An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you manage and track applicants throughout the recruiting process—it can be your best ally in making recruiting easier and more organized for both your company and your candidates. But with countless systems to choose from, it’s important to determine which one will best fit your company. Just like a candidate has to fit the culture and role of a job, an ATS has to be the right fit for your business. Choosing an applicant tracking system that doesn’t match up with your needs—whether that be in terms of price, features, or vendor relationship—can cost you time, money, and lost candidates in the pipeline. So before you purchase, here are six questions to ask before you select an ATS.

  1. Is It Flexible Yet Easy To Use?

Flexibility done incorrectly can sometimes just create complexity. You want an ATS that’s flexible enough to work the way you want it to, yet easy enough for your team to actually utilize. Your ideal ATS needs to be configurable enough to track what you want to track, look how you want it to look, and overall remain easy to use so it requires minimal training and setup hours. Don’t waste your money investing in a software your employees won’t be able to implement or use. Plus, when you’re in the recruiting industry you’re in the business of people—it’s a fluid business, so you need software that’s equally fluid, flexible, and changeable. In other words, if you skip a step or make a mistake, your ATS should be intuitive enough to fix itself or flexible enough so you can go back and fill in fields later.

  1. How Much Customer Support Is Offered?

No matter how easy or flexible your ATS is, you still want solid support when it comes to set-up and any questions that may arise. Performance issues or downtime can be costly, so it’s imperative that you choose an ATS with not only quality support, but fast support. Be sure to ask what particular hours your system’s customer support is available and what their typical response time is for issues. Some companies may boast 24/7 support, but their response time may be several hours instead of half an hour. It can be especially helpful if a company offers walkthrough videos and webinars so your employees can brush up on new features of the software on their own, too.

  1. Does It Align With and Support Your Sales Process?

There are plenty of applicant tracking systems out there, but some don’t link to a CRM. When your business is people, you have two moving targets: both the candidates and the companies you’re hoping to place them with. It makes the entire recruiting process more seamless when you have an ATS that has a built-in CRM, keeping sales and recruiting on the same page. Leads can have their own workflow and become jobs, projects, or whatever you want. Jobs can have a workflow independent of the candidates on them. Also, it’s crucial that your system is built this way from day one; simply having a field on a job called “stage” is a far cry from full lead and opportunity management of a real recruiting CRM system like Crelate.

  1. What Integrations Does It Offer?

When looking for an ATS, it’s important that it not only integrates with your website and other recruiting platforms, but that it boasts other integrations as well. The best ATS should provide useful integrations that get your jobs in front of as many prospects as possible and also make the tracking process easier for you. Before you make a purchasing decision, ask whether a proposed ATS integrates with job boards, sourcing tools, analytics, and email. All of these integrations will help streamline the recruiting process—with email integration, for example, you can create customized templates and reuse them easily, so you spend less time doing things like formally composing individual emails and more time moving candidates through the pipeline.

  1. Is It Mobile Friendly?

The life of a recruiter is fast-paced and on-the-go; it’s important to select an ATS that you can use from anywhere. Nowadays, your recruiters likely spend some time working remotely or following up on candidates outside of the office, and if that rings true for you, your ATS needs to reflect that by being mobile-friendly. Make sure you can use your software on your laptop or phone wherever you happen to be, allowing you to check contacts and candidates even when you’re not physically at your desk. The recruiting process is rarely a 9-5 gig; make sure you can manage contacts, review reports and track emails from any location.

  1. Is It Fast?

An ATS is supposed to make a recruiter’s life easier; not cost you lost hours in delays, downtime, or unnecessary steps. If the app feels slow during your trial, it probably won’t get much better when you go live. Slows systems can add a few extra seconds here, a minute or two there, and eventually it won’t take long for those moments to add up to hours. You don’t have time for that. When you’re evaluating an ATS, give it a test-drive and ask yourself this: does it take a lot of clicks and steps to get things done? How are the page load times? When you have solid speed and performance, it’s much easier to use overlays, too. Don’t let lengthy load times or search results slow you down. The point of this software is to make your processes more efficient; don’t wait on your ATS.