Need To Know Series: Purchasing an Enterprise ATS

Part 8: ATS Conclusions

For the last seven days, we’ve been talking about the process of purchasing an enterprise ATS. This is based on surveys and conversations we had with about 100 TA leaders across multiple industries and company sizes. We broke this up into six parts, and some of the big takeaways included:


  • The size of the company can determine switch, with the perception being that you simply outgrow your ATS. 
  • Keyword there would be “Perception.” It could be that certain features aren’t turned on.
  • Type of hires can also determine switch. And again, that’s typically an issue that can be fixed by training and turning on features as opposed to switching.


  • Buyer’s top concerns for next ATS purchase were: (1) ATS Features and Functionality 87%, (2) ATS Tech Integrations 85%, (3) ATS Price/Contract Value 72%, (4) ATS User Experience 71% and, (5) ATS User Interface 46%.
  • Respondents also think that the RFP process isn’t perfect but they haven’t determined a different way, a more fair way, to compare apples to apples.  


  • Integrations are tethered to workflow efficiency/inefficiently. Buyers love partner ecosystems and pre-integrated partners. They see sourcing & recruiting inefficiency in integrations that they have to build, wait for, or purchase. They want those integrations to work from day one.
  • Respondents to the RecruitingDaily survey also told us that they have a “must integrate” list before they talk with ATS providers. They know what technologies they’re going to continue to work with (commonly assessments) and they want that tech already integrated with the new ATS when they go live.


  • The core problem that buyers want their ATS to solve? (1) 37% recruiting and workflow inefficiency, (2) 27% recruiting and sourcing inefficiency, (3) 22% recruiting, sourcing, and workflow inefficiency. 
  • Respondents believe that they have inefficiency somewhere in their hiring process and they think a new ATS purchase will fix those inefficiencies. 
  • Problem: there is no ATS magic bullet. We all know that process eats software for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • So, either we change their minds or we become more collaborative with process engineering.


  • Customer Advisory Boards are not being used strategically right now because (1) buyers are not being asked by technology vendors to serve in this way and, (2) they’re not proactively giving advice to software partners. 
  • What works for buyers about being in a CAB context? (1) they get to see functionality before the general public and (2) they feel like they influenced product design by their participation and feedback. True or not true, that’s why they felt being a CAB member was important. 


  • References that were in the same industry, size of the company, same title, etc were extremely important to help buyers specifically understand how a particular ATS could fit them. 
  • General references — not tied to what your company does, etc. — were only seen as valuable by 11% of respondents. 
  • The big surprise on this one (no sarcasm): 71% of the respondents said they would take their ATS to a new job. We’ve been told for years that ATS buyers are not loyal at all and we have proof that the truth is they are loyal especially to technology that they select, use for more than two years and have a comfort level with. They don’t want to learn a new system if they don’t have to. 
  • Maybe it isn’t loyalty; maybe it is more about hating change. 

Now let’s talk more

We’d love to keep going with this discussion. The ATS is, for better or worse, the backbone of most recruiting teams’ tech stacks. If that part isn’t working for your business model or your team, changing technologies is of paramount importance. There’s clearly a lot of shifting in the ATS world, especially as new-age vendors have come online with simpler solutions that have an eye towards candidate experience. Keep letting us know what you’re seeing on the ATS market and how itchy the trigger-fingers of TA leaders at different jobs you end up in are. Are they switching constantly? Why? And where are the headaches? We always love to know what’s up at the practitioner level so we can inform the buyer level and keep these conversations, and product launches, humming along for everyone. 

To a better, more integrated future in TA Tech and did I mention AI? *William coughs whilst saying bullshit*

Guess What?  We’re bringing in experts to discuss our findings and dive even deeper in real-time.



***This eight-part series (and survey) was partially underwritten by Greenhouse

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.