You could have three reasons for reading this article.

The first, perhaps, is that you’re currently looking for new recruitment software. The second? Perhaps you’ve used the same ATS for years and are starting to wonder if there’s something more suited to your needs. The third could be that you’ve recently procured a new system and you’re simply interested in terms of how your ATS compares.

Whatever your reasons for clicking ‘read more’, in this article we’re going to be looking at what you should be getting as standard in an ATS and what you else could be getting.

From the bare essentials to functionality that should leap on your ultimate Applicant Tracking wish list, we’re looking at three key features.


1. Reporting capabilities

The bare essentials:

Your ATS should come with a suite of standard reports. As a minimum you should expect reports such as Time-to-Hire and Cost-per-Hire.

The wish list:

Flexibility is key for valuable reporting. The next step up from standard reports is custom reports, which you can build yourself by selecting specific system parameters. These offer a unique insight into your recruiting activity and enable you to compare data against different contexts for a wider view.

Your source reporting also needs to be on-point. Does your ATS integrate with Google Analytics?

If not, your options are to add a drop-down menu or a free text field to your application forms so candidates can choose or type in their source. However, you may inadvertently limit your candidates’ choices if your drop doesn’t include all your sources, and free text fields can be open to human error or misspellings, which then skew your data.

For more reliable source reporting – which is essential to understand if you’re focusing your time and budget on the most effective platforms – integration with Google Analytics is one to stick on your wish list.

2. Talent pool management

The bare essentials:

At the very least, your ATS should offer you the ability to create talent pools by region, skillset or sector, and to add suitable candidates to these.

But there’s so much more you could be doing, not only to manage passive talent but also to engage with them.

The wish list:

Tools such as skill tags mean you can ‘tag’ candidate profiles with custom labels, such as ‘evidence of customer service’ or ‘UX design skills’. This can significantly improve your talent pooling process, as candidates are pre-filtered by skills and experience.

Even better is to ask candidates to tag themselves. Does your ATS provide supplementary forms? If not, stick it on that wish list! One use of this functionality enables you to create forms which provide a link for candidates to update their skills, experience, location and more on their candidate profile.

The idea is that you can email this form to your passive candidates and the updated candidate profile is sent back to your Application Tracking System, saving you time and administration.

By emailing passive candidates you’ve continued to connect with them, and the next time you’re searching for a candidate in your talent pools, you should have more confidence that their skills and information are up to date.


3. Social media integrations

We’re inclined to warn against being social for social’s sake. Direct your focus towards one, possibly two, key channels where you have a clear target audience of candidates. (Reliable source reporting can help here!)

By posting your vacancies on the appropriate social platforms, you can increase their organic reach. You post on your organisation’s social network and 100 people see it. One of those 100 people shares it to another 100 and your reach has already expanded significantly.

The bare essentials:

But automatic job tweets or social posting does not a social ATS wish list make. We’d class that as a bare essential.

The wish list:

What about social plugins, like a professionally branded Facebook Careers Portal? Bring your vacancies to candidates in their digital homes, and create a connected experience from social to your careers site to the apply button.

Encourage mobile applicants to apply for roles on the go by allowing them to Apply via LinkedIn – negating the need for fiddly application forms and instead pulling through their career history and details from their LinkedIn profiles.

Social media recruitment should be about creating new opportunities for people to find jobs via an easy, connected and enjoyable process.

Getting the best out of your Applicant Tracking System

If you’re looking for a new recruitment system, make sure you talk to each potential supplier in detail. Lots of detail. If they can’t meet all of your wish list items, find out what flexibility there is in the system and scope for change. Will their ATS be able to support you as your organisation grows?

If you’re considering an alternative ATS, consider what your current system already provides and then draw up your new wish list. Is it time to start looking at other options? Or is there a chance you just need to talk to your current supplier to find out if they can make enhancements to meet your needs?

If you’ve recently settled down with a new system and are now wondering if there’s more out there, again, talk to your supplier. Perhaps they’ve already scheduled more functionality or enhancements.

The key theme throughout all of this is to talk to your supplier. Understand from them the scope and limitations of your system. For the best out of your ATS, you should enjoy a partnership with your supplier, not a courtesy phone call once every year and the odd transaction.


Established in 1997, Hireserve creates leading recruitment software. Trusted by organisations across the world, including CERN, Arriva and Global Radio, Hireserve ATS is agile, intuitive and powerful.
To find out more, contact the Hireserve team on 01256 634 140 or drop us a note at


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