The ATS buying process: How to engage with your stakeholders
Gaining buy-in from key stakeholders when purchasing a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is crucial. Yet it sure isn’t always easy. You know that investing in an ATS has numerous benefits and makes good business sense, but how do you convince others of this?
“Stakeholder persuasion is a real art,” remarks Mitch Chailland, president at Canal HR. “Persuasion comes from an identifiable place, though, so you have to show why it makes sense to switch to a new ATS.
This is where you need to align your proposal to the interests of each party involved. How much work will it be for the IT manager to set it up? Do the finances work out? Will additional training be required for the hiring managers, or can the new system be easily integrated?
If you can answer each question A-Z, you should convince the relevant stakeholders that adopting the new ATS is a good idea.”
Here are some top tips on how to engage with your IT managers, FDs, and hiring managers when investing in a new ATS.
IT: Information security
The IT manager will want to check the security of the new system, and ensure it complies with your internal IT security requirements, especially when it comes to data.
“IT teams are always keen to understand how a new system will improve data security,” comments Philippa Barnes, director at ReThink HR Ltd. “Having an ATS will ensure greater compliance with data protection legislation as documents are stored and available on the system, so no more printed CVs lying around. Data can also be ‘scrubbed’ after a defined period of time, so that only anonymised data is held for previous applicants, in line with GDPR and privacy statements.”
Early involvement in the project
IT will want to be involved in the project from the very beginning, so that they have the chance to raise any relevant queries or considerations. They will also have the knowledge and experience to spot any potential issues before you’ve gone too far down the track, plus they’ll know the right questions to ask your chosen supplier, so make sure you engage with them at the earliest opportunity and keep them updated throughout the process.
Integration between systems
IT managers will also want to consider integration of the new ATS with existing digital systems.
“IT will likely ask questions about integration between business systems,” comments Helen Armstrong, CEO and founder of Silver Cloud HR. “We would suggest booking a meeting with your IT director to gather their requirements before you embark on any selection process.”
Speak their language
The FD ultimately wants you to speak to them about how a new ATS will make a positive impact to the bottom line, what the return on investment will be, and how it will help the business to gain a competitive advantage.
“The FD will want to understand details on financials but also on how the business can achieve competitive advantage – having an ATS can help to manage and review recruitment costs per vacancy, so that the organisation can identify which agencies are performing best in terms of CVs submitted per vacancy or number of successful placements in comparison with their placement fees,” points out Philippa Barnes.
Be clear on your objectives
It’s also really important to demonstrate to the FD that you have been meticulous in your research, objectives and selection methods, so that you can show them that the new system has longevity.
“The FD will want to know that you are choosing a system that is future-proofed,” remarks Helen Armstrong. “They will often ask how thorough the process was, to ensure that the new system will be fit for purpose for the next three to five years, and that you won’t be knocking on the door asking for more money within a year because you have already outgrown it.”
Demonstrate the indirect savings
FDs will also be concerned about how the new system will help to increase productivity and retention, as this in turn will lead to cost savings.
“There are often indirect savings that you can bring into a business case, for example, a well-designed ATS will attract a better candidate, who may be more productive and stay longer,” comments Helen Armstrong.
Demonstrate how the system will benefit them
If you can show hiring managers that using an ATS will help to streamline and simplify recruitment processes, you’ll have more chance of ensuring they are on-board with the new system.
“An ATS makes the recruitment process more efficient for hiring managers, as they can see where they are up to so far, when the job has been posted and where, how many CVs have been received, and when interviews have been scheduled for; plus it will enable them to collate feedback at the end,” says Philippa Barnes.
Consider using ambassadors
If you’re coming up against a bit of resistance from hiring managers, consider selecting people to become pilot ambassadors for the new system. This can be a great way to highlight the benefits of the ATS, help end users to become familiar with the new system, as well as provide valuable feedback.
Try asking people who have recently used the system to act as ambassadors. “Bringing in a new joiner to attend any demos is a good way of getting feedback from someone who has recently been through the process,” suggests Helen Armstrong.
The data is your friend
An ATS provides a wealth of recruitment data that will help to make the hiring process more efficient, identify any inefficiencies, and provide key metrics on issues such as time-to-hire.
“Tracking data on the length of time from advert placement to start date can also draw attention to roles which are harder to recruit for,” says Philippa Barnes. “This can then enable you to focus attention on the retention of the successful candidates through engagement and career development opportunities, as well as the need to consider alternatives such as internal succession planning.”
Looking to choose an ATS? download our guide!