What to look for in the best applicant tracking systems for 2024


May 23, 2024

There are many applicant tracking systems (ATS) available for today’s talent acquisition and HR teams, each one designed to streamline the hiring process. HR teams use an ATS to save time and improve efficiency for their recruiters and hiring managers by organizing and centralizing recruitment efforts. 

Companies use ATS to post job openings on multiple job boards, screen applications, schedule interviews, and communicate with candidates all from a single platform. This not only reduces administrative burdens but also enhances the overall candidate experience. By leveraging the power of an ATS, organizations can streamline and improve the efficiency of their recruitment process, ultimately leading to better hiring decisions.

What features should you look for in applicant tracking software (ATS)?

When selecting an applicant tracking system, it’s crucial to make sure the solution has features that align with your organization's needs. Every business will have different needs and every recruiting system will have its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some key features you should look for:

Recruitment management

Effective recruitment management is at the core of any robust cloud-based ATS software. The recruiting software needs to provide tools to manage candidates throughout the hiring process, from application to assessments to onboarding. This includes creating and posting job openings on platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and even your careers page. In addition, an ATS should simplify the process of collecting and organizing job applications, parsing resumes, and tracking the progress of each candidate.

Employee referral management

Facilitating employee referrals is another important aspect of recruiting automation. Referrals are often one of the most reliable sources of quality hires in your talent pool. The best ATS systems will allow employees to easily refer candidates and make it easy for hiring managers to track the referral progress.

Interview scheduling (two-way)

Interview scheduling is one of the most time consuming logistical challenges for recruiting teams. A good ATS will offer two-way scheduling capabilities, allowing candidates and interviewers to sync their calendars so recruiters can schedule interviews quickly and efficiently. This feature reduces back-and-forth communication and ensures that you’re moving top candidates through the process as quickly as possible.

Customizable candidate communication

Personalizing communication with job seekers can significantly improve their experience and engagement. Ideally, an ATS enables recruiters to communicate with  candidates across multiple touch points. This is possible when the ATS allows recruiters to send personalized notifications and messages based on the candidate’s profile and the stage of the hiring process they’re in.

Candidate tagging

Candidate tagging is a useful feature that allows recruiters to categorize and organize candidate data based on specific criteria such as years of experience or particular skills they have. This makes it easier to search and filter candidates, ensuring that you can quickly find the best matches for your open positions.

Candidate experience surveys

Understanding the candidate experience is crucial for continuous improvement in your recruitment process. Ideally, an ATS provides survey templates and the option to send candidate experience surveys, gather real-time feedback, and make data-driven improvements to enhance the recruitment journey.

Pay transparency compliance

With increasing mandates around pay transparency, an ATS is now becoming crucial for ensuring compliance with new pay transparency regulations, such as including pay ranges in job postings. Internally, pay transparency can also provide a way to view and manage compensation data within the recruitment process.

Confidential job requisitions

When it comes to sensitive or high-level positions, keeping things confidential is imperative. An ATS can support confidential job requisitions by making sure that only authorized team members have access to these job postings and candidate information.

All your data connected across your HRIS

One of the key features to look for when searching for the best ATS system is ease-of-use and seamless integration with other HRIS tools. In a world where interconnected data is becoming increasingly important, it’s vital that your ATS system can work with other systems at your company. Of course, a unified HR system is best for reducing data silos, ensuring consistency, and establishing access to a holistic view of each candidate and employee.

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Rippling’s applicant tracking system

Rippling offers a comprehensive applicant tracking system that includes all the essential features mentioned above, along with several additional benefits that enhance the overall recruitment and HR management process.

Rippling Recruiting offers advanced features that go beyond traditional ATS functionalities such as:

  • Automated workflows: Many repetitive tasks involved in recruitment, such as sending out follow-up emails, scheduling interviews, and updating candidate statuses, can be automated. This frees up time for recruiters to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Comprehensive analytics: Detailed analytics and reporting tools help track key recruitment metrics, identify bottlenecks, and optimize the hiring process. These insights are excellent tools for making data-driven decisions.
  • Scalability: Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, Rippling can scale to meet your needs. The flexible platform can handle high volumes of applications and adapt to the unique requirements of different industries and organizational sizes.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Intuitive features such as shared notes, candidate scoring, and centralized communication channels foster collaboration among hiring teams. This ensures that everyone involved in the hiring process is on the same page and can contribute effectively.

Why Rippling Recruiting is more than an applicant tracking system

One of the problems with a standalone ATS is that it can silo your data from the rest of your HRIS. This creates discrepancies that slow down your teams and prevent you from scaling. For example, your open and filled headcount may get out of sync because your HRIS and ATS don’t agree on which candidates have accepted offers, and who’s actually in-seat. 

Without a single source of truth, teams may spend hours downloading, filtering, and verifying recruiting metrics—even before trying to tie those metrics back to HR and finance data. As a result, you need a data science team just to answer questions like, “What are our best sourcing channels?” and “Which recruiters are best at sourcing good long-term employees?” 

Rippling Recruiting is designed to provide a comprehensive solution that integrates seamlessly with all other aspects of your HR systems. This interconnected approach means that once a candidate is hired, their information is automatically transferred to other HR modules, such as onboarding, payroll, and benefits administration. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reduces the risk of errors, and ensures a smooth transition from candidate to employee.

Connecting all your data

Choosing the best ATS is crucial for optimizing your recruitment process, finding the best candidates, and onboarding them into your organization. Because Rippling Recruiting is natively built on top of our platform, along with Rippling’s HRIS and headcount planning, your employee data starts from the moment a candidate applies for a job. Everything in the employee lifecycle, from recruitment to offer letters, to new hire onboarding to performance management and beyond can be handled within one platform.

For organizations looking to improve their recruitment process and overall HR efficiency, Rippling Recruiting can help tremendously. To see how Rippling can transform your recruitment and HR management processes, you can get a demo below to see the benefits firsthand.

If you’re a customer, you can get started here.

last edited: June 12, 2024

The Author

Bogdan Zlatkov

Senior Content Marketing Manager, HR

Bogdan is a content marketer with over 8 years of B2B experience writing for some of the most innovative brands in tech.