s
more important for HR to prioritize
needs than to identify a laundry list of
wants,” says Kyle Lagunas, research
manager for emerging trends in talent
acquisition and staffing at IDC, a global
market intelligence company based in
Make sure that the TA system you
choose will fit in with your current
By Roy Maurer
Avoiding ATS Upgrade Headaches
Most applicant tracking system implementations fail. Follow these 4 steps to
ensure that yours won’t.