I love my ATS. It’s iCIMS. They should send me a t-shirt that says I “heart” iCIMS… just like those I “heart” NY shirts. I’d wear it. All the time. And I’ve got a conference gig coming up so (hint, hint) now’s a good time to send it. Seriously big fan… a couple of years ago I stalked their booth at SourceCon to get this pic.
And I wasn’t always a big fan. I wrote this, which got some attention. And opened my eyes about vendor/client relationships, particularly when related to big budget investments like an ATS.
If you don’t love your ATS or if it’s not the number 1 tool in your sourcing arsenal, then you have some work to do. And it’s not overly complicated; it’s about having a really good conversation and being ready to make a move if you have to.
Ideally I want you to preserve your current investment. Because an ATS is a financial and time investment. So first you need to really take a hard look at what your ATS is not doing. And make a list. One of the most critical needs we had was search functionality. We were originally limited in the volume of keywords we could use because our vendor was used to HR teams that were slaves to the drop down box.
Our firm isn’t like that. We want to keyword search and not pigeon hole someone by a job title. We want to search skills and locations and a variety of other things. We also didn’t want to have a gazillion and two screens to click through. It’s a time suck and boring. The inefficiency of it would curtail our ability to get through all the candidates we knew were in our ATS. It was very important for us to really show our vendor our search process—we even gave them a demo of our search process so they could see where we were hitting a wall.
It was several conversations, and a bit of tweaking to drive our point home. There were other issues too, more on the administrative side then the sourcing side, but by creating a complete list of what we needed—not just wanted—we were able to have conversations. The first couple were frustrating but once our vendor understood the process, it was amazing how quickly we achieved resolution.
I’ve been a really happy user of my ATS for a couple of years now. If you aren’t loving your ATS, it’s time for you to buckle down, have a really good conversation, do your homework, and be ready to really show your vendor what you need.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.