5 key considerations when buying an ATS

thisisengineering raeng XAAGdkSueLo unsplash scaled 1 | 5 key considerations when buying an ATS
By Paula Smith | 8th July 2021 | 5 min read

Buying Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) can be daunting. Whether you are implementing new technology into your organisation for the first time or simply looking at alternative providers, ensuring a return on investment has to be the primary objective. 

But how do you choose the right ATS for your business? 

With a plethora of providers to choose from, all with slightly different offerings and associated price tags, identify which provider will deliver the best solution to achieve your recruitment objectives. 

Here are our top 5 things to consider before buying an ATS:


The level of functionality offered by ATS providers can vary significantly.

Understanding and listing what functionality you require to support your current recruitment activity is the first step before buying an ATS, but with the speed of digital transformation and constant development of new functionalities it is almost impossible to know exactly what you need from an ATS without a comprehensive understanding of each solution. 

Implementing recruitment software is not just about having the tools to manage your recruitment, but more about continuing to enhance and improve your processes too. 

Therefore in order to deliver the best possible solution, a provider needs to scope out your entire recruitment process, evaluate what tool you currently use and advise on the implementation of new tools that can drive greater efficiency. 

It is not just about what functionality you think you want, it's about understanding what functionality is available and how that can replace existing processes to innovate your recruitment. 


The flexibility of an ATS is arguably just as important as the functionality. 

It is vital not only to understand what tools can be implemented, but how easily these can be configured to reflect the way that you recruit now and at what cost too!  

From authorisation to application forms, to sifting criteria and your offer workflow ensuring that each stage of the recruitment process can be tailored to support your processes and requirements needs to be a careful consideration. 

All too often organisations take the ability to configure things as a given and expect an ATS to offer a specific level of flexibility, but in reality, this is simply not the case! A perfect example of this is the basic ability to edit and amend application forms. Some ATS providers actually charge their customers to make even the smallest adjustments to their application forms, whilst IRIS networx gives users the ability to create and amend applications as they need without any financial impact. 


With the rapid advancement in technology and candidate expectations, your ATS should be constantly evolving. 

New functionality, system enhancements and improvements to efficiency should all be available for you and your team to see. Not only that, some ATS Providers actively encourage their users to take part in Early Adopter Schemes in order to have a say in how the latest technologies are implemented. 

When choosing an ATS provider, the size of their development team can provide a clear indication of the organisations commitment to not only support the use of their system but also making continued enhancements to deliver the best possible solution. 

To ensure that you and your team benefit from these developments, its also beneficial to check that your ATS is cloud-based. Unlike on-premise solutions (often found with the HR add-ons), cloud-based ATS systems can be easily updated for all users. 

Support & Training 

The introduction of any software requires a level of support and training. 

Having outlined the best-case scenario for your business, your focus should then turn to how your ATS will be rolled out across your organisation, how your users will be trained to use the technology, and how users will be supported should they encounter any issues or require assistance performing tasks. 

The level of support and training offered can ultimately determine the success of your chosen ATS and return on investment. 

In terms of support you need to consider the following: 

  • How do you and your team obtain the support you need? 
  • What are the turnaround times? 
  • Can you track the status of the tickets? 
  • Can you view the tickets submitted by your team?

Training also shouldn’t stop once you have got to grips with your software, but be accessible as and when you need it. Some ATS providers offer Annual health checks to assess the use of your current software and identify opportunities for improvement or greater efficiency. Having the option to have training on new functionality is obviously expected but have in mind what support you have should you introduce new employees to your organisation or simply require some refresher training too.  

Security and Compliance

The level of security and compliance your software can offer is potentially one of the most important factors to consider before buying an ATS. Whilst a certain level of security and compliance is expected, the actual parameters that ATS providers work to can vary significantly. 

Yet the cost of not storing and processing data in a secure and compliant manner can prove to be a very costly mistake. The UK GDPR and DPA 2018 set a maximum fine of £17.5 million or 4% of annual global turnover

So what do you need to know before buying an ATS? Here are just a few of the key considerations: 

  • Is the organisation ISO 27001 certified? 
  • Do they have a robust candidate registration process? 
  • Can you easily amend and update your privacy policies? 
  • How do you restrict access to personal information? 
  • How do you manage candidate accounts due to expire? 
  • How do you share information with 3rd parties? 
  • Does your ATS support SARs requests? 

Buying an ATS can undoubtedly revolutionise the way you recruit across your organisation and drive greater efficiency at every stage. However, rather than simply look at the cost of buying an ATS, it's important to look at the overall ROI that this technology can bring. This includes process improvements, the candidate experience and the knowledge of knowing that any data you collate is held securely needs to be paramount in any decision-making. 

If you are currently looking at buying an ATS then take a look at IRIS Networx.