A new wave of HCM providers are offering recruitment tools on top of their traditional employee management functions. But are they powerful or flexible enough to replace the need for a standalone Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
Recruitment technology is (thankfully) not what it used to be. The latest trend in recruitment software has seen HCM systems offer job requisition management, applicant tracking and talent pooling – in a bid to get a slice of the recruiting software market. But a software system that claims to juggle everything at once might have your alarm bells ringing.
Whilst a single, central platform that manages your entire recruiting as well as all your HCM processes might sound like an attractive prospect, your team risk falling into the trap of a system that is the jack of all trades, but master of none.
Remember, ATS and HCM software were built to serve two separate functions, Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds but not to the stage where HCM vendors have an ATS module that's comparable to a superior and long established ATS platform. This is the main reason you need a standalone ATS.
If you don't want the hassle of managing two lots of data, you really shouldn't be. Great ATS providers can now integrate with most HCM systems via API links, so all your candidate and new starter data can be seamlessly transferred to your HCM without any delay and with no manual intervention. Not all ATS providers can offer this - so make sure your selected ATS does (and doesn't rely on complex CSV imports).
You simply won't get the level of functionality from an HCM ATS module that you would from a superior Applicant Tracking System. HCM's have a lot of limitations when you compare them like for like to an ATS. For example, not many HCM ATS modules come with:
- A Careers Website designed with candidate experience and employer branding in mind
- An automated candidate experience from the first touch point across the entire recruitment process
- Internal alerts and notifications to hiring managers and stakeholders
- The option of an Onboarding module
- Seamless integration with all free and paid for Job Boards
- Skills Based Testing/Situational Judgement Tests and Killer Questions for the application and shortlisting process
- Inbuilt Video Screening
- Automatic DBS Checking and Referencing
- Branded templates and forms throughout the entire recruitment cycle (and feedback surveys)
- Multi-Company branding
- Duplicate Candidate Checker
- An integrated workflow engine to automate recruitment steps for managing high volumes of applicants and hiring manager communications
A key difference of an Applicant Tracking Systems is that it tracks the source of every single candidate so it can recommend the best sourcing strategy for your recruitment campaigns so that they can be continuously optimised. This will significantly reduce the recruitment budget used on agencies and job board advertising.
There are many, many more other core functions that HCM ATS modules simply cannot provide - in fact, too many to list!!
But remember, for larger HCMs, their ATS module is not their core system and is usually just a bolt-on or value add. Yes, they offer some really good features but again, it's not their core system, so it usually doesn’t have a roadmap or much resource investment allocated for software updates and feature enhancements.
Most ATS providers have a rigid implementation model that includes daily, weekly and monthly reviews throughout the process. Usually, it is managed by a dedicated Customer Launch team who have an established process which they've delivered to thousands of customers. HCM providers will need to focus on the implementation of the core HR and (often payroll) functionality first before they are in a position to address the recruitment side of the organisation. HCM customers often report that the implementation of your ATS module could take up to a year - instead of days or weeks with a standalone ATS provider - which means another year of poor and inefficient recruitment practices and loss of considerable budget savings as a result.
- Training & Support
Usually, the training is covered within the cost of a standalone ATS. All users (and hiring managers) will get the training they want. In today's climate, you should get free remote training for everyone that uses the ATS. HCM providers don't usually offer this level of training and unfortunately, it's not usually free.
Another tick in the box for standalone ATS's is that some well established leaders offer free and unlimited candidate support too, which is an absolute blessing for recruiters. Obviously, we would recommend that you ensure you get many references to double check that they offer a high standard of candidate support, as you don't want your candidates experiencing poor support from a third party that will reflect badly on you.
But one of the biggest USP's for a standalone Applicant Tracking System is that you get the human touch - i.e. your own dedicated Account Manager who will always be around to provide a helping hand (and hopefully much more). Additionally, some great ATS providers run online user forums and access to an in-system knowledge base that's full of guides and training videos - which users can obtain 24/7/365.
Investment and ROI is key to an ATS investment - irrespective of which type you select. It's critical that the system you chose is scalable, resilient and has the features you want now and all the functions you may want in the future.
In general, ATS modules from HCMs are across the board more scaleable, however, superior ATS providers have all the scalability an organisation needs and therefore will have the resilience and uptime you need to run 24/7 recruitment.
In terms of pricing models, there are lots out there but you need to make sure everything you want is included within your plan. For example, you don't want additional charges for sending SMS, posting to Job Boards or customising templates or even new user training - these all should be included in your annual subscription fee. If not, refine your search! Look for Applicant Tracking Systems that are "All-Inclusive".
At this moment in time, there are in fact, very few HCM or HR Payroll ATS modules that are comparable to any of the well-established standalone Applicant Tracking Systems. However, not all Applicant Tracking Systems will integrate with an API directly to your HCM or HR Payroll. If you decide to go down the route of an ATS, you need to make sure that it can fully integrate into all of your systems so that it can seamlessly transfer candidate data to be exported.
WARNING: Complex CSV imports are not the same as direct API integration, so beware and please don't be fooled!
One final thought - If the functionality of the recruitment module on offer from an HCM vendor was on a par with a best-of-breed ATS, then there would be no need to have an Independent ATS vendor market.
If you are looking for the next generation of Applicant Tracking System that gives you all the automation, functionality and features you need to recruit now and in the future, take a closer look at Vacancy Filler, you really won't be disappointed. To view our product brochure - click here
Got time to watch a video and see why you need Next Generation Recruitment Software? Click here to view
If you want to speak to one of our consultants, contact us on 01509 236 434 or book your demo here.