If you’re using multiple applicant tracking systems, it likely hurts your pre-apply candidate experience for your company career site. It might force candidates down a path before they even know which path is right for them.

For example, I know one major financial company who has 12 applicant tracking systems across 12 countries. I know another major fast food chain that makes the candidate choose from multiple different links of types of jobs because they use one ATS for their salaried positions and another for their hourly.

In short, you could quickly lose them.

But you don’t have to!

First, let’s look at the reasons you might have multiple ATS’s and the problem it might cause.

  1. You have both salaried and hourly/contractor positions.
    • Reason: Perhaps your ATS for the corporate jobs just wasn’t feature-rich enough for your hourly positions.
    • Reason: Salaried positions may require a more thorough vetting procedure, multiple interview sessions, and detailed background checks compared to hourly roles with a faster hiring cycle and a less stringent screening process.
    • Reason: Certain industries also have specific laws regarding hiring hourly or contract workers. Using different ATS may help comply with these regulations, such as tracking working hours, managing contract terms, and following labor laws. This helps reduce the risk of potential legal issues.
    • Reason: Salary data, employee contracts, and performance evaluations are sensitive information that must be securely handled and accessed only by authorized HR staff. A separate ATS to manage salaried and hourly/contract roles can help segregate these details, minimizing the risk of unauthorized data access or security breaches.
    • Reason: Implementing a new applicant tracking system for hourly or contract roles can cause potential integration problems or disrupt existing workflows. A separate ATS might be more practical to avoid conflicts and continue business operations.
    • Problem: The candidate now likely has to make a choice. Do they click your salaried jobs or your hourly jobs?
    • Problem: Job seekers applying for different types of jobs in the same company may go through a different application process. This may cause candidates to become confused, lowering the application dropout rate.
    • Problem: The recruitment team may face challenges coordinating across multiple ATS platforms. It could lead to duplication of efforts, tracking talent pipeline, and hiring inefficiencies.
  2. You have domestic and overseas positions.
    • Reason: Perhaps you have a country or two that’s either autonomous (picked their own ATS) or you/they couldn’t afford to pay for an extra set of recruiter/user licenses for an ATS in a tiny country (some ATS solutions are surprisingly expensive to add just one or two users to). I have clients who send applicants to email addresses in those cases.
    • Reason: You may now have separate country links for the candidate to choose from. Compliance with employment laws and data privacy regulations can become more complicated when data is scattered across multiple systems. So, different regions may need separate ATS to comply with local employment laws and avoid legal risks and penalties. An example would be Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which regulates data privacy and security.
    • Reason: Using different ATS can help comply with cultural hiring practices, language-specific requirements, and localized communication templates of specific countries.
    • Reason: Since you are hiring people from different geographical locations and time zones, you may also have to pick an ATS that is flexible enough to accommodate different time zones, scheduling, and regional preferences for job boards and social media.
    • Problem: Managing compliance with employment laws and data privacy regulations can become more complicated when data is scattered across multiple systems. Varying legal frameworks, work permits, visa requirements, and cultural differences can complicate hiring for overseas roles.
    • Problem: Managing multiple systems based on different regions can be challenging, leading to inefficiencies in recruitment across the organization. Coordinating recruitment activities, scheduling job interviews, and handling candidate interactions across multiple time zones can lead to logistical and coordination problems for HR teams.
    • Problem: Multiple ATSs can result in inconsistent application processes, communication, and branding, negatively impacting your employer brand. Qualified candidates from different countries may have negative candidate experiences due to discrepancies in how they’re treated based on their geographic location.
  3. You acquired a company that has a different ATS than yours.
    • Reason: This of course happens all the time. With 100+ top ATS’s out there, if you acquire or merge with another biz, odds are they don’t have your ATS.
    • Reason: The acquired company might have been using its ATS for years, which is customized to its specific needs, workflows, and preferences. They may also prefer to retain their existing systems and processes to avoid disrupting their hiring procedures. Meanwhile, you also have your own ATS, which you’ve optimized over time. Maintaining both systems might seem necessary to ensure continuity in the hiring process and preserve historical data.
    • Problem: If you’re trying to merge your companies, you’re going to want to merge the candidate experience, too. This can lead to duplication of efforts, loss of historical data and inefficiencies.
    • Problem: Migrating candidate profiles, job postings, interview information, and other critical data while maintaining data accuracy and integrity requires intensive data mapping and testing. Incomplete data migration can lead to discrepancies, delays, and inaccurate recruitment information.
    • Problem: As an acquiring company, you may need to integrate your ATS with existing HRIS (Human Resource Information System), payroll, and other enterprise systems to ensure seamless data flow and process automation.
    • Problem: Data migration, training, and integration efforts may increase your recruitment costs: additional licensing fees, maintenance overhead, and support expenses. It should be carefully evaluated to ensure a positive return on investment.
  4. You’re a conglomerate company many autonomous brands
    • Reason: Perhaps at least one of your brands wanted a different ATS than their sister companies. Each brand within the conglomerate may have its unique identity, culture, and branding requirements tailored to its specific market segment or industry.
    • Reason: Different brands may have recruitment practices, including industry regulations, skills, and candidate demographics. For example, companies that operate in highly regulated industries, like healthcare brands, may require ATS platforms with robust compliance features and security protocols to comply with industry regulations and standards. On the other hand, brands focusing on tech sectors may prefer to use ATS with advanced candidate sourcing and assessment tools to attract top talent in competitive markets.
    • Reason: Brands within the conglomerate may perceive their choice of ATS as a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent. They invest in ATS with advanced capabilities, analytics features, and enhanced candidate experience technology to gain a unique edge in the labor market. This decision may result in using multiple ATS within the conglomerate, as each brand wants to optimize its recruitment processes and employer brand.
    • Problem: Your umbrella/corporate career site should allow candidates to search for jobs at all your brands. A centralized career site offers a consistent user experience, allowing candidates to search, filter, and apply for jobs using standardized criteria. This makes it easier to find vacancies and submit job applications. It’s also much more straightforward for applicants to explore opportunities across different brands, departments, and locations, eliminating the need to navigate multiple brand websites or ATS platforms.
    • Problem: Each ATS platform may have its own set of workflows and processes, resulting in inconsistencies in recruitment practices across brands. Lack of standardization can prevent collaboration and sharing of knowledge sharing and best practices within the conglomerate, affecting overall recruitment effectiveness.

Problem: Managing recruitment data across multiple ATS can result in scattered data that can’t be accessed by other HR team members, making data reporting, analysis, and decision-making difficult.

5. You may have specialized recruitment procedures

  • Reason: Certain types of hiring, like executive search or volume recruiting, might need specialized ATS solutions that are different from those used for regular recruitment processes.
  • Problem: HR staff may struggle to adapt and use multiple ATS platforms to cater to different hiring needs, lowering recruitment productivity and efficiency
    Problem: Maintaining multiple specialized ATS can be expensive due to licensing fees, training expenses, integration costs, and support requirements.

6. You are testing and transitioning to a new ATS

  • Reason: Companies might be in the process of transitioning to a new ATS. They may run both the old and new systems concurrently to ensure stability, functionality, and continuity of recruiting functions before completing the migration. Companies might still use legacy systems for ongoing hiring processes while gradually transitioning to a new ATS.
  • Problem: Legacy systems may need more modern features and be able to perform integrations, which limits their effectiveness and scalability. They also pose a higher risk of data loss or security breaches because of outdated security protocols and a lack of vendor support.
  • Problem: Testing periods can extend for a period of time, delaying the selection and implementation of the preferred ATS, which could also delay and negatively impact recruitment timelines.
  • Problem: Transitioning from one ATS to another necessitates comprehensive training and onboarding for hiring managers, HR staff, and other stakeholders. HR staff used to their current ATS’ functionalities and interfaces may face challenges adapting to a new system, leading to resistance, decreased productivity, and errors in recruitment processes.

7. You have existing vendor relationships

  • Reason: Companies may have existing relationships with multiple ATS vendors, either due to historical partnerships or strategic considerations.
  • Problem: Relying on multiple vendors may lead to vendor lock-in, making it difficult to switch to alternative solutions in the future.
  • Problem: Different vendors may have divergent product roadmaps and support timelines, resulting in inconsistencies and uncertainties in future ATS capabilities.
Amazon job search on career site

Amazon allows one search box for candidates to search across the jobs they have in both their iCIMS (salaried) and Force.com (hourly) ATS’s.

In short, if you have multiple ATS’s, you’re going to have some candidate experience problems.

If you have multiple ATS’s, here’s what I recommend.

  1. Provide one search box — Check out the screenshot of Amazon above. You can have one job search box that searches across multiple applicant tracking systems (they have iCIMS and Force.com). Not only is this a better candidate experience but if you execute the job search properly, you could see a lift in quality applications of 30+%.
  2. Allow “browse by department” — A candidate interested in software engineering jobs wants one click for all software engineering jobs.
  3. Allow “browse by city” — A candidate who cares about working in cities wants to see all the cities listed in one place. They don’t want to have to click “United States” jobs to see what cities are and then have to click “EMEA” jobs to see what jobs are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The recommendations above need custom software development to map the jobs across multiple ATS’s.

Other Recommendations to Address Challenges of Multiple ATSs:

  1. Use middleware or specialized integration platforms to centralize data from multiple ATS. These platforms can help consolidate data from different sources into a single repository. 
  2. Build a standardized recruitment process. Create guidelines for standard methods and practices across all systems to ensure consistency across different systems. 
  3. Consider consolidating all ATS vendors to reduce the number of systems used in recruitment. Make the consolidation process gradual to reduce costs and complications.
  4. Use a centralized reporting tool to pull data from multiple ATS to generate comprehensive reports.
  5. Develop and implement programs to train employees to use all the required systems. The goal is to ensure that HR can navigate multiple systems proficiently. 
  6. Execute compliance monitoring systems to guarantee adherence to relevant labor laws and regulations.
  7. Review ATS usage and performance regularly. Identify opportunities for consolidation and improvement. Perform regular audits so all systems follow legal requirements and are aligned with company goals. 

Ongig provides a unified pre-apply candidate experience as do a number of other great software solutions. Please ping us if you think we could help.

by in Candidate Experience