What’s the Best Staffing Software for You?


There are few factors that will have as heavy an impact to the success or failure of a staffing firm as an Applicant Tracking System, which makes choosing the right one a critical decision. When one software website alone lists a whopping 260 different ATS programs, making this important choice can quickly become overwhelming. As you discern which needle-in-the-haystack staffing software will work best for you, it’s important to ask a number of questions.

What are Your Current Needs and Limitations?

Like taking a road trip without a GPS or map, a staffing firm can’t just hop into the ATS fray blindly. First and foremost, you’ll need to look internally at why you are seeking a new staffing software. What are the limitations of the program you’re currently using? What capabilities are lacking that do not meet your needs, and what you require out of an ATS?

The answers to these questions will drive you toward the best staffing software for you and help narrow down the field. If you have lost candidates due to a lengthy interview process, then you’ll want to be looking for software that can help expedite each step. If your current ATS has caused inconsistencies in communicating with talent, then seeking out a new program that focuses on efficient and effective communication patterns will become a priority. Understanding underlying motivations such as these will direct your path forward to an ultimate selection.

Is It Keeping Up with Technological Advancements?

An outdated ATS will hold you back, and that may be the reason you’re here in the first place. There are many options that can maintain the status quo, but you’re not in business to merely keep up. If you’re not a staffing leader, you’ll soon be left behind the back. Settling for an ATS that is “good enough” due to its low cost or ease of use is not a good enough strategy for remaining competitive. This is a case of evolving or dying.

The cutting-edge is where you can differentiate yourself from your peers. As you begin to look at various ATS options, investigate which ones are utilizing the latest staffing technology and integrations. Things are rapidly evolving, with Artificial Intelligence revolutionizing many programs through unrivaled resume screening, data analysis, and improved pre-qualifications and outreach. IBM’s Watson and Google’s latest venture are both entering the recruiting arena, seeking to transform the industry. Additionally, video interviewing and chatbot technology has evolved to the point they are feasible options in your next ATS. Needless to say, there are a number of technological advancements to consider in your choice.

Can It Keep You Organized?

Just because the word “tracking” implies keeping things in order does not mean that every Applicant Tracking System is primed to keep you and your recruiters organized. Does one quick glance at a dashboard or home screen give a recruiter enough information to start their day, or does it require lots of clicks and digging to find what they want? What sort of alerts does it provide when something changes with a candidate? Is it able to sync with your Outlook or Gmail calendar? And does it produce reports with the metrics and documentation that you need?

Many of these items may be difficult to determine up front, but utilizing a free trial or asking an ATS vendor can give a strong indication of the answers. Organization is important because it is the backbone of a recruiter’s work. Keeping track of candidates throughout every step of the process from sourcing to onboarding is imperative, and you need an ATS that lines up with your procedures.

Is It Customizable?

The best staffing software for one firm may be terribly unproductive for another. What makes an ATS effective is its ability to be tailored to your specific business needs. Most of the time, a program will not achieve this out of the box. It will likely meet 80% of what you need it to do, with the other 20% requiring customization. Do you utilize social media heavily in recruiting? Then the ATS should integrate with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s the same story with job postings, and a number of other factors that may be unique to your business.

Understanding how adaptable an ATS is and how much you can customize on your own are imperative topics to consider. Imagine that a competitor is using a system that is completely customized to their strengths and strategy. Would you want to go up against them for the same in-demand candidate with just a stock ATS? Customization allows for more effective targeting of potential candidates and helps in attracting them every step of the way.

Does It Enhance the Candidate Experience?

Regardless of industry, your staffing firm relies on a consistent flow of skilled talent to be successful. When selecting an ATS, it’s easy to fall into the trap of solely considering internal needs and requirements. Just as important is the candidate experience and life cycle management. When filling out a job application through an ATS, is the process streamlined and easy to use, or is it glitchy and confusing? Are mobile interactions from candidates smooth as well? Can the ATS be agile enough to adapt to changing talent needs and communication patterns? Think from the perspective of the candidate and many more questions will rise to the surface.

A survey of 45,000 job applicants found that 61% of those who had a positive interview experience would actively encourage colleagues to apply to the organization. Even if a candidate does not ultimately join your team, this sort of positive feedback is necessary for continued success in recruiting new talent. Whether it’s personalizing and humanizing interactions or increasing the quality of messaging, an ATS must enhance the candidate experience.

What Is the Cost?

Asking for the price tag is an age-old question for every business decision. Those who expect this to be cut and dry with one pretty number at the end of a one-page contract are likely in for a surprise. Given the changing landscape of ATS options, some operating through the cloud and providing an increasing array of related services, pricing is often much more fluid. Instead of spending a fixed fee once for the use of a software in perpetuity, you’re more likely to incur a regular bill that may depend on the number of users and other factors. This is one area to know every detail about up front directly from the vendor. But when push comes to shove, cost should not be the top priority. Find the ATS that satisfies all the above questions first, and it will pay for itself in a matter of months or even weeks.

How to Choose the Best Staffing Software

The above six questions are only a starting point for what should be asked when looking for the best staffing software for your organization. Considerations for vendor customer support, frequency of updates, legal compliance measures, security, and many other areas must be taken into account. Once this due diligence is performed, you can rest easy knowing the perfect ATS is powering your organization forward.

Want more questions to ask when searching for your next ATS? We’ve got you covered.