Looking For a Perfect ATS Is Like Looking for a Unicorn

Empirical and anecdotal data will quickly tell you that most talent acquisition professionals do NOT like their applicant tracking systems (ATS). Hiring managers and candidates don’t like ATSs either. They are often described as a necessary evil, which is why roughly 85% of companies have them.

Here is some quick data for you from Aptitude Research around the use of technology in recruiting:
* #1 “Resources that Recruiters Need” is “Better Tools to Automate Processes”
* #1 “Activities That Take Up Recruiters’ Time” is “Reviewing Applicants”
* 84% of recruiters state they do not have the tools they need to do their job well
* 1-in-2 recruiters would leave their current role for better technology

While there are a lot of complaints around ATSs, and many of those complaints are extremely valid, we need to acknowledge that there are no Unicorn ATSs. In other words, EVERY ATS has pros and cons. Some have more cons than pros and vice versa, but no ATS is perfect.

What is most important when selecting an ATS is which ATS best fits your company by solving your biggest problems. Accepting the reality that any ATS you choose is probably not going to solve ALL your problems. In some cases you may have to give up something small in your current ATS that saves you 20 hours a year, for a huge gain that solves your biggest problem that saves you 1,000 hours a year.

I get it, nobody wants to give anything up, but unfortunately sometimes small sacrifices need to be made for larger gains.

There is always the option of “frankensteining” a solution with many different products that integrate into an ATS. Again, pros and cons on both sides.

In a perfect world, someone would raise a bunch of capital, acquire the best technologies in their respective space (e.g., sourcing, qualification screening, interviewing, etc.), merge the technology into one seamless platform, and gobble up the majority of the market share because they now have a solution that can automate so much of the process and solve most of the biggest challenges. They still won’t be “perfect” but they will at least have solved the majority of the biggest problems.

Until that day, companies need to focus on solving their biggest recruiting challenges, and unfortunately the ATS they likely have in place today, is probably at the root of many of those challenges.

Big problems often require bold solutions!