According to current research, the global applicant tracking software (ATS) market size is projected to grow from $1.21 billion this year to $1.81 billion by 2023. That’s a healthy Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.3%.

And why not? The economy is running full-speed ahead. Unemployment has finally rebounded from the Great Recession and is the lowest in half a century. Besides a robust GDP, the upshot of low unemployment is the premium it places on finding qualified candidates for job vacancies.

So, it’s no wonder that demand for ATS surges. After all, if a company can grease the gears of its recruitment efforts, finding and acquiring the most qualified talent becomes faster and easier. And a good Applicant Tracking System does just that, streamlining sourcing, social engagement and the entire hiring workflow through a solitary integrated platform.

For 2019, ATS solutions will be even more “fortified” with artificial intelligence (AI) advances. Notwithstanding AI-induced automation that will minimize friction in the hiring workflow (anyone for machine-generated reminders based on deadlines and company objectives and workflow-assessing analytics?), choosing the best ATS for your company requires more than just picking the most “automated” solution.

Here are nine tips to help guide you to the best possible ATS for your company.

When investigating an ATS solution, you want to determine:

  1. The value an ATS system will deliver to your company. Before considering any solution, you must decide just what your company’s recruitment and acquisition needs are and will be. Once determined, you look for those ATS features that should bring to fruition those objectives. Then, determine if those features fit your budget.
  2. How easy is the application to use for all parties? Explore the intuitiveness of the application. Can you and your team – and the recruit – easily navigate the screens? Sometimes, an abundance of features and layers of screens can do more harm than good in terms of working with the software. The simpler the operation, the sooner the team accepts it and the faster its onboarding – another paramount concern.
    Also consider what kind of candidate experience does an ATS offer? You will lose valuable prospects if the job application process is clunky, frustrating and, ultimately, dismissed.
  3. Level of sophistication. Does the ATS integrate with your other apps and salient third-party software? How does the vendor handle upgrades? Is the ATS scalable, so it can grow with your company?
    Does the ATS allow you to post to multiple job sites (issue No. 1 for SMBs!). Can users manage resumes, collaborate with recruiters and integrate with job boards? These handy features contribute to a speedier hiring workflow.
    Perhaps even more critical, does the ATS support employee referrals? Because referrals remain the best method to find candidates, you want an ATS that demonstrates a clear means to attract and reward referrals from your team.
    Is data migration from legacy systems – and to future systems – available? With input from many sources and different candidates, make sure any considered ATS can integrate with various databases and specific file types. Can the ATS bulk import data?
  4. If workflow management is diffuse or – better – centralized. It’s recommended that the easier it is for the team to access the right information at the right time by the right people, the better prepared they will be for an interview – and the smoother the interview will go.
  5. If a vendor offers a no-hassle, no-cost trial of the ATS. You want to kick the tires, try it on for size. If for any reason you’re not feeling comfortable or confident with a particular ATS, you can avoid long-term commitment and back away after a free trial.
  6. How extensive reporting needs to be. Are reports templated? Can you customize ad-hoc reports to identify the source of a hire, the number of candidates in queue, and respective qualifications? Will report creation by arduous or straight-forward?
  7. The extent of the ATS search ability. You want a fast, accurate search with results organized in a logical and intuitive way.
  8. The breadth and scope of customer support. When an issue arises, is customer support available? Do you have to pay for it? To what extent can CS help? Because CS is critical to the success of any software company, this question must be answered.
  9. If the ATS is mobile. In 2019, a distributed workforce will be even more routine. For global companies of any size, any member of a hiring team should be able to review candidates, schedule interviews, leave feedback and check the workflow from anywhere, at any time and on any device.

A good applicant tracking system not only makes it easier for all stakeholders to store, organize, and access critical information at any time, but also offers insights into those candidate qualities that your company is seeking. It should let users manage multiple recruitment initiatives from a single platform at the same time.

Pick the wrong ATS and you could have a recruitment and acquisition debacle on your hands that leads to lost talent, unhappy management, discouraged team members and wasted time and money.

Pick the right ATS and you’ll find an improved quality to new hires, as well as a reduction in cost-per-hire. Your team remains motivated. Your hires get happy. And you get better, faster and more cost-effective recruitment that’s repeatable.