A rock-solid Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will streamline your hiring process, save you time and resources, enhance the candidate experience and attract high-quality talent. If your current ATS isn’t delivering this for you, it could be a warning sign that your system is no longer fit for purpose.

So, when is it time to move on and implement a new ATS? Here are the six signs your ATS isn’t doing the job you need it to anymore.


Your reporting isn’t up to scratch

A robust and modern ATS will enable you to access a wealth of data by generating a selection of reports – such as time-to-hire, cost-per-hire and source reporting – that enable you to monitor your entire recruitment process, measure the success of your recruitment campaigns and make informed decisions.

If your ATS is only generating a limited range of standard reports, it may be difficult to collate and leverage candidate and job data, pinpoint any potential problems in your hiring process, identify which recruiting channels candidates are coming from or improve the candidate experience.

When looking for a new ATS, make sure it has a top-notch reporting feature that can deliver on all these points.


You can’t brand your ATS

If your ATS does not offer customisable branding, you could be missing a trick. A fully branded candidate portal, for example, will help to enhance your employer brand and engage with applicants.

“Your ATS is the first introduction to your business for any new employee,” remarks Helen Armstrong, CEO of Silver Cloud HR. “It sets the tone from the beginning and if your ATS is unable to represent you as a business, you’re missing an engagement opportunity. If you are failing to engage a potential candidate through your ATS, your competitors could poach your talent.”


Your ATS is inflexible and rigid

Your ATS needs to be highly configurable so that it can meet your organisation’s unique recruiting needs. If your system is inflexible, cumbersome or can’t be tailored to your specific processes, you may risk frustrating both candidates and users, and it could become a real time drain and administrative burden for your hiring team.

It’s therefore vital that, if you decide to upgrade your ATS, the new system is intuitive, agile, offers flexible functionality and can be configured to meet your specific requirements.


You’re still using emails and spreadsheets

Are you continuing to use emails and spreadsheets alongside your current ATS? If the answer is yes, that’s a clear sign that your existing system is simply not working hard enough for you, especially in this day now.

“A good ATS is there to streamline your process and keep your data safe,” comments Helen Armstrong. “If you find yourself resorting back to sending emails and keeping spreadsheets to track information such as right-to-work checks, you know it’s time for an upgrade. A good ATS should manage this for you.”


Your hiring managers refuse to engage

Your ATS absolutely must be easy to use and intuitive, otherwise you just won’t persuade your hiring managers to engage with it. If you have noticed poor adoption and engagement with your current solution, you may want to start thinking about an upgrade.

“If you find yourself constantly battling to get hiring managers to use your existing solution and frequently get asked ‘just to email CVs’, then your current solution isn’t the right one for you,” says Helen Armstrong. “Managers should be able to see the benefits from day one and WANT to use it. Adoption issues tend to be related to user experience, so it could be time for a change.”


Your time-to-hire is taking too long

Is your time-to-hire still sluggish, despite having an existing ATS? A modern, effective ATS should be automating all administrative tasks so that your end-to-end hiring process is quick and efficient.

Automation uses seamless workflows to cut both the cost-per-hire and time-to-hire, which not only enables HR to focus on finding the best person for the job but helps to improve the candidate experience too.


About the author

Lucie Mitchell

Lucie Mitchell is a freelance business journalist specialising in HR, employment and recruitment. With over 18 years’ experience writing and editing content for both print and online media, her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Times, HRZone, People Management and HR magazine.