The number of applicant tracking system (ATS) vendors has steadily grown over the past several years and continues to grow today. In what I believe to be one of the fiercest competitive arenas in software, vendors are evolving their solutions and offerings in an attempt to standout from the rest of the pack. Company reputation, price and feature sets are the main components vendors struggle to balance in an attempt to become profitable. However, there are challenging forms of competition outside the realm of ATS vendors battling it out between solutions. These forms revolve around users not having a “true” ATS and using other methods for the hiring or recruiting process. This forces vendors to find the best method to educate users on the value of implementing an ATS. The following highlights three alternative methods.
The propriety database is one of the oldest software methods for organizing candidates. It can be develop completely from scratch using development tools and backends such as SQL, or with wizard type database builders such as MS Access or FileMaker Pro. Either method offers users a custom designed solution that fits their needs for organizing candidate information...at first. However, automation is rarely built-in and work processes can become inefficient by the need to revolve around the system as complexity grows.
Just like there are a number of ATSs available, there are a large number of CRMs. A CRM offers the ability to easily manage customers and contacts. In many cases, the systems work so well that users attempt to modify components to use it as an ATS. Unlike the propriety database, there can be some level of automation, but usually just enough to record email and phone transactions. The important reporting, linking, tracking, etc components are left out which offers the true value of an ATS.
Manual Paper Process
I would be willing to bet that all HR professionals and recruiters at one point or another have used some sort of paper process for talent acquisition. It is obviously the oldest method of organizing the hiring and recruiting process, but certainly not the most efficient. Paper organization is prone to higher levels of mistakes and lost candidates. However, the amount of professionals still using this process is what keeps new ATS vendors entering the market and maintains the tough competition.
Best of luck!!!