9 Essential Questions to Ask About an Applicant Tracking System

Are you looking to switch your ATS, but aren’t sure what software is best for your business? Or perhaps you’ve never used one before, and don’t know where to start? Here are 9 essential questions to ask about an applicant tracking system before you take the plunge.

One of the best ways to figure out if an ATS system is right for your business is to book a demo to be shown the ropes. While useful, this can feel overwhelming if you’re not completely confident in what you’re looking for, or what questions to ask.


The ATS expert on the other line is there to help you, but only your recruitment team knows what you truly need to focus on. This list of questions to ask about an applicant tracking system is a good starting point for the key basics to decide if a system is right for you.

Table of Contents

Does it come with CV parsing software?

It’s no secret that automating parts of the initial candidate screening process is growing in popularity. This of course comes with the benefit of freeing up recruiter time and fast-tracking you to the best candidates. There is now plenty of technology available to help with this, and CV parsing software is incredibly effective.


CV parsing technology automatically scans CVs that enter your pipeline, pulling out important information on candidate skills and experience. This helps identify how suitable they are for your role, in a way that avoids human bias and error. It also avoids the need to send applicants additional questionnaires on their experience, which can often lead to a higher drop-off rate.


Does it come with a credible multi-poster included?

Posting your job adverts in the right places is essential for increasing your brand visibility and recruiting the best talent into your business. This is because the best candidates are more likely to see your opportunity if it appears more frequently, and on the right kind of job boards.


A good ATS system will ideally have access to a wide enough network of job boards to get your role noticed, and asking if it includes a job multi-poster is a good way to ascertain this.


Multi-posters will post your role across numerous job boards, often at a reduced cost compared to posting on each board individually. This may include a range of boards, from those free to charge to premium and niche channels.


How long does the ATS system take to go live?

ATS system implementations can take anywhere from 2 hours to over 3 months. This is because configuring, testing, and training can take up a lot of time, depending on the software you choose.


This is why it’s a good idea to ask this question during your ATS demo, particularly if you have a desired timeframe in mind. The software provider may be able to suggest ways you can make the implementation smoother, so that you can meet this timeframe (if it’s realistic!). This may include things like simplifying your hiring process, and being specific on any customisations you’d want ahead of time.


How easy is it to use?

Using an applicant tracking system is supposed to make things easier in your recruitment process, so asking how easy it is to use is essential. Hopefully this should lead to a demonstration of an easy-to-use interface so you can see for yourself how easy it is to navigate.


Ideally, you want to be able to seamlessly find out where each candidate is in your recruitment process, any tasks set and completed, and other insights into how well your campaigns are running. Additionally, if the ATS has job posting capabilities, how simple this is to do.


After all, if these processes are lengthy and complicated, the whole reason behind considering an applicant tracking system is negated.


How is the system priced?

The cost of the ATS system is of course an important question when considering a provider. In a time when many recruitment specialists are looking to cut recruitment spend, it’s a good idea to compare this question among providers to fit in with your budget.


Applicant tracking systems can come with different pricing models. The most common tend to be the cost per user, cost per number of employees, cost per hire, and cost per feature. Alternatively, some providers may offer their system on a flat fee basis, charging monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Simply decide what is best for your business, and go from there.


Can you request customisations and 3rd party integrations?

Every business runs differently, and because of this it’s a little unlikely that an applicant tracking system will match your needs exactly. This is why it’s very useful to ask if you can request customisations and 3rd party integrations as part of the system.


Maybe you want to include more company branding, a custom reporting function, or display information in a different way. To ensure the best fit for your business as possible, and even speed up the time it takes to integrate, it’s worth introducing this question early.


Does it come pre-integrated with screening features? E.g. AI grading, video profiling, form building, behavioural assessments, background checkers?

Appropriate screening is now a huge part of finding and hiring quality candidates into your business. The most impactful applicant tracking systems come with pre-integrated screening features included as part of the software.


Whether it’s automatic candidate grading, video profile requests, or behavioural assessments, it’s worth asking if candidate screening functions can easily be requested and stored in an accessible location for each candidate.


Will you receive proactive support for the system?

Using a new applicant tracking system can feel overwhelming, particularly if people on your team have never used one before.


Asking if your team will receive proactive support from your system provider is a must, whether that’s during the initial system training, writing and monitoring your job adverts, or configuring and customising the system.


You will know best the level of support your team will need, but typically the more open your provider is to helping you along the way, the better.


Is the ATS regularly upgraded with new features?

With the recruitment space ever-evolving, it’s natural for applicant tracking systems to follow suit. Asking if the system is regularly upgraded is a good way of finding out if your provider stays up to date with current recruitment trends.


This question ties in nicely with whether you will receive ongoing support from your provider, as it would be good for your team to be made aware of such updates, and have the opportunity to talk through them.


How can we help?

So, there you have it, 9 essential questions to ask about an applicant tracking system. Why not get started now? The occy applicant tracking system gives your team everything they need to run successful recruitment campaigns. From creating and advertising jobs, attracting talent, screening candidates, and making the perfect hire. Simply book a demo to get started!


Still weighing up your options? Why not download and use our Recruitment Technology Checklist to make sure you’re getting all the features your business needs?